Posts Tagged ‘baskets’

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.


The Cooper Family Egg Basket

December 16, 2010

Trug style basket used by the Cooper family of Parsonage Lane for egg collecting around 1890. The basket is on display in the kitchen at Market Lavington Museum

This little basket is of trug style. We do not know who made it  but we know that the Cooper family, of Parsonage Lane, used it for collecting and carrying eggs during the 1890s.

Current tradition tends to think of trugs like this as from East Sussex which was and remains a centre for trug making. But they were made across the South of England. It is possible that the Copper’s trug was locally made.

The laths of our trug, traditionally made from willow, are fastened to the frame and feet of the trug with substantial brass rivets. The rim and handle are probably of chestnut, although ash was used as well.

We looked at a little history of this branch of the Coopers on this blog back in May 2010. You can click here to read this.

The head of the family, Jacob Bolter Cooper had started his working life as a farm labourer but by the time this egg basket was in use he was a farmer in his own right.

We now know that Jacob was at his Parsonage Lane premises until at least 1911.

Perhaps the trug was more used by his wife, Mary Ann (née Taylor) or possibly by his children, James, Alice or May Ethel. Egg collecting was a task often given to children.

The pair of eggs in this trug are made of a ceramic material.

The Mullings’s Willow Hook

December 3, 2010

The Mullings family have featured before on these pages. They made baskets in the village from the 1870s through to the 1950s. In fact the first Mr Mullings, (George by name) was a basket maker inthe Easterton part of the parish from about 1840. So between them, the Mullings family ran to over 100 years of basket making in Market Lavington and Easterton. No wonder their willow hook looks careworn.

The Mullings family's willow hook, used for cutting withies and now at Market Lavington Museum

A split wooden handle was no problem to basket makers. That was easy to fix with a band of split willow, tightened up with a wedge.

In fact this willow hook dates from the early years of the twentieth century so was probably acquired by Alfred Mullings and may, later, have been used by his son, Sidney who was the last of the four generations of Mullings to make baskets in the parish.

Basket Making Tools

September 16, 2010

Market Lavington had its very own family of basket makers for more than 100 years. Four generations of the Mullings family lived and worked in Market Lavington or Easterton from the 1850s until the 1950s.

Here we look at a pair of tools used by the Mullings family, our basket makers.

Withy cleavers used by the Mullings family - now at Market Lavington Museum

Baskets were made out of withies – thin, young stalks of willow trees but of course, some of these strips of willow had got too large and inflexible to allow for the weaving of a basket. These tools were used to split the willow.

A length of willow could have been pushed down onto the white top of the cleaver on the left. It has three ‘blades’ so the willow would have been split, along its length into three more serviceable pieces. The skill of the Mullings family would have let them make the right choice of cleaver, for the one on the right would split the willow into four lengths.

Market Lavington Museum has a cabinet filled with tools of the basket making  trade which gives some idea of the former importance of this craft.

Alfred Mullings and Family

August 14, 2010

The Mullings family lived in Market Lavington and Easterton for at least four generations. They earned their living making baskets which, in those pre plastic-bag days, were such an essential part of life. Here we concentrate on William Alfred Mullings whose father and great uncle had worked in the parish before him and whose son continued the basket making business into the 1950s.

William Alfred (known as Alfred) was born in Devizes in the 1860s but by the 1871 census the family was in Market Lavington. Father (William) was making his baskets on the High Street, more or less opposite the Green Dragon Pub.

In 1881 Alfred was still living with his parents, but at that time he had not gone into the family business. He was a postman/letter carrier.

Alfred married Amelia Giddings in 1884 and by 1891 they held the High Street premises with their baby son. Alfred was now a basket maker.

The family grew and in 1901 they lived (and Alfred worked) at premises on The Clays in Market Lavington.

Four generations of the Mullings/Hussey family - a photograph at Market Lavington Museum

Our photo shows four generations of the family and dates from around 1924. Alf is there with his mother, Mary and his daughter Ada Ellen (known as Ellen) who had married Walter Hussey in 1921. Their son, Ray Hussey, born 1922 is also on the photograph.

You can learn more of the Mullings family at our ‘Museum Miscellany’ at 7.30pm on September 18th 2010 at Market Lavington Community Hall. Tickets, priced at £5, are on sale at Market Lavington Post Office.