Posts Tagged ‘building’

Before Bouverie Drive

October 25, 2015

We have used that subject line before on this blog. That was associated with a black and white photo taken from Northbrook and you can click here to see it.

This time we have copies of colour slides taken in the opposite direction. They date from the late 1960s and very early 1970s and like many a colour slide they have suffered a bit from time and dust. Here’s the first – the one which truly matches our subject line.

This was the view from Market Place houses before Bouverie Drive was built

This was the view from Market Place houses before Bouverie Drive was built

Here we look from the back garden of one of the ‘Market Place’ houses and we look out over an open area of grassland. We can see the little terrace of cottages near the stream in Northbrook. Further up the hill we can see ‘The Rest’ the thatched cottage which was rethatched last year. New houses have been built in the gap between those two buildings.

On top, at the left are the houses of Northbrook Close.

On the right hand side we don’t see St Barnabas School which opened in 1971 so this picture may be from the late 60s

The second slide actually shows Bouverie Drive under construction.

Similar view with Bouverie Drive under construction

Similar view with Bouverie Drive under construction

The view is similar, but not identical. It looks a little bit round to the west. The child’s swing is visible, in part, in both photos. This time, just above the thatched roof of ‘The Rest’ we can see St Barnabas School. It has that rather austere look of a brand new building, not yet softened by time and a bit of greenery growth. So this is probably 1971. We rather expect and hope that someone out there will know when Bouverie Drive was built.

The house on the right was the first of a row of such houses and looks ready for occupation. Indeed it may be occupied as could be the bungalow below for that seems to have washing on the line and a car on the drive.

A small group of children are standing in the roadway. The photo quality isn’t good enough for recognition.

A group of children survey the scene

A group of children survey the scene

A similar ‘now’ photo would really only show the row of houses at the top end of Bouverie Drive. The longer view has vanished.


Before the Grove Farm Estate

July 24, 2014

Many people realised that the building of the Grove Farm estate was a big change for the village of Market Lavington. This was a big development of new housing. Quite a few folks were out with cameras to record the scene.

We have recently been given some photos by a member of the Francis family. This family were the last to actually farm at Grove Farm and, indeed, one of the new roads was called Francis Road in honour of that family.

Here is one of the photos.

The start of work on the Grove Farm Estate in 1987

The start of work on the Grove Farm Estate in 1987

Work has just started in this view in which we look west over the fields. Lavington School is on the right hand edge of this photo.

Lavington School

Lavington School

Looking further round we can see the Park Road houses. We believe the house with windows in the roof line once belonged to Sybil Perry.

Park Road

Park Road

Further round we see houses on The Spring

The Spring

The Spring

Present day residents on Grove Farm quite often ask, ‘What used to be where my house is now?’ This photo really gives the answer – it was pasture land.

This photo and half a dozen others date from 1987. It may seem like only yesterday to many of us, but it is more than a quarter of a century ago. You’d need to be over thirty to have any real memories of the fields that were Grove Farm.


Building the Surgery

June 26, 2014

A new building very quickly becomes something that seems to have been there for all time and for children still of junior school age, the Market Lavington health centre falls into that class already. And for many others, this is such an everyday building that it is already just part of the village scene.

It is, of course, entirely 21st century and this was the scene on 3rd December 2003.

Work on the surgery begins - December 2003

Work on the surgery begins – December 2003

The road entrance is being prepared as a matter of priority. Construction traffic could then be got off the main road.

From the Fiddington Clay roundabout

From the Fiddington Clay roundabout

Things went ahead rapidly from then on. By February 4th 2004 real building work was under way.


A new building begins to rise up

And ten years ago, the building looked complete.

The new surgery is externally complete

The new surgery is externally complete

No doubt internal finishing and a bit of landscaping were still needed but from a distance the new building was already settling in.


The new building appears to be nestled under the downs

By 2006 the building was already looking like an established part of the village. We can see that hedges and shrubs have been planted.

By 2006 the surgery was well established

By 2006 the surgery was well established

Since then the building has sprouted some solar panels and the shrubs and hedges have grown up which breaks up the rather harsh outlines of the new building.

Ten years on our surgery is well established.


A Message in a Bottle

April 17, 2014

This is another under the floorboards posting – but this time with a difference for today we look at something deliberately placed under floorboards when a new building was erected.

Somewhat more than 100 years ago Market Lavington decided it needed what was, in effect, a village hall but which was always called The Parish Room. A site was located on High Street, more or less opposite the Workman’s Hall, money was raised and construction got under way. The building was completed in 1908 and it served the community well until 1996 when it was demolished to make more space for the Nursing Home.

In 1907, the builders and the movers and shakers who got things organised, put a list of names on a piece of paper, put the paper in a bottle and rested it under the floorboards.

And there it stayed until 1948 when the floor needed some replacement. The message in a bottle was found, photographed and replaced and it is these photos we see today.

Builders of the old Parish Room in Market Lavington. The list was left in a bottle, under the floorboards.

Builders of the old Parish Room in Market Lavington. The list was left in a bottle, under the floorboards.

We start with the committee, headed by the Vicar who would have been J A Sturton at the time. With him were J E Gye, G Bishop and J H Merritt. The Gyes were carpenters, George Bishop was a builder and John Merritt was a blacksmith. Possibly the trades were deemed potentially useful in the building work.

The paid workers, who built the hall were; J James, F Burgess, W Ring, H Dole, P Lie?? and J Goodall.

In addition there were free workers, J H Merritt, S Axford, G Gillett, ? Hussey, Mr Sea, A Baker etc. Mr Lea was the architect.

The other side of the paper has been signed and dated.

Reverse of the list - signed by W Ring

Reverse of the list – signed by W Ring

It was signed by W Ring on November 16th 1907. Presumably this was when the flooring was completed.

Sad to say, we do not know what became of bottle and message when the hall was demolished in 1996. It would be good if it was preserved somewhere.

But at least we have a photograph and that should enable us to find out more about the men who built the old Parish Room.

A cornice mould

February 13, 2014

It seems to be the lot of a curator to have to know everything. We do our best at Market Lavington Museum, but nobody can begin to know everything. And when it comes to tools that are specialities in a particular trade we just don’t have the knowledge we might like to have.

So today we are featuring a cornice mould that is more than 100 years old. Without the benefit of the World Wide Web, we’d not know how it was used.

19th century cornice mould at Market Lavington Museum

19th century cornice mould at Market Lavington Museum

This device is to help make a fancy or decorative plaster joint between a wall and a ceiling. It is specifically made for one pattern of decoration

As we don’t have a full knowledge, we have borrowed an image from to show how such a tool is used.

This photo of a mould in use comes from

This photo of a mould in use comes from

Our tool was used by the Gye building firm and dates from the late 19th century.

Market Lavington Vicarage

December 11, 2013

Market Lavington had had a number of houses used by the parson. Once there was a parsonage on Parsonage Lane but this was demolished in the nineteenth century and replaced with numbers 6 and 8 on Parsonage Lane. These days we have the Rectory on Church Street. It had been a Vicarage, but when parishes merged into the present group benefice, it became a Rectory. In between, for the latter part of the nineteenth century and the early years of the twentieth, our local Vicar had the benefit of a delightful, large house. This was set back from the High Street, more or less opposite the Workman’s Hall. Two long term residents were the Reverend Frith and the Reverend Sturton. This building shows their delightful home

Market Lavington Vicarage from an Edwardian postcard by Mr Burgess

Market Lavington Vicarage from an Edwardian postcard by Mr Burgess

It is still there and still lived in. It is at the heart of the care and nursing home in the village.

This photo was taken in 2006 and shows the old Vicarage, now joined by many modern buildings.

Market Lavington Vicarage in its 21st century, care home guise.

Market Lavington Vicarage in its 21st century, care home guise

A couple of years ago we took a look at the sale brochure for the vicarage. This brochure was from 1956 and it described something of the interior of the building. You can click here to read it.

Stobbarts Place?

May 26, 2013

When new buildings go up, it can be hard to place just where an older photo was taken. This photo predates (just) the building of Stobbarts Place but there are clues enough to sort out just where we are looking.

Stobbarts Place, Market Lavington as building commenced in the 1960s

Stobbarts Place, Market Lavington as building commenced in the 1960s

The builders are in place in this 1960s shot. There’s an early JCB type of vehicle and a hefty concrete mixer. The ground has been pegged out ready for building. Of course, what we see behind is more interesting.

The workmans Hall on High Street, Market Lavington

The Workmans Hall on High Street, Market Lavington

At the left hand side of the picture we can see the distinctive roof – with the little bell tower – of the Workmans’ Hall so we are looking along the back of High Street properties.

Closer to us are the last houses on Stobbarts Road.

Stobbarts Road, Market Lavington

Stobbarts Road, Market Lavington

Moving further to the right we have the Devizes Rural District Council housing at Townsend.

Townsend and the Congregational Church in Market Lavington

Townsend and the Congregational Church in Market Lavington

Between those houses we can see the back of the 1892 built former Congregational Church.

And here is a more recent, similar view.

A similar recent view

A similar recent view

On the right hand edge we have the same chimney, and near the centre we can see a part of one of the older Townsend houses. Further to the left, the four chimney stacks are on the Stobbarts Road houses.

A Mud Wall

May 23, 2013

A fairly standard Wiltshire wall building technique has been to use cob. Cob had, as one of its major ingredients, clay. There’s a habit of calling soils and subsoils mud, so a cob wall might be called a mud wall.

Mud walls need waterproof boots and a waterproof hat. The boots take the form of hefty stones which can raise the mud above the wet ground level. The waterproof hat, traditionally, was thatch although tiles could be used.

Cob was common for the walls of buildings, but if we talk about a mud wall, we mean a boundary wall, rather than a wall as part of a bigger structure.

One of the last survivors of a mud wall in Market Lavington was at The White House on White Street. This photo of it was taken in about 1958.

Johnathan Gye stands by a mud wall on White Street, Market Lavington ca 1958

Johnathan Gye stands by a mud wall on White Street, Market Lavington ca 1958

The wall is clearly getting to be on its last legs. The waterproof hat definitely looks in need of attention and without a good thatch, water will soon spoil the cob.

The young lad is Johnathan Gye and he provides some scale. It is quite a substantial wall.

Perhaps the best known mud wall in Market Lavington ended up getting its name corrupted. The little street known as The Muddle had a mud wall alongside it and Muddle is a corruption of mud wall.

Marks of Occupation

November 27, 2012

Some Items just can’t be brought to a museum, for they are part of the structure of another building. However, we may be allowed to photograph them and so we have a photo of stonework surrounding the fireplace at what must be one of the oldest cottages on Northbrook in Market Lavington.

Marks of occupation in the stonework around a fireplace at Northbrook, Market Lavington

It may look ordinary enough, but a closer look reveals names and initials and other marks all over this fire surround. Apparently it was not unusual, in times past, for residents to add their name to others already there.

So here’s a closer view of a small part of the image.

A closer view of some of the marks.

And here some enhancement has been done to improve the visibility.

Digitally enhanced!

It still isn’t easy to make out names or initials. Perhaps the most prominent are J P – but there seems to have been little care about finding an empty spaced for new etchings.

Making good at Clyffe Hall

August 20, 2012

For much of the second half of the nineteenth century, the Hon Louisa Hay, a Bouverie by birth, lived in family property – Clyffe Hall.

Like any house, this one needed repairs from time to time, both to the house and grounds. To judge from this piece of invoice from 1884, it would seem that James Gye and his team were regulars at Clyffe Hall, making good or just helping out. The front of this scrap of paper covers August and the start of September in 1884.

This piece of invoice concerned work done for the Hon Louisa Hay of Clyffe Hall, Market Lavington by James Gye in 1884

We can’t imagine that Mr Gye’s skilled builders and carpenters were keen on being told to do farm work, to help out the honourable lady.

The greenhouse, which got repair, was, of course, the domain of star employee, James Lye, the fuchsia growing champion. Repairs to that structure would have been seen as essential.

The back of the same scrap of invoice

The reverse side of the invoice certainly has a December date on it and the last item is of interest, partly because, these days we wouldn’t re-handle shears. We’d buy new ones. Perhaps they were a favourite pair of James Lye’s. The other interest is the spelling. OK – James has not spelt handle the way we would, but the other word, ‘verells’ can help us with 1884 Market Lavington pronunciation. The word is surely what we would call ferrule. That’s the metal clamp used to fix the wooden handles to the metal shear blade. It looks as though we can tell that the f sound was softened to a v.

We learn about wages, too. It would seem that James Gye charged about four shillings a day for labour. If that’s what the labourer received, it comes to £1 for a five day week. So the skilled worker was certainly getting no more than £50 a year. That’s equivalent of about £25000 today.