Posts Tagged ‘cooper’

Granny Cooper

November 12, 2015

Florence Cooper was known by a wide family as Granny Cooper – even to people for whom she was not, strictly, the grandmother. Our photo shows her near her home which was one of the old houses in the Market Place. These were demolished in the late 1950s.

Florence Cooper (née Moore) outside her Market Place home

Florence Cooper (née Moore) outside her Market Place home – probably early 1950s

We think this photo was in an area which had been called St James’ Square. Possibly, the building facing us, at the back of the alley, is actually the back of the Co-op. But we’d welcome further information on this for the only other picture we have which we think shows the same area is actually of the buildings being demolished.

Florence was born Florence Moore in Easterton. She was the daughter of Samuel Moore of the jam factory. She had been born in 1890 and was the first born of Samuel and his first wife, Bertha.

Florence married Walter Cooper in 1912. He’d have been a gardener at the time, living with parents in Northbrook.

We can see that the couple lived at Market Place in the various electoral rolls we have for the 1920s and 30s.

Walter died in 1948. Florence followed him in 1966.


Wedding of Mary Ethel Cooper and William Blake

October 29, 2014

We have recently been given copies of three photos of the wedding of William and Ethel (as she was known). The wedding took place in 1920. One of the pictures, with the largest group of guests we have seen before and you can click here to see it.

Today we’ll look at a smaller group and ponder on who the people might be.

Wedding of Bill Blake and Ethel Cooper - Market Lavington - 1920

Wedding of Bill Blake and Ethel Cooper – Market Lavington – 1920

The location is clear here. It is taken outside Number 2 Parsonage Lane which was the home of the Cooper family. We know the bride and groom and we also know that the young bridesmaid was a niece of the groom. We do not know who the other bridesmaids were.

But perhaps we are most interested in the two older men. We guess they are the fathers of bride and groom – but which is which. The one on the right looks utterly fed up with the whole business. If he is Jacob Bolter Cooper, father of the bride, he’d have been about 80 by then. That was a good old age back in 1920. He may well have had enough. John Blake, father of the groom was around 70. The mothers of both parties to the marriage were already deceased.

So, once again, we appeal for help in identifying, particularly the two men.

A lunch basket

July 29, 2014

What we look at today is an elegant little basket, designed to carry lunch for one person who may have been working out in the fields. Our basket shows some of the ravages of time, but apart from having gone a bit squiffy, it is remarkably good.

We think this is a delightful item, right down to the stub end of pencil which now makes the closing pin.

lunch basket made by Alf Mullings of Market Lavington in the early 20th century

Lunch basket made by Alf Mullings of Market Lavington in the early 20th century

This is a basket made by Mullings of Market Lavington in the early years of the twentieth century so it is over 100 years old. We believe that the basket would have been made by Alf Mullings. His father, William was a basket maker before him, but died in 1903. Alf’s son, Sid, became a basket maker as well and stayed in part time business until the 1960s.

This simple box structure has a rather elegant opening lid.

This basket was used by Sid Mullings - brickworks labourer and later Market Gardener at Fiddington Sands

This basket was used by Sid Cooper – brickworks labourer and later Market Gardener at Fiddington Sands

With the lid open we can see it is curved and so, too, are the sides of the basket. Hinges, handle and fastenings are all made in basket fashion.

This lunch box belonged to Sid Cooper. We think he was born in the Northbrook area of Market Lavington in 1880 and was a labourer at the brickworks at about the time this basket was made. Later, Sid became a market gardener living at Fiddington Sands.

Sid died in 1951 and is buried in Market Lavington church yard.

Another fine wedding photo

October 28, 2013

Weddings are well photographed these days and many were in times past. This photo, a particularly lovely one, was recently sent to us by Virginia in Australia. The photo shows a bridegroom who was a relative of hers.

The bride was Mary Ethel Cooper who was more usually called Ethel and the groom was William Blake.


Mary Ethel Cooper was born around 1880. She was the daughter of Jacob Bolter Cooper who we have met before on this blog (Click here). The family had premises on Parsonage Lane and it is possible that this photo was taken at that location. The wedding took place in 1920.

William Blake lived in West Lavington, but William was a Londoner by birth which was around 1890.

After their marriage the couple lived on The Terrace, Market Lavington in one of the cottages along the path above Northbrook. As far as we know they lived there for all of the rest of their lives. Both died in the 1950s and are buried in the churchyard at Market Lavington.

Because the photo came from a member of the Blake family, we know more about them. Virginia wrote the following.

Identified by my parents – Dad being the only son of Jimmy Blake (James Robert Christopher Blake)

Back Row

4th from left – Mary Blake (sister of William the Groom). The children in the photo belonged to her. She never married. They are Margaret Blake & Henry Blake.
2nd from right Jimmy Blake my Grandfather.
I suspect that the two people sitting behind the little girl are John & Mary Blake – William’s parents but that is a guess.
William had three sisters in all – Mary already identified, as well as Charlotte (Lottie) & Eva. They are probably in the photo but I can’t identify them.  The bridesmaid sitting between the children could possibly be a sister?
William had another brother John but I believe he died fairly early on.
My Dad seems to think that the lady next to Jimmy Blake is Dad’s mother Lilian (nee Cutting) although my Mum seems to think not.  Jimmy & Lilian were married in 1924 (4 years after this wedding) so I suppose it could be my grandmother. Jimmy was only 5 ft 1 ½ inches & Lilian was 5 foot exactly. This fits in with the photo.

It seems likely to us that Jacob Bolter Cooper is in the photo for he was still alive at the time, aged about 80. His wife, Ethel Cooper’s mother, had died some years earlier.

We believe that William and Ethel had one daughter, Lilian. Lilian Blake married Percy Wilkins in 1948 and we know that Percy and Lilian lived on the Terrace as well.

Market Lavington Museum and Virginia have the same hope now – that other people in the photo can be identified.

Do contact us if you can tell us any more.

A Croze Plane at Market Lavington Museum

April 18, 2010

We have many tools, associated with all sorts of crafts at Market Lavington Museum. Once upon a time, Market Lavington was a small market town, but even had it been a small village it would have needed to be self sufficient in all sorts of ways.

Wooden barrels were once a favoured method for storing many kinds of foodstuff. If well made, the contents, alcoholic or otherwise, could keep well in the airtight and watertight container. Market Lavington had its coopers – makers of barrels but if you want to see this rare craft now, you’ll need to head to the Wadworth Brewery in Devizes where a cooper still makes wooden casks for the beer made there.

Coopering was skilled work. All the slats had to fit perfectly together and wooden lid and base had to be a perfect fit as well. One of the tools used was the croze plane.

Croze plane at Market Lavington Museum

This was used to produce the croze – a V shaped ring around the inside of the barrel, which the top, or head, of the cask could fit into.

We have thousands of items at Market Lavington Museum and many, including this croze plane, are not on display at the moment. When you visit the museum, do ask the duty steward if there are things you want to see that are held in the store room.

The museum opens on 1st May (Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday and Bank Holidays from 2.30 to 4.30pm). We look forward to seeing you.