Posts Tagged ‘1990s’

Happy children

August 1, 2016

Back in the 1970s and 80s the Market Lavington Church Fete was a garden based fete, often at Beech House. A children’s entertainer was laid on and here we see the 1976 children watching the unknown 1976 entertainer. And we see almost universally, the smiling faces of happy children.

Happy children iat a Market Lavington Church Fete in 1976

Happy children at a Market Lavington Church Fete in 1976


Some of us think it is sad that these days children might expect something on an altogether grander scale. They are spoiled by seeing the biggest and the best on TV.

Let’s move forward almost twenty years to a time when some of the 1976 youngsters would have been in their early twenties and thus could have had babes or toddlers to take to similar events. And here is a local event for children.

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of VE day in 1995

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of VE day in 1995

This is clearly a patriotic event – note the union jack hats and face painting. There looks to be more an expression of awe and wonder on many of these faces but the unknown entertainer is clearly holding the interest.

We don’t have the precise location for we only have a negative for this image. Other negatives in the set definitely show diners at a 1945 VE day celebration meal so we assume this was taken on that day.


Happy adults as well!

This one shows Peggy, our museum founder, (wearing green) tucking into her meal of corned beef and mash.


Lloyds Bank

June 22, 2016

Time was – and well within living memory – when there were two fixed branches in the village and a third visited as a mobile bank. The last survivor was Lloyds who were on High Street at the house still called Bank House. The bank closed in 1996 – twenty years ago.

At that time a local resident acquired one of the metal signs from the bank and had every intention of using the metal in an engineering project. He never did and now he has given the sign to the museum.

Sign from Lloyds Bank, Market Lavington branch which closed in 1996

Sign from Lloyds Bank, Market Lavington branch which closed in 1996

This is about half a metre long and certainly serves as a reminder of those pre-internet days when banks served single communities.


Knapp Farm barns – a watercolour

April 26, 2016

Our stock of artistic interpretations of the local scene has increased considerably in recent times. Today we are looking at the Knapp Farm barns before their conversion to dwellings. Sadly this is unsigned and undated but we still think it is a lovely image.

Knapp Farm barns - a watercolour image

Knapp Farm barns – a watercolour image

This picture is in a sealed frame behind glass. The slightly squiffy angle of the photo prevented too much reflection off the glass.

This lovely gentle picture actually looks much like a photo of the scene we showed last August (click here). That dates from 1998. This could be a little earlier.

We think the artist may have been Patrick Manley but we would appreciate advice on that.

Oak Lane from the air

April 22, 2016

This aerial photo, recently given to the museum shows the area around Oak Lane in Easterton. It was taken from the air but at a good angle to show buildings.

Oak Lane, Easterton, from the air

Oak Lane, Easterton, from the air

Down at the bottom right we have the pub – the Royal Oak.

The Royal Oak

The Royal Oak

This, of course, lines up with the High Street and has Oak Lane at the side.

Further up Oak Lane we get to Kestrels and Sparrows.

Kestrels and Sparrows

Kestrels and Sparrows

Kestrels, on the left was, once, the home of Ben Hayward. We think he named the house for he was a lover of birds and using them for hawking. The white house, Sparrows, was surely named as a kind of joking taunt to Kestrels, It had been the retirement home of James Lye, the gardener and famed fuchsia grower.

The post war development of Hayward’s Place is a turn off Oak Lane.

Hayward's Place

Hayward’s Place

What a lovely photo of this area. The photo dates from the 1990s.


Festival fun for all

January 4, 2016

Market Lavington still has a flower and produce show, run in conjunction with that of the Lavington Gardening Club. The village show is open to all and you don’t need to be a green fingered gardener to enter for there are classes for other folks as well. The arts and crafts categories may need a bit of skill but it is easy enough to have a go. You may like to win, but entering really does add to the fun and just maybe you’ll get a prize card or maybe a helpful comment from a judge.

One category ought to be available to almost anybody these days, and that is photography. Virtually all of us have a camera or a mobile phone with a camera as part of it, or a tablet that takes photos. Just about anybody can enter.

Back in (we think) 1993 it was Paul Mehra who won the photographic trophy. He was selected by the local paper for a photo with an article about the show.

Festival Fun at Market Lavington

Festival Fun at Market Lavington

1993 may sound like yesterday to many of us, but for those under 25 it is earlier than the things they remember. As far as photography is concerned it is a different world. Back then cameras used these strange and quite expensive lengths of chemically treated transparent material called film. When a whole film had been ‘exposed’ the pictures on it had to be developed and fixed using more chemicals. A few people did their own developing and fixing but most either handed films in to the local photographer who did it for you, or sent them off to a film processor. Either way, there was more expense. Photographers didn’t like to waste money so they tended to think about what they’d take much more than we do nowadays. We tend to have a mentality now of ‘take 50 and hope one is good’. And that really has democratised the photographic process. Back in Paul Mehra’s time you had to be good to get the winning shots. It is much more, these days, a case of being lucky.

But back to that news article. It’s interesting to note that local clown, Kooky, took part entertaining children and adults. He’s still around and still clowns, but he is also one of our museum stewards now so if you visit the museum you might be greeted by a clown, albeit a clown in mufti.

Doing the dig

June 1, 2015

Today we are looking back just 25 years, but also 1000 or more years. But let’s start with the summer of 1990. The first new houses have been built on the Grove Farm estate. An early resident, with a knowledge of archaeology realised he was finding Saxon items in the garden. Building work was temporarily halted and Wessex Archaeology were called in to carry out a full investigation. And here we see one of their team working on what is clearly a very hot day. A skeleton has been uncovered on what is now thought to be a rather high status Saxon burial ground.

Archaeological dig at Grove Farm, Market Lavington - 1990/91

Archaeological dig at Grove Farm, Market Lavington – 1990/91

This archaeological dig transformed our knowledge of the old history of our area. Let’s quote from .

Large quantities of Romano-British coins and other artefacts have been found in excavations to the north of the church, and although the occupation site was not excavated the indications are that it was of relatively high status, with quantities of high quality pottery remains found. Finds date from the third and fourth centuries and the indications are that the building was 4th century. It would be reasonable to suppose that this was the centre of a farming estate, similar to the one recently found at Bradford on Avon.

If this was the case then the estate was taken over by the Saxons as excavations in 1991 uncovered an Anglo-Saxon estate of the 5th century that was situated on the then western boundary of Saxon territory in this county. The economy seems to have been based on large flocks of sheep kept for their wool, but there is also much evidence of cattle kept for meat. The estate dates from the early occupation of the 5th century and there is a Pagan Saxon cemetery with burials from the 5th to the 7th centuries. A total of 42 graves were excavated but the indications are that there were more and other, probably later, cemeteries. Large amounts of pottery shards were recovered, indicating occupation in the early, middle and late Saxon periods. From evidence of the grave goods, and the fact that horses were kept, we know that this was a prosperous community of reasonably high social status. Bone finds indicate that cattle, goats, pigs, fowls and geese were all kept for food, while wild deer were hunted. Saxon settlement was on the brow of the greensand ridge and seems to have moved along it at different times. The areas of the churchyard and the garden of the Old House are settlement sites. There could well have been a wooden Saxon church on the site of the present one and it is also likely that there was a Roman building in this prominent position

Along with other evidence it was realised that the area we now call Market Lavington had been continuously settled by people for thousands of years. Our oldest existing buildings, the Church and the Old House are really quite modern in the overall history.

Most of the artefacts from the dig are kept at Devizes Museum which is the archaeology centre for our area. We think (and so do our visitors) that Market Lavington Museum is fantastic but some of these archaeological remnants need care and conservation by professional experts. We do have a cabinet containing finds but when it comes to human remains we have photographs.

Why not pay us a visit to see just what a superb collection we have from millions of years ago to the modern day.


March 4, 2014

Today’s bit of local history is also museum history. Back in 1992 the county conservation service was able to fumigate many of our artefacts that might have been at risk from ‘critters’. A team of people came and packed away the items for transportation to the headquarters of the museum service which was then in Trowbridge.

1992 at Market Lavington Museum - items prepared for fumigation

1992 at Market Lavington Museum – items prepared for fumigation

When the goods were all loaded in the van, refreshments were taken.

Refreshments all round for the workers

Refreshments all round for the workers

There’s the team, just outside the museum door, and in the middle we see our founder and long-time curator, Peggy Gye. She is handing round the biscuits.

Peggy Gye - still much missed for her wit and wisdom

Peggy Gye – still much missed for her wit and wisdom

Yes, that’s Peggy, smiling and happy at her museum. It is hard to remember that 1992 was 22 years ago. Back then, Peggy was a sprightly 70 year old.

A Victorian Evening

October 21, 2013

Back in 1993 the organisers of the village festival in Market Lavington decided to hold a Victorian Evening./ The event was a miscellany of items, a bit like a ‘Music Hall’ evening.

The audience were invited, if possible, to turn up appropriately dressed. Some could whilst others had nothing to hand and so came in normal clothes. Our photo shows some of the audience.

Audience at the Market Lavington Victorian Evening - 1st September 1993

Audience at the Market Lavington Victorian Evening – 1st September 1993

Clearly the photographer has picked out some of the audience in Victorian costume and they are none other than Peggy and Tom Gye. Peggy appears to be sporting an apple on her hat whilst Tom looks very dapper in his waistcoat and neckerchief.

As we can see, most of the audience for this event in the old Parish Room wore mufti – normal clothes.

Next to Tom is Ron Francis who had farmed at Grove Farm but we do not have names for other members of the audience.

Here’s hoping that next year, we can hold similar events in the villages, dated at around 1914 and suited to the start of World War One.

Church Plate

March 8, 2013

Church Plate conjures up images of old silver ware, once used for communion and now stored safely away from light fingered visitors. Well, we have absolutely none of that at Market Lavington Museum. What we do have, just given to the museum, is a plate with an image of the church on it.

Commemorative Plate given to Market Lavington Museum shows the parish church

Commemorative Plate given to Market Lavington Museum shows the parish church

The wording reads, simply, ‘MARKET LAVINGTON  PARISH CHURCH’.

The plate was made by the Argyle company.


Plate manufacturer

The plate even has a price sticker on it.

The plate still has a price sticker on it

The plate still has a price sticker on it

The plate was given in what we think was its original box and packaging. The packaging consists of pages from a ‘Drive’ supplement of the Wiltshire Gazette and Herald, dated 1999. That probably gives us our best idea of the date of the plate.

Crockery like this was made and marketed locally several times so we cannot be certain as to age. What we can say is that this plate is in pristine condition.

100 Years of the Congregational/Trinity Church

October 29, 2012

In 1892 a new church opened in Market Lavington. This was the new building for the Congregational Church, allowing it to move out of the old Quaker Meeting House.

We showed a picture of bricks being delivered to build the chapel in a piece on Fowell Traction Engines. Click here.

The centenary was celebrated in 1992 with a number of events. A local free church magazine, ‘Link’, ran some articles of memories by church members. Today we look at the memories of Mrs Hobbs. In 1992 she was the oldest member of the church. She was born in 1902, so her memories date from before 1910.

From the Link magazine of March 1992 – Memories of Mrs Hobbs of Market Lavington

Let’s transcribe her memories

My earliest memories, 87 years ago as a little girl are – going to chapel, sitting between my mother and father (Mr and Mrs George Pike) – the choir and organ were then at the back – standing on the seat turning round and looking at the ladies in the choir. Especially Mrs David Draper who opened her mouth well when singing! MRS Draper was the grandmother of Mrs Ada Askey who was our organist for a good number of years.

The Minister I remember was the Rev. Fred Lowe who still lived in his own house just opposite the church when he retired. My dad, every Sunday morning helped him across to the morning service. I can remember him walking round with his walking stick, which he left to dad and I still have it and make use of it myself.  This was well over 80 years ago when it was the Congregational Church. As the years went by we had a wonderful Sunday school. All our social life revolved around the church – the Prize Givings, Christmas tree then lit by candles, our Sunday School anniversaries with seats having to be put up the aisles, practising for Sunday School concerts and Social evenings held in the Sunday school (the old chapel).

The outings to Edington Tea Gardens or Bratton, Dad getting the wagon and horses from the local farmers then having the wooden boards nailed on each side for seats, very bumpy but we enjoyed our day out.

The Sunday School has been a vital part of the Church going back a good many years. The superintendent was Mr James Hobbs of Easterton (no relation) a devoted leader. Several of us little girls used to go part way to Easterton to meet him. Our next leader was Mr Samuel Hopkins (we always called him Uncle Sam) who lived for his church, the choir and Sunday School. Then Mr George Pike (my dad) carried on. He had a class of bigger boys. Some young men called their seats ‘The Lions’ Den’. He was church secretary for many years and a local preacher.

I can well remember the day in 1932 when Harry and myself were married. The minister was the Rev Daniel Jones. Being the first couple to be married by him, he gave us a nice bible written inside;

‘To Betty Pike and Harry Hobbs

“No one is poor who is rich in love”’

Thinking back over the years has brought back many happy memories of the Sunday school, Choir and Chapel.

Mrs Betty Hobbs

Twenty years on we often get Mrs Hobbs’s daughter to help identify people in museum photos.