Posts Tagged ‘1965’

The barn at Lime Kiln

January 29, 2016

There have been many farms up on Salisbury Plain. Those in Market Lavington were taken over as part of the military range in about 1910. Farmers, their families and workers all had to go. There was no choice. Most of the farms were about to be used for target practice and obliterated.

But there were survivors, perhaps too near to the edge of the range and the villages beyond to be used as targets. One survivor was the barn at Lime Kiln Farm which is seen in this photo in gloriously snowy conditions.

The Barn at Lime Kiln in about 1965

The Barn at Lime Kiln in about 1965

Lime Kiln Farm was very close to the scarp edge. Our photographer was standing on the road up Lavington Hill close to where the reservoir is now. This photo got a caption on the back.

Caption - Demolished 1965?

Caption – Demolished 1965?

The Barn at Lime Kiln. Demolished 196?

Now what an irritating last digit. We are not sure what it says so well just say mid 1960s – now some 50 years ago. Possibly demolition came when the reservoir was built.

This was almost a last really visible reminder of hill farming in Market Lavington.

It is also a reminder of snowfall. There is still time for some more this winter.

The Headmaster’s Story

September 9, 2014

Our blog story today comes from an unlikely magazine.


Yes, it is the National Savings News Letter for July 1965

One article in it was by Mr Pickering who was headmaster of Market Lavington School.

Mr. F. Pickering, headmaster of Market Lavington Primary School, Devizes, Wiltshire, decided that the school bank system best suited the aims he had in mind for his pupils. In The Headmaster’s Story he gives an analysis of these aims and of the method of running .the bank. His clear, factual account could be a valuable blueprint for any headteacher thinking of setting up savings facilities of this kind, as it emphasises equally the bank method’s simplicity and educational worth.



To foster the habit of regular saving through appeal to children’s imagination and interest.
To obtain the maximum educational effect from the system.
To make the saving as permanent as possible.


The bank is a regular Wednesday institution, opening at 8.45 a.m. and closing at 9 a.m. It is specially set up and takes the form of a bank counter, with cashiers using deposit and withdrawal forms. The children are found to enjoy this situation and imagine themselves as adults.

The school has a House system, with three Houses, St. George, St. Andrew and St. Patrick. Each House has its own cashier, its own cashbox, pens and forms. This again is an incentive to help to win the savings flag, which is presented weekly to the House that gains most points (amount multiplied by subscribers).

The savings books, brought in on Wednesday, are returned on the following Tuesday by the cashiers, thereby creating a memory factor for the next day’s savings.

The children become used to a bank routine of cashier, deposits and withdrawals and have to fill in their own form to hand over the counter. The smaller children are helped by the older ones and so get first-hand knowledge of the system, which, after six years of routine, becomes second-nature.

The hours of opening, before school commences, bring the children to school eager to participate in the scheme, arriving well before the official time of commencement. They have the motivation for coming to school even more willingly than usual.

It also makes a minimum of interference to normal timetabling.

The cashiers obtain the maximum benefit from the system, having to balance their registers correctly, before handing it to the headmaster.

Assistant cashiers sometimes take over and they, too, are taught the methods of cross-checking.

The subscribers’ books are brought up to date and checked and any withdrawals are requisitioned.

The practical application is most beneficial. They get a real sense of responsibility, actually handling the register, money and books.

The subscribers all have personal savings books with name and house clearly shown. New entrants to the school are given letters for parents to return, if they wish to join the bank. The children bring any amount from 3d. upwards. As soon as they get £1, a form is sent to the parent, asking whether they wish to change this £1 for a Certificate, or transfer to the Trustee Savings Bank.

Very few requests are made for cash – less than 2% over the past three years. This makes a very satisfactory background for permanent savings and no possible chance of loss, as with loose stamps.

Any books mislaid can be duplicated without any difficulty. The weekly amounts are handed to the local Trustee Savings Bank and adjustments made.

Interest from this account is transferred, by general consent, into the school fund.


The apparatus for setting up the bank consists, primarily, in the structure for the board holding the name. This was printed and mounted on a wooden plank. It is supported by two uprights, drilled to take two bolts for the name-board and two more bolts to fix them to the desk legs which also had to be drilled.

Two desks, old-fashioned type, put end-to-end form an adequate length, with another desk at right-angles, for subscribers to use.

Each cashier has a cash box of the House colour, a register, two ball-point pens, also of House colour, one for the cashier and one for the subscriber, and a quantity of deposit and withdrawal forms.


To receive the cash and forms from members and check that they balance.
To help younger members to fill in their forms.
On closing the bank, to transfer the amounts paid in to the register, total and check.
To complete the running total for each child.
To balance the totals in the columns and enter them in pencil.
To add the balance column as a check.
To bring the register and cash for verification.
To fill in the individual books, making out forms for children who have saved £I.
To put the weekly total in the House Competition Book.
To report the savings complete.
On the following Tuesday, to hand back the subscription books to members.


To supervise the setting-up of the bank and to be generally responsible during the time of business.
To check the register and take the cash.
To obtain Certificates (subscriber’s number required), or transfer to Trustee Savings Bank (subscriber’s savings book required).
To check the Savings Competition Book.
To present the trophy to the clerk of the winning House.
To check the members’ books each term.
To make the annual return to the District Commissioner.


It is found that there is no complication of wasted lesson time in the classes, except when the books are returned to members on Tuesdays. This takes but a minute.

Over 60% of the school population are members of the bank, with very little persuasion or advertisement.

The House competition provides the greatest spur to regular saving.

The letter which is sent to parents of new pupils and, from time to time, to those whose children are not yet taking part in this particular school activity, is a friendly reminder that school is not a place apart and that teachers share with them an interest in their children’s welfare.

Dear Parent,

You will be watching with close interest, I am sure, your child’s progress in all the various activities of our school life. Lessons are being learned and habits being formed, both inside and outside the classroom; all helping to develop character and to broaden the outlook.

Among the lessons that can have most far reaching results is the personal practice of ‘thrift’ and all that this implies; self-discipline, self-restraint and self-respect.

The constant and regular practice of saving – the regularity is more important than the actual amount saved – will give your child a sound attitude to the use of money, however little he or she may actually handle, and this training will be a valuable asset in later life.

This is why we have a National Savings Group in our school and I am most anxious that all our pupils should, if possible, become members. If your child is not already a member and you would like him/her to join, would you kindly sign the slip below and return it to me.

Yours sincerely,

Head Teacher.

To the Head Teacher:

Please enrol my son/daughter . as a member of the School Savings Group. I will do my best to ensure that he/she will save regularly.

Signed .


We wonder if any ex- pupils have tales of the bank or maybe the youngsters of 1965 in the photos could be identified.

Western Emperor

January 25, 2014

If people have an image of Lavington Station in their mind at all, they probably think of trains hauled by Castle or King class steam locos racing through whilst the more humble, local trains wheezed their way along hauled by more humble ex GWR engines.

Yet the station outlived steam traction in the west, so towards the end of Lavington station it would have been diesel locos racing through with the expresses and diesel trains growling along with the locals.

Because the railway network retained a regional flavour, the Western Region was able to indulge in that age old game of ‘let’s be different’. Whereas the rest of the UK went in for diesel engine locos that generated electric current to drive the engine along, in the Western Region they chose diesel engine locos that used a hydraulic transmission system.

Most people would say that those Western Region locos, introduced during the early 1960s were amongst the most handsome of diesels. They certainly delivered more power than the diesel electrics of the same weight.

The most powerful class were dubbed the Westerns. All 73 of them had a name of ‘Western something or other’. The first was Western Enterprise. These diesels ended up generating almost as much fanaticism as their steam predecessors.

And here is one of them, number D1036, Western Emperor, passing the signal box at Lavington. The goods shed can be seen in the background.

Western Emperor passes Lavington Signal Box in about 1965

Western Emperor passes Lavington Signal Box in about 1965

This picture is dated at around 1965, a year before the station closed. It is interesting to note that the train has just passed an old GWR lower quadrant semaphore signal.

These days, of course, there are no stopping trains and what are now elderly, high speed trains carry passengers bound for distant places. Those passengers won’t realise there ever was a station, signal box and goods shed here.

A news article in 1965

January 24, 2014

Newspapers always tend to go in for things being a bit sensational. This feature comes from a Wiltshire paper, The Times and Echo for Thursday February 11th 1965.

Newspaper feature about Market Lavington in 1965

Newspaper feature about Market Lavington in 1965

Had Market Lavington really slipped into quiet obscurity in 1965? Two locals are quoted at the top to give a bit of balance in what is quite a negative article. Archdeacon Johnston was a retired churchman who had recently come to the village. Peter Francis was and remained a lifelong villager, best known as our professional photographer in post war years.

But the headline and comments such as, ‘But the village is an old man. Some would say that rigor mortis has set in’. Leave little room for doubt. The unnamed author of the piece didn’t think much of our village.

He goes on to tell us that,

There is nothing for Market Lavington to look forward to.  A few more council houses, perhaps. And one day the High Street may get a decent tarmac surface.

It would be interesting to know what became of the person mentioned in the opening paragraph and what her views are now.  She’ll be certainly in her 60s by now.

The opinion of a teenager

The opinion of a teenager

Her comment was considered to be typical of what teenagers in the village thought.

Now we are probably even more biased than the author of that piece, but we reckon that nearly fifty years on we live in a lovely village with a vibrant community spirit. I don’t think anyone would pretend that Market Lavington is the prettiest place in the world, but we do have varied and attractive buildings and plenty of open space. We still have good shops, a couple of pubs, two different church communities, primary and secondary schools, a library, a purpose built doctor’s surgery, playgrounds for children and, of course, our fantastic Community Hall. This is so busy it can be hard to book a date for an event. Did I forget anything? Oh yes, we have a very active museum, much loved by local people.

But we’ll return to that page in the paper, and in particular, the adverts. Two local firms were brave enough to put there adverts on this page.

One was the Green Dragon Hotel.


Clearly Mr and Mrs Alex Martin were pushing its hotel status by offering, at unseen prices, dinner, room and breakfast along with the presence of a car park. 1965 was before the introduction of legal blood alcohol limits for drivers although it was an offence to be in charge of a mechanical vehicle whilst not capable due to alcohol or other drugs. The judgement was subjective.

And maybe a reader remembers the Martins. If so, do tell us more.

The other advert was for the hardware shop, just about opposite the Co-op.


At this time, then, J R Cox had the shop. That name does not seem to register in the memory of people asked so far. Maybe, again, a reader can tell us more.

And if you want to read that whole 1965 article, then visit the museum.

Lavington Station entrance

October 20, 2013

A railway station could be seen as an interface between the road network and the rail. Even in times long past a station required a frontage that could accommodate road vehicles and a building from which people could obtain their tickets for the rail journey.

Lavington Station was no exception to the rule. It had an approach road from just south of the railway bridge over the A360 road and quite a substantial road vehicle concourse in front of the station building. This concourse must have been invaluable when the old GWR used the station for excursions to Stonehenge and whole train loads of passengers decamped into Fred Sayer’s charabancs at the station.

The building was small, as our photo, taken soon before the line closed in the mid 60s shows.

Lavington Station entrance in 1965

Lavington Station entrance in 1965

Nearest the camera we have the corrugated iron parcels shed. There was a time when pretty well every station was also a parcels depot. The railways were deemed as common carriers and had to accept any item offered to them for transport. Before the little shed was constructed, parcels had been stored under the over-bridge stairs.

In this photo the bridge looks massive. Not all customers at stations were as lucky as those at Lavington, with a covered bridge to take them to the other platform.

Beyond that we see the small neat building which housed ticket office, staff facilities and waiting room for passengers.

Lavington Station opened in 1900 when the GWR built a connecting line from Patney and Chirton to Westbury as part of its shortened route between London and the West Country. Like many a country station it fell victim to Dr Beeching’s infamous axe (although to be fair he was only doing what politicians required him to do) in 1966.