Posts Tagged ‘Celebration’

Celebrating VE Day

July 24, 2016

At this time we mark the 100th anniversary of the battle of the Somme. July 24th was a relatively quiet day on the Somme with some 612 British service persons killed on that day.

The war to end all wars failed in that purpose for just 23 years after the Somme disaster war broke out again and the 6 year World War II was fought.

When victory in Europe came, towards the end of that second war, it was marked by spontaneous celebrations at home in the UK. In Market Lavington the event was marked 50 years on in 1995. Amongst the 1995 events was a sit down meal in the old parish room.

VE Day celebration in 1995 - fifty years on

VE Day celebration in 1995 – fifty years on

Some photos were printed in black and white to give a vintage feel to them and this is one of them.

The old boy on the left is Percy Wilkins, a well-known village character. Next to him is his daughter Barbara and it is probably her son next to her. They still live locally. So, too, does Mala at the back table.

Unlike the Somme, 100 years ago, VE day really was something to celebrate. We remember the Somme and its enormous cost in lives.




Alfie’s Golden Wedding (perhaps)

October 9, 2014

There can never be any doubt that Alfie Alexander was a village character. Stories about him abound, mostly admiring his initiative when it came to money making ventures or being amused by some of them. At one time Alfie was the Market Lavington dustman – an entirely private enterprise venture. But on another occasion he could be seen striding alongside Winston Churchill as he was off to deliver his 1927 budget speech. We don’t think Alfie actually knew Churchill, but it certainly looks like it in the photo.

Alfie could look like the scruffiest down and out you could wish for, or he could be the smartest, most distinguished looking man you might see.

Perhaps we should say that Alfie lived life to the full.

We have recently been given a photo which we believe was taken at his Golden Wedding party. Alfie and Sarah married in 1886 so we think this photo dates from 1936.

Alfie and Sarah Alexander with friends and relations - possibly 14th August 1936

Alfie and Sarah Alexander with friends and relations – possibly 14th August 1936

If we are right that this was the Golden Wedding party, then it was on 14th August for one memory recalls:

On 14th August 1936 Alfie and Sarah celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary. Apparently it was an all-day affair with waiters in frock-coats and bought-in caterers!

In the photo we see the utterly distinctive whiskered features of Alfie and next to him, his wife Sarah with a bouquet of flowers. From there on in we get into a bit of guesswork, but we think the other four seated adults are the surviving children of the golden couple. Norman was born in around 1888 and Alice in 1891. Deering was born in 1898 and Gladys in 1902. We imagine the children are grandchildren of Alfie and Sarah.

And as for the standees, behind the couple – at present we have no idea, but maybe there’s somebody out there who can give us an idea. The Alexanders were active members of the Congregational Church so perhaps we see other members of that community.

Celebrating VJ night

September 27, 2013

Our local people, and others around the world, are just wonderful. They know we have an active and lively museum and they make it their business to support us. In particular, photos of interest continue to arrive with us and amongst the latest batch are a couple which show people in Easterton out celebrating VJ Night at the very end of the Second World War.

The street party seems to have taken place at the bottom of White Street which, no doubt, was handily close to the Royal Oak for any vital supplies.

The first picture shows the lighting for the party.

Celebrating VJ Night in Easterton - 1945

Celebrating VJ Night in Easterton – 1945

Illumination was by candles in jars, suspended over the street – and very pretty it must have looked too.

The second picture has been enhanced to show more of the scene.


Celebrating VJ night outside Kandy Cottage in Easterton

On the right we have Kandy Cottage which stood at the very bottom of White Street. It was demolished to allow the main road to be straightened. That, no doubt, would never have happened now. The name Kandy came from past residents who were Ken and Yvonne – KandY!

The other building in the centre of the photo is Court Close Farm.

These are lovely photos. Thanks very much to Philip for giving us copies.

Miscellany 2013

September 15, 2013

The Museum Miscellany, now in its fourth year, has become a part of the social scene in Market Lavington. It seems to be a case of ‘be there or be square’. OK, perhaps it’s the opposite for by and large the clientele is not from the younger generation although, of course, there are exceptions to that.

This year over 100 people crowded into our wonderful Community Hall. Rog, our curator, who does most of the presenting, says it really is a humbling experience to see so many folks there to hear him – and to pay good money for it.

Rog grabbed this photo of audience just before the start.

The audience for Market Lavington Museum Miscellany - 14th September 2013

The audience for Market Lavington Museum Miscellany – 14th September 2013

There’s not an empty seat. The front row is filled with museum friends one of whom, May, sitting just beyond the computer deserves a special mention. Do we bandy a woman’s age? Let’s just say that May’s memory stretches back into the early 1920s. Rog was delighted to realise she was there for he had a photo of her in the ‘Church and Chapel Life’ section. It showed May and others on a church choir outing, paddling in the sea. They were all holding dresses up to avoid them getting wet and in some cases revealing just a little more than perhaps they intended. May did laugh when she saw it.

At the very end of the front row we see Philip who, along with other members of the family has made many donations to the museum. The ‘Phantasmagoria’ projector, which Rog used to wrap up the show, came from his family, along with many photos.

Also in the front row is Pat. Rog often turns to her when he needs people in photos identified – but then so many locals, in the audience, are helpful to the museum. Rog has what he calls his experts. Arthur, who is somewhere in the audience knows all there is to know about wagons. Philip (a different one) can be relied upon for farm help. We do have a wonderful local community.

This year Rog passed the microphone to Hugh who has a real in depth knowledge of the Saunders family who had a huge impact on the locality, Britain and the world. We can see Hugh in a darkened hall making his contribution.


Hugh passes on his knowledge of the Saunders family

Hugh passes on his knowledge of the Saunders family

Well done Hugh. We thought it was great to hear a different voice able to speak with such authority.

But of course, it wouldn’t be The Miscellany without the Museum Food. Each year our team of volunteers produce a finger buffet composed of items in Museum recipe books. The interval is a major part of the event as people can circulate, chat and enjoy sampling the food on offer. We can only hope there was enough this year for it all seemed to go so well done all those chefs who make such an enjoyable part of the evening.

We at the museum would like to thank all those who made this event such a success.

As the event continues to be so popular we plan another for next year. There’s no fixed date for it as yet. But we will look at early October as a possibility. It will be on a Saturday night since all the weekday nights are booked in the hall.

A major theme of next year’s event will be World War 1 – marking the centenary of the start of that awful conflict.

The Museum Miscellany

September 14, 2013

The day has come. This evening at 7.30 in Market Lavington Community Hall the team will present their mix of photos, talk, sounds and food – all with a local theme. It’s a fantastic fivers worth.

Our men at work section (including women of course)  takes us from the farms of Eastcott through Easterton and Market Lavington and includes builders, publicans, shop workers, demolition – in fact many of the jobs that people do – in this case its local people – it could even be you.

Porters on Lavington Station in the 1950s

Porters on Lavington Station in the 1950s

We’ll do a tour of the villages – mostly photos we haven’t used before – maybe that will include your house, school or place of work. People appear in this too – like this photo at St Barnabas School in the late 1980s.

A performance at St Barnabas School in the 1980s. There are lots of people to recognise there.

A performance at St Barnabas School in the 1980s. There are lots of people to recognise there.

The chances are you won’t see yourself during our piece on the extraordinary Saunders family. They form part of our village history in the nineteenth century – and not just our village. Family members had huge influence right round the world.

In Church and Chapel life we’ll look at the people and how religion influenced social life. Expect to see people performing in theatrical events or just having a knees-up at the seaside.


A Congregational Church outing at Edington

In ‘Sybil Remembers’, we’ll share some of the memories of Sybil Perry who was a pupil at Market Lavington School in the 1920s who, later, became a teacher there.


Sybil and Des Perry in 2005

 We plan to end the evening by showing just a few of our magic lantern slides. These date from about 1860 and were owned by Charles Hitchcock who owned Fiddington Asylum.

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If time permits, which it probably won’t, we’ll share some metal detector items, ‘Found in the Soil’ with you.

And don’t forget the food interval – the high spot of the evening for some.

Lavington Flower Show – 2013

September 2, 2013

At Market Lavington Museum we do like to record the here and now so that future people can have an understanding of how we lived in the early years of the 21st century.

An annual event in Market Lavington is the flower and produce show which is run by a local committee in conjunction with the Lavington Gardening Club. In fact it is two shows in one for there is an open to all section and a section only open to garden club members.

Here are some photos from this year’s show.

image002Liz and Phil are long term local residents but had not exhibited before. Here they discover that even in this fun festival of fruit, flowers and things that don’t begin with F there is paper work to be done. By heck, Liz, those cakes in front of you look good.


Jack, an old hand, is staging exhibits. People in the know will see that the Community Hall is used for this event.


Nick is supporting another new exhibitor, Stephanie, with her craft entries.


Simon is arranging his photos under the Millennium wall hanging.

Exhibitors must have their items in place by 11 in the morning and then there is a lull before judging can commence. There’s a chance to see what Lavington has to offer.


There’s some good looking food there!


2013 hasn’t been a good year for flowers, but there is still some good stuff.

With judging over, Nicki sits at the spreadsheet and works out the winners.


At 2pm the show opens to the public. Exhibitors can look round and see if they have won.


And here’s one that brought a smile to our curator for he got first prize for his fudge.


At 3.30, the prizes are awarded to the section winners – who receive a trophy for the year and a small cash prize.


Clare won the ‘open’ flower section.

Rupert, who really runs the show, was delighted to be able to award himself the trophy for the longest marrow.


There is then a frenetic ten minutes for exhibitors as the entries are removed. Anything remaining will be auctioned.

The show ends with the raffle draw. This is the real financial support for the show. Pat has sat patiently at her raffle table all day.


Well done Pat – the show relies on your work. Our photographer has caught you deep in thought but your smiling face is really the show winner.

The Museum Miscellany – 2013

August 13, 2013

On September 14th, The Community Hall in Market Lavington will be the venue for our fourth annual Museum Miscellany. This year’s topics will include people at work

Bessie Gye at work in Market Lavington

Bessie Gye at work in Market Lavington

Here we see Bessie Gye as a butcher’s van driver

There will be a section called ‘In the Soil’ and this features metal detector finds in the parish.

13th century penny found in Market Lavington

13th century penny found in Market Lavington

This is a Scottish silver penny from the 1280s.

We’ll feature church and chapel life

Plaque on the former Congregational Chapel, Market Lavington

Plaque on the former Congregational Chapel, Market Lavington

There will be a photo tour of the villages


Our venue under construction

All this and more and, of course, our famous food made from recipe books we have in the museum. Maybe, this year, we’ll have Uncle Walter James’s fruit cake.


We hope to show some of our wonderful collection of magic lantern slides as well – a kind of Victorian horror show.

The event starts at 7.30 pm and admission is still just a fiver. Tickets are on sale in Market Lavington Post Office.

Stan and Elsie Cooper – brother and sister

February 3, 2013

Here we have a photo which was taken at the Coronation celebrations 60 years ago in 1953.

Elsie Cooper (in wheel chair, and her brother Stan next to her at the Market Lavington Coronation celebrations in 1953.

Elsie Cooper (in wheel chair) and her brother Stan next to her at the Market Lavington Coronation celebrations in 1953.

Elsie Cooper is in her wheelchair sitting next to brother, Stan. The location of the photo is the football field at the top of Northbrook.

We’d like to use this post to tell you how we try to find out more about people. First of all we try to get some estimate of the age of the people in the photo. This is often quite hard in post war pictures for people tended to look old and careworn. One of the things we’d like to decide with regard to the Coopers was whether they were born before or after 1911. We’d like to be able to locate them on a census if possible for then we can discover who the parents were. For them to be on that census they’d need to be over 42 on the photo.

Next we can turn to that sad document, the burial register for St Mary’s Market Lavington.  Here we find that an Elsie Cooper was buried in 1964, aged 67. A Stan Cooper was buried in 1997, aged 83. If these are the right people we can probably make a start by using the censuses for Elsie.

Result! On the 1901 census Elsie May Cooper is the 5 year old daughter of John and Elizabeth Cooper. They lived in The Market Place and John was a blacksmith.

We can now use the wonderful FreeBMD website to locate a possible marriage between a John Cooper and an Elizabeth and again, we get a result in the shape of a marriage between John and Elizabeth Hoare in 1896. The same site can let us search for children born to a Cooper with a wife’s maiden name of Hoare – but only after 1911 (the records don’t have the maiden name before then) and again we get a result in that Stanley H Cooper was born to the couple in 1913. I also note that a Lawrie Cooper was born to the same parents in 1915 and that’s grand since the person who gave the photo is a descendant of Lawrie.

We’ve had luck, and we all need that, but we could now sort out a whole family tree should we want to.

More on Easterton Fire Brigade

January 13, 2013

Some readers may recall that on January 1st 2013 we showed a picture of ‘Easterton Fire Brigade’. It was clearly some kind of carnival item but we had no idea when or why or who was involved.

A blog comment suggested it was after World War 1 to judge from the souvenir helmets some of the men wore.

But now we have much more information along with a second picture of the same ‘Easterton Fire Brigade’.

A pretend Easterton Fire Brigade at the celebrations for the Coronation of King George VI

A pretend Easterton Fire Brigade at the celebrations for the Coronation of King George VI

This picture was made into a postcard so it has a caption which gives us a date.

The postcard caption

The postcard caption

So, the ‘New Engine and Brigade’ were a creation for the Coronation Carnival of 1937’

This picture is taken from the other side of the ‘appliance’. We see that the hon. Sec. of the brigade was a rather dubious character

I Doubtem was said to be the Hon. Secretary

I Doubtem was said to be the Hon. Secretary

Our donor for this picture tells us that he was led to believe that the driver was his Uncle Jack – Arthur John Spencer. He’d have lived and farmed at Halstead Farm on Easterton High Street at the time.

The other men are still not known and maybe we’ll struggle to identify them under the false whiskers. But once again, we’ll try. Can you name these men? Of course we now know the photo dates from 1937.



Can you name any of the men?

Can you name any of the men?

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.