Posts Tagged ‘Church Street’

A view from the Volley

August 24, 2016

The old Volunteer Arms was known as ‘The Volley’. It was on Church Street, close to the crossroads. In fact a present day view would still show the bracket that the pub sign used to hang from.

We have recently been given a large collection of photos of people and events at this former pub which closed some thirty or so years ago. This one, however, was a record of history about to pass taken by an unknown photographer from the Volley’s porch.

View of Reid's house from the old Volunteer Arms in about 1977

View of Reid’s house from the old Volunteer Arms in about 1977

Like many a colour print of its era, it has a red hue. Modern technology makes it easy to make changes and our curator reckons the colour rendition below looks better but he emphasises that colour decisions are often subjective and others might disagree with him.


The red hue is toned down a bit

The back of this photo is captioned, Mr Reid’s before alteration. Sadly no year is given but we think it is about 1977. The car in the garage is an original ‘C’ registration which dates it to 1965 but it doesn’t look to be in the first flush of youth.

Mr Reid’s house had come to him from his wife’s family. These were the Merritts and photos dating from 1910 show this as a bicycle shop. As time moved on the shop started to serve the needs of motorists and had pumps for petrol. These can be seen clearly in the photo.

Showing the petrol pumps

Showing the petrol pumps

By this time the building was no longer a shop and the pumps had long been out of use and it was time for them to go. It is good to have the reminder – and in colour as well.

This is the same building in the 21st century – clearly after the alterations.

The house today

The house today



A Patrick Manley pencil sketch

June 28, 2016

Patrick was well known, amongst other things, for sketches he made around Market Lavington around the end of the twentieth century. This one is certainly unusual in its view.

A Patrick Manley sketch of Market Lavington

A Patrick Manley sketch of Market Lavington

This is a framed picture we were recently given. It is behind glass and so is hard to photograph. Patrick has vignetted it by letting the image fade away to the bottom and right.

This sketch dates from 1997

This sketch dates from 1997

This view dates from March/April 1997.

Patrick’s viewpoint was probably the bottom of the courtyard at the museum building. Trees and shrubs have grown up which makes it hard to find the view today.


Similar view in June 2016

This photo shows the window on the old school building which is visible on Patrick’s drawing but the rest is local greenery.

The viewpoint for Patrick would have been a little further to the left, but that area offered no view at all now. Back in 1997 he could see houses on both sides of Church Street.

It’s a lovely picture. Thanks go to the late Patrick Manley for capturing this little known corner of the village and to the donors who gave it to the museum.


Church Street – framed

May 28, 2016

This framed photo was recently donated to the museum. We did have an original postcard of this view which we featured back in 2013. The enlarged one is easier for folks to see. We think this dates from around 1905.

Framed photo of Church Street - about 1905

Framed photo of Church Street – about 1905

This is Church Street, looking towards the crossroads. It has all the hallmarks of an Alf Burgess photograph.

Despite being behind glass we were able to get a relatively reflection free straight on photo.

Just the image

Just the image

The middle of the photo is dominated by a donkey cart. We believe, from what Peggy Gye always said, that this was Billy Davis. He operated as a rag and bone man in the area, collecting what was essentially rubbish and scratching a living by selling it on.

Down at the far end we can see Mr Walton’s shop. The large writing, were we able to see all of it, would say, ‘Lavington Supply Store’.

A handy bicycle is more or less outside what was Mr Merritt’s cycle store. A lady with another bike is just to the right of Billy Davis outside the building which at one time was Potter’s Store, later a Spar Shop and Mr Dempsey’s shop before becoming a private house.

This can’t have been a school day. The street seems to be filled with children. It is another lovely image.

Church Street in the 1930s

March 13, 2016

If an excuse was needed for showing this picture it is that it has a clear ‘Volunteer Arms’ pub sign on the right. This year we will have a display about pubs in Market Lavington and Easterton – past and present.

Church Street in the 1930s

Church Street in the 1930s

Actually, there is a second pub in this image for The New Inn is way down the street on the left hand side. Both pubs have closed now.

There are other points of interest. Let’s zoom in.

We have the old school sign in the shape of a torch of learning. Market Lavington School (now The Old School) was on the right hand side.

School sign and petrol station

School sign and petrol station


The shop on the left was, at that time Mr Potter’s store. It was one of several grocery shops operating in Market Lavington.

Beyond that was Mr Merritt’s Cycle Depot – half the sign can be seen. The business clearly did well for we see two bicycles in shot but a Shell sign indicates that petrol was on offer as well.

Cyclist and New Inn as well as the Light House

Cyclist and New Inn as well as the Light House

Further down the street we see another cyclist. We can also see the sign for The New Inn which, later, became The Drummer Boy. We’d love to be able to read a sign on the right. This was where a branch of the Hopkins family had once produced acetylene gas for lighting. Maybe the sign was still offering the gas. The premises were known as ‘The Light House’.

What a lovely snapshot of life some 80 or so years ago.


An Owen Carter watercolour

February 10, 2016

Sadly we don’t have the original of this painting, just a photo of it. It’s a watercolour by Owen Carter painted in 1850 and it depicts Church Street.

Church Street in 1850 - from a watercolour by Owen Carter

Church Street in 1850 – from a watercolour by Owen Carter

Although there are many changes, the scene is instantly recognisable. It looks as though children are just tumbling out of the school gate with the church above them. There is still a ledge between the path up to the church and the track which used to lead to Grove Farm and now serves as a footpath to the Community Hall. There are still trees, now pollarded, on that ledge. The ledge has been neatened with steps put in.

Interesting that Owen just got in the sign for the New Inn.

The biggest changes are in the V between the main road and that track to Grove Farm. Let’s take a look at a 21st century image.

Similar 21st century view

Similar 21st century view

This Streetview image isn’t identical. We can see the ledge but the slightly overgrown trees hide the church and the Old School gate. There is still a pub sign in this picture which gives the name the pub took from the 1970s of The Drummer Boy. That pub is now closed.

The little bier house now stands in that V and a plethora of cottages have gone leaving just Church Cottage (which would have been a terrace of three in Owen Carter’s time.)

One of the displays we are creating for the 1916 season concerns pubs past and present. There have been many in Market Lavington and a couple in Easterton. Now we have one in each village.

A Mystery object

January 21, 2016

Or a mystery solved

Once again we draw attention to one of our favourite websites. This is ‘Under the Floorboards’ and can be found at We use it to introduce an item found under a Market Lavington set of floorboards.

The floorboards concerned are at 21 Church Street. This is an interesting building having been the HQ of Price’s horse coach in the mid nineteenth century and the HQ of builders and merchants called Hopkins in the 20th century, before becoming just another private house. It is being renovated at the moment and a number of items have been found under floorboards. This is one of them.

Small metallic object - but is it a spinning top?

Small metallic object – but is it a spinning top?

Of course, it can be hard to judge size with just a photo, but this object is small and is seen here resting on our curator’s little finger.


It would seem to be made of lead.

This was given to the museum at a regular get together known as ‘The Casual Cuppa’ which takes place at the village’s community run coffee shop known as Saint Arbucks.

A group including our curator, archivist, a couple of stewards, one of our older long-time residents plus others discussed this item.

Some became convinced it was a miniature spinning top and even proved it by spinning it and you can click here to see a very brief film of the item spinning.

Later, a search of the web for spinning tops revealed nothing like it so we threw the ‘what is it?’ problem to our wider museum community and rapidly had the suggestion that it could be an air gun pellet.

But other experts, made aware of its calibre, felt this was actually a fire arm bullet. We even got some suggested dates which point to it being around the end of the 19th century. But this is not confirmed

That would appear to be the truth – unless you know different. But we’d still like to get a verified date on it, of course.


At the Lighthouse

May 28, 2015

What! Has Market Lavington, in the middle of landlocked Wiltshire got a lighthouse? Well of course, it all depends on what you mean by a lighthouse. If you mean a tall tower with a flashing lamp at the top used as an aid to shipping, then of course it hasn’t got one. What it has got is a house and works where acetylene was once made. The Hopkins brothers who owned this business called their property ‘The Lighthouse’. Of course, acetylene was made as a fuel for producing a bright light.

We have come across the business before (click here). But this picture of the premises has not been seen on this blog before.

The Lighthouse, Market Lavington in the 1920s

The Lighthouse, Market Lavington in the 1920s

The building we see is on Church Street. The roof we see at the right hand edge is on an outbuilding at the former pub, the Volunteer Arms. We are looking at numbers ten and eight.

The man in the photo, possibly one of the Hopkins brothers, is standing under a sign which tells us what the business was.


There’s enough to see quite clearly that we have acetylene gas engineers.

There was a time when the gas was piped around the village but we believe that finished in the 1930s.

In black and white photos these buildings, now domestic houses, look to have a pronounced pattern in the brickwork. Modern day photos show there are different coloured bricks used but it is a lot less striking.


Anne’s Cottage

March 7, 2015

Back in 2011 we were given some photos of members of the Crassweller family by a lady called Jan. One of the photos she gave us was actually a street view and that’s what we are looking at today.

Church Street, Market Lavington

Church Street, Market Lavington

This is Church Street. In fact the church would have been to the right of the photographer as the image was taken. The blue X clearly marks the spot. This was Anne’s Cottage where Mrs Eleanor Phillips lived. She was a Crassweller by birth.

We can’t be certain, but we suspect the cottage name was given by Mrs Phillips. She and her husband, Fred had previously been at Anne’s Farm above Northbrook where Fred had been a chicken farmer. We think Eleanor took the name when she moved after her husband’s all too early death.

Let’s move to the right hand side of the road where we can see some iron railings and the corner of a roof. That roof is on the bier house where the elegant trolley for moving coffins up to the church is kept.

At the extreme left of the photo we have a beer house. In those days it would have been called The New Inn but an inn has overnight accommodation and when that ceased at this establishment the name was changed to The Drummer Boy. The pub closed in 2014.

Just beyond Anne’s Cottage is a house called Platencia. This was once the home of a pair of Hiscock ladies. At the time of writing this building is being gutted and renovated.

At the far end of that apparent terrace, sideways on to the road is Spring Villa, childhood home of our museum founder, Peggy Gye.

We have no date for the photo but we note an absence of vehicles and television aerials so we date it to before 1953. It was the Queen’s coronation that persuaded people to purchase their first TV set. The area hasn’t changed much as this similar shot shows.


Anne’s Cottage has the white fronted ground floor.

Eleanor had some of life’s setbacks to cope with. Her only child died in infancy and she was a widow in her 30s. She threw herself into village life and was obviously much loved by nephews and nieces.

The General Election

February 4, 2015

It’s a bit sad that so many people are utterly disillusioned with party politics. Interestingly, it wasn’t always so. Back in 1910 the election appears to have been fought on the streets – certainly in Market Lavington.

Election parade in support of the Conservative candidate - Market Lavington in 1910

Election parade in support of the Conservative candidate – Market Lavington in 1910

This is Church Street and this view is obviously the same occasion as one shown by us back in 2010. Click here to see it.

The picture is taken outside what was Mr Godfrey’s butchers shop. Soon after this passed to Mr Pike who had it for many years. The little strip of building on the left became Potter’s Stores and to the right of Mr Godfrey’s shop was the Merritt’s cycle shop which later became Mr Reid’s garage.

Banners are interesting. The clear ones just say Vote for Peto and Mr Peto was, indeed, elected. One of the banners seems to be featuring ‘German Bread’.

The threat of German black bread if you vote the wrong way!

The threat of German black bread if you vote the wrong way!

The cheaper loaf shown is called Berlin Black Bread. It seems that one side threatened the populace that if they voted the wrong way they’d have to eat German black bread along with horse and dog meat sausages. It also seems that the campaign backfired when it was revealed that the king preferred black bread with its rye content and that many people felt it was healthier than the English white loaf.

Basil Peto won the seat for the Conservative Party. However, the wall of the Merritt’s shop clearly displays a liberal poster.

A Vote liberal poster was visible behind the rally

A Vote liberal poster was visible behind the rally. The liberal party formed the government after this election

How much interest will the 2015 election generate in our area? Probably very little but we can expect that the local electorate will vote in force.

There’s little doubt that elections mattered back then, albeit only the men over 21 could vote.

Mr Dempsey’s shop

February 1, 2015

Mr Dempsey had a shop on Church Street into the 1980s – and here it is.

Mr Dempsey's shop on Church Street, Market Lavington - 1980s

Mr Dempsey’s shop on Church Street, Market Lavington – 1980s

Let’s position this shop, for it is no longer there as a shop. Actually, it is quite hard to define its place. People who have been in the village a long time might say things like, ‘next to Peter Francis’s photography shop’ or ‘opposite the Volunteer Arms’. But these will mean nothing to newer residents.

The building on the right (and that was clearly a shop back then) still looks the same. Mr Dempsey’s shop is on the south side of Church Street 30 yards or so from the crossroads.

It is a much altered building. Back in Edwardian days it looked like this.

In Edwardian times the same building still looked like a chapel

In Edwardian times the same building still looked like a chapel

It was still betraying its chapel origins.

Older residents tend to refer to the shop as Potter’s store.


Mr Potter had the building as a shop in the 1950s


The old school ‘torch’ sign adds interest to this image as does Mr Reid’s garage selling Cleveland petrol across the pavement.

By the 1970s the shop had become a Spar

It was a Spar shop in the 70s

It was a Spar shop in the 70s


The shop next door was in a sorry state and was subsequently rebuilt as in the Dempsey photo. Petrol pumps were still by the old garage but we don’t believe they were still in use at that time.

Mr Dempsey was the last shop keeper here and if we look back at his picture we’ll see that he sold fruit and veg as well as being a general store. After he left, the building reverted to being a private house.

The building has reverted to a private house - a 21st century image

The building has reverted to a private house – a 21st century image

And there it is with a hanging basket on each corner.