Posts Tagged ‘car’

A bill for car repairs

January 26, 2012

We have come across the Lavington and Devizes Motor Services Ltd quite often on these pages. They operated scheduled bus services in our part of Wiltshire and also had a fleet of charabancs capable of transporting parties of up to 600 people. Their fleet of vehicles needed maintenance and repair from time to time and such work was carried out at the company’s premises in The Market Place, Market Lavington. The company were able to use their facilities to service and repair the cars owned by wealthy people over quite an area. Today we look at a bill received by Mr Evans of Church Farm, Steeple Ashton, for work on his car. The bill is dated March 6th 1929.

Bill for car repairs by the Lavington and Devizes Motor Services Ltd

The work was quite substantial. The cylinder head was removed so that cylinders could be cleaned – decarbonising used to be a common job followed by grinding in the valves. Perhaps the job on the differential sounds most complex, involving welding and lathe work. It looks as though the work even involved repair and refitting of a rear curtain. Cars used to be fitted with a simple curtain mechanism which could be closed by the driver if he or she was dazzled by a following vehicle.

We see on the bill that the company managing director was F H Sawyer. Again, we have seen Fred before on these pages. Who was the person who signed to say he’d received the money? Signatures can be hard to read. Maybe a blog reader can help us with that.

In these days of 11 digit phone numbers the simplicity – almost quaintness of ‘Lavington 13’ seems amazing. But we can see that the company was quite substantial, with offices at Devizes and Shrewton as well as Market Lavington.

There are different ways of comparing the worth of money in the past with money in the present day. In terms of income, somebody who earned the money paid for this bill in 1929 would earn about £800 today.

Going on Holiday?

December 31, 2011

Just after Christmas is supposed to be the time when we think of our next summer holiday. Today we are looking back to a holiday departure in times past.

Mr and Mrs Francis of Grove Farm, Market Lavington about to set off on holiday

Our picture shows Mr and Mrs Francis of Grove Farm in Market Lavington with a well laden car. Mr Francis seems to be pondering how on earth he’ll get the last bit of luggage on board whilst a small child is sitting by the back window, ready for the journey. Mrs Francis seems most concerned to keep her hat in place. Presumably it was a breezy day.

Just what the car is we do not know, but it has similarities with a Crossley 14. They were introduced in 1925. We are sure that a car enthusiast out there will be able to tell us about the car.

Mr and Mrs Francis farmed at Grove Farm. This, like many a farm in the area, has vanished under new development. In this case we have the Grove Farm housing and also our wonderful Community Hall instead of the old farmhouse, buildings and fields.

An Elf in Market Lavington

September 15, 2011

Don’t worry – we have not taken leave of our senses and imagined that Market Lavington has ben swapped into Tolkien’s Middle Earth. We are not talking about Legolas, Galadriel or even Elrond Halfelven. But there was once an Elf in Market Lavington. It was on The Spring and it was the brand of petrol sold by the garage.

The Spring, Market Lavington by Shires Garage

The photo probably dates from the mid 1980s. The giveaway is the petrol price which looks to be  £1.59.6 per gallon which is £0.35.1 per litre.

The price of petrol in the mid 1980s

The lorry in the picture is just passing where the Grove Road roundabout is now. It looks as though an entrance way had been made there which supports the mid 1980s date.

Before the Grove Round roundabout was there

Buildings and walls associated with  the Grove Farmhouse and yard can be seen on the right.

When the garage opened it was run by Edgar Haines and we have looked at it back then – click here to see that page.

Later, the garage became known as Shires Garage – the name commemorated with the small housing development now on that site. Our picture is from the Shires days.

The Volunteer Arms in the 1970s

September 7, 2011

Back in the 1970s there were four pubs in Market Lavington. Two still survive – The Green Dragon and The Drummer Boy – but the other two have gone. The Kings Arms is under conversion to housing as this page is published in September 2011. The Volunteer Arms closed its doors to customers close on thirty years ago. Our photo shows The Volunteer Arms back in the 1970s when it was still trading as a Public House.

The Volunteer Arms, Market Lavington in the 1970s

The pub had once been known as The Angel and amongst former residents were the Potter family.  Edwin Potter became a carrier and set up the horse bus service between Market Lavington and Devizes.

We think today’s picture may have been taken by Peter Francis from his upstairs window, above the shop he had on Church Street.

In the foreground are two cars from the era. The pale coloured one is definitely a BMC 1100 but whether badged as an Austin or a Morris we can’t tell. The darker one, behind, is possibly a Vauxhall. Let us know if we are wrong!

The cars outside the pub

A large house stands on the hill behind the leafless shrub.

Th Old House, Market Lavington with cedar tree

This is ‘The Old House’ parts of which date from the 13th century so it is, truly, an old house. It is on Parsonage Lane and the cedar tree still stands sentinel over it.

The Market Place in the early 1960s

February 10, 2011

During the 1950s the Market Place in Market Lavington fell into a rather derelict state. The agricultural engineer’s yard was always a rather ramshackle affair and the fire station and associated buildings were in very poor repair. The time had come for action.

The old buildings, including the former St James’ Square, which stood behind the old fire station, were demolished. The engineer’s works were swept away and new premises were created for them. In their place bungalows and other housing was built on a new little road which was called Market Place’. The square became a rather random car park, which was hardly a problem when this photo was taken.

Market Place, Market Lavington in the early 1960s - a Peter Francis photograph at Market Lavington Museum

The bungalows, which face the front of the parked lorry, stand where Wordley’s had their engineering works. In its turn this had been Mr Sayer’s bus depot before that and even earlier a large house – the Doctor’s House – had stood on that site. The fire station had been roughly where the other new houses and bungalows stand.

The vehicles of fifty years ago are very different from those we see today.

Cars and a van in the Market Place

The Bedford van is one of the earlier ones with a split windscreen. Anyone who drove one of these will remember they had but three forward gears and the gear stick was mounted on the steering column. It would have had no seat belts and the sliding doors could be held wide open. With safety like that it’s no wonder that road deaths were at a peak at that time.

Next is what looks like a post war Austin, built in the late 1940s to, essentially, a pre-war design.

The back car is also an Austin – an ultra modern A40.

1960s lorry in Market Lavington Market Place

There’s not much detail on the lorry. Any ideas?

The Market Place – Then and Now

December 6, 2010

The Market Place is probably the most entirely changed part of the centre of Market Lavington. Back in the 1950s it was a rather derelict area. Men who are now in their 60s or 70s recall playing in the tumbledown buildings around the area. Gang warfare was on the cards as the lads from one part of the village encountered those from another. One can imagine older folk saying, ‘Something’s got to be done’. What was done completely changed the face of this part of the village.

This photo dates from the mid 1950s.

The Market Place in the mid 1950s - a photo at Market Lavington Museum

It is hard to see this as anything like the same Market Place we have now. In fact huge changes had already been made. For a rather nice house had once stood on the edge of Northbrook, facing into the Market Place. Many years ago, that became the bus garage and by the time of this photo, Wordleys, the agricultural engineers had those premises.

Wordley's Yard in Market Lavington Market Place

It is interesting to see the cars that were parked up in the market place.

Outside the old fire station

This lovely car was more or less outside the old fire station.

A vehicle of the type known as a shooting brake was parked at the top of Northbrook.

A shooting brake at the top of Northbrook

There’s a former maltings in the foreground and the building beyond is certainly in a derelict state.

Market Place maltings - and dereliction

We think the photo above (and all the enlargements) was taken from a location which no longer exists – the window in the carriage arch above the entrance to Woodland Yard. But earlier in this year, Museum board member Jim took a shot, as similar as possible, from the window above Dowse, the butcher’s shop.

The same Market Place scene in 2010

As can be seen, it is a totally different view. . There is hardly any item to pinpoint as the same. Maybe the pollarded tree on the right is close to the one with the shooting brake parked under it.

Sheep and Lambs at Lamb Corner

November 28, 2010

Today we remember 1950 – sixty years ago so within the memory span of many people from the older generation.

And we also feature, for the third time in recent weeks, Lamb Corner. Lamb Corner is an old name for the crossroads in the middle of the village where High Street, White Street, Church Street and Parsonage Lane all meet. It is believed that a building on the corner, demolished to improve visibility for traffic, may once have been an inn called The Lamb.

Agricultural traffic in the village, in 2010, consists of large and powerful tractors and machinery going from one place to another, or maybe trucks and wagons taking livestock from one farm to another location. Back in 1950, the overall scale of farming was much smaller and animals, equipped with legs, were expected to be able to walk from place to place.

Sheep at Lamb Corner - a photo at Market Lavington Museum

In today’s photo, sheep are being moved from summer grazing on Salisbury Plain and they are making their way to West Park Farm (which is by the railway bridge at the bottom of Ledge Hill) so that they can be fed more easily in the winter months.

We are looking down White Street towards the crossroads. The sheep are going straight across the crossroads – Lamb Corner – and heading up Parsonage Lane on their long walk to West Park Farm.

The cottage, which may have been The Lamb, stood on the left hand side of Parsonage Lane as it joined Church Street. This is where the telephone box now stands. In 1950, the phone box, which would have been vital since most people did not have their own phone, was in the Market Place.

The lost cottage site is in front of the white wall

Traffic would have been much lighter in 1950 – just as well since all four roads through the village were blocked by these sheep.

An Austin 7 on White Street

The car, which sports an AA badge on the radiator is (we think) an Austin Ruby 7 and dates from the late 1930s The HR on the registration plate were letters used for cars registered in Wiltshire. Of note is that there is just one windscreen wiper, on the driver’s side and a pair of hinges at the top of the windscreen, which allowed the front window to be opened.

The ‘Halt at Major Road Ahead’ sign, above the car roof is a real blast from the past. We trust the sheep took note!

Easterton Garage

November 22, 2010

Time was – and not so many years ago, when petrol could be bought in West Lavington, Market Lavington and Easterton. Times change and the rural petrol station has been a big casualty in recent years. Petrol (or diesel) are not sold anywhere in the Lavingtons now and local drivers have to make their way to other places to fill up their vehicles. Fortunately, the Tilshead garage survives as well as a number of outlets in Devizes but of course, many motorists will work in a larger place and will have access to the cheaper petrol stations there. And that, almost certainly, is what brought about the demise of the local stations, like the one we feature today in Easterton.

Easterton Garage - a photo at Market Lavington Museum

The photos we have at Market Lavington Museum are undated. The car here looks as though it could be from the 1920s or early 1930s

The car at Easterton Garage

There’s a driver looking lovingly at his vehicle and also a Castrol advert on the wall behind the car.

A second photo concentrates on the pumps and the thatched cottage – which looks perilously close to where the highly flammable liquid is dispensed.

Second photo of Easterton Garage at Market Lavington Museum

We are keen to increase our stock of Easterton photos at the museum for Easterton was once a part of the Market Lavington parish.

If you have any items to offer then do contact the curator.

Lavington Gasworks Again

September 26, 2010

Just a couple of days ago we showed a picture of a Lavington Gas Works stop cock. A search through our photo archive revealed a super picture of the ‘Lighthouse’ – the place where Hopkins Brothers made their acetylene gas for sale to the village.

"The Lighthouse" on Church Street - where Hopkins brothers made acetylene - a photo at Market Lavington Museum

 This is a part of the terrace between what is now The Rectory and what was The Volunteer Arms on the corner with Parsonage Lane. The entrance with the hefty iron girder over it is no longer there.

The sign over the Lighthouse door

The sign over the door clearly says ‘GAS ENGINEERS’ and may well say ACETYLENE in front of that.

The vehicle parked outside the works is a business vehicle.

The gas works business vehicle? And is that a Mr Hopkins?

The vehicle is captioned ‘Lavington Acetylene Gas Works. We do not know who the man is but one guesses he’s a member of the Hopkins family.

If you can help us to identify this man, or the vehicle, or can tell any tales of the gas supply in Lavington then please contact the curator.

Madame de Lavalette’s Car

July 20, 2010

Madame de Lavalette rented Market Lavington Manor House in the early years of the twentieth century. She brought with her her early Mercedes car and her chauffeur who, in the photo, sits in the driver’s seat outside the distinctive brickwork of the manor house. The other man is not known – perhaps a footman.

Early Mercedes belonging to Madame de Lavalette outside Market Lavington Manor – a photo at Market Lavington Museum

Market Lavington Museum has no information about Madame de Lavalette. The 1901 census shows a couple of people called Lavalette and the 1911 census has half a dozen, but none of them lived in Market Lavington.

If you know anything about this lady who must have brought one of the first cars to the Lavington area then please contact the curator.