Posts Tagged ‘Clothing’

A nightdress case

August 20, 2016

Once upon a time all ladies kept nighties in a little ‘case’ and this is one of them.

Nightdress case at Market Lavington Museum

Nightdress case at Market Lavington Museum

Such items gave an opportunity to show off the needlewoman’s craft so often had a variety of styles of work.

This one is in linen with a lace border. A crocheted circle design has been applied to the centre and a purple ribbon has been threaded through. We don’t have a date for this nightie case but it belonged to a White Street (Market Lavington) lady.


Bath Electric Tramways

July 18, 2016

This button was found in a garden at the Easterton end of Market Lavington High Street.

Button front. It says BETL

Button front. It says BETL

At first sight it appears to say BELL on it but the two end letters are not the same so we put our thinking caps on and believe it says BETL – Bath Electric Tramways Limited.

The back has a button manufacturers name on it.


Made by Wathen Gardiner and Co

The button was made by Wathen Gardiner and Co.

It definitely is a Bath Electric Tramways Ltd button.

Fred Sayer, who became the owner of Lavington and Devizes Motor Services, had been a driver for Bath Electric Tramways who operated motor buses as well as trams. This button was actually found in a garden which the Sayer’s owned although we don’t think they lived there. Just maybe it was Fred who lost this button.

Take a look at the British Tramway Company Badges and Buttons site to see a good condition version of this button by clicking here.


A shawl

February 22, 2016

Imagine the 1920s – the era of the flapper. It was the time when young ladies wore short dresses displaying their knees. Sometimes they added flowing accessories one of which caused the death of dancer Isadora Duncan when it got caught in a car wheel. This shawl falls into that category.

1920s silk shawl known to have been worn in Market Lavington

1920s silk shawl known to have been worn in Market Lavington

This is made of blue silk and has been embroidered with oriental flowers. Around the edge the silk continues into a long, flowing fringe.

The donor of this item remembers it being worn and one imagines it cut quite a dash in Market Lavington.

Settle down or settle up?

April 15, 2015

How strange words in the English language can be. Settling down and settling up ought to have entirely opposite meanings, but as far as we know the meanings are entirely different with no link between them.

However, during our closed season we have taken all the display on our circa 1800 settle down and have now put up a new display on the same settle.

A fresh settle display for 2015

A fresh settle display for 2015

At the left hand end a bride is ready to depart. She’s wearing a 1920s wedding dress. Her two maids are taking a breather with her, wearing appropriate period aprons. Other items, possibly recently worn by household members have been hung on the settle prior to being put away. Perhaps the bride has decided the necklace is a bit chunky for her wedding dress.

Just out of shot, the bride’s niece is in the pram. She’s in a family heirloom Christening gown for there is to be a joint ceremony.

At least they all have a very short walk to the church!

Do visit in 2015 to see what’s new at Market Lavington Museum. Remember, admission is free although we welcome donations to help us with running costs.

A petticoat parade

April 11, 2015


Undergarments seem to be a feature of our clothes collection. Of course, the museum effectively began with two pairs of Victorian knickers which Peggy Gye acquired when they didn’t sell in a village jumble sale. They were on display last year and this year they have returned to storage. But instead, this year, we have a petticoat parade.

Petticoat parade - a 2015 display at Market Lavington Museum

Petticoat parade – a 2015 display at Market Lavington Museum

As regular visitors will see, these petticoats are hanging on the clothes airer which hangs over the kitchen table. They date from either side of the start of the 20th century and we can see that they are elaborately decorated.

We may think of these items as being girls’ clothing but we should remember that into the twentieth century, baby boys wore what appeared to be skirts or dresses. One of these petticoats is documented as being ‘for a boy’.

The next photo is not a part of the museum for it is a relative of our curator and was taken in East Sussex in about 1908.

Frank is not wearing anything unusual for a young boy in the early years of the 20th century

Frank is not wearing anything unusual for a young boy in the early years of the 20th century

This is a boy. His name was Frank and he was every bit a man when our curator knew him. But as a little chap he was wearing the kind of clothing we see on our airer this year.

A new item of clothing at the museum

February 5, 2015

We have quite an extensive collection of clothing and accessories at the museum but it is quite rare for new items of historic clothing to be given to us. This blog post is, in part,  an appeal for more – of the right kind.

But first the new item. It is a Victorian aged christening mantle and it belonged to the Williams family in Easterton and was certainly used as recently as the 1960s as well as in earlier times.

Victorian Christening mantle at Market Lavington Museum

Victorian christening mantle at Market Lavington Museum

This is a substantial item – big enough and heavy enough to keep a baby in place and warm enough. An overall view hides the detail.

Embroidered decoration on the mantle

Embroidered decoration on the mantle

The mantle is heavily and intricately embroidered with plant motifs. The member of the Williams family who passed this to the museum is an embroiderer by trade and he was able to assure us that this was machine embroidery.

The mantle is trimmed with lace.

Lace trimming

Lace trimming

This is also machine made.

So there we have a lovely addition to our museum.

And what kind of clothes might we like to have examples of at the museum? Well first and foremost they must have a real and definite link with Market Lavington or Easterton. We would value complete period outfits for adults and of course, the period could begin to be quite modern. We have nothing to truly represent the 1960s – and they were now 50 years ago. We can all be amused looking at those flared trousers of the 70s – in photographs. We have nothing from that era for real. Really it is clothing from the last 100 years that would fill gaps in our collection – but please don’t all rush at once.


January 16, 2015

What’s this? Are we seeking more rather random hits on this blog by displaying lady’s knickers? The answer to that is an emphatic ‘no’.  The knickers in question are on display on a clothes airer in our kitchen (that’s subject to change for we get different clothes out each year) and thus they have absolutely no contents.

1950s artificial silk knickers on display at Market Lavington Museum

1950s artificial silk knickers on display at Market Lavington Museum

This pair of knickers dates from around 1950 and they are made of artificial silk. This fibre name covered quite a multitude of actual substances. It could mean rayon, made from wood pulp or something wholly synthetic – even just plain nylon. We do not believe these knickers are nylon.

They certainly look to be capacious and roomy – certainly not at all figure hugging. The lady who wore this item of clothing would now be about 90 so maybe such knickers will bring back memories for older readers of this blog.

And apologies if you arrived here hoping for something a bit salacious. That just isn’t going to happen.

Mary wears contrary clothing

April 30, 2014
Mary is dressed for the occasion at Market Lavington Museum

Mary is dressed for the occasion at Market Lavington Museum

This doll – we call her Mary – is one of two youngsters making use of our venerable pram/pushchair. This is a venerable vehicle, but today we concentrate on Mary and what she is wearing. She is part of our mixed display this year called ‘dressed for the occasion’. We have varied clothes from different historic periods that might have been worn on some of those special occasions. Mary has assorted ‘Sunday Best’ clothes on.

We can’t see much of her dress but we believe it is a best dress, made of white lawn and dating from the 1880s or 90s.

The coat that Mary is wearing covers most of the dress. The coat is in flannel with lace at the cuffs and round the square neckline. But the most notable feature is the lovely blue embroidery. Surely any little girl would have been proud to wear this coat. It dates from about 1890.

It is the white bonnet that has a different date. It is in very pale blue, so is a good colour match for the coat, but it is twenty years newer – dating from about 1910.

You can come and meet Mary and the rest of our dressed people by visiting the upstairs room at the museum.

A Straw Boater

December 23, 2013

It may be the bleak mid-winter – a time when we think more of wearing warm coats, scarfs and gloves, but we can look forward to better climes in the new year, or look back to those enjoyed in the past.

In this case we are looking back more than 100 years and perhaps we can imagine a trip out for a picnic and relaxing, on a warm summer’s day by a lake or a river. Or maybe we can imagine a smart young man, sitting near the boundary of a cricket ground and hoping to impress his young lady when it is his turn to bat. What we are looking at is a hat of the Edwardian era, although of a style which stayed in use for much longer. Our batsman will need to change headwear before heading for the crease, for the hat is a straw boater.


This hat dates from the Edwardian era and is a standard straw boater with an elegant black ribbon to set it off. It was made by Tress and Co. They were very well known hatters based in Southwark, London.

The hat belonged to the Gye family. It could well have been a hat worn by Tom Gye’s father. He would have been around 15 when the twentieth century began.

Hat Pins

October 4, 2013

The writer of this blog is male and that may explain lack of knowledge of hat pins. Do people still use them? Where can you buy them? Such questions I just can’t answer.

Our archivist recalls that her granny was always fussing with hat pins but added, ‘I’ve never used them myself’.

Here are some we have at Market Lavington Museum. Elegance, like beauty, is probably in the eye of the beholder, but these certainly have an elegant look.

1930s hat pins at Market Lavington Museum

1930s hat pins at Market Lavington Museum

Let’s straight away dismiss any idea that these are classy items. They are made of steel and probably come in at the cheaper end of the hat pin price range.

They date from the 1930s and were purchased from a Market Lavington shop. It is annoying that our records don’t specify the shop. It may well have been Walton’s or a successor.

The two pins with the oblique cylindrical heads have a definite art-deco look to them, as befits their age. Of the other two, this one


is described as ‘thistle head’.

This one


is in beehive style.

They are such delightful items it seems a shame if things like it aren’t much used any more.