Posts Tagged ‘book’

A Huge Book

June 26, 2016
A huge Kelly's Directory, covering 4 counties

A huge Kelly’s Directory, covering 4 counties

Yes, this book is really huge. This is a Kelly’s directory for Hampshire, Wiltshire, Dorsetshire and the Channel Islands.

This directory was for the year 1931

This directory was for the year 1931

The spine gives us the year – 1931.

Page ends - coloured and labelled

Page ends – coloured and labelled

The page ends are coloured and labelled to help find an area quickly.

Out of the couple of thousand pages it comes down to some 3 of them directly relevant to us.

image008 image009

Easterton spreads over a couple of sides and this is just the start. Kelly’s directories gave people in business a chance to have their name and business listed and that follows the brief information about the place.

There is the same for Market Lavington.


A previous owner has gone through the lists for his home village and crossed out various people no longer in occupation or business.

image012 image013 image014

Again there is more to follow.

This book will not be on display at the museum but is available for researchers to use. It certainly could be helpful to people whose families span several parishes within the counties listed. BUT it only names some people. Most ordinary workers do not get a mention.


Mary Ann Potter

May 14, 2016

We couldn’t take every bit of personal memorabilia at our small museum, but some items belonged to a special enough person that we feel we’ll squeeze them in. This little book is a case in point. From the outside it might look a bit special with its pocket and handles. It looks rather like a small handbag.

Is it a bag? No! It is a small book.

Is it a bag? No! It is a small book.

If we look at the spine we see it is a Book of Common Prayer along with Hymns Ancient and Modern.

It's a Book of Common Prayer

It’s a Book of Common Prayer

It is the name inside which adds real interest to this item.

It belonged to M A Potter

It belonged to M A Potter

This copy was the property of M A Potter who attended St. Mary’s Church, Market Lavington and is dated twice. The fancy hand has marked it July 1926. A more prosaic date just says 19-7-26.

But who was M A Potter? She was Mary Ann and she had been born around 1881 in Milton Lilbourne near Pewsey. In 1903 she married Edwin Potter, a Market Lavington man whose father operated a horse bus between Market Lavington and Devizes and also served as a carrier and had a small farm on which Edwin worked.

The Potters were blessed with a number of children. The first was Helena May born in 1904 at their home on Parsonage Lane. Helena May went on to become a teacher and in 1929 she married Bill Elisha. This made her Mrs Elisha the hugely long term infant teacher in the village.

So Mary Ann joined a well-known local family and then gave birth to perhaps the best known of them all. We are pleased to have this small memento of her life.

Mary Ann died in 1951, just making her three score years and ten


Russell Mill

April 2, 2016

Just recently we featured a delightful oil painting of the building known as Russell Mill and you can see it here.

Now we have been given a book entitled Russell Mill.

Cover of Russell Mill book

Cover of Russell Mill book

This was written by Ann Saunders in 1881. Ann was the daughter of Amram and had been born in 1818.

Title Page

Title Page

We do not know how many of these books were printed. Printing was done by the Eastern Morning News of Hull, a paper which belonged to Ann’s brother, William.

The book is a real mixture. Much of it is a diatribe against the evils of drink. This extract comes from a page headed, ‘Benighted Lavington’.


Much of this does not make for easy reading – particularly in the section of the book where Ann is describing the area around Paddington where she appears to have tried to save the people from their drunken ways.

But there are sections of local interest, albeit not always as well described as one might like.


Of course, Neighbour Smith remains an enigma – a man with a common surname and no forename given. But he sounds an interesting character with his Ceylonese cinnamon estates.

We had a very poor photocopy of this book previously but it is a real treasure, now, to have the real thing.

1000 Hints for Housewives

February 9, 2016

The title of this publication really does make it hark back to a past era. And that’s not surprising for it does date from the mid-1930s.

1000 Hints for Housewives is at Market Lavington Museum

1000 Hints for Housewives is at Market Lavington Museum

We can see that this book was by Helen Burke of the Sunday Pictorial. This paper ran under that name from 1915 to 1963 at which point it became the Sunday Mirror.

Helen Burke was described as the ‘Home Expert’ for the paper and no doubt her name would have been well known in the 1930s. Apart from her newspaper work she was responsible for cookery books, knitting patterns and was employed by a North London housing developer to endorse their houses as ‘honest houses – well planned, well built – so labour saving’.

This is one of many such books and booklets we have at the museum which belonged to local families. This one looks to have been well used.

Of course, we offer a chance to sample recipes from some of these books at our annual Museum Miscellany event which, this year, will be on Saturday October 8th at 7.30 in Market Lavington’s wonderful Community Hall.


An Easterton Recipe Book

September 14, 2015
This recipe book was passed to the museum earlier this year.

This recipe book was passed to the museum earlier this year.

This recipe book is well used and stained as can be seen in the picture. It is full of recipes for all sorts as collected and given by Easterton folk.

Amongst recipes from Gwen Jackson is this one for trout and mushroom paté.

image004   Now that sounds good! And so does Barbara Barratt’s tea bread.

image006Sally Lewis offers us Oak Cakes from ‘Mum Lewis’

image008Or how about Gladys Windo’s Easterton Fudge?


If you want to try some of these they might well be on offer during our food interval at the famed Museum Miscellany. That takes place on Saturday 3rd October at 7.30pm in Market Lavington Community Hall. Tickets are on sale at the Post Office in the village.



March 20, 2015

When school prizes were awarded in times past they were often books with a very morally correct storyline. Jacko would appear to be such a book.

Jacko - a story for the young

Jacko – a story for the young

Jacko is a story for the young by Hariette E Burch.

The book was published in 1893

The book was published in 1893

 As we can see it was published in 1893. It has a frontispiece picture.


But the book is plain text after that and the final paragraph reveals the message the book intends to pass on to young readers.


So what has this all got to do with Market Lavington or Easterton? The answer is that this book was a school prize given by Market Lavington Boys’ School. An inscription tells us about this.

The inscription in the book

The inscription in the book

As we can see this award was given by Mrs and Miss Hart on August 9th 1894. The recipient was George Ward for his regularity (never absent), punctuality and marks. The book is signed by Mr Duck who was the master in charge of the school.

The prize presenters were Mary Ann Hart, widow of a house decorator and her daughter Alice who, at the age of 34 was described as a retired school mistress on the 1891 census. The two ladies lived on Church Street, very close to the school.

The recipient was George Ward. George was the son of William, a Market Lavington born pig butcher. In the early years of his marriage he had moved around a bit. George had been born in Fleetwood in Lancashire but by 1894, the time this book was presented, the family were well established at the property next to the current Post Office. George did not have far to walk to school.

In adult life George settled in Melksham where he worked hard amongst the community. The former secondary school in town – The George Ward School – was named after him.

John Duck was the school master. He had been born in Easterton in about 1865 but by 1894 was living with wife and family on High Street in Market Lavington – near to where the nursing home is now.

What a great item this is.

Market Lavington and Easterton in World War One

February 26, 2015

This little book has been put together by our curator, Rog Frost.

An entirely different group, the Lavington and District First World War Commemoration Group raised funds so that a copy could be given to every house in Market Lavington. Easterton raised funds separately so that a copy could go to every house in that village.

The book takes a year by year approach to how the war made an impact on our area and themes include ‘Our Boys’, ‘Men from Overseas’, ‘The Home Front’ and ‘After the War’.

The front cover of the book shows a 1916 scene in Market Lavington with Australian troops marching along High Street.


Front cover of the Market Lavington and Easterton in World War One bookj


The rear cover provides a summary of the book alongside men of Easterton who were a part of the 1st/4th Wiltshire regiment.

Rear cover - it features men from Easterton

Rear cover – it features men from Easterton

Many of the photos used in the book are black and white, but where appropriate colour has been used as seen in a sample page below which also features Canadian soldiers and their very early armoured cars at Pond Farm Camp. This camp was on Salisbury Plain above Easterton.


An inside page. Colour was used where appropriate

A few books will be on sale at the museum at a price of £2.50

Lavington and Devizes Motor Services

December 3, 2014

The long awaited book about our local bus company has now been published.


Laurie James has put together a fantastic book which is much more than a history of the vehicles. It is a social history which helps us to understand the way life was lived in the early years of the twentieth century.


Let’s allow the book’s blurb to tell the tale.

Lavington & Devizes Motor Services (L&DMS) was not a typical West Country rural independent bus operator. Across Britain, many village-based concerns made the gradual transition from carrier to running buses and coaches, with many of those originally using horses progressing to motorised propulsion either just before, during or after the end of the First World War. In general, they ran one or a few modest services to the nearest town(s), often only on popular days such as that when the market was held. By contrast, L&DMS quickly established from 1920 a daily network of bus services across a large part of central and west Wiltshire.

L&DMS was a fascinating early operator, a pioneer in some respects, only touched on to date in published transport histories and this book sets out to remedy that omission, as we turn the clock back 100 years and more, to the dawn of motorised passenger transport in the Wiltshire town of Devizes and the village of Market Lavington. The story is as much about changes in the way of life as it is about the developing bus industry in rural Wiltshire.

Of course, inside the book you’ll find many photos of real local interest – many of which you may already have seen on this blog. Here are a couple of examples of people, rather than buses (of which there are plenty of photos).


Of course the people featured here are Fred and Mabel Sayer. Fred started as a driver and then acquired his own company to run services. Mabel was his wife and they took an active part in local life.

The book starts in horse drawn days and takes us through the history of a number of local operators but Lavington and Devizes Motor Services features most. We learn that the company was ‘laid to rest’ in 1937 but the book continues to explain how more modern services still operate over the old routes.

It’s a fascinating book. It would make an ideal Christmas present for local folk as well as for bus enthusiasts.

A 1920s bus and a bus book

October 13, 2014

Things (like buses), they say, come in threes. On that basis we wonder what the next Market Lavington book will be. Yesterday we looked at a work of pure fiction – The Lost Pages. Today’s book is, by contrast, pure fact. It’s about Lavington and Devizes Motor Services and is due for publication next month.

As yet, we have a flyer (but we have seen proofs and know it is a thorough and interesting read).


Laurie James is the author who has put together this scholarly work. His flyer is showing two of many photos from our museum collection.


So, in the last two days we have shown you two items for your Christmas stocking – and by the way, the museum itself has no financial interest in these sales but we are willing to support items that highlight our district because we are very proud of the Lavingtons in general.

We can be amused by the fact that the photographers who took photos of buses weren’t actually that bothered about the bus. After all, buses didn’t buy copies of the photo but passengers did, so the idea was to make sure you showed all of the passengers. And here’s a case in point from our museum collection.

1920s photo of a Lavington and Devizes bus - concentrating on the passengers

1920s photo of a Lavington and Devizes bus – concentrating on the passengers

Our caption for this is limited. All we have is ‘Bus with passengers from Market Lavington at Salisbury – 1920s’. All of the passengers have been lined up, along with the driver. The front of the bus, which might have enabled an easy identification, has been missed.

And sadly we have no names for passengers on this outing which does not appear to be a summer trip. Nearly all of the passengers are wearing overcoats.

Of course, we can always hope that a reader of this blog will recognise a parent or a grandparent amongst those shown. If you do happen to, then do let us know.

The Lost Pages

October 12, 2014

It’s probable that some of our readers will know a bit about the Book of Kells – the ancient hand produced copy of the gospels which is, at present, to be seen in Trinity College in Dublin. Less probably know that at some point pages went missing from the front and back and to give an idea of the age of this book, this loss may have occurred close on 1000 years ago. It is an exquisitely illustrated piece of art work and well worth seeing if you happen to be in Dublin – you won’t see all of it – just the page of the day.

Now a book has been written – pure fiction – about the finding of these lost pages. The book has a very significant Market Lavington connection.

The Lost Pages by R D Francis

The Lost Pages by R D Francis

The author, we see, is R D (Roger) Francis. Roger was born in Devizes but moved at a very young age to Market Lavington with his parents. He lived in Market Lavington from 1936 to 1955. His father, Wilfred we have seen on these pages in the church choir (click here). Roger’s cousin, Peter Francis was, for many years, the professional photographer in the village.

Roger now lives across the other side of the world, in Tasmania.

Roger Francis - author of the book

Roger Francis – author of the book

His book tells the story of an agent, essentially retired who is recruited one more time to find those lost pages. We won’t give the plot away, except to say that our agent, Jack, is not the only person on the trail. That trail follows the author’s life, but in reverse. It starts in Tasmania and reaches a climax right here in Wiltshire. There are scenes in the church – with an illustration by Roger’s wife, June.

Illustration of St Mary's, Market Lavington - scene of some major action

Illustration of St Mary’s, Market Lavington – scene of some major action

The action even comes to the museum – here’s a short extract.

‘We have an excellent little museum in the village,’ he continued. ‘Surely they would know the answer to my question, wouldn’t they?’

We agreed with this idea immediately. It broke the sombre mood and we went quickly to the museum. The part-time volunteer curator had just opened up and was delighted to suddenly have so many customers. The Reverend put the all important question to him and the answer came back immediately.

‘Well, Reverend, I’ve always believed that Bishop Tanner was in the Vicarage house that you are in now. It’s much older than what is the nursing home, you know.’

Gosh, even a quote from the part time volunteer curator of Market Lavington Museum! But this is fiction and the author has the usual disclaimer about the characters not being real. As a matter of historic fact we think the fictitious curator got it wrong – but then this is a story so that doesn’t matter one jot.

The book is a high speed journey that takes in places across the world. There is action, romance and high politics. It’s a good read and can, at present, be purchased from Amazon.