Posts Tagged ‘brick’

Old Bricks

July 1, 2011

There is a long history of brick making in Market Lavington – certainly back into the seventeenth century. A suitable source of clay existed at Broadway where bricks were made through the eighteenth,  nineteenth and into the twentieth century.

Here we are looking at earlier bricks, using a photograph that was a part of the 2010 ‘Photographing Wiltshire’s Treasures’ project – an award winning collaboration between the Museum service and  photography students from New College, Swindon.

Some of the older bricks on display at Market Lavington Museum

The three bricks shown were all made in Market Lavington. The top brick is stamped “ IL 1721” so we know the age, if not the manufacturer by name.

Next we have a Philpott brick. The Philpotts had the brick works from about 1760 and well into the nineteenth century.

The third brick is stamped G A Cayley.  Cayley is not a name which appears in Market Lavington records. Could it be that some written documents which have the surname ‘Crawley’ as an 18th century Market Lavington brick maker should actually say Cayley?

Maybe a blog reader can tell us more.


Brick display at Market Lavington Museum

May 6, 2011

Market Lavington has what it takes for brick making – areas of suitable clay – and bricks have been made in the area for centuries.

Brick making in Market Lavington is long since a thing of the past. The old clay quarry has been filled, levelled and has other industrial uses. Some of the old brickworks building, down on Broadway near the bridge under the railway, are still in existence and used by a local company. The old brick master’s house has been renovated, with some features never on the original building and remains a rather lovely looking residence. But for real memories of the brick industry you’ll need to visit the museum at Market Lavington where we have done a little tidy up and revamp of the brick area.

The brick area at Market Lavington Museum

Here, you’ll see all sorts of bricks made in Market Lavington over the past couple of hundred years. Many are standard enough looking bricks with different manufacturer’s names embossed in the ‘frog’. One locally made brick even commemorates the coronation of King George V in 1910 with information in that depression which bricks have (the frog) which is never seen once the bricks are used.

As well as bricks there are tiles including examples of mathematical tiles, which are designed to look like bricks when hung. There are also floor tiles and specialist ventilator tiles from maltings.

Of course, there are photos, including some of the Box family who were the owners of the company at the end of the nineteenth century and other artefacts associated with the business.

So, if you wish to know more about what was once a major business in our parish, then do visit the museum.

A Box made tile from Homestead Farm

March 24, 2011

All sorts of items are given to us at Market Lavington Museum. Every item must have a good connection with the wider parish of Market Lavington, which includes Easterton and Fiddington as well as areas now in West Lavington – Gore and the Russell Mill area.

Today we look at a simple item which was made in the parish and which has never left. It is a red floor tile made at the Market Lavington Brick and Tile Works at Broadway. It measures some 22 cm square and close on 5 cm deep.

A floor tile from Homestead Farm - now at Market Lavington Museum

As can be seen it has suffered a little of the ravages of time – but it has had plenty of time for it is of nineteenth century origin. It has been rescued from Homestead Farm, which is on Drove Lane. The old farm building was not in the best of repair and the current owners obtained permission to demolish and build anew but the old materials have been reincorporated wherever possible. We had a temporary display on Homestead Farm last year. Next time we feature the farm then there will be more items to include.

The tile carries a maker’s name – W Box.

William Box ran the brickworks for much of the second half of the nineteenth century so we know this tile dates from that era.

One item that has re-appeared as a result of changes at Homestead Farm is the old well. This had been covered and had become a part of the inside of the old building when an extension was built on that. But now old bricks have been used to create a well head and the 90 feet deep well has been opened. And what superb condition it is in.

The well at Homestead Farm - Box made bricks, perhaps?

James Gye and some tiles from Market Lavington

March 9, 2011

James Gye was well known as a wheelwright himself, but also as an employer of builders and carpenters. Their premises were on White Street in Market Lavington – an area now known as Gye’s Old Yard.

James was born in about 1839 in Fiddington which would then have been an outlier of West Lavington, between Market Lavington itself and its tithing of Easterton. His father was William Gye who had farmed about 50 acres in Fiddington.

James married Mary Ann Durnford in 1861. In 1871 the Gye family lived in Market Lavington but in 1881 they were in the new parish of Easterton, possibly at the old family home at Fiddington. After a run of daughters, the couple had produced a couple of sons. Sadly, the elder of the two, also James Gye, died in April 1899 aged just 23.

April 1899 was the month in which a bill was delivered to James Gye for tiles.

An 1899 bill from the Lavington Brick, Tile and Pottery Works to Mr James Gye can now be found at Market Lavington Museum

The bill came from The Lavington Brick, Tile and Pottery Works of Broadway House, Market Lavington. The house still stands having grown, in recent years, a Doric portico. Some of the industrial buildings of the old company are still extant and put to other industrial use. The quarries have been filled and that area is now the depot for a transport company.

The bill contains the entry ‘late W Box’. William Box had been the brick master for many years until his untimely death in 1894.

This entry about the Holloways comes from the Wikipedia website at

Holloways remained a family firm through several generations. The original brothers were sons of Thomas and Elizabeth Holloway, of West Lavington, Wiltshire where Thomas was a local jobbing builder and bricklayer. They had five sons, James (1851–89), Henry Thomas (1853–1914), John (1854–1932), Henry (1857–1923), and Samuel (1862–1938). Thomas moved to London to work with his eldest son James in 1868, and the rest of the family followed in 1870. James and Thomas became bricklayers and then general foremen, James at only about 18 and Thomas at 21, John was apprenticed as a carpenter, whilst in due course Henry joined a firm of timber merchants and Samuel began work in a solicitor’s office. James set up his own business with a few hundred pounds in capital in 1875 and by the following year had new premises at Marmion Rd Lavender Hill and his father and other brothers joined the firm. Henry became office manager, Thomas outside manager, John worked as a carpenter and Samuel apprenticed as a joiner. Initially the firm concentrated on speculative house building in Clapham but rapidly expanded to take on larger contracts such as churches, schools, public libraries and baths.

We can see that our brickworks was part of a much larger organisation, not dependent on James Gye and his few tiles to make a living.

A Cardboard Box

January 29, 2011

Can a cardboard box be interesting, or worthy of space in a museum?  Well, yes it can, particularly if it has words or images on it.


Market Lavington Brick and Tile Works Ltd. box at Market Lavington Museum

This box, as can be seen, carries the words

The Market Lavington Brick and Tile Works, Ltd. Broadway, Market Lavington and Cheverell, Devizes, Wilts.

It is not a box of huge antiquity as evidenced by the phone numbers. A four digit Lavington phone number means this box dates from the middle years of the twentieth century.

It looks a substantially made box. Mere glue was not deemed sufficient to hold it together. Staples are used to strengthen joints.

The box is the size of a standard house brick. In those not so far away days, if a potential customer wanted to know just what your bricks were like, then you put one in a box and sent it to him. The idea of bricks by post seems totally anachronistic in the second decade of the 21st century but must have been a matter of course in earlier times.

One can have sympathy for the postman who had bricks to deliver!

Brick workers in the past

October 12, 2010

At Market Lavington Museum we have a copy of a battered old photo of brick workers. The image carries the legend, ‘Men of 40 years ago’.

The men of 40 years ago - but when was that caption written? An image at Market Lavington Museum

But it isn’t forty years ago from this year, 2010.

Holloway Bros sign

The board carried by the men says, ‘Holloway Bros’. We think this photo must date from the late Victorian era. The Holloways owned the works then and there was still forty years before the works closed. The picture may have been hung at the brickworks in the 1920s or 30s.

If anyone recognises any of the brick workers then do let us know about them.

At the brickworks

September 23, 2010

Bricks have no doubt been made in Market Lavington for a very long time. The gault clay at the north end of the parish made this a good site for such an enterprise and a brickworks was set up at Broadway which came to be close to the railway line. During much of the second half of the nineteenth century the brickworks was owned and run by members of the Box family but the local firm of Holloways took it on at the very end of the nineteenth century.

There is no obvious early connection between the George family, who were based in South London, and our parish of Market Lavington. Albert married his wife, Matilda, in 1905 at Wandsworth. They moved to Market Lavington between the birth of Frank (1907 in Clapham, South London) and Amy (1910, Lavington). By 1911 the family were all in Market Lavington and living at Broadway House which was where brickworks owners and, later, managers lived. Albert was the brickworks manager.

Four further children, Mary, John, Margaret and Thomas were born to the George family in Market Lavington.

But here we will consider the oldest of the children, Frank who married Amy Potter. Frank and Amy had two daughters, Barbara and Geraldine. It is the three ladies of that family who feature in today’s photo, which dates from around 1948. By then, the brickworks had closed.

It is a scene which would horrify health and safety buffs today, as the three people apparently ride a truck that was once used to transport clay from quarry to works.

A scene at Market Lavington brickworks in about 1948 - a photo at Market Lavington Museum

close up on Barbara, Amy and Geraldine George in the brickworks wagon

If you have tales to tell about the old brickworks or the George family we’d be delighted to hear from you.

Who made the brick rabbit?

September 13, 2010

This little chap, found in Market lavington has featured on the blog once before.

Brick rabbit (minus ears) at Market Lavington Museum

He’s a rabbit and we believed he was made at the Market Lavington brickworks.

This weekend, a museum visitor declared she had one just the same at home and her dad had made it – at the Market Lavington brickworks.  Her dad was Leonard Davidge, and, even better, our visitor gave us photos.

Leonard Davidge - the man who probably made the rabbit

Here we see Leonard Davidge who we now believe was the maker of the toy rabbit.

Leonard had been born in Market Lavington in 1903. His father, Edwin Davidge was a carter at the brickworks.

Brothers Alf, Herbert and our rabbit maker Len Davidge in about 1910

This studio photo shows Leonard on the right with older brother Alf and younger brother Herbert. This must have been taken in about 1910.

Gifts of photographs are always welcome. Originals are, of course, lovely, but often people want to keep their originals. Our visitor, at the weekend, allowed our curator to photograph the images with a digital camera. This can allow a little enhancement to be done so that the copies can look better than the originals. Do contact the curator on if you have any Market Lavington or Easterton related items to offer the museum.

These days, we do not put original photos on display for they will deteriorate if left in the light so even if originals are given, they would be kept in dark conditions to preserve them.

Market Lavington Manor

April 27, 2010

In old history, the whereabouts of any manor house in the parish is uncertain. But in the middle of the nineteenth century, the manorship passed to the Pleydell Bouveries, descendants of the Earl of Radnor.

Edward Pleydell-Bouverie had a large rambling house built in the 1860s. This manor house was built in a Tudor style and was made out of locally produced bricks. It cost him £67000 – a very substantial sum.

We have many pictures of the Manor House in Market Lavington Museum. This one was hand tinted by the Burgess family.

Market Lavington Manor from a postcard at Market Lavington Museum

The Manor House still stands and is in use as an adjunct to a local private school but many local people are unaware of its existence, even though it is clearly visible from many footpaths although not from roads.


A ‘search this site’ link has now been added to Market Lavington Museum blog. We now approach 100 posts so this should help people find what they are looking for.

This is a reminder that steward training is tonight at 7pm at the museum.

The Fowells of St Ives

March 20, 2010

Market Lavington Museum was recently given this DVD.

Fowells of St Ives DVD given to Market Lavington Museum

The Fowells were traction engine builders and engineers from St Ives in Cambridgeshire. So what has the firm got to do with Market Lavington Museum?

The answer lay along Broadway at the old brickworks close by the railway line. This shot, a still from the DVD, shows the brickmaster’s house (it is still there) with company workforce and members of the Box family outside the works.

Box family and workers outside Market Lavington brickworks - a still from the DVD

William Box senior is third from right and his wife at the extreme right. They ran the brickworks for most of the second half of the nineteenth century and raised a family there.

It is their son, William, who features in the DVD. Back in the 1861 census this teenage lad was described as an engine smith. It seems he was passionate about traction engines and haulage. He decided that the traction engines of the time, with no suspension, caused much damage to bricks in transit and he devised the ‘Box patent’ engine which had suspension and a method to make steering better.

The first engine that Fowells completed was the first Box patent engine to be built. It is said to have performed usefully for many years.

This still from the film shows a Box engine delivering bricks to the Congregational Church at the Stobbarts Road end of High Street in Market Lavington.

Delivering bricks to build Market Lavington Congregational Church - a still from the DVD

We’d like to thank our friends at the Norris Museum in St Ives for giving us a copy of the DVD. It is available for purchase from the Norris Museum in St Ives.