Posts Tagged ‘car’

A car handbook

June 20, 2016

Back in January we published a blog about a new car – a Ford Popular. You can click here to see that.

One of our regular readers (a local man) felt we really should have a little more about that kind of car and offered us his handbook. So here it is.


Ford Popular - a 1950s handbook

Ford Popular – a 1950s handbook

There’s nothing very classy about the front cover which seems to reflect the sparing use of ‘extras’ of the car itself.

Inside, though, there is a photo of the car.

A 1950s Ford Popular

A 1950s Ford Popular

They look very much like a pre-war car yet were made and sold as recently as 1959. In terms of them being basic, note that there is only the one windscreen wiper. The driver could see out. Any front seat passenger wouldn’t, if it rained. And actually the driver might have difficulty for a primitive wiper system meant the blades moved rapidly when the engine was hardly working, but slowed almost to a stop if it was working hard.

But these were the days when people expected to do their own servicing and repairs and this little manual gave plenty of help in words and diagrams. Here we see the way the coil ignition system was assembled.

Coil and distibutor

Coil and distibutor

An interesting little book to accompany one photo and remind us of what car ownership was like around 60 years ago.


1921 Hospital Week

April 10, 2016

This photo has recently come to the museum. It is captioned ‘First hospital week – 1921’.

Decorated car in Easterton High Street - 1921 Hospital Week

Decorated car in Easterton High Street – 1921 Hospital Week

It shows a wonderfully decorated car in the High Street in Easterton.

The Hospital Weeks were always joint events – Market Lavington and Easterton.

Now sadly our knowledge stops at this point. It is a wonderfully sharp and clear photo but we can’t name the driver…


…or his passengers.


That looks like a collection box on the side of the car.

The car may be too well decorated for recognition.


These look like electric headlamps but others may well be acetylene lamps.

image006We’d love to hear from anyone who can add anything more about this image.

A new car in the 1950s

January 24, 2016

Back in May 2015 we looked at an Austin 7 car which had belonged to Betty Gye of Homestead Farm. When Betty was ready to take her driving test, her dad decided she couldn’t take it in the old Austin which, with poor brakes wasn’t really roadworthy. A new car was bought – a Ford Popular and here it is.


Betty Gye’s Ford Popular in about 1954

The design was still very much pre-war. We are no experts but we believe this was little more than a revamped Ford Anglia of the 1930s. It was built on the cheap – you might note only the driver has a windscreen wiper – and they were, as a result, very popular. This car would have had semaphore indicators which emerged from the bodywork just behind the door but this one also has an extra – a fog lamp has been added.

Betty was proud of it and a photo was taken.

But look at the background. Behind the car is a lovely loose hay stack which looks to be a bit crudely thatched to keep the rain out. That would have been a real labour to build that stack by hand.

The item between car and stack may be some kind of hay tedder – something that puffed up the hay to get air to it to speed drying.

The old car – it would now be over 60 – is a real reminder of times past but so too is the chance agriculture captured in this shot.

A car from the past

August 23, 2015
A bubble car at Northbrook in the 1950s

A bubble car at Northbrook in the 1950s

This wonderful bubble car is parked up at the top of Northbrook. The houses in the background are on Northbrook Close.

The car is a little three wheeler – an Isetta. Because of shape and size they became known as bubble cars. They were an Italian design but in the UK were manufactured under licence – at one time in Brighton.

The first cars appeared in Italy in 1952. Cars of this type gained favour in Britain due to some quirky British ruling which could have the car registered, officially, as a motorbike. It could then be driven with a motorbike driving license and pay the road fund for a motorbike. Yet it could carry two people and their luggage.

We believe manufacture ceased in this country in 1962.

Our photo dates from the mid 1950s. The photo was given to us by the man who owned the car. He drives a more conventional car these days but still rides a motorbike from time to time.

A car from the past

May 29, 2015

There’ll be plenty of people who wish they owned this car now!

Betty Gye's first car in about 1953

Betty Gye’s first car in about 1953

This is an Austin Seven, once one of the commonest cars on the roads of Britain. It probably dates from around the mid-1930s and would have been approaching twenty years old when this photo was taken. The car belonged to Betty Gye when she was learning to drive. Betty lived with her parents at Homestead Farm on Drove Lane and that’s where the photo was taken.

We can note that the crank handle, used to start the engine is in place. We can also see that there was just the one windscreen wiper on the driver’s side. A pair of hinges at the top of the window tell us that the windscreen could be opened to allow a free flow of refreshing air through the car. We think this car has a non-original extra in the shape of a wing mirror.

We know the car was first registered in Brighton.

We also know that by the time Betty took her test, her dad decided that this car was unfit. As we understand it there was a lack of some basics, such as brakes that were truly effective. So dad got rid of this one and purchased a much newer car for his lucky daughter.

If the car still existed in 1960 then the advent of the MOT tests (which then only applied to cars over ten years old) would almost certainly have seen this car making its one way journey to the scrap heap.

Another photo of a past Royal Event

July 10, 2012

The main celebrations of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee may be over, but here in Market Lavington we are still being given photos of past events. This one, rather battered, was clearly made into a postcard at the time of the 1937 Coronation of King George VI.

Motorised Market Lavington fun at the 1937 Coronation

The card is captioned, ‘1937 ’ere’s health Coronation, Market Lavington’

As yet, we have not located just where the picture was taken.

There are half a dozen people in or on the car. The right hand standing man, in the paler jacket is Lawrie Cooper – or to give him his full name, Lawrence Kitchener Cooper.

Lawrie Cooper of Market Lavington is offering a health unto His Majesty

The others are unknown to us as yet – but even though the bad photo damage is across faces, we feel sure somebody out there will help us.

Do get in touch if you can give us any names or identify the photo location.


April 5, 2012

It’s just one of those matters of fact. Without the water supply at Broadwell there just wouldn’t be a Market Lavington. In the days before piped water, this was where many villagers came, with buckets or bowsers, to collect the vital liquid.

By the mid 1960s, the need for drinking water from Broadwell had gone. But it still provided other functions. In this picture, the cars are there for their Sunday wash.

Broadwell, Market Lavington, as seen from Beech House in the mid 1960s

The car in the middle, with a man working on the passenger side door looks to be a Mark 1 Ford Cortina. It is a D registered car meaning it hit the road in 1964. The car on the right, with a women at the back of it is an older style Ford Anglia, probably dating from the 1950s or early 1960s. On the left we can see a part of a Mini – the iconic car of the early 60s. In front of that is an older, ‘sit up and beg’ black car.

This photo is taken from a Beech House window. White Street is running from left to right across the picture. The large house at the top of the picture is Knap Farmhouse.

The single storey building, just across the water from the cars was once the smithy operated by the Merritt family. That building and the ugly black sheds have all gone. The house called Old Forge stands there now.

To the left of the cars there is a small wooded area. The trees were deemed unsafe and felled. The young children’s play area is now sited there.

A 1920s carnival car

March 11, 2012

Carnivals were once of huge importance in Market Lavington and Easterton – the two villages worked as one for these events. We are looking back to a time with no mass entertainment, delivered through the airwaves to each home. Carnivals provided fun. We are also looking to a time before the National Health Service. Carnivals, as part of the Hospital Week, provided some funding for very limited health care for the large numbers of folk who could not otherwise afford doctors’ fees.

We have featured many images from carnivals before on these pages – but today we bring you another.

A carnival car sets off from Easterton to Market Lavington in the late 1920s

Here we have a scene from the late 1920s, which features a vintage car. The picture was taken on Easterton High Street. Easterton was always the starting point for the carnival procession. The car and passengers would soon be wending their way to Market Lavington along a route thronged with watchers.

The people, of course, are in carnival costume.

George Davis is at the wheel of rhe car. This photo can be found at Market Lavington Museum

The person we have named is the driver – Mr George Davis.

As far as we know, George was born around 1899 in the Kings Cross area of London. His father, Nathaniel, was Wiltshire born (Lavington, we think) and his mother, Sarah, came from Tilshead. Nathaniel was a porter on the railway in 1901 – possibly at Kings Cross Station although it could have been at many another train stop.

In 1911, George was with his uncle, John Davis, the coal merchant, on High Street, Market Lavington. Censuses only tell you of one day in every ten years, but it seems that George made Market Lavington his home. As far as we know, George had a wife called Eleanor and the couple lived at Palm House on High Street, Market Lavington. The records we have at Market Lavington Museum include electoral rolls for 1926, 1939 and 1964 as well as ‘head of household’ directories for other years. All give George Davis as a High Street dweller.

We would, of course, like to know more about this branch of the Davis family. Do get in touch if you can help.

The bottom of Spin Hill

February 12, 2012

Here’s a picture taken at a point where Grove Road, Canada Rise, Spin Hill and Parsonage Lane all meet along with a footpath from Northbrook.  Just one bridge crosses the Northbrook stream.

But when this photo was taken, in the 1950s, not all of the roads were there. Grove Road was constructed in about 1990 to service the new estate built on former farmland, Canada Rise dates from the 1960s.

At the bottom of Spin Hill, Market Lavington - a 1950s view

We are looking from the bottom of where Canada Rise is now and across the footpath that runs parallel to the stream, towards Northbrook. We can see Stream Cottage, which still stands that and beyond that the Tudor Cottage which belonged to Tommy Burden (now demolished) and beyond that more cottages on Northbrook.

Of interest is the car parked on a patch of land which belonged to Mr Oram.

A Hillman Husky in Market Lavington

We think this is a Hillman Husky. These were made, in various guises, between 1954 and 1970, and were based on the Hillman Minx car.


February 5, 2012

Market Lavington is in rural Wiltshire. Many parts of the village have little or no lighting, but even so there is light, for virtually all houses emit some light. How different it must hqave been during World War II when houses were strictly blacked out to prevent any stray illumination from guiding enemy aircraft to potential targets.

But even then, some light was needed in some circumstances. Of course, use of road vehicles was discouraged since they used vital fuel needed for the military operations.  However, some drivers needed to drive and possibly – a doctor, perhaps – at night. Cars, vans, etc used for essential purposes had to be allowed to light the road in front of them but it was crucial that no light escaped upwards and that the brightness was kept down.

Enter the car headlight blackout shield, a metal addition to the front of a lamp which provided a hood to stop light going up, louvres to make sure any light was angled downwards and a translucent screen to make the lighting a great deal less.

Second World War hood to obscure the light from a car headlamp. This item can be seen at Market Lavington Museum

Driving with such limited lighting must have been extremely difficult but had to be accepted for safety’s sake.

Our headlamp shield was found in a garage at Hawthorns, Kings Road and is now on display at Market Lavington Museum.