Posts Tagged ‘basket’

A shopping basket

December 5, 2014

Baskets are something of a speciality at our museum. Market Lavington’s Mullings family were in place making baskets of all sorts and sizes for three generations. There had been an earlier generation before, possibly based in Easterton. We now know the family were in fact widespread across the south of England with basket makers and reed growers in London and East Anglia. Our branch had originated more locally, in Devizes.

What we are going to see today is a ‘modern’ basket, made by Sid Mullings, the last in the line of Lavington basket makers. This shopping basket probably dates from around 1950 – so actually it’ll be 65 next year and due its pension!

Shopping basket made by Sid Mullings of Market Lavington in about 1950 and given to Market Lavington Museum by his daughter.

Shopping basket made by Sid Mullings of Market Lavington in about 1950 and given to Market Lavington Museum by his daughter.

The basket looks as good as new.  Maybe it was kept especially for the person who gave it to the museum, back in 1996, was Sid Mulling’s daughter, Margery. It reminds us that this particular craft of the countryside was alive and kicking well into days of living memory.

We would, of course, like to thank Margery and all others who kindly donate things to the Market Lavington Museum.


A lunch basket

July 29, 2014

What we look at today is an elegant little basket, designed to carry lunch for one person who may have been working out in the fields. Our basket shows some of the ravages of time, but apart from having gone a bit squiffy, it is remarkably good.

We think this is a delightful item, right down to the stub end of pencil which now makes the closing pin.

lunch basket made by Alf Mullings of Market Lavington in the early 20th century

Lunch basket made by Alf Mullings of Market Lavington in the early 20th century

This is a basket made by Mullings of Market Lavington in the early years of the twentieth century so it is over 100 years old. We believe that the basket would have been made by Alf Mullings. His father, William was a basket maker before him, but died in 1903. Alf’s son, Sid, became a basket maker as well and stayed in part time business until the 1960s.

This simple box structure has a rather elegant opening lid.

This basket was used by Sid Mullings - brickworks labourer and later Market Gardener at Fiddington Sands

This basket was used by Sid Cooper – brickworks labourer and later Market Gardener at Fiddington Sands

With the lid open we can see it is curved and so, too, are the sides of the basket. Hinges, handle and fastenings are all made in basket fashion.

This lunch box belonged to Sid Cooper. We think he was born in the Northbrook area of Market Lavington in 1880 and was a labourer at the brickworks at about the time this basket was made. Later, Sid became a market gardener living at Fiddington Sands.

Sid died in 1951 and is buried in Market Lavington church yard.

A Bill from Alf Mullings

July 2, 2014

The Mullings family came from Devizes. William settled in Market Lavington in around 1870 and set up his basket making business which his son, Alf, continued and then Sid, Alf’s son also carried it on until around 1960.

Recent evidence suggests that the Mullings or Mullins tribe of reed and cane workers became more widely spread. Well we know there had been one in Easterton in the 1850s, but others can be found in East London and Suffolk in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

We recently had a chance to copy a bill sent by Alf Mullings. It dates from 1908.

Receipted bill from Mr Mullings, basket maker of Market Lavington dated 1908

Receipted bill from Mr Mullings, basket maker of Market Lavington dated 1908

This is a fascinating document giving an insight into prices and information about a lost local craft.

We can see that Alfred had made and sold two potato baskets for half a crown. In modern money that’s about 6p for a basket. However, a square hamper cost six shillings or 30p in present money.

A hamper was deemed worthy of repair as well for just a shilling or 5p.

These prices sound absurdly cheap and we don’t think Alf Mullings made much money on the deals.

Of course, the bill head is interesting, indicating that Alfred did cane work of all descriptions and giving a mention to baskets, hampers and sieves. A basketware sieve by Mullings would make a fine addition to opur collection. Has anybody got one?

The purchaser in this case (as with a large collection of local bills and letters) was Mr Holloway of West Lavington.

What a great item and our thanks go to Tim for making this and the other bill heads available to us.


Sid Mullings

July 13, 2013

Sid Mullings was the last in a line of basket makers in Market Lavington in Easterton. His father and grandfather both made baskets in Market Lavington and a member of the previous generation worked at the trade in Easterton.

Sidney James Mullings was born just before the end of the 19th century. He first saw the light of day, on The Clays in Market Lavington in 1899. His parents were William Alfred and Amelia. Sidney was destined to be their last child and he was the one who took over father’s basket making business.

William Alfred, his father, died in 1927. By this time, Sid was married – to Emily Perrett in 1924. They had a daughter, Margery, born in 1926.

The family lived on The Clay and mother, Amelia, who lived until 1951 was with them.

Our photo shows Sid, with some of his products, probably in the 1930s.

Sid Mullings, basket maker of Market Lavington

Sid Mullings, basket maker of Market Lavington

This picture comes from the memories of Sybil Perry, who wrote this of the picture.


Notes by Sybil Perry, long term resident and former Market Lavington teacher.

Notes by Sybil Perry, long term resident and former Market Lavington teacher.

Sid died in 1973. Emily lived until 1993

We have many Mullings baskets and basket making tools in market Lavington Museum.

James Mullings – 1811 – 1860

April 18, 2012

James Mullings, basket maker of Devizes was father, grandfather and great grandfather to basket makers in Market Lavington

We doubt whether James Mullings ever lived in Market Lavington. He was born in Devizes in 1911 and the records for 1841 and 1851 say that was where he lived. People who know of the Mullings family in Market Lavington may not be surprised to know that James earned his living as a basket maker. The 1841 census has James as the head of a house, with another man, John, old enough to be his father who was also a basket maker. So it seems that this trade went back through the generations, probably into the 18th century.

It is probable that George Mullings, who was making baskets in Easterton in 1851, was a brother of James.

James, however, we know was the father of William Mullings (1836 – 1903). William set up his own basket making business on High Street – opposite The Green Dragon in the 1860s.

William’s son, another William (1867 – 1927) continued the business, but on The Clays in Market Lavington. He had a son known as Sid.

The business carried on under the great grandson of James – Sid Mullings (1899-1973).

When The Spring was a country lane.

April 6, 2012

The road through Market Lavington is a ministry classified B road – the B3098. But this road has various different names as it crosses the parish. At the end nearest to Easterton, it is called High Street. At the crossroads in the centre of the village, by the Post Office, it becomes Church Street and as it wends its way towards West Lavington it becomes The Spring. Most buildings on The Spring date from after the First World War although older buildings include Spring Villa, Spring Cottage and Clyffe Hall. But apart from that, The Spring had the appearance of a country lane until the Alban Estate was built in 1926 (Click here).

The Spring, Market Lavvington, possibly about 1920

Unusually, this postcard was not published by the Burgess family, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t take it and the rights passed to another publisher.

Man, horse and cart - but what manner of cart?

It is hard to fathom out just what the horse is pulling and what the man leading the horse has strapped to his back. There looks to be a good-sized basket on the cart.

Can you name this chap on The Spring, Market Lavington?

Can anyone tell us the name of the young chap on the footpath?

A Mullings Basket

August 16, 2011

Market Lavington Museum has several baskets made by the Mullings family. There were four generations of Mullings making baskets in the area, starting with  George who was working in Easterton in 1851.

Next came his nephew, William, who set up his basket making business on High Street in Market Lavington, more or less opposite The Green Dragon

William’s son, also William, moved to The Clays in Market Lavington and carried on the business.

His son, Sid, continued the business, finally accepting that baskets weren’t in much demand in the middle of the twentieth century.

We believe that Sidney made the basket we feature today.

Basket believed to have been made by Sid Mullings of Market Lavington

This basket is said to date from the mid 20th century and it was given to Peggy Gye. Maybe Sid was aware that his business was ending and he knew that Peggy had taken on the mantle of ‘village historian’ and thought she might preserve one of his baskets. Well, that has happened, but not before the basket was used by Sid Cooper on his market garden at The Sands, Market Lavington.

A Basket Case

April 20, 2011

A basket with a history

This basket tells something of the story of Market Lavington for it is a story of the craftsman who made it, the gentlewoman who owned it and the employees daughter who was given it much later on.

This is the basket.

A basket at Market Lavington Museum

It was made by William Mullings who worked on The Clays in Market Lavington.

William Mullings who made the basket in Market Lavington. He was the third of four generations of the family who made baskets in Easterton and Market Lavington

His Great Uncle had worked in Easterton as a basket maker. His father made baskets on High Street in Market Lavington and William’s son, Sid, became the fourth generation of the family to make baskets in the parish.

The first owner of this basket was Miss Ann Pleydell Bouverie, related to the Manor owners in Market Lavington and a descendant of the Earl of Radnor. Ann was a spinster lady who lived at The Old House on Parsonage Lane.

Ann Pleydell Bouverie of the Old House in Market Lavington was the first ownerof the basket

Ann probably liked to potter in the garden and this basket was the ideal thing to use when cutting flowers.  For real work, Miss Pleydell Bouverie employed a gardener. He was Alf Burbidge who lived in a cottage just behind The Old House – the cottage that is now Market Lavington Museum.

When Alf’s younger daughter, Flo, got married, Ann decided it was time to pass the basket on and it was given to Flo who is seen on the left here, with her elder sister, Doris.

Flo Burbidge, born and raised in the cottage which is now the mueseum was given the basket by Miss Pleydell Bouverie

The two girls are standing outside the door of their cottage which is now the museum. Flo was actually born in our museum building back in 1908.

And the museum is where we now find the basket – amongst  quite a collection of artefacts concerned with basket making in Market Lavington.