Posts Tagged ‘1986’

Making a Museum

March 28, 2015

Today’s blog is unashamedly about your museum which is now thirty years old. The museum is housed in the old school master’s cottage which was, handily, built just behind the school. Access is from the churchyard with no actual road access at all but museum visitors can park in the Community Hall carpark and have smooth access up the tarmac path to the church and then along the gravel path behind the church.

The cottage had been a family home until the 1950s and then in the 1960s the school took it over as additional accommodation. In the 1970s it was out of use and became derelict. Hard work and dedication were needed to make it suitable for a museum.

One thing that was needed was a new staircase and here we see the new staircase in the course of construction.

Thje main section of staircase is 'offered up to the job'.

The main section of staircase is ‘offered up to the job’.

That looks more complete

That looks more complete

Yes, it reaches the upstairs area

Yes, it reaches the upstairs area

When all building work was completed, the museum was ready to open and here’s an early view of the staircase area.

Staircase complete and museum open

Staircase complete and museum open

Thirty years on and some of the signs fixed to the wall above the stairs have just been moved for we have added a second bannister rail on the wall side. And for good or ill, our museum is now much more crowded with artefacts. It would be lovely to have more spacious displays. We have the problem faced by many a museum of whether to display and make things a bit cramped or store things for researchers to see on request. We try to display your items – all are given by you to the museum – as much as possible.

We, of course, think we have a great museum, full of interest for both local folk and those from further afield. Do pay us a visit in our thirtieth season.


The Grove – a water colour

March 26, 2015

Many people say that a photograph may capture the truth but a painting captures the spirit of the place. So perhaps, today, we are capturing the spirit of The Grove area or perhaps our artist has caught the spirit of the past.

The artist set up his easel somewhere near the church and looked out to the west over what was still, then, the fields of Grove Farm.

The Grove - a 1986 water colour by Norman Miller

The Grove – a 1986 water colour by Norman Miller

Beyond the pastoral scene, with grazing sheep we see a more sylvan backdrop which, perhaps, makes Lavington School look just a bit surprising.  The houses on Park Road do seem to lead the eye to the school building – very much in the style of the 1960s.

Beyond the trees there’s a hint of Salisbury Plain and above all, cumulous clouds rise up to mask most of the blue sky.

The artist was Norman Miller (1906-1995) who worked, this time, in water colours. This was painted in 1986.

Norman, a retired church minister, lived in Easterton. We have a couple of his paintings in the museum.

Animal Crackers

March 19, 2015

Animal crackers are really little cracker biscuits shaped like animals. It was back in 1935 that little Shirley Temple sung about ‘Animal crackers in my soup’ but the real things predate that. Indeed, the Marx brothers made a film called ‘Animal Crackers’ in 1930.

And here in Market Lavington we had our own Animal Crackers in 1986. They were, actually, a group of young ladies who took part in what was then the annual barrel rolling competition. In the way of newspapers (and maybe blogs too) this quintet were chosen for a newspaper photo which we can find in a cuttings scrap book at Market Lavington Museum.

Animal Crackers - a news photo from 1986

Animal Crackers – a news photo from 1986

So here we see the girls dressed up in their animal finery, all ready to start rolling out the barrel. They are Andrea Wheeler, Karen Corbitt, Penny Thorn, Valerie Miles and Carol Brothers and they were representing the Kings Arms public house.

This reminds us of how much the licensed house or pub trade has declined. When there were four pubs in the village, it seemed natural to have some inter-pub rivalry and the old barrel rolling competition was part of that. Now we just have the excellent Green Dragon. There is no competition and a little tradition has gone from the village. Not that it was a truly old tradition. You can click here to read a little history of the event.

And what about those five young ladies who made up the Animal Crackers? Where are they now?

All gone!

September 17, 2014

All gone, but not forgotten. That phrase applies to the man-made bits of this photo.

A photo taken at Grove Farm, Market Lavington in 1986

A photo taken at Grove Farm, Market Lavington in 1986

This picture dates from 1986. That’s 28 years ago as this is written.

In the foreground we have the pens and yards associated with Grove Farm and behind them, on the right hand side there is the farm house.

At that time it all looked sad and derelict but of course it had been a tidy and well kept working dairy farm. When the Francis family had it they sold milk from buckets which they took around the village on bicycle handlebars.

Down below the house and to its left are various sheds which were also part of the farm.

This whole site is now where the Community Hall and car park stands. This new building has done much to maintain and revive community spirit in the area.

Those corrugated iron roofed sheds lined the road and opposite them, the brick and white building was the garage set up by Eddie Haines. Later it became Shires Garage and then that, too, was swept away and became the little housing development now called Shires Close.

Not all changes are for the worse. We might and do regret the passing of farm and garage which offered employment to people within the village. But it can’t be denied that the newer arrangements are neater and tidier.




Devizes News – 1986

October 27, 2013


Today we feature a page spread about Market Lavington which appeared in the above paper.

1986 newspaper page about Market Lavington

1986 newspaper page about Market Lavington

It was, no doubt, cheap journalism for this freebie paper. They have extracted some writing that was by Peggy Gye, choosing a section that just fits the available space even though it makes a start which must tell you something came before.image006

The editors have surrounded the content with box adverts for local business and, presumably, paid for by those local businesses. I rather suspect they kindly provided the ad for the museum which had opened the previous year.image007

Since then we have extended our season until the end of October so you can still visit this year for our very interesting local displays. These days we open from 2.30 to 4.30pm on those there days a week. We still make no charge but very much appreciate donations towards those essential running costs.

The adverts from 27 years ago make interesting reading. As John Lennon wrote in the song, In My Life, ‘some have gone and some remain’.

Let’s just look at a couple.

Honeychurch Toys advert

Honeychurch Toys advert

As doll’s house manufacturers they are no more although other aspects of the business carry on. Of course, we have a Honeychurch Dolls House in the museum.

Market Lavington Post Office Advert

Market Lavington Post Office Advert

Our Post Office, we are all happy to say, is very much alive and kicking still.

By the way, phone numbers have changed since then so don’t imagine that you’ll reach advertisers from these numbers.