Posts Tagged ‘bill’

Plumbing and papering

August 3, 2016

The King family were painters and plumbers. In fact they seemed to do jobs where painting would be required as a final step. This bill, issued to Holloways in 1913 gives an idea of their trades.

J King bill for services rendered in 1913

J King bill for services rendered in 1913

We can see they list plumbing first but also they were glaziers, paper hangers and painters. The bill head images feature the plumbing side and also give an idea of fashion and styles from just before the first war.

What a fantastic loo!

What a fantastic loo!

Yes, high level cisterns with the good old chain to pull and decorated lavatories – this one with a sloping seat – must have been the fashion of their time.

Mr Holloway had purchased plumbing materials from the King firm. Kings had also altered a WC and done wallpapering in cottages, presumably on the West Lavington estate.

Of course, the amount of money exchanged seems laughably small these days. To paper out rooms at Pagnell Villas two men worked for twenty hours and the bill came to £1-12-8 or about £1.63 in decimal money.

We also note the time taken to pay. The bill was opened in April 1913 and paid in March 1914. Tradesmen, like Mr King, had to cope with this.

What great items these bills can be.



A Hopkins Bill

May 18, 2016

We love our bills and receipts at Market Lavington Museum. This one, from Hopkins and Co was made out to Mr Heggie who was the agent for the Holloways of West Lavington. It was dated May 18th 1908 and was clearly paid for on the day. That’s 108 years ago on the day we publish this post.

Hopkins Bill - 18th May 1908

Hopkins Bill – 18th May 1908

We are not sure what the items were. It appears to say linen but it is being sold by the ounce. Any ideas anybody?

We particularly like the list of items featured as possible purchases from Hopkins – tile register grates, mantel registers, kitchen ranges, portables, cottage grates, furnace pans, sash weights, builders’ castings, locks, latches, hinges etc.

These items speak of a long gone past when solid fuel was king and used for all purposes. We can also note that there is no phone number, let alone email or anything like that. Instead people are advised on how to address a telegram – also now something from the long ago past.

It makes for a lovely item.

Timber for Market Lavington

April 3, 2016

We think of villages being very self-reliant in times past but of course, as the 20th century started, they did not live in total isolation and some goods needed to be brought in from elsewhere. Timber would have been available, grown, seasoned and readied for use in Market Lavington but we had no specialist saw mill so timber needed buying in. And here we see a bill for timber purchased from the saw mill at Honeystreet.

Bill to Gyes from the Honeystreet sawmill in 1902

Bill to Gyes from the Honeystreet sawmill in 1902


The bill was issued to the Gye company who were carpenters, undertakers and more general builders later. It was issued by the firm of Robbins, Lane and Pinniger, timber merchants of Honeystreet just a few miles along the Vale of Pewsey and conveniently placed alongside the canal for transport. It is interesting to see that the firm also made chemical fertilisers, were coal merchants and barge builders. Sawmills still operate at Honeystreet more than 200 years after they started in 1811.


The items bought appear to have measurements and limited descriptions. We assume the dimensions are in feet and/or inches.

image004To be honest, the items are hard to comprehend but we are sure they made sense to the Gyes. The price seems high at a time when the average wage of a labourer was around 17 shillings per week (85p in decimal money).

We love this bill which really does seem to come from a past age.



The doctor’s bill

March 12, 2016

It didn’t pay to be ill in times past as this bill from 1903/4 makes clear The bill was issued by the very popular and much lauded Doctors Lush to the executors of the will of Mrs Ashley

A bill from Doctor Lush presented to the executors of Mrs Ashley in 1904

A bill from Doctor Lush presented to the executors of Mrs Ashley in 1904

Mrs Ashley was Elizabeth, the widow of Joseph Ashley. She had been born in Market Lavington in 1824 as Elizabeth Durnford and married Joseph in 1852. They spent most of their married life in London but by 1891 they were in Great Cheverell, Wiltshire and by 1901 Elizabeth was a widow living with Gye relatives in Market Lavington.

She clearly had a long illness and it cost eighteen guineas in doctor’s fees. That would be about £7000 (seven thousand) at current rates.

However, Elizabeth’s probate record shows that she left effects valued at just under £1975 so she was pretty wealthy.


A Davis bill

March 1, 2016

A few days ago we featured a Davis and co coal wagon in model form. Today we look at a bill issued by John Davis, the coal merchant, for coal supplied to the West Lavington estate of the Holloways. Although based in West Lavington, the estate included properties in Market Lavington including the brick works.

The Holloways were, no doubt, very good customers and this bill, issued in May 1910 covers a period of nearly 6 months. Good customers would have been trusted with this much credit.


As we can see, the bill has become a receipt, paid in full in 1910.

Of course the prices in 1910 seem laughable to us, in the 21st century. The Holloway estate seems to have used coke – a fuel which vanished into obscurity from the 1960s. A ton of this fuel cost just 17 shillings (85p). These days this hard to find fuel might cost about £350 for a tonne. The metric tonne is not significantly different from the good old British ton. And guess what? In terms of average income it is still cheaper today.

But coke is pretty well pure carbon so very high in CO2 emissions. It may be as well that it no longer finds much use.


Funeral Expenses

February 4, 2016

It is always a little hard to talk of or write about death. But it remains the one certainty of life – that it will end with death. True, Benjamin Franklin added taxes as a certainty as well and we suppose that for humans in most parts of the world some kind of taxation is inevitable but really death remains the one absolute certainty.

Funerals are expensive. In October 2015 the BBC reported that the cost of a funeral had risen to £3700. If we compare that with the cost of a Market Lavington funeral in 1964, it does seem that costs have outstripped the value of money. Here is a bill for a funeral back in January 1964.

Funeral bill for Emily Letitae Pomeroy 1963/64

Funeral bill for Emily Letitae Pomeroy 1963/64

The funeral needs were provided by Gye’s the builders and carpenters who had been trading under the name of Tom Gye’s mother Mrs L E Gye. The job was done for £46 – 12 – 0. That recent figure of 3700 would pay for about 72 funerals at this 1964 price.

We have no further information about the deceased here – Emily Letitae Pomeroy.

A receipt from Harry Hobbs

January 8, 2016

Time was when there were at least four grocers/general stores in Market Lavington. One of them belonged to Harry Hobbs. His shop was almost immediately opposite the Green Dragon.

Today we look at a receipted bill issued by Harry in 1939.

A 1939 bill issued by Harry Hobbs of The Stores, Market Lavington

A 1939 bill issued by Harry Hobbs of The Stores, Market Lavington

Perhaps Mrs Drury was getting in a little luxury to celebrate the New Year for she purchased a box of chocolates on December 30th 1939. The price was three shillings which is 15p in current money. But something that cost those three shillings then would now cost about £8.30 so this was no cheap box. It may, of course, have been the last luxury for some time since World War II had started. Rationing of many products began in January 1940.

The bill sheet is lovely. Retailers usually were supplied with their bill sheets cheaply because they carried advertising and this one is for a still popular brand of tea. An elegant young lady is seen stirring her tea in an equally elegant cup and saucer. Typhoo seemed able to tell Harry Hobbs’ customers that their tea was recommended by doctors

What a lovely reminder of times past in our community.

Henry Hooper’s bill for booze

July 9, 2015

On the face of it, you could be tempted to say that Henry Hooper was a big time toper. The amount of ale got through looks to be enormous on this bill.

Henry Hooper received this bill for drink in 1915

Henry Hooper received this bill for drink in 1915

The ale was supplied by James Neate – in business in Market Lavington since 1852. This bill was delivered to Henry Hooper in 1915. If we have added it up correctly, Henry received 180 gallons of ale in a four month period – plus a case of whiskey.

Interesting to note that the tax cost was a third or more of the price 100 years ago. Of course, the Great War was in full swing at the time and no doubt money was needed from all sources.

The truth is that Henry Hooper was a farmer and employer of men in West Lavington. No doubt much of the ale was for the men.

Henry had been born in Imber in about 1870. His father had farmed there but Henry had set up in West Lavington. On the 1911 census he gave his address as Hunts House in West Lavington.

Bills, bills, bills!

February 20, 2015

The Honourable Mrs Louisa Hay was a member of the Pleydell Bouverie family. She lived for virtually all of the second half of the nineteenth century as a widow at Clyffe Hall.

The Gye family were builders, carpenters etc, and, to the delight of us these days, hoarders and keepers. As a result we have a bill submitted to the honourable lady in 1884. It provides something of an insight into the amount of upkeep a large house needed as well as to costs and wages roughly 130 years ago.

There may be just the one bill here, but it covers a period between July and December 1884.

First part of 1884 bill for work done by James Gye for The Hon. Mrs Hay at Clyffe Hall

First part of 1884 bill for work done by James Gye for The Hon. Mrs Hay at Clyffe Hall

It is, perhaps, labour costs that strike us as being horribly low. Take that entry for August 5th – a man half a day making a washing trough is charged at two shillings. That’s 10p in present money. Actually, in terms of wages that’s equivalent to about £45 today – roughly £10 per hour to share between company and employee.

However, on August 18th we had two men for a day at farm work getting 7/9 or about 38p which is just marginally less than the trough digger earned for the company.

The bill continues.


The last item listed here is amusing for it is something that just wouldn’t happen these days. A pair of shears was re-handled at a cost of 1/6. That’s about £32 in current labour value. Well you can pay much more than that for a brand new pair of shears in 2015 but you certainly wouldn’t have to. We think what are called verells we’d call Ferules – the iron covers on the end of the handles.

H J Merritt gets paid

October 5, 2014

This is another bill paid by Holloway of West Lavington. As is often the case, the bill provides an insight into life in times past – in this case almost 100 years ago.

1918 bill issued by H J Merritt of Market Lavington

1918 bill issued by H J Merritt of Market Lavington

H J (Henry) Merritt was very much the blacksmith and farrier. It was his brother who was more involved with the cycle business. This receipted bill was for horse shoes. In January and February, Mr Holloway had to pay extra for shoes with ‘frost studs’. We assume this was something to make sure horses did not slip on icy roads. By the end of March ordinary shoes were used.

But in this case what we really like about this bill is the sponsor with the advert at the top. Before electricity came to places then oil for lamps was a much wanted commodity and in the advert we see what appears to be a comfortable and reasonably well to do gentleman reading his paper under an oil lamp which is burning ‘Pure Oil’ – the ‘Finest American Lamp Oil’.

These days we just assume we flick a switch when we want light. There are still people alive locally who remember those pre-electricity days.