Posts Tagged ‘carnival’

A Merritt float

August 26, 2016

Here we have another new image given to the museum this month and this is one we particularly like. It shows a carnival float, no doubt in a trade class, entered by Merritt Brothers. We don’t have a date but we estimate it to be the 1920s.

Merritt Brothers float at a 1920s carnival

Merritt Brothers float at a 1920s carnival

Here we see a simple and pleasing four wheeled waggon drawn by horse power. There is some decoration with branches and a goodly collection of horseshoes.

The identity of the float

The identity of the float

The Merritts were farriers and smiths as their badge says. Their premises were the former smithy at the edge of Broadwell

Let’s take a look at the people.


The man on the left is wearing a bandsman’s cap. More than one member of this family was active in the Lavington Prize Band. John Merritt was its leader for 60 or more years.


Another bandsman’s cap. The Merritts were rightly proud of the band.


Sadly we have no positive names to put to these people.

In the background there is another waggon which belonged to the Spencer family at Halstead Farm in Easterton. So we would assume the photo was taken locally but we cannot identify just where.

And help with identities would be much appreciated.


Celebrating the Queen at 90

June 11, 2016

Tomorrow Market Lavington will be ‘en fête’ as we celebrate our Queen’s 90th birthday.

But here we look back to fun in Coronation year – 1953 with a news cutting.

Fancy dress children at the Coronation year carnival in Market Lavington

Fancy dress children at the Coronation year carnival in Market Lavington

We see some of the younger entrants in the Carnival held that year. Dressing up was always a part of village events, for young and old. We rather suspect the polar bear outfit was a tad warm in June but the wearer, with hands muffed, manages to look cold. Those with visible faces look nervous. Did they not like the camera or was there a judge there as well.

We’ll look forward to seeing you tomorrow down in the Community Hall and the museum which will be open throughout the day.

1923 Hospital Week

April 29, 2016

Back in the 20s and 30s the Hospital Week was carnival time in Market Lavington and Easterton. It was the time for dressing up and having fun and generally enjoying life. And at the same time money was raised to assist those in need with the cost of health care in those bleak days before there was a National Health Service.

Hospital Week in 1923. Fancy dress at Easterton pump

Hospital Week in 1923. Fancy dress at Easterton pump

This little group are clearly entering into the spirit of things and have themselves suitably attired for all the fun on offer – and to entertain those less able to take an active part.

For once, perhaps, it is the man who takes the eye.

 image003 This chap is dressed as a shell petrol man complete with a magnificent head dress and a suitable can as well as various Shell logos. Sad to say we don’t know who he is and neither do we know the ladies.


Any help identifying these people would be gratefully received.

The third lady appears to have done something seen as ‘non PC’ these days. It looks as though she has blacked up or at least darkened her facial skin.


The location is interesting for these people are by the Easterton pump which still stands on Kings Road, close by the bridge.

This clearly shows the chute for delivering water into a bowser. Farmers brought mobile water carriers or bowsers to the pump for filling. This helps to explain why the pump was built on quite a high stand.


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.

Archibald Baker

March 16, 2016

We have met Archibald before – and in this rather strange Michelin Man costume.

Archibald Baker is the Michelin Man in a 1920s Hospital Week carnival

Archibald Baker is the Michelin Man in a 1920s Hospital Week carnival

This was worn for a Hospital Week carnival in the 1920s.

Archibald is clearly the man in the middle and sad to say we do not know who the other two chaps are but this photo was recently given by a person with strong links to the Cooper family. I’m afraid we can’t positively identify the location either but perhaps a reader can help us with this lack of knowledge.

Archibald was a son of John and Louisa Baker. John was a whitesmith or tinsmith and had the premises many folks will remember as a hardware shop opposite the Coop.

Quite what all Archibald’s pipe work was originally is beyond our guess work. We just can’t help feeling he may have needed a hospital after trailing around in that lot. And of course, in those pre National Health Service days he was helping to raise funds so that people with limited means (most people) could be given some form of health care.

This is a high quality original photo so we can zoom in and really get an idea of what Archibald looked like.


And we can also see his friends clearly as well, but they are a tad hidden by their costumes.



What a wonderful photo that is.

Swan Lake

August 19, 2015

This is an Easterton photo. We are fairly certain of this because of its origin which was the late Tom Jefferies. But that is all we know about it so once more we seek help. It looks to be a carnival or fancy dress entry and is definitely of a young ballerina and Swan Lake.

Swan Lake - an entry in an Easterton Carnival?

Swan Lake – an entry in an Easterton Carnival?

We don’t know who the young ballerina is, where it was taken or when it was taken. However, the wheels under the lake look like a 1960s small pram or pushchair so this dates from a time after that, we think.

Somebody, surely, will recognise and remember the scene and can put us out of our misery by giving us all the information. Do get in touch.

Stop press

It seems our young ballerina is Lyn Stockley. Thanks to John, Jim and Brenda for this.

A Cider Press

August 1, 2015

We have a wonderful carnival picture today. It is utterly redolent of times past.image002

Here we see carnival floats lining up on Easterton High Street. Of course, the leading float commands interest being a horse drawn wagon. The wagon belonged to local farmer and eccentric, Alfred Alexander. He was normally known as Alfie.


We are not sure who the three people on the cart actually are.


However we think the lad on the right was known as ‘Polar’; Ingram and from him we date the photo to the early 1920s.

We believe the Alexanders did operate a cider press and that’s certainly what is on the wagon! It’s topped off with a notice perhaps meant to indicate the fine, strengthening qualities of the local brew.


‘Wiltshire will never go pussyfoot while the old mill turns.

There appears to be a liveried footman behind the wagon, but this being a carnival it is almost certainly a fancy dress.



The bearded and smocked man is leading a waggon which says, ‘All that is left ML&E FC’. Presumably that’s Market Lavington and Easterton Football Club. Had they had a bad season?

Another lovely photo!

The hospital in the carnival procession

January 26, 2015

Here we have a photo we do not know all that much about. We are confident it was taken in Easterton which was where the carnival processions for ‘Hospital Week’ always lined up. Sadly we can’t date the photo or, at present, name any of the people.

A carnival float in Easterton - but when, and who are the people?

A carnival float in Easterton – but when, and who are the people?

This is a carnival float mounted on a small four wheeled waggon.  On the float a young patient, with a bandaged head is being tended by a nurse. The scene definitely portrays an era when it was the job of nurses to care for patients, rather than to be harassed by paper work. Two young lads and a lady are also by the bedside.

The characters in the hospital tableau

The characters in the hospital tableau

In front of the waggon there is a rather ragged girl, a young man attempting to look a bit of a toff and a lass dressed in adverts. We’ll enlarge her for those ads might give a clue to the date.

The advert girl includes an ad for Bird's Blancmange

The advert girl includes an ad for Bird’s Blancmange

There is also a small child at the left, looking on.

The waggon is nicely decorated with flowers. Twigs with leaves have been woven into the spoked wheels.

Can anyone out there throw any further light on this picture?

Mrs Sayer at the 1927 Carnival

May 5, 2014

In Market Lavington and Easterton the carnival was always a part of Hospital Week. Before the National Health Service people needed ready money to pay for health care and those that didn’t have money had to either go without or rely on charity. The Hospital Week raised money and provided folks with a good time.

Mrs Sayer was wife of Fred who ran the local bus and coach company. She always dressed up as something for the carnival and in 1927 she appears as a banjolele playing minstrel.

Mabel Sayer at the 1927 Market Lavington and Easterton carnival

Mabel Sayer at the 1927 Market Lavington and Easterton carnival

The banjolele had the size of a ukulele but the general form of a banjo – it was a cross between the two instruments. It had four pairs of strings with each pair tuned to the same note. It was actually the instrument of choice for George Formby.

Mrs Mabel Sayer (née Weston) was born around 1880 in Bath.


The Jam Factory at a carnival

April 24, 2014

Time was when carnival in Easterton and Market Lavington meant raising money for health care. If you are aged 66 or more then you entered this world before the UK had a National Health Service. If you were not rich, then using the doctor meant relying on charity. Now that’s something most folks hate. But if a fund could be raised out of people having fun, then it didn’t seem so bad. Carnival week in our two parishes was also called Hospital Week. The money raised could be allocated to those in need. What a blessing it must have been, in 1948, to be able to use a doctor as a matter of right.

For local companies, the carnival procession was two edged. Not only were the companies clearly supporting local people, but they were also advertising their wares.

Easterton Jam Factory carnival entry in the 1920s

Easterton Jam Factory carnival entry in the 1920s

This entry was by Samuel Moore Ltd – the Easterton Jam Factory whose final buildings have recently been demolished.

No effort has been spared in making the van pretty. It is covered from roof top to wheel in something. It would take a more knowledgeable expert than we have at the museum to identify the make of van. We wonder if it is a Crossley (but don’t take that as fact, it is only speculation) and it probably dates from the mid 1920s. We’d expect a commercial company to be aiming to show themselves as modern and with it so the picture itself probably also dates from the 1920s.

The decoration on the side of the van says ‘Golden Sunset Jams. Was this a brand produced by Samuel Moore? Or was it just a slogan for a carnival?


Can anybody name the driver?

All information and suggestions will be gratefully received.