Posts Tagged ‘1976’

A public weigh-in

September 10, 2016

Brave or what? Standing outside a pub on a pair of scales to see how much weight you have lost. But that is what Mrs Ann Withers, landlady of the old Volunteer Arms, was doing back in September 1976.

Ann Withers weighs in publicly, to see what weight she has lost - September 1976

Ann Withers weighs in publicly, to see what weight she has lost – September 1976

The lady on the right of this photo, Mrs Jenny Dolby, was also involved in this slim-in. She was at the Drummer Boy pub

The aim, apart from fitness was to raise money for charity and the two slimmers shed 28 pounds between them to earn £120 some of which went to the Devizes Hospital Broadcasting Service. The balance of money went to a charity for blind people.

There’s a little reminder of another past thing in the background. Peter Francis’s photographic shop is there. That dates from the time before digital photography, the internet and instant messaging. There would surely be little hope for a photographic shop these days.

Threshing in 1976

November 5, 2015

We have seen something of this occasion in a blog post in September 2012 but this colour snap catches the dust and grime of the threshing process.

Threshing in Market Lavington - 1976

Threshing in Market Lavington – 1976

Now let’s be clear. This was not normal back in 1976 although it would have been back in the 1950s. By 1976 tank combines, similar to today’s leviathans but much smaller, held sway. But a few farmers then (and now) saw a profit in the straw which could be kept neat and tidy and bundled for thatching. One such farmer was the redoubtable Roger Buckle and this is his threshing kit in use alongside Spin Hill back in the summer of 1976. Threshing wasn’t usually a summer job but then 1976 was the year of the drought and there was no need to leave stooks out to dry and then stack them for attention later. Sheaves of binder cut corn were carted straight from field to threshing machine. A part of a trailer with sheaves can be seen behind the thresher.

It was a labour intensive process. Roger Buckle is the big chap up top and he was feeding the sheaves into the thresher. A chain of chaps were making sure sheaves arrived as needed by Roger, some pitching them up of the trailer and Roger’s assistant would have them ready so that he never stopped feeding them into the machine.

The sacking man made sure sacks of grain were filled and fastened and then joined the stack of sacks.

At the far end of this thresher there is a device called a reed comb which gathered the de-grained straw, made sure it was neat and tidy and tied it into suitable thatching bundles. Another person was needed to manage that end of the machine.

And some poor chap had the grotty job, working in the dust of the chaff which fell out of the bottom of the threshing machine. It was important to keep that under machine space clear so that the threshing drum did not clog up with rubbish.

What a grand sight.

Freddy Chapman

April 25, 2014


For many years Freddy (sometimes Fred and sometimes Freddie and sometimes Frederick) Chapman was the manager of Walton’s store in the middle of Market Lavington.

Freddy Chapman of Market Lavington

Freddy Chapman of Market Lavington

Freddy, as we see here, was a dapper little man. We judge from his dress that his heart was in the men’s tailoring side of the business.

Freddy was born in 1889. His father, William, was a market gardener in the Fiddington area. Freddy’s mother, Ann Kyte, came from a family who had been Fiddington market gardeners back in the 1860s.

As a small boy, Freddy lived at Fiddington Clay but in 1898 his father died and in 1901 his widowed mother, with five boys and a daughter to bring up was a tailoress, living on Lavington Lane, just in West Lavington.

By 1911, mother Ann and four of the children were back in Market Lavington and living on High Street, Freddy was a clerk working for a draper – surely Mr Walton. We do, in fact, have a picture of a tiny Fred, outside Mr Walton’s shop in 1907. (Click here).

Our next formal record of Freddy is on the 1926 electoral roll. He was still living with his mother on Market Lavington’s High Street.

Frederick died locally in 1976