Posts Tagged ‘band’

The band and the bus

July 6, 2016

We have seen this picture before on this blog but we have recently been given another copy and it seemed a good idea to try to make a better image of it.

So here we have seriously increased the contrast on the very flat toned original and made one and all more visible.

Market Lavington band and bus in 1912

Market Lavington band and bus in 1912

The back of this card is captioned, ‘The band in 1912’.

Some band members are on the top deck of the bus.

Not much room on top on this bus.

Not much room on top on this bus.

We don't recognise the driver

We don’t recognise the driver

The bus registration is FB013.

Mr Trotter was landlord at the Volunteer Arms

Mr Trotter was landlord at the Volunteer Arms

The scene is outside the old Volunteer Arms where Mr Trotter was the landlord, supplementing his income by selling firewood.

He had other strings to his bow

He had other strings to his bow

There are more band members and plenty of other folks who were standing by the bus.

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As ever, the chances of recognition are small for this is more than 100 years ago, but do get in touch if you can give any names.


Edington Monastery Gardens

May 17, 2016

No. The Monastery Gardens at Edington are not in Market Lavington. But in the early years of the twentieth century they were a regular venue for church treats. Mr Burgess, the Market Lavington photographer often accompanied these trips. He, no doubt, had an eye to the chance of selling lots of copies of photos. Aspects were well recorded.

Here the Market Lavington band has been captured on photo. They are entertaining a vast crowd of people.

rket Lavington Prize Silver Band entertain at Edington Monastery Gardens in about 1912

Market Lavington Prize Silver Band entertain at Edington Monastery Gardens in about 1912

This is a lovely photo in its own right but we do have an ulterior motive for showing it.

We were recently visited by the current head gardener at these gardens along with his partner. She also gardens there. They want to recreate some of the former glories of the area and in seeking information and pictures they found this blog. But our interest, inevitably, is a bit niche. We only have a record of Market Lavington people at the gardens in the region of 100 years ago. There may well be other people with many more images than we have who could offer more help.

If you could help with this project then get in touch with us and we’ll pass your message on.

Maybe in the future we could be enjoying a day at these gardens with boating on the lake and a band on the lawn. Possibly, it could be the current Market Lavington band.



Armistice Day Parade

January 16, 2016

Time was when Market Lavington Prize Silver Band was at the heart of many a village event and this is one of them. It’s an Armistice Day parade back in 1931.

Market Lavington Prize Silver Band in 1931

Market Lavington Prize Silver Band in 1931

The location is The Market Place with Northbrook heading off down the hill at back right. The band members, no doubt under the guidance of John Merritt, are leading a collection of medal wearing veterans, presumably from World War One.

The bass drum is of particular interest to us for we believe this is the drum we have in the museum.

We believe this is the drum on display in the museum

We believe this is the drum on display in the museum

Sad to say we don’t have the names of any band members, let alone the veterans. Can anybody out there help?





The Rough Wallopers

June 25, 2015

One of the earliest ‘musical’ bands in Market Lavington was a rather ad-hoc collection of men who earned the nickname of the Rough Wallopers.

The name was probably apt for their purpose was to make plenty of noise rather than to be strictly musical. We have a photo of them outside the Green Dragon.

The Rough Wallopers outside the Green Dragon in about 1870

The Rough Wallopers outside the Green Dragon in about 1870

This rag, tag and bobtail collection of noise merchants were a band of a type known as a skimmerton band.

A person would be a skimmerton if they tried to impersonate an offending spouse with intent to ridicule. A procession, including a band, would form up behind the skimmerton and make as much noise as possible, thus informing all of the locality of the bad behaviour of the spouse.

Sometimes the procession would form up without a true skimmerton to lead it. For example, a husband seen to be severely hen pecked might get ridiculed by his fellows, perhaps in the hope that he’d stand up for himself better. It sounds almost like the 19th century equivalent of cyber bullying.

Quite often the ‘victim’ was a wife who had been unfaithful to her husband. In mob fashion the band would march to the house of the offending women and make sure all knew of her infidelity.

Perhaps it is fair to say that people haven’t changed much. These days there might be a hate campaign on Facebook but it amounts to much the same thing.

We don’t know who any of our Rough Wallopers were and it is doubtful that anyone would be able to name any. We believe the photo dates from around 1870.

Friendly Society March

August 30, 2014

We live in a wonderful time for all sorts of reasons – not least in that we have health care as and when we need it. Yes, people moan about the National Health Service. But looking back 100 or more years we can realise that in times before it, most people just didn’t have health care and if they had to, they relied on charity to pay for it. Friendly Societies were a huge help in supporting their members. Today we have a picture of a meet and march in the early years of the 20th century.

Friendly Society march in Market Lavington - early 20th century

Friendly Society march in Market Lavington – early 20th century

The venue is outside the Volunteer Arms, the pub which was on Church Street – and although it has been a house now for twenty years or more, it still has the bracket from which the pub sign hung.

People are dressed up in their smart clothes and the band are there, ready to provide musical support for a march.

Unfortunately, this copy isn’t quite clear enough to read the signs.

But we can see that the film processor managed to get a thumb print on the negative and we can see some of the people quite clearly.


It’ll be a tall order to recognise anybody, but hope springs eternal!

It’s that band again

February 10, 2014

In times past, all entertainment was home produced. We are going back to those days when entertainment for the masses wasn’t beamed through the air for all to receive. No Internet; no TV; no radio although at the time we speak of here, that had been invented. So, too, had films but they were probably very rarely seen.

Some rich folks may have had gramophones to play the truly amazing records or phonographs which played cylinders. But for most, if you wanted music, you made it yourself – or knew somebody else who did. No wonder bands were so popular. And of course, Market Lavington had its own band. We are going to look at a photo which dates from June 2nd 1911.

Market Lavington Band in 1911

Market Lavington Band in 1911

Things have come together well on this photo. Apart from a precise date, quite a few of the men are named.

This photo is well captionned

This photo is well captionned

Very handily, the photo dates from just a couple of months after the census was taken. We can easily find a little about these people.

Bill Merritt, for example, was a gardener and lived at The Hollow on Lavington Hill. Finky Allen has had a mention before on this blog. He was a watch and clock maker/repairer operating on the High Street. Thomas Merritt was a blacksmith living on Church Street in Market Lavington. Tom Moody had been a miller but by 1911 he was a fruit grower living on the sands.

Sam Moore was the Easterton jam factory man – still very much a cottage industry in 1911.

We think Wally Ring must have had the name Harry. In 1911 he lived at The Bothy, in the garden of the Manor House and he was a gardener. John Merritt was already 20 years into his spell as band leader. He still had more than forty to go! At that time he called himself a cycle agent, living on Church Street, Market Lavington. Tom Haines was a hairdresser also living on Church Street. H Giddings, who has an instrument called a helicon, may have been Herbert, a brewer’s carter living on Stobbarts Road or Harry, a carter living on Northbrook.

Sam Axford was a cycle repairer living in the Market Place.

It’s a great photo!

The Ladies Jazz Band

February 5, 2014

Lavington Ladies Jazz Band was a carnival creation. In the 1930s a group of local ladies formed up, many with unlikely instruments, and entered carnivals. In 1933 they won first prize at Devizes.

Lavington Ladies Jazz band in 1933

Lavington Ladies Jazz band in 1933

We see them on parade here in Market Lavington – the Market Place and they have attracted a goodly audience.

It’s a sad fact that in fancy dress and with instruments in front the ‘performers’ are hard to recognise. Maybe it is more sad that one of the ladies is always recognised. Mrs Hurkett stands next to the bass drum at the back. She was without teeth and this gives her a distinctive look.

We always hope that a blog post will bring information to us. Do get in touch if you can name any of the players – or the audience.

Market Lavington Band in the 1890s

January 15, 2014

Recently, we looked at Market Lavington band in the 1880s. We’ll move on a decade here and look at the band in the 1890s

Market Lavington Band in the 1890s

Market Lavington Band in the 1890s

What a fine and handsome sight they make in their impeccable uniforms. We’ll concentrate on three people.


This is John Merritt. He’d have been in his twenties at this time but he was already the band leader, a position he held for 60 years. He worked as a blacksmith – a family business. He had married Annie Wiltshire in 1890 and would certainly have been a dad when this photo was taken. The marriage, like the band, was to last for more than 60 years.

Our next musician is one we don’t have the name of.


He is wearing an instrument we no longer see. It is (we think) a helicon and these were once popular brass band instruments. Maybe somebody out there can tell us more.

We have no name for our third, ‘wannabe’ musician.


But how could we resist this cute little chap from 120 years ago?

It is always a long shot when looking at such old images, but do get in touch if you have any knowledge of any of the band members.

Lavington Band – 1880s

January 8, 2014

It is always good to report on successful new events and schemes in our villages – like the Lavington Community Band who have now performed for us for two successive Christmases. One might call this band a revival organisation. We had a fifty year gap without a local wind band.

Of course, music never died. We know that music has been an important part of village life for centuries but fashions and habits change. The ‘traditional’ church organ is really a Victorian innovation. Before that motley crews of varied musicians played the music at church services. Perhaps Market Lavington Band grew out of such musicians, displaced by the arrival of the organ in church.

This photo, not the best in quality, shows that we had  a band in the 1880s.

Lavington Band in the 1880s

Lavington Band in the 1880s

We have this picture dated at 1886 and the location is the grounds of Clyffe Hall. This band seems to have five cornet players and an assorted collection of other horns. There are a couple of drummers and one chap may have an accordion.  The men look to be small in stature – perhaps no surprise as the average height of UK men has increased by about four inches since this photo was taken.

Unfortunately, we can’t name any of the men – not even the one (third from left, back row) who has been marked with an X.

And we can only guess at  the colour of the uniforms. Here at the museum we imagine them as dark blue with gold braid – but that could be completely wrong.

These days, of course, the band is very different. It has woodwind instruments and not just the brass ones and most of all, the number of potential players has doubled because women are just as welcome to play as men.


Market Lavington Prize Silver Band

December 13, 2013

Market Lavington had a band for many, many years. John Merritt was the band master for more than 60 years, including all of the first half of the twentieth century. But as with many bands (and other organisations too) membership declined in the 1950s and eventually the old band was wound up. However, we do have a band again which is good to report.

But today we look back 90 years and see a group of locals at a Lavington and Easterton Hospital Week fete.

Market Lavington Prize Band in the 1920s

Market Lavington Prize Band in the 1920s

Now sadly, the only person we can name on this photo is Jonny Merritt. He is just left of the drum as we look at it and has his cornet and his baton.

We feel sure there will be local folk who can help us identify others in the photo. Do, please, get in touch if you can name the men shown here.