Posts Tagged ‘2014’

Thatching The Rest

February 21, 2015

The Rest is a pretty thatched cottage on Northbrook in Market Lavington. Towards the end of 2014 the house was re-thatched. House owner Dougald Ballardie became a photo journalist recording all he could of the thatching process. He has put this together in a twenty page A4 sized book and has given a copy to the museum. It’s a fascinating story, starting with a brief history and description of the house and then going right through that thatching process.

The front cover shows the house at the completion of the thatching job.

The front cover of 'Thatching The Rest'

The front cover of ‘Thatching The Rest’

We are pleased to see that Dougald’s well-known and well-loved dog, Sam, got into that photo.

Inside the book we see Dougald’s fine photos and captions.

Just one of the pages in the book

Just one of the pages in the book

This is a great addition to our museum for it is about a local house, but it would also have more general interest to those keen to learn about thatching.

Thanks Dougald.



Bell ringers of 1950

December 14, 2014

Bell ringing still goes on in Market Lavington but today we are looking at a slightly reduced team from 1950. There are six bells in the tower at St Mary’s and here we see five ringers taking a rest just outside the church.

Market Lavington bell ringers of 1950

Market Lavington bell ringers of 1950

Back then bell ringing seemed to be very much a male preserve and here we see a collection of men who seem a bit overdressed for the exertions associated with ringing. One chap has dispensed with the tie but perhaps it is the jacket which seems a singularly unsuitable garment for ringing.

The captioning for this image is another one that is not as good as it might be. The person on the left is just given the name Bailey. Then we have Jack Saxton and Tom Gye is sitting on the fence. Next is Melville Bailey and Bert Shore is on the right. He was married to Flo Burbidge who had been born (back in 1908) in our museum building.

Tom Gye was still ringing into the 21st century.

Just for the record here’s the team with some from Potterne at ringing the bells in November 2014.


Bell ringers at Market Lavington – November 2014


A lizard

November 29, 2014

It’s good to report that much wildlife can be found in Market Lavington. Today we are looking at a lizard, spotted by our curator a couple of months ago.

There's a Market Lavington lizard hiding in this photo

There’s a Market Lavington lizard hiding in this photo

It has to be said that you need to be a bit sharp eyed to spot our lizard in this somewhat wild area of orchard, but we can, of course, zoom in.


That’s a bit more visible


Let’s zoom in a bit more!

Aha. Now we see it more clearly!

Aha. Now we see it more clearly!

This is the common lizard and it was really quite a tiny creature. You are unlikely to see one now as they hibernate from about October to March.

Do keep your eye open. We do like to keep a record of local wildlife.

The Museum Miscellany

November 22, 2014

We are looking back about 6 weeks today – to the evening of 4th October 2014 – the evening of our Museum Miscellany. This is the evening when Rog, our curator, does one of his talks. Rog always says he can’t talk for all that long about any single subject which is why the idea of a miscellany developed. Talks are prepared, with many museum photos, on a variety of themes with some lasting about five minutes and others, perhaps twenty minutes or so. There’s something for everybody. This year, the First World War featured but the mood was lightened with Harry Hobbs shop adverts. There are always (this was the fifth miscellany) photo tours of the village and this year Rog only used photos given to the museum since the miscellany in 2013.

Rog always says the best part of the evening is the interval. ‘Our wonderful stewards’, he says, ‘have made delightful food using recipes we have in the museum. We literally get a taste of the past’.

We make the interval a bit longer than might be expected to allow plenty of time for people to eat, fill their glasses at the bar, and to chat. It makes it a wonderful social occasion.

The museum team are usually too busy to think of photographs but other folks manage some.


The hall is set out and ready – except that more chairs were needed.


An old gramophone is ready. The record is a very old one from the collection of Charlie Williams, formerly of Easterton. It pre-dates the First World War but is a piece of martial music to set the tone.


Food begins to appear and is set out alongside the recipe that is used. There will always be items made to suit people with varying dietary requirements.


The hall fills but there’s still time for a chat.


And there’s Rog explaining something during the show.

We are lucky that we have such a fantastic hall. It is equipped with a superb sound system, a fantastic screen not to mention a bar and a kitchen. It is always warm enough. It’s a wonderful venue and heavily used. That turned out to be to our advantage on this occasion for we had arranged with users earlier in the day to leave the chairs in place.

Preparations are in hand for next year’s event – the date isn’t finalised yet but it’s likely to be at the start of October.

We’ll look forward to seeing even more of you there next year.


The Community Hall is a fantastic venue and centrally placed within Wiltshire. It’s ideal for Wiltshire wide gatherings and events. The Wiltshire Buildings Symposium is held in the hall each year and we open the museum during their lunch interval. This year (November 8th), the outcome was truly memorable with 76 generous visitors coming into our small cottage museum. It’s an example of the knock on effect that the hall can have – benefitting the wider community. It certainly made a great end to the open season for us.

On display at Stonehenge

November 6, 2014

Market Lavington Museum has now closed for the winter (except by arrangement with the curator, of course) but we are delighted that some of our artefacts are now on display at the Stonehenge Visitor Centre. This building, which opened a year ago, is the point of arrival for all visitors to Wiltshire’s famous stone circle and other associated archaeological sites. It is situated on Salisbury Plain where vast numbers of soldiers from Britain, the Empire and other allied countries were trained prior to going to Europe to fight in what we now call the First World War. It is this military use of the Salisbury Plain area that is ‘celebrated’ in the ‘Soldiers at Stonehenge’ exhibition. Market Lavington and Easterton were very much involved in the training and temporary homing of soldiers and we are pleased to be represented at this display

Photography will not normally be permitted at this exhibition but we were granted an exemption to photograph our items.


Our Valcartier medallion has featured before (as an exhibit at Market Lavington) on this blog but we were moved, here, to see it alongside exhibits from the Imperial War Museum.

The backs of display cabinets are lined with a variety of images from First World War days.


Across the bottom we have the lovely photo of Market Lavington Market Place in full swing as a Red Cross fund raising market in 1915. Our local WW1 group plan to recreate this event in 2015. The top right photo shows Norman Neate, landlord of the Brewery Tap on White Street with two Canadian soldiers. The top left photo is not a Market Lavington one.


This poster has appeared on this blog before – but the name of Market Lavington is now ‘in lights’ at one of the most iconic tourist sites in the world.

We were invited to the official opening of this display which also incorporated a brief commemoration ceremony at the stones. This was a moving and dramatic occasion.

It was dark and Stonehenge was floodlit.


Some of the stones had images of marching First World War soldiers projected onto them.


The famous verse by Robert Binyon was read and then two buglers emerged from behind one of the stones to play The Last Post.


The two minute silence which followed was a deeply moving occasion.

We’d urge one and all to visit the Stonehenge exhibition. The good news is that members of English Heritage or The National Trust get free admission.

More Jam Factory Workers

October 17, 2014

Often, when we think of workers at the former jam factory we think of ‘the girls’. But men worked there as well in quite large numbers. And of course, this included the actual manufacture of jam. So today we feature two men at work amongst the hot sugary product.

Two chaps at work at the jam factory - probably 1960s

Two chaps at work at the jam factory – probably 1960s

This picture, which we believe dates from the 1960s, shows Preston Law and Nigel Marston. Almost inevitably we know nothing about them but thanks to John in Oz for identifying them.

Their old place of work is now no more. This photo was taken earlier this month and shows where the factory once stood.

The former jam factory site - October 2014

The former jam factory site – October 2014

We’ll keep you posted on this site as developments occur.

And we’ll come up with more photos of jam factory workers too.


Grove Farm , 1972 – Community Hall, 2014

October 4, 2014

Many older people will be horrified when it is pointed out to them that 1972 was more than forty years ago. Let’s face it, it feels like yesterday. But roughly half of our population were not alive back then. It is real history to the under 45s.

So here we have a photo from 1972.

Grove Farm in 1972

Grove Farm in 1972

What we see here is a corner of Meadow Cottage on the right. We are looking up the track by this cottage to the main road which runs across the picture just this side of the brick wall. The other side of the wall is where we see Grove Farm – buildings and farm house.

On the left of the picture, behind the metal railings was an open area which may have been used for light agriculture at the time but had seen usage as a school adjunct in times past.

Now we fast forward to October 2014 and recreate the same view.

Same view, October 2014 shows the Community Hall

Same view, October 2014 shows the Community Hall

Meadow Cottage, on the right, is still much the same. The track alongside looks tidier, but is also still much as it had been.

The area to the left now has a couple of houses and a neat wall around the garden. The wall on the other side of the road maybe looks less well kept than it did 42 years earlier.

Grove Farm has entirely gone. The farmhouse, barns and buildings have all been swept away. Where once a Dutch barn and sheds stood we now have our Community Hall. We’ll be using it tonight for our annual Museum Miscellany.

Up on the hill we can see the cottages which were built when the hall was and other houses on the Grove Farm estate.

So all change – but change can often be for the better – and the Community Hall is a fantastic asset within Market Lavington.

We look forward to seeing you tonight – 7.30 in the hall for a couple of hours of local history, local food and a bar to make sure your needs are met.

Easterton Country Show and the Moore family

August 27, 2014

Bank Holiday Monday was as wet as wet could be. There’s a kind of tradition, which actually most of us there thought wrong, that it always rains on bank holidays. 2014 August bank holiday will surely go down in memory as very, very wet and will help keep that urban myth alive.

The show organisers were philosophical and kept a smile on their faces as they reorganised people to inside venues or under good, waterproof marquees.

We of the museum were lucky to get a spot inside the church – by our usual standards it was cramped and small but it was dry, warm and we had an absolutely lovely day.

The Easterton show is always lovely. How could it be otherwise with such friendly people. One person we met and chatted with had moved into the village only a month ago. He reckoned more people had chatted to him in that month than in 14 years when he lived in a town elsewhere. He absolutely loved the place.

There was many an old friend to chat to as well, but pride of place, for us, goes to some young adults from Bristol who put a message on a post on this blog just the day before the show.

It read  ‘Hi, some photos and information I didn’t know. Samuel Moore was my great grandad.’

And the next day they were at the show with photo album in hand. Here’s one of the photos.

Sons of Samuel! Wilfred and William Moore with a jam factory pan

Sons of Samuel Wilfred and William Moore with a jam factory pan

This shows two sons of Samuel Moore, both of whom worked in the jam business in Easterton. On the left we see Wilfred (officially he was Samuel Wilfred) and on the right his younger brother, William. They are holding a large preserving pan, obviously used in the business.

William is the grandfather of our visitors at the show.

Now for us, the rain might have been falling in torrents, but the sunshine was in our hearts as we learned more about the family and were able to copy some wonderful photos.

Well done Easterton – a great day for us and, as ever, a lovely friendly show.

Views from the hill

August 12, 2014

Then and Now

Back in about 1970 Peter Francis went up onto Lavington Hill and took this photo which he made into a large sized postcard.

Market Lavington from the hill in about 1970

Market Lavington from the hill in about 1970

It is quite a decent picture but it lacks detail. We can make out the church and of course we can no digitally enlarge it.

The church as seen some 44 years ago

The church as seen some 44 years ago

These days we can do rather better.


A view from the hill in 2014

In fact even a half decent camera can get in close to the church.

A close up of the church in 2014

A close up of the church in 2014

The lime green coloured tree to the right of the church is the catalpa which was planted (by George Dobson) to mark the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953. To the right of that, the T shaped building is The Old School.

There’s no doubt that modern technology has some advantages.

Doorstep Delivery

August 10, 2014


At Market Lavington Museum we do like to make sure we have a record of the changing scene so today we feature a scene recorded on 25th July 2014.

It’s that doorstep delivery of milk.

The doorstep milk delivery is still going strong in the Lavington area

The doorstep milk delivery is still going strong in the Lavington area

We are lucky still to have a delivering milkman in Market Lavington. Many people now use supermarkets, but for those without a car the milkman is a real essential. Milk is heavy stuff to carry around.

But we are aware that the doorstop delivery of milk may not last for ever, although we hope it’s around for many years to come. We thought we should record what might once have been a common sight – pint milk bottles outside a house.

We can, of course, see potential disadvantages. Those bottles are out in the sun and they are on the side of a street and could be easy pickings for passing thieves. Many of us will remember milk bottles which had been broken in to, via the foil caps, by blue tits!


This is future history in the making. Something so ordinary it could easily be overlooked.

If you live locally, do think to record things before it is too late.

But to re-emphasise – we know of no plans to abandon milk delivery in our area.