Posts Tagged ‘carnival’

Mabel Sayer

February 24, 2014

Mabel was the wife of Fred who drove, ran and operated motor bus services in the Lavington area Mabel was born as Mabel Weston in Bath in the year 1880. She married Fred in the Kings Norton area which is in the West Midlands. Their son, Frederick Herbert was born in Bath in about 1906 and in 1911 the family lived at Nailsworth in Gloucestershire but we believe they were in Market Lavington later that year.

Mabel was clearly keen on carnival. It gave her a chance to dress up and be an active member of the community. In this picture we see Mabel taking part in the 1929 carnival.

Mrs Mabel Sayer collects Market Lavington carnival money in 1929

Mrs Mabel Sayer collects Market Lavington carnival money in 1929

It looks as though Mabel has dressed up as some kind of gypsy or fortune teller for this carnival. The collection box she holds is one we now have at the museum.

People and signs in the background add interest.

A E Phillips had a general store in what we now often call Kyte's Cottage

A E Phillips had a general store in what we now often call Kyte’s Cottage

The shop behind Mabel belonged to A E Phillips – tobacconist, confectioner and general store. This was a different Phillips from those at the hardware shop, just further along High Street.

Mr Elisha's tailoring and haberdashery business was on the corner of Chapel Lane

Mr Elisha’s tailoring and haberdashery business was on the corner of Chapel Lane

This sign, on the corner of Chapel Lane, was on Mr Elisha’s shop. Mr Elisha was the father of Bill Elisha who married May Potter. May thus became Mrs Elisha, the very long term local teacher.


Down below, three young ladies wearing cloche hats peer out at the scene.


Behind Mabel’s left arm there’s another group of spectators, men, women and children.

What a lovely photo of times past when money had to be raised to allow poorer people to make use of any medical services.

The Ladies Jazz Band

February 5, 2014

Lavington Ladies Jazz Band was a carnival creation. In the 1930s a group of local ladies formed up, many with unlikely instruments, and entered carnivals. In 1933 they won first prize at Devizes.

Lavington Ladies Jazz band in 1933

Lavington Ladies Jazz band in 1933

We see them on parade here in Market Lavington – the Market Place and they have attracted a goodly audience.

It’s a sad fact that in fancy dress and with instruments in front the ‘performers’ are hard to recognise. Maybe it is more sad that one of the ladies is always recognised. Mrs Hurkett stands next to the bass drum at the back. She was without teeth and this gives her a distinctive look.

We always hope that a blog post will bring information to us. Do get in touch if you can name any of the players – or the audience.

Another Hospital Week gathering

December 18, 2013

Hospital weeks were very much the time for fun and games. Back in the 1920s we really were without mass entertainment. Television was still in the future. Limited wireless broadcasts began in the UK in 1922. So the 1920s were very much a time for self-produced entertainment – when leisure time allowed. No wonder the Hospital Weeks were times to let your hair down and have a bit of a laugh.

This merry crew are lining up outside The Grange in Easterton which is behind the hedge on the left.

A 1920s Hospital Week line up in Easterton

A 1920s Hospital Week line up in Easterton

Hospital weeks took place in the summer, but the person at the extreme left certainly has a look of the now seasonal Father Christmas.

Father Christmas seems to have come early that year.

Father Christmas seems to have come early that year.

Cross dressing, costumes and false hair make it hard to recognise any of the participants.


More people in that line up – one with a cross beneath his feet.

The person on the right of this group is marked with a cross.


Is the person with the cross ‘Greet’ of London?

Does ‘Greet of London’ explain the cross?

Hospital weeks always look as though they were fun – but in those pre National Health Service days it was fun with an underlying purpose of providing some healthcare for those in need.

It is always good to report that there is still a good community spirit in our communities.

A Trowbridge Carnival

October 7, 2013

A Trowbridge Carnival? What has that got to do with Market Lavington?  Well in this case, the vehicle in use was Market Lavington based.

Edwin Potter's Market Lavington to Devizes bus in use at a Trowbridge Carnival

Edwin Potter’s Market Lavington to Devizes bus in use at a Trowbridge Carnival

This was Edwin Potter’s bus, which had normally plied between Lavington and Devizes. We wonder if it is use to portray transport in times past. In fact we don’t know the date of the photo, but it may well have been towards the end of the Edwardian era. By then, Edwin had reduced his service to just three days a week, so the bus would have been available for other uses.

The give-away on this photo is the banner on the roof line of the bus.


The Lavington to Devizes legend can be seen under the added carnival banner

The Lavington to Devizes legend can be seen under the added carnival banner

We can’t read the stuck on paper message – the last three words are ‘to the carnival’. But under it we can see the beginning of the word Lavington and the end of the word Devizes. This, we know, was Potter’s bus.


Of course, it would be grand to recognise the people. Then we’d know if they were Market Lavington folk or others from the Trowbridge area. Here are some of the folks enlarged. Maybe a reader will know them???


Ena Gye

March 2, 2013

A short while ago we showed a picture of a carnival procession on Easterton Street and commented that a girl, dressed as a fairy, was Ena Gye. This photo of Ena, but taken in the Burgess studio, must date from the same occasion for Ena has the same costume.

Ena Gye of Market Lavington in about 1920

Ena Gye of Market Lavington in about 1920

Actually, we could note that Ena changed the rather flimsy sandals for more solid walking shoes when she was in the carnival.

Ena was born in 1911 She was actually Georgina Maude Gye and her parents were Joseph Edward Gye, a builder and wheelwright and his wife Lucretia Ethel (née) Redstone. Her parents were known as Jack and Ethel. Ethel was a former school teacher.

Over the years Ethel built up a good stock of costumes and these were always in demand at carnival time. Presumably the Gye children had first pick.

Georgina married Philip Colman in 1941. They had one son. He was born in Hertfordshire.

Georgina died in 1986. By then she was in Cambridgeshire.

Carnival Time – about 1920

February 17, 2013

This photo has recently been sent, along with others, by a museum friend in the antipodes. It shows a carnival procession lining up on Easterton street.

A Market Lavington and Easterton Hospital Week carnival lines up in Easterton - about 1920

A Market Lavington and Easterton Hospital Week carnival lines up in Easterton – about 1920

We can start with the identified person. The girl on the extreme right, wearing a fairy costume is Ena Gye. Ena was born in 1911 and it is from her that we date the picture as around 1920.


Ena Gye – born 1911, Market Lavington

As we can see, the photo is sepia in style but we can often see people better in black and white. There could be other recognisable people in the picture although fancy dress and make up can make recognition harder.


It’s hard to recognise people in fancy dress!

There’s a case in point. The witches clearly have masks. Doe’s the man holding the tiller of the bath chair really have that facial hair? Maybe the best hopes for identity are the Japanese lady or maybe the wagon on which a part of the farm name can be seen.

One person in the photo is peering out of a cottage doorway. Perhaps there’s somebody who might recognise him.

Can anyone recognise the Easterton resident peering out from his doorway?

Can anyone recognise the Easterton resident peering out from his doorway?

There he is, behind the bear.

We think this is a glorious photo so many, many thanks to Amanda for sending it to us.

New Year and New Acquisitions

January 6, 2013

2013 has begun well for Market Lavington Museum with new photographs of Easterton given to us. Our donor is the granddaughter of Mr Robin Edward Godfrey who ran the shop in Easterton from the 1920s until 1940. Many of the photos were taken outside the shop where, apart from the people, the adverts on the shop are of great interest. Some, both we and our donor need help with. People need identifying. It can be particularly hard to identify folks dressed up for carnival, but this photo is surely a carnival one.

Easterton Fire Brigade - surely a carnival entry./ Can you help us with who the fireman are and when this photo was taken?

Easterton Fire Brigade – surely a carnival entry./ Can you help us with who the firemen are and when this photo was taken?

Here we see the Easterton Fire Brigade – clearly not the real one – on a wonderful small wagon.

The crew are disguised with false beards. Let’s see them a little closer.




If you can recognise these people or can tell us what year or event this was then do let us know.

A Hospital Week Poster

September 10, 2012

Market Lavington and Easterton Hospital Weeks took place in August. For many folks it was a chance to escape from what really was a daily grind. Folks could let their hair down and enjoy the events, many of which were by local people for local people.

The villages of Market Lavington and Easterton always came together for Hospital Week.

Today we are looking at a poster for one such week.

We have a number of posters like this at the museum. In today’s paper sizes they’d be something a bit larger than A2 size. Many are on coloured paper, but this one is on white. They all have the disadvantage of not having the year in question on the poster. 1930 had a Sunday 10th August so it could have been that year. The previous year with a Sunday August 10th was 1924 and that predates the BBC. 1936 would be another possible year. The only other clue we have is that our near neighbour, the Warminster Dewey Museum, have a photo of the Les Whitmarsh band dated to the 1920s. Other names on the poster give little clue as to the date. Miss Bouverie, Mr Benson, J H Merritt, Mr Pike, Mr Drury and Mr Welch were all long term local residents.

But we do get an idea of what went on, opening with the band concert at The Old House and a sacred concert at the Parish Hall. This was followed by a whist drive and then the cinema in the Parish Hall.

The Carnival Dance, with Les Whitmarsh was on the Wednesday and on the following days there was another whist drive and another film show.

The Grand Carnival was on the Saturday with the procession starting in Easterton, processing through the villages before ending up at Fiddington House where the grounds were used for a fete. Attractions included the baby shows and the ankle competition. Two different bands performed. In the evening, Les Whitmarsh was back for another dance night.

The week ended with a United Church Parade on the final Sunday.

And if this excitement was not enough, then you could decorate your house or compete in skittles at The Green Dragon, The Royal Oak, The Kings Arms or The Volunteer Arms.

Archibald Baker and a 1920s Carnival

June 25, 2012

Back in the 1920s and the 1930s, the carnival was something of major importance in Market Lavington and Easterton – and probably elsewhere as well.

This was an era when the wireless was in its infancy. The early station, London 2LO started transmissions in 1922 and that was for just an hour a day. There was no TV at all until 1936 and that was very limited. In the 1920s, even going to the cinema meant watching a silent movie. No wonder home made fun was important to people for, basically that was all there was.

But the carnival had a higher purpose as well in our villages. It was used to raise money to enable those in need to have the services of a doctor or even a hospital. There was no National Health Service until 1948.

In fact, in Market Lavington and Easterton, the carnival was made a part of Hospital Week with all sorts of events to raise money.

Today we are looking at a part of a carnival procession as it passes along Church Street in Market Lavington.

Part of a 1920s Carnival Procession on Church Street, Market Lavington

Of particular interest is the chap in the middle who looks to be dressed up as a Michelin Man. That man is Archibald Baker and we’ll come back to him. But lets have a look at the general scene first.

The shop our Michelin Man is passing is no longer a shop. For many a year it was the photographic shop of Peter Francis. We think the sign above the window says Ironmongery : China : Glass. There appear to be wooden battens fitted to the wall this side of the door. We don’t know what they were for but perhaps items for sale were hung on them.

The long sign above the shops is partly hidden by the Union Flag. It reads, ‘PLEASE HELP OUR HOSPITAL’

Behind the Union Jack we are looking at the corner of White Street where part of a sign is telling us that Mr Walton’s stock is up to date.

But back to Archibald Baker. We knew it was him in the photo because we have another image of him in that odd costume. This was given us by members of the Baker family.

Archibald Baker is the Michelin Man. an anyone identify his friend?

There’s Archibald again with, maybe, a pierrot on HIS right. That person is also in the picture on Church Street so this is surely the same day. Unfortunately, when we were given the photo no members of the family knew just what Archibald was dressed as.

But to be fair to Archibald, he could look normal, so here he is again. This is a World War One photo. Archibald was a Sergeant.

First World War photo of Sergeant Archibald Baker

Archibald was born in 1888 in Market Lavington where his father, John, was a tinsmith occupying the premises opposite the Co-op and next to Woodland Yard. Archibald was the sixth of ten children born to John and his wife, Louisa.

By 1910, both of his parents had died. Some of his sisters emigrated to Canada. Archibald had married Emily Burton in 1909. In 1911 Archibald, Emily and baby daughter Louisa Emily lived on Church Street in Market Lavington. Archibald was a bricklayer.

Muriel W Baker was born in 1917. (Another photo we have talks of a Mabel as a daughter of Archibald)

Archibald obviously lived locally for he took part in the carnival. But our museum records suggest he was not actually in Market Lavington or Easterton.

It would seem that Archibald died in the Christchurch area in 1955. At that time, Christchurch was in Hampshire.

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.