Posts Tagged ‘bus’

Fred Sayer takes a ride

June 11, 2013

Yet another bus?

We are quite big on buses at Market Lavington Museum – certainly as far as photos are concerned. The reason is simple. Coach trips, to the coast, from the area passed through Salisbury where a ‘comfort’ stop was made. A Salisbury photographer snapped the people and had prints ready for sale when the coach returned in the evening and made another stop. People, happy and relaxed after a day out bought the images and many have found their way to the museum.

But this one is special.

A charabanc trip from Market Lavington in the late 1920s

A charabanc trip from Market Lavington in the late 1920s

Now why is that special? It certainly isn’t for the charabanc for we don’t see the front end, although no doubt some will find that chain drive fascinating. And I’m afraid we only know the identity of one of the people on board – but that man makes this a special photo.

Fred sayer, who owned the Lavington and Devizes bus company is one of the passengers

Fred Sayer, who owned the Lavington and Devizes bus company, is one of the passengers

This is Fred Sayer. He’s special because he owned the buses. We believe this photo dates from the late 1920s.

Fred had many buses. The Lavington and Devizes Motor Services Company could carry up to 600 people on outings in their own fleet of vehicles. It was a huge business for Market Lavington.

But Fred still remains a bit of a mystery to us at the museum.

Our basic information is that Frederick Herbert Sayer was born in about 1880 in the Bath area. He married Mabel Weston and they had a son, also called Frederick Herbert. In 1911 he was a bus driver in Stroud, Gloucestershire but soon after he moved to Market Lavington. At some point he progressed from being a driver to owning the company. He ended his days in Cheverell in 1934.

We know that the younger Frederick Sayer married Jess Trotter whose family ran The Volunteer Arms in Market Lavington.

Please do get in touch if you know anything about this man or his family.

On the Buses – again

May 22, 2013

Trips out by coach were clearly major events in the 1920s. These were those occasions to be commemorated in photographs. Once again we have a trip out from Market Lavington and probably heading for the coast. A photograph of the passengers was taken on the outward journey, usually in Salisbury and prints were ready for purchase on the return.

This journey seems to have had a poor day for weather but at least an enclosed vehicle was provided.

It may be that a reader will be able to identify the type of chassis and the coachwork on it. We guess the bus belonged to the Lavington and Devizes Motor Services. The photo is only dated as ‘1920s’.

Coach trip from Market Lavington in the 1920s

Coach trip from Market Lavington in the 1920s

We do know quite a lot of the people shown here.


Visible on the bus we have Les Baker, Alan Baker, Rosie Ingram, Mrs Notton and Stan Ingram. Sadly names are not attached to faces We hope one of you can help us.

Standing in front of the bus the people are:


Bert Cooper, Billy Coles (driver), not known, Vi Cooper, Percy Notton, Harry Cooper, Jim Gye and John Shergold.

Next comes


Les Draper, Winnie Haines, Tom Haines, Mrs Haines, Mrs Matthews, Mrs Tom Gye.


And then there are three more ladies so once again we can’t be certain who any of the last half dozen ladies are.

However, we have a lovely photo that captures the doughty spirit of people determined to have a good day out, even on a none-too-good day.

A Northbrook View

April 15, 2013

The street known as Northbrook leads out of The Market Place. It goes down a hill and at the bottom it crosses the stream, also called Northbrook. It then rises up, quite steeply on to the sands. The present tarmacked road ends at this point but footpaths continue – there’s a choice of five paths radiating out from the top of Northbrook.

There are potential views over the village from points up Northbrook. Photographer Alf Burgess found a spot in about 1910

Northbrook, Market Lavington from the sands in about 1910

Northbrook, Market Lavington from the sands in about 1910

It is quite hard to get this photo to match anything from the present day. So much has changed. But the terrace of cottages at bottom right is still there with the Northbrook stream running past this end gable.

The thatched roof is probably that of ‘The Rest’ also still in existence. The little corner of tiled roof at the bottom left of the photo would be on cottages demolished in about 1950.

On the right hand side of the picture there are cows grazing where now you’d find the houses on Bouverie Drive.

In the middle of the picture we can see Northbrook (the road) making its way up to The Market Place where all has changed.


The Doctor’s House and Ivydene – amongst many long gone properties in Market Lavington

The cottages lining Northbrook on the right of this enlargement have either gone or been altered. The thatched cottage in the centre alongside the raised footpath is still there, but not thatched.

To the left of that cottage, and almost behind it we have another cottage now demolished. The white building beyond must be part of a house we sought – Ivydene. This was the home, later, of Fred Sayer, the bus company proprietor.

He also became the owner of the large house behind the tree. The other side of that house faces the Market Place. That house had belonged to Doctor Lush at one time. It was demolished in the mid-1920s to allow more space for Fred Sayer’s fleet of buses.

The Market Place – but when?

March 11, 2013

Here’s a photo of Market Lavington Market Place with some kind of parade lining up – both military personnel and youngsters in scout uniform.

A parade in the Market Place, Market Lavington

A parade in the Market Place, Market Lavington

It isn’t the best quality photo you ever saw and we haven’t fully worked out when it was taken, but it has much of interest.

A separately written caption tells us that this is an Armistice Day parade after World War 1. This could, technically be correct, but it certainly isn’t immediately after the first war. Take a look at the rear end of a car which is in the photo.


That bit of car looks to be about a 1937 model – or newer

Whilst we can’t positively identify that car, it looks to be something built from about 1937 onwards.

Now we are going to look at the hotchpotch of buildings at the back of the Market Place.

Where Fred Sayer kept his suite of buses and charabancs

Where Fred Sayer kept his suite of buses and charabancs

This had been where The Lavington and Devizes Motor Services had stored vehicles. The windows on what was left of the lovely old house to the right carry evidence of that usage.

We are adviswed to travel by bus or coach

We are advised to travel by bus or coach

There was can see the notices urging us to ‘travel by bus’ and to ‘travel by coach’. The middle window indicates that a phone had been used by the company. But this doesn’t help us with date.

Market Lavington Prize Silver Band

Market Lavington Prize Silver Band

A small contingent of Market Lavington Prize Silver Bandsmen are playing. The bass drummer looks to have a young admirer.

On the right of the photo is the main collection of people on parade.

Men and boys on parade in Market Lavington

Men and boys on parade in Market Lavington

It looks as though the soldiers are wearing forage caps which were introduced in about 1939. It seems to point to a time for this photo being the 1940s. Unless you know something different!

Seeking Ivydene

January 29, 2013

No we haven’t lost Ivy Dean, a person, but rather Ivydene a property in Market Lavington. It appears to have gone missing and several people are after it. We, at the Museum, have found this vanished property to be one which clearly has an interesting past. We ought to know about it.

Amongst the interesting items in the past are that Mr Fred Sayer may have lived there and certainly had a bus garage there. Fred ran the Lavington and Devizes Motor Services during the interwar period. He’d have needed substantial premises for his fleet of vehicles for he claimed he could transport parties of up to 600 people in his own vehicles. People researching local buses are very keen to know more. Then, it seems that Ivydene was the headquarters of 483 battery of the 82nd Searchlight Regiment. This, of course would have been during World War II.

Our knowledge at the museum is limited.

The 1926 electoral roll gives only limited addresses, but has Fred and Mabel Sayer living at The Terrace.

The 1939 electoral roll shows Lawrence William Couling and his wife Katherine at Ivydene.

In a 1954 directory we have the following:

  • I C Bailey at 3 Ivydean.
  • G H Beckett at 2 Ivydean,
  • A B Chinn at 1 Ivydean,
  • A NJ Felton at 4 Ivydean,

A 1966 directory tells us that Nellie E Saxton was at 3 Ivy Dene and M V J Hazel was at number 2, Ivy Dene.

Asking villagers with memories to stretch back far enough seems to suggest that the properties on the card below, believed to date from around 1914 and captioned ‘The Terrace’  may be Ivydene.

The Terrace, Market Lavington. Could these properties be Ivydene?

The Terrace, Market Lavington. Could these properties be Ivydene?

In this image we see Northbrook – heading off downhill on the left and The Terrace on the right.

But we are not yet certain that these houses became or ever were Ivydene.  It is felt that the Searchlight Battery would have required larger accommodation than this row of cottages. And Fred Sayer had a large business. Wouldn’t he have had a grander home?

We are fairly certain that Fred Sayer had sheds for his buses behind these properties. Doubts remain, though. Maybe recognising the lady outside the near end of the houses would help.

Can anybody identify this lady who could be a clue to finding Ivydene, Market Lavington.

Can anybody identify this lady who could be a clue to finding Ivydene, Market Lavington?

Do please get in touch if you can tell us any more about Ivydene, Fred Sayer and the bus company or the Searchlight battery HQ.

An Easterton Chapel Outing

January 23, 2013

The good folks who were members of the Methodist Chapel in Easterton are off to the seaside. And, praise be, it seems as though a sunny day has been delivered to them for this rare, once a year treat. The year in question was 1927 and the date was June 4th. Back in those days this was known as Whit Saturday.

Easterton Chapel outing en route to Bournemouth on 4th June 1927. The bus belonged to the Lavington and Devizes Motor Service.

Easterton Chapel outing en route to Bournemouth on 4th June 1927. The bus belonged to the Lavington and Devizes Motor Service.

The photo was taken in Salisbury. Southons, whose shop we see behind the bus still have a furniture store in Salisbury. These charabancs had limited facilities and a badge on the front suggests they were limited to 20 miles an hour so the travellers would already have endured more than an hour, crammed into the little vehicle. What the coach trade seemed to call a ‘T and P’ stop was essential. And whilst stopped, an enterprising photographer could take a photo for collection on the return journey. On this occasion we know the destination was Bournemouth. That’s about 28 miles from Salisbury so that would take another hour and a half.

As yet we have not identified passengers on the bus but we have an inkling that the driver was Harry Hobbs.

However, the bus has managed to get its registration plate in the picture HR 7537 and that gives experts a chance to know more about it. The charabanc is a Crossley X type and was part of Fred Sayer’s Lavington and Devizes Motor Service fleet. Fred had probably acquired the chassis from the war department and the body work may have been added by Fred or another local builder. This bus was registered to Fred’s company in November 1922. It is believed to have been out of Fred’s use by January 1929.

Wouldn’t it be good if we could get as much information about passengers? Over to you!

An Unknown Bus

January 14, 2013
Unknown bus attended by Andrew Poolman who lived and worked in Market Lavington from about 1914 to 1925

Unknown bus attended by Andrew Poolman who lived and worked in Market Lavington from about 1914 to 1925

This picture has recently arrived at Market Lavington Museum. The man on the left, leaning on the petrol pump is Mr Andrew Poolman. We don’t know much about him, but in 1914 he married Rose Polden who ran a dress making business on Parsonage Lane. The couple lived on White Street and are remembered by one of the village’s oldest inhabitants.

Andrew and Rose had two children born in Market Lavington – Jacob born 1918 and Edna in 1920. A third child, Roland had his birth registered in the Warminster district in 1927. As Andrew and Rose do not appear on the 1926 electoral roll for Market Lavington we guess they moved in about 1925.

We do not recognise the location in the photo or the bus so perhaps it was taken in the Warminster area.

Any ideas, anybody?

Who, where and When?

July 2, 2012

A Charabanc Trip

Today we have a real request for help. We have a collection of nine photographs of charabanc outings which were given to the museum back in 1985, when we opened. The information given with the photos said they were all trips by the Lavington and Devizes motor company in the 1920s. The headquarters of this substantial business were in Market Lavington. But, except for a couple of recognised drivers, our information ends there.

We can take guesses. The photos were probably taken in Salisbury where enterprising photographers were able to have prints for sale when a trip returned from a day at the seaside. We can also guess that drivers were local men.

But now over to you. Can you tell us anything about this charabanc, or the people travelling? Please email the curator if you have any ideas.


Now the images.

Charabanc from Market Lavington with passengers and driver. They are probably in Salisbury – early 1920s

The Jubilee Walk

June 7, 2012

More Pictures for Posterity

Ted’s walks are popular always. Ted Maslen leads regular monthly walks around the area. They are a great chance for newcomers to the area to meet up with other locals and to learn where some of the footpaths are.

But the Jubilee Walk, of June 4th 2012, was to be different. A new section of footpath was being officially opened. Market Lavington Museum was on hand to record the walk for posterity.

As for all of Ted’s walks, we started in the Market Place. There were about 150 of us.

June 4th 2012 – walkers are almost ready to depart from Market Lavington Market Place

That’s quite a crowd.

To start with the route was on long established roads and paths. We turned into White Street and then veered right at The Hollow to take the path which was once deemed the main road to Warminster.

Spring green as the walkers head along the path to Periwinkle Pond

We crossed the parish boundary into West Lavington before climbing up to the Ridgeway, the road along the edge of Salisbury Plain.

Climbing up to The Ridgeway

The Ridgeway was a good place for walkers to pose, for we were about to go into new territory for most people.

The walkers on the Ridgeway near Brazen Bottom

In front of those people was the track down to Brazen Bottom which is not new footpath but very few people bother to walk there and then come back. This track leads to the new Jubilee walk. Shown as a green dotted line on the aerial photo (taken from the Lavington parish website).

Plan of the new Jubilee Walk

Walkers step onto The Jubilee Walk

Some of the walkers step on to the new route. It had better be said that the precise route has not yet been waymarked. Hopefully the MOD will get some signs up soon.

What a wonderful Community event this was. Market Lavington shows it still has what it takes as our 150 walkers stretch out on The Jubilee Walk.

There are some of the walkers with the leaders away in the distance. But there were plenty more behind.

As we neared the top of Lavington Hill there was a bonus sight. This was the day chosen for a bus service to Imber run by ex London Routemasters. And, to quote the old joke about buses, having waited for ever for a bus down Lavington Hill, two came along at once.

Open topped Routmaster on the special June 4th service which linked Market Lavington to Imber and Warminster.

It was not the best weather for an open top bus! Market Lavington village can be seen below the plain, just in front of the bus.

Two buses at once travel along the Ridgeway above Market Lavington. They were about to head down Lavington Hill and into the village.

There were more passengers on the closed top bus.

This memorable and historic walk finished with a hog roast at The Green Dragon – Delicious!

Edwin Potter’s Bus at Devizes

May 22, 2012

Edwin Potter ran a horse bus service from Market Lavington to Devizes. Lavington’s railway station was not open until 1900, so Mr Potter’s bus enabled Market Lavington travellers to catch a train at the station in Devizes. We have seen this photo before on these pages, but we have just been given a better copy. It shows Potter’s bus at Devizes – still making the trip in 1905

Potter’s Bus at Devizes Station in 1905

We can, of course, zoom in on the bus.

The bus ran the Market Lavington to Devizes service before the advent of the motor bus.

Let’s zoom in some more.

By 1905 the bus was looking rather careworn.

We can now see that by 1905, the coachwork was beginning to look tired. With Lavington Station opened, it was probably hard for the Potters to make a living, although Devizes still remained the main local town.

Wheel and brake shoe

Zooming in on the wheel, we see what looks to be a brake shoe, which could grip onto the iron tyre of the wheel. It isn’t clear if this could be operated by the driver as the vehicle was moving, or whether a crew member had to get off and apply the brake at the top of hills.

An added interest to this photo is that it has been mounted on a period postcard.

The photo of Mr Potter’s bus is mounted on a period, romantic style postcard

There’s no specific Market Lavington connection here – except that the owners of the original are long term Lavington residents.

But let’s return to the bus and take a good look at the crew. Maybe someone out there can give us a positive identification.

Can you identify the bus crew?