Posts Tagged ‘1968’

A builder’s day book

May 6, 2016

Amongst items given to the museum from the estate of Tom Gye we have a number of the day books used in the building trade. In these books each customer was recorded and indexed and the labour and materials used on jobs was recorded. Here we have one small entry – part of a much larger one, from 1968 and on to 1971.

Small entry from a Gye day book - this entry from 1968

Small entry from a Gye day book – this entry from 1968

The customer, having work done, was Wiltshire County Council. The site for the work was Easterton School. This vanished building was between Easterton Church and the junction between the main street and Kings Road. The day book does not record the actual nature of the job but it still makes for a fascinating document. We can see the costs involved for getting work done.

The top part of this document records the initials of workers and the hours they worked. Some of the initials are recognisable. T G is Tom Gye himself, for example. Most interesting, perhaps is that the work involved 42½ hours of labourer time which was charged at 11/6 per hour. That’s 57½p in post decimal money. It just sounds so laughably cheap nowadays but our curator recalls working as a labourer in a factory at about that time and earning 7/2½ per hour which worked at £14-10-0 (£14.50) for a 40 hour week.

It looks as though some of the work might have been repairs or extending a playground with ballast, cement and Mendip chippings.

Later in August, in preparation for the new term, the Gye firm had a job of sanding and revarnishing the desk tops at Market Lavington School. This was some 8 hours of work and cost £6 including the varnish. Other small jobs continued right up to the end.

The end came when both Easterton School and Market Lavington School were replaced by the new St Barnabas School. This opened on Drove Lane in 1971.


An infant class

April 6, 2016

Here we have another photo with no information except that the original was a Kodachrome slide. It’s a school photo with a class of infants.

An infant class in Market Lavington

An infant class in Market Lavington

There’s no doubt about the teacher. This is Mrs Elisha – a Market Lavington lady for all her life and a teacher for more years than anyone could really imagine. In the early days she was Miss Potter and then for more than 40 years she taught as Mrs Elisha.

Mrs Elisha retired in 1968 at the age of 65 and we wonder if this was her final class. If so Mrs Elisha could easily have taught the grandparents of some of these children.

We know this venerable and remarkable lady continued to do some supply teaching, possibly until she was almost 80.

What we don’t have are names of children – but they will be recognised. Do let us know who they are.

It looks as though poor Mrs Elisha had been pushed out to a mobile classroom. Someone will tell us where that was sited.

Like many a school photo, this one is utterly charming.

Dedicating the Powner Hall

December 29, 2015

Another of our ‘run up to Christmas’ gifts was a rather careworn copy of the order of service for the dedication of the hall at the Congregational Church – afterwards known as the Powner Hall.

The hall was a bespoke hut made by Prattens of Midsomer Norton and adjoined the old chapel alongside Stobbarts Road. From its style of construction it was never going to last for ever, but in times past it was an extremely useful meeting space in the village. Apart from church events, toddler groups met there and there often seemed to be jumble sales. The life expired hall was swept away when the old church was converted into a spacious house.

But we go back to 1968 for the official opening and dedication.

Front page of the order of service for the opening and dedication of the new church hall in 1968

Front page of the order of service for the opening and dedication of the new church hall in 1968

So we see that on Saturday 23rd November 1968 the hall was opened by Mrs Sarah Morrison who was the wife of the then local MP.

Before the official opening there was a service of dedication.


At the conclusion of the service, the official opening took place.


We’ll note that the local church pastor was Bertram Powner and the hall was always known by his name.

The Congregational Church merged with two other local church communities to form the Trinity Church who continued to meet in the church and use the Powner Hall. Trinity Church now uses the Community Hall in Market Lavington which offers so many advantages – not least a car park.

We wonder if anybody has any photos of events in the Powner Hall which could be added to our museum collection. If so, do get in touch.

Drove Lane

June 2, 2015

Simple chance can cause quite big impacts and Drove Lane is what it is now in part due to chance. Its name has changed over the years. At one time it was ‘The Drove’. Then the cemetery was created and it became ‘Cemetery Lane’. Then, perhaps because people didn’t like their home address being associated with death, it became Drove Lane.

Drove Lane was never given a road surface throughout. That was the chance fact of it being quite near to and parallel with the Parsonage Lane route north out of the village. So Drove Lane became a quiet byway.

Well that was until 1971 when its position – handy for both Market Lavington and Easterton – made it the ideal site for the new St Barnabas School which replaced the Victorian village schools in both parishes.

Back then, in 1971 the road, and specially surfaced footpaths, became busy with mums walking their children to and from school. These days, that carriage of children is much more often by car as a parent then has to get to work straight after dropping off the kids.

A large electricity substation was also constructed alongside Drove Lane. I dare say the occupants at the cemetery, next door, didn’t complain about it! That substation shows on our pre-1971 photo.

Drove Lane in 1968. It shows the site of the proposed new School

Drove Lane in 1968. It shows the site of the proposed new School


The car in the photo was registered in 1966 but there is no school to be seen. The photo dates from 1968 and is actually captioned ‘site for new school’.

Apart from the absence of a school, we’ll note that Drove Lane had no pavements. They were added to make for safer access to the school. We are fascinated by the brick ‘gate post’.


Can anyone identify this brick post?

Does anyone know what that was for?

A second picture shows a similar view with the school nearing completion. It was taken in 1971.

St Barnabas School nears completion in 1971

St Barnabas School nears completion in 1971

At this time the road was improved and the pavements put in. The footpath from Oak Lane and beyond was given a tarmac surface as was the one from the top of Northbrook.

This school, of course, is still thriving with local youngsters who are often in local events.

The Milk Producer

April 29, 2014


Our local people – and these days those from all round the world, have been absolute wonders at finding and saving documents of interest. That will be why we have some extracts from the journal of the Milk Marketing Board – a journal known as ‘The Milk Producer’.

Our extracts date from 1968 but refer to an item from much earlier.



In fact it dates back to 1933

A 1933 letter about milk prices from the West Park Dairy

A 1933 letter about milk prices from the West Park Dairy

It is a letter from the West Park Dairy company telling a supplier that the price for milk is being cut to 4d (less than 2p) per gallon and that it will probably have to drop even more.

West Park farm, the registered headquarters of the company was and still is, of course in Market Lavington and remains a dairy farm.

Two months after this old letter was published, a letter came in from the then owner of West Park Farm.

A 1968 response to the 1933 letter

A 1968 response to the 1933 letter

So now we get a 1968 milk price, for the producer of around 3/3 per gallon. That’s about 16p in decimal currency or more than 8 times the price given in 1933.

We think the current price is about 33p per litre which is about £1.50 per gallon.

A Charity Collection Box

October 22, 2013

The sealed box into which a householder put money for a chosen charity, used to be a part of life for many people. Each year there was what may be called a grand opening day which revealed just how much money had been put in the box and could go to the charity.

We have just been given such a box at Market Lavington Museum. The charity was the London City Mission which was supported by members of the local Congregational Church.

The box is a simple wooden affair, with each side having a photograph stuck on which explains the needs and functions of the Mission.

London City Mission collection box, now at Market Lavington Museum

London City Mission collection box, now at Market Lavington Museum

Each side has a photo and information about the Mission

From a village point of view it is the bottom which is most interesting for it has the local names of box holder and the local secretary.

The box holder and local secretary get a mention on the base of the box

The box holder and local secretary get a mention on the base of the box

The box holder was Mrs Bishop and this is none other than the former Miss Draper who received that odd message on a postcard of the Robbers’ Stone which we saw just a few days ago.

The box had last been opened on 21st March 1968. By this stage Mrs Edith Bishop was well into her 80s. It seems she had collected thirteen shillings which is 65p in present money. It may not sound much but as an elderly pensioner Mrs Bishop probably had very little to spare. Incidentally, thirteen shillings works out precisely as 3d per week.

The secretary was Anna A Hopkins. The Hopkins family were long time members of the Congregational Church in Market Lavington but it seems Annie was a Devizes resident and was the collection secretary for a wide area around Devizes.

What an interesting little addition to our collection.

Our Henry Cooper

March 9, 2013

Today we are going to look at another of the lads from the 1919 football team we saw the other day. His name is Henry Cooper, not to be confused with his ‘slapping it on’ and much more famous boxing namesake. To avoid confusion I’ll call our footballing chap Harry for that was what he was usually called.

Henry Cooper of Market Lavington1899 - 1968

Henry Cooper of Market Lavington
1899 – 1968

This is Harry who was aged about 19 or 20 when the photo was taken.

He was born in 1899 and was given an age of 1½ on the 1901 census. His parents were John and Elizabeth – both Market Lavington born. John was listed as a blacksmith and our Harry was the middle of three children born to the couple. The family lived in Market Place in Market Lavington.

Harry, had he been of a mind to, could have traced his Market Lavington ancestry back for generations. Father and Grandfather Cooper were Market Lavington born. Harry’s mother had been Elizabeth Hoare and she certainly had grandparents born in Market Lavington. She was with them at the time of the 1881 census.

In 1911 a bigger Cooper family still lived in Market Place. John was now listed as an agricultural engineer. Harry, aged 11 was a scholar. He was now the second of seven children at home with the parents. This census tells us that in 14 years of marriage John and Elizabeth had produced seven children and all were still alive.

In 1924 Harry married Edith Burt – another name with a good local provenance. We think she was actually a Devizes girl.

The 1926 electoral roll suggests that Harry was still at home with parents, in Market Place. Edith is not listed on this roll. She was under 30 and at that time only women over 30 could vote.

However, she is listed on the 1939 roll. She and Harry were at 9 Market Place. John, Harry’s father, was at number 3.

We believe that Harry and Edith had three children, Sylvia, Ivor and Honor.

By 1964 the old houses in the Market Place had been demolished. Henry and Edith lived on Northbrook, according to the electoral roll. We would now say that their house was on Northbrook Close.

Henry died in 1968. His address given as 2 Northbrook Close. Edith died in hospital in Devizes in 1984. Both are buried in St Mary’s churchyard.