Posts Tagged ‘button’

Bath Electric Tramways

July 18, 2016

This button was found in a garden at the Easterton end of Market Lavington High Street.

Button front. It says BETL

Button front. It says BETL

At first sight it appears to say BELL on it but the two end letters are not the same so we put our thinking caps on and believe it says BETL – Bath Electric Tramways Limited.

The back has a button manufacturers name on it.


Made by Wathen Gardiner and Co

The button was made by Wathen Gardiner and Co.

It definitely is a Bath Electric Tramways Ltd button.

Fred Sayer, who became the owner of Lavington and Devizes Motor Services, had been a driver for Bath Electric Tramways who operated motor buses as well as trams. This button was actually found in a garden which the Sayer’s owned although we don’t think they lived there. Just maybe it was Fred who lost this button.

Take a look at the British Tramway Company Badges and Buttons site to see a good condition version of this button by clicking here.


An ATC button

August 14, 2015

Here we have another find from the old recreation ground. This is a uniform button which is clearly marked A T C which stands for Air Training Corps.

An Air Training Corps button found on the old Recreation Ground in Market Lavington

An Air Training Corps button found on the old Recreation Ground in Market Lavington

This organisation adopted that name in 1941 so the button dates from some time after that. Its purpose was to be a kind of youth wing of the Royal Air Force. It gave youngsters some basic training which might have helped if they went on to join the RAF.

This badge has an added poignancy for the old recreation ground was a possible site for a First World War air strip – a thing we know about from Jack Welch’s letters home. Jack was a serving soldier in World War One. In his letter home on May 20th 1918 he wrote:

‘An aerodrome out in the Recreation Ground is getting a bit too close isn’t it? Lavington must be very much altered especially with the felling of so much timber.’

So it certainly sounds as though a story about this reached Jack. And as home was either Meadow Cottage or adjacent Spring Villa then yes, it would have been very close to home.

So, although more recent, this button points out what might have been nearly 100 years ago.


An unlikely find in a Drove Lane garden

January 27, 2012

An unlikely find? Yes, it does seem surprising that a button from Somerset turned up, many years ago, in a Market Lavington garden.

The item we look at today is not a recent metal detector find, rather it was found some 25 years ago – maybe more – and given to the museum back then.

The item is a button, and we know little about it, apart from the inscription on it.

Bath and Somerset Lunatic Asylum button found at Drove Lane, Market Lavington

As we see, the button, which has a metal loop on the reverse for sewing it onto a garment, is marker, ‘Somerset and Bath Lunatic Asylum’

We can trace something of the history of the asylum through the Somerset Council website at

The land for the site was purchased in 1844 and a competition was held to design the structures. The builder was Mr Kirk of Lincoln. The stone was quarried and dressed on site and the lime burnt close by. The asylum was originally called ‘Somerset County Asylum for Insane Paupers’. The asylum opened in 1848 and housed 350 patients. The establishment was intended to be largely self-sufficient and had its own water supply, gasworks, smithy and sewage treatment as well as farm. More land was bought and leased over time until the site was 307 acres in extent. A separate hospital block to the northeast was built in 1867 to house 30 female patients.

The original design of the site included ‘airing grounds’, gardens for the various categories of patients. There was also an apothecary, plumbers shop, shoemakers shop and brewhouse. In 1854 ‘Besides attendants there is an engineer, a bailiff, a gardener, an assistant gardener, a carter, a cowman, a baker and a brewer, a cook and a porter’. In 1876 there were 668 beds, twice the original intended capacity. In 1927 the site’s gas works became redundant when the hospital was connected to the town’s supply. Electric lighting was installed in 1928. {5}

The buildings were demolished or converted for other use in 2006.

The UK finds website at
shows a similar button and suggests it is late 19th or early 20th century.

None of this explains how the button came to be found in a cottage garden on Drove Lane, Market Lavington. The Market Lavington area, had its own private asylum at Fiddington and the Wiltshire county asylum was at Roundway, Devizes.

Any ideas?

A livery button

September 21, 2011

We mentioned, a couple of days ago, that the Yeovil Metal Detecting Club had been seeking the history beneath our feet in both Market Lavington and Easterton. Today we are looking at a small button they gave to us at the museum.

Livery button found in Easterton, Wiltshire, by members of the Yeovil Metal Detecting Club

This metal button, about one and a half centimetres across is believed to be a livery button. Livery buttons were found on the uniform of servants. These could have been domestic servants or uniformed staff who worked for a company. We suspect our button is from the uniform of a domestic servant. We’d love to find out who the servant worked for. The button probably dates from the 19th century.

The image on the button shows a crown. A raised clenched hand comes from the crown. The hand appears to be grasping a sword.

The crown ought to suggest that the servant worked for a titled person, but of course, other people of lower rank might have copied the idea. The fist holding a weapon was used to symbolise power.

So who in the parish – this button was found in Easterton – fits that particular bill?

If you have any ideas do get in touch with the curator. You can click here to start an email to him.

Once again can we thank the patient work of the metal detectorists from Yeovil.