Posts Tagged ‘childhood’

Kemmel Poolman takes a bride

April 27, 2016

Well, not really, for both Kemmel and his bride in this photo are little children.

Kemmel Poolman and Bess Gye in about 1925

Kemmel Poolman and Bess Gye in about 1925

Kemmel, obviously, is on our left and looks every bit the gentleman. He has been made up so well and clothed to perfection. Kemmel was born in 1918 so we place the photo at about 1925.

The caption on the back of the photo gives the bride as Bess. This would have been Bessie Gye – the same person as received the card of the shop in Easterton that we featured a couple of days ago.

Bess was born in 1917. She, too, has been beautifully dressed.

We don’t know the occasion but our best guess is that they were in fancy dress for a Hospital Week event.

What an utterly charming image.


Edward and Susan

March 28, 2016

A Tale of Two Teddies


‘Hello! We’re Edward and Susan. Nearly 100 years ago a little girl called Peggy used to play with us. Later, Peggy founded this museum which has given us a permanent home’.

So reads the label describing these two lovely and much loved Teddy Bears at Market Lavington Museum.

Edward and Susan have recently been given to us and sad to say, at the moment we don’t actually know which is which.

We think they are delightful. Three out of four eyes have been replaced with buttons. One ear is a piece of non-matching corduroy. Feet have clearly worn out. All this, thankfully, probably means they are bears of very little value. To us they tell a tale of a child’s love for her bears making them so much better than items in pristine condition.

No doubt Peggy’s children and grandchildren enjoyed the bears as well. And now the good folks who visit the museum can enjoy them in our low level display on childhood.

Edward and Susan are so pleased you have looked at this page.


January 23, 2016

It’s another ‘under the floorboards’ item today, once again found at renovation work at 21 Church Street. There’s no doubt as to what this is. It is a thimble.

Thimble found at 21 Church Street, Market Lavington

Thimble found at 21 Church Street, Market Lavington

Clearly it is a little battered and misshapen but there is no doubt as to its purpose. This was worn on a finger and used to push a needle through fabric when sewing.


It has no maker’s mark – in fact nothing really to help date it at all.

What is not clear in the photos above is that this thimble is the tiniest little one you ever saw. Here it is perched on our curator’s little finger.

This thimble is tiny

This thimble is tiny

This thimble has an opening diameter of just about a centimetre. It is less than 2 centimetres tall.

Clearly it was intended for use by a child, and in the sexist days of the past, that means a girl. We think it would have been really quite a young girl.

Do we have a thimble expert who could tell us any more?

Peggy and Tony

May 8, 2015

Some of you may be following the Jack Welch Diaries – our museum blog about Jack’s service in World War One, 100 years after the event and written in Jack’s own words, either in his diary or in the more substantial letters home.

Jack was born and raised in Market Lavington and after the war he settled here again and raised his own children, Peggy and Tony in the village.

Peggy later married Tom Gye and is well known as the founder of our museum. We owe a huge debt to Peggy and so do you, the reader. Without her there would be no museum and no museum blog. Peggy herself was never a computer user but we reckon she’d be thrilled to know that her work now reaches a worldwide audience. We know that in the last thirty days people in 57 different countries of the world have accessed this blog. Yes, Peggy would be delighted with that.

And we were delighted when we were given another photo of Peggy recently, this time with her little brother, Tony. The photo has a bit of damage, but the important areas are fine.

Peggy and Tony Welch in about 1926

Peggy and Tony Welch in about 1926

We estimate this photo as dating from about 1925/26 and we are fairly confident the location is the garden at Spring Villa.

The owners of the original actually had not recognised the people and had no particular connection with the Welch family. They did not know why they had this particular photo.

We are always pleased to see photos of our founder, albeit this is 60 years before the museum opened its doors.


April 8, 2015

Many of the items we have at Market Lavington Museum are connected with childhood so this year we have organised a child level shelf in the entrance room to portray artefacts connected with childhood in times past.

It is behind glass and hard to photograph!

Childhood display at Market Lavington Museum for the 2015 season

Childhood display at Market Lavington Museum for the 2015 season

This display has a mix of toys and games which may have been used in homes along with school based items.

Children and adults alike will enjoy seeing reminders of things they once knew or that parents and grandparents once used. All items have simple labels to explain them and if you want to know more then ask the museum steward who is on duty to help you.

Other childhood items, from a doll’s house to christening robes, will be found elsewhere in the museum.

Even if you are a regular visitor to the museum there are plenty of new items and displays this year so do visit soon.

Peggy and Rufus

July 1, 2014


Today we have another picture of Peggy Welch – recently given to us. In this photo she is not alone. She has a friend called Rufus with her.

Peggy Welch and the dog Rufus in 1926

Peggy Welch and the dog Rufus in 1926

Rufus, as we now see, was a dog. This photo dates from 1926 when Peggy was four or five.

Bearing in mind that old rule about not working with children or animals, the photographer has done well for both girl and dog are paying attention to the camera man.

We believe this photo was taken in the garden of Spring Villa for that was a Welch owned property and, whilst Peggy had been born in neighbouring Meadow Cottage, the family did move into Spring Villa.

Baby’s Friend

June 3, 2014

Baby’s Friend? That’s an interesting title and name for an object which may have been responsible for illness amongst babies.

It was the trade name of a baby’s drinking bottle and we have one of them in Market Lavington Museum.

Baby's Friend - a late 19th century feeding bottle at Market Lavington  Museum

Baby’s Friend – a late 19th century feeding bottle at Market Lavington Museum

This is the bottle. As ever, glass items can be hard to photograph.

The stopper comes out and a rubber teat could be fitted instead.

With stopper removed

With stopper removed

Embossed writing on the bottle

Embossed writing on the bottle

There’s the legend, embossed on one side – Baby’s Friend and improved feeding bottle.

This item dates from the late 19th century when it was hard to keep the rubber teat germ free and this was a frequent cause of tummy upsets for baby.

The King thanks the Children

January 30, 2014

2014 may mark the centenary of the start of World War One, but at Market Lavington Museum we have just received a document which relates to the Second World War. Market Lavington and Easterton children were, in common with all children in the country, given a personal letter from the King on Victory Celebration Day – May 8th 1946. No doubt thousands of these letters have survived but we are now pleased to have one given by a lifelong Market Lavington resident. The letter is on card and has punched holes at the top so that it can easily be hung on a wall.

Letter of thanks from George VI to a Market Lavington child in 1946

Letter of thanks from George VI to a Market Lavington child in 1946

The King is thanking all of the children for sacrifices they had to make during the conflict. He hopes that they will be able to grow up as good citizens, working for unity amongst the peoples of the world.

The back of the letter has a Second World War timeline and space for a child to write in their own family’s war record.

The reverse of the letter has a war time line

The reverse of the letter has a war time line

Thanks, Faith, for this interesting record. No doubt other people will recall that they had one of these letters as well.

Broadwell in the 1950s

December 27, 2013

Broadwell – always pronounced by locals as two distinct words with an emphasis on ‘well’ – was the main water supply for Market Lavington. As late as the 1930s people came down to the spring with their bucket to collect the wholesome water which flowed out from the downs there.  Some people continued to use this source as their water supply until after World War II, believing it to be better than water piped to houses.

But it was also always a playground for children. Youngsters, it seems, only have to look at a stream to start pondering on how to build a little dam across it. Youngsters also love paddling, playing with boats or even playing the game invented by A A Milne of Pooh Sticks.

Our photo today shows Broadwell in the 1950s with some youngsters who are just messing about in or by the water.

A 1950s view of Broadwell, White Street, Market Lavington

A 1950s view of Broadwell, White Street, Market Lavington

The scene is recognisably the same now although there have been many changes. The upper pond is no longer fenced. It used to be to ensure humans could get clean water from there whilst animals had to get their vital liquid from points below that fenced area.

The little wood, fenced off by palings, was felled in the 1960s, apparently it was deemed unsafe. A young children’s play area was constructed, very much with a 1960s space age theme. That play area, devoid of safety precautions has been replaced by the present one.

The little concrete footbridge in the foreground had been built as an alternative to the ford where the nearer group of boys are playing. It is still there.

The big change, though, is that these days the area is a car park and normally has a goodly collection of vehicles in that area to the left of the water.

It’s a charming scene, redolent of that age of innocence, when children were allowed to be young and to have a bit of their own fun.

An early scouting photo

August 26, 2013

Baden Powell published his ‘Scouting for Boys’ in 1908. The response was immediate. Scouting groups were formed rapidly in this country and abroad.

In Market Lavington, so far as we know, the first group was started by Helen Awdry. We do not know if this was Margret Helen Awdry, wife of Charles who owned the Manor House or their daughter, Helen Elizabeth.

At the time of our photograph in 1914 Margaret Helen was a widow, approaching 70 years old so perhaps it was the daughter, Helen Elizabeth who would have been about 25.

Scouts in the grounds of Market Lavington Manor in 1914

Scouts in the grounds of Market Lavington Manor in 1914

This is certainly not the best photo you ever saw but here we have the earliest known photo of Market Lavington Scouts. The tall fair haired lad, third from left is the only one we have named. He’s Jim Phillips who, later, became groom to the Awdry family. We have no further information about him.

As ever, we’d love to know more. Do get in touch with any scouting information from Market Lavington or Easterton.