Posts Tagged ‘Alexander’

Southcliffe Farm

June 24, 2015
Southcliffe Farm in 1934. It was once the home of the Alexander family.

Southcliffe Farm in 1934. It was once the home of the Alexander family.

This bungalow was the home of the Alexander family. Our photo of it was taken in 1934.

Sitting outside the front door is Geoffrey Alexander. He later emigrated to Australia and still has descendants there.

Getting an accurate fix on the location of this bungalow is quite difficult but we can see former council housing in the background which must be at Townsend.

We don’t think there are any members of this Alexander family left in Market Lavington but we’d be very happy to be told that we are wrong.


Alfie’s Golden Wedding (perhaps)

October 9, 2014

There can never be any doubt that Alfie Alexander was a village character. Stories about him abound, mostly admiring his initiative when it came to money making ventures or being amused by some of them. At one time Alfie was the Market Lavington dustman – an entirely private enterprise venture. But on another occasion he could be seen striding alongside Winston Churchill as he was off to deliver his 1927 budget speech. We don’t think Alfie actually knew Churchill, but it certainly looks like it in the photo.

Alfie could look like the scruffiest down and out you could wish for, or he could be the smartest, most distinguished looking man you might see.

Perhaps we should say that Alfie lived life to the full.

We have recently been given a photo which we believe was taken at his Golden Wedding party. Alfie and Sarah married in 1886 so we think this photo dates from 1936.

Alfie and Sarah Alexander with friends and relations - possibly 14th August 1936

Alfie and Sarah Alexander with friends and relations – possibly 14th August 1936

If we are right that this was the Golden Wedding party, then it was on 14th August for one memory recalls:

On 14th August 1936 Alfie and Sarah celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary. Apparently it was an all-day affair with waiters in frock-coats and bought-in caterers!

In the photo we see the utterly distinctive whiskered features of Alfie and next to him, his wife Sarah with a bouquet of flowers. From there on in we get into a bit of guesswork, but we think the other four seated adults are the surviving children of the golden couple. Norman was born in around 1888 and Alice in 1891. Deering was born in 1898 and Gladys in 1902. We imagine the children are grandchildren of Alfie and Sarah.

And as for the standees, behind the couple – at present we have no idea, but maybe there’s somebody out there who can give us an idea. The Alexanders were active members of the Congregational Church so perhaps we see other members of that community.


September 4, 2014

By Tom Gye

Tom’s wife Peggy was the founder of our museum and from time to time Tom has given memories for the museum. Here he writes about the building we now know as …

 The Rectory

My first recollection of the Rectory goes back to the mid 1920s. The earliest and most vivid is of the front elevation covered from ground level to eaves by a very dark ivy with ‘cut-outs’ round the windows and front door. The occupants then were a Mr & Mrs. Alfie AIexander. I cannot recall her first name. After their demise during the latter stages of WW2 A governor of Dauntsey’s School took an interest because incoming new staff had difficulty finding accommodation. He arranged for the ivy to be removed, fearing damage to the brickwork.

The first occupant was a Francis Brown, wife and son who moved in after the two-storey extension, ground floor cloaks and bathroom over, had been completed, probably latter part of 1947. Their baby daughter was baptised at the same time as our younger son Johnathan. Jonty was born 29th Nov. 1946 but was not baptised earlier because of the bitter weather. A septic tank had been constructed in the drive area to take the foul water from the new bathroom and cloaks. When main sewerage was installed this tank was by-passed with a connection direct to the sewer. Francis Brown taught at Dauntsey’s.

Apart from that extension the building was ‘L’ shaped with the Queen Anne front forming the main branch and the kitchen area forming the rest, all basically as it is now without the study. The rear entrance was the kitchen doorway, probably a different door and the kitchen connected to the dining room by a door where the serving hatch is now. The cellar and stairway as now. There were steps from the back door area leading up to a path rising centrally in the lower part of the garden. To the right of the path the incline rose from kitchen windowsill level with an ‘air drain’ protecting the kitchen wall. The ‘gazebo’ as it is now known was almost certainly a two-seater earth closet, possibly with a child’s alongside or between. Called ‘earth’ because a hole was dug to receive the bucket contents.

Where the garage block stands there was a two-storey brick and tile barn like building. The ground floor would have held a light horse drawn vehicle (a ‘trap’, shooting brake or governess cart), and stable.

Alfie Alexander kept breeding sows on the ground floor.

On the opposite side of the driveway where the study has been built there was an elongated mound containing soiled straw, ashes, pig and horse manure and the odd dead piglet.

Alfie was an interesting character, very scruffy on working days but on Sundays he would don his best attire to attend the Congregationalist Church where he was a devout worshipper.

I am not sure how he secured an income. The piglets would have produced a certain amount. With his wagon and horse he was employed by the Parish Council to collect refuse at intervals. There were no dust or wheelie bins. He owned a patch of woodland on a sandy slope where he would deposit the refuse and cover it with soil. The refuse then would have included stone jars, which later became popular with collectors. A number remembered Alfie’s dump and collectors searched the area to release stone jars.

He had political leanings there is a shot of him walking In London alongside Winston Churchill

They had a daughter Daisy who married Sam Hopkins, member of a family who lived opposite The Old School. The Hopkins were also keen Congregationalists. The couple were of slightly advanced age and the non-conformist Church were continually praying that Daisy might conceive. Their prayers were answered and they produced a son and daughter.

The Hopkins family were builders eventually owned by Sam and younger brother Ernest. After they retired their carpenter continued working doing small jobs. One day I was talking to him about the Hopkins brothers and he said “Sam was always on the site laying bricks but Ernie he did sit in the office turning sixes into nines”. Judging by the amount of property they were able to buy at the Manor sale, Ernie must have been quite successful.