Posts Tagged ‘Dauntsey’s School’

Dauntsey’s School Group

September 24, 2015

We have seen this photo before on this blog. It shows the boys and staff of Dauntsey’s School at some point in the 1930s. Now Dauntsey’s School is in West Lavington, but by the time this photo was taken the school had purchased the former Market Lavington Manor and had it in use as a boarding house. This photo was taken at the Manor.

Dauntsey's School group in the 1930s. Click to enlarge

Dauntsey’s School group in the 1930s.
Click to enlarge

When we showed this picture before we had no names. We should have had one for we clearly recognise the school bursar who was Jack Welch. He was father of our museum founder, Peggy Gye and also features in a separate blog featuring his World War One letters and Diaries. You’ll find it at .

And here he is in that photo.


He’s the middle man in that part of the picture.

Let’s zoom in on others.

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It would be good to get some more names of some of these men and boys. But of course, this was 80 years ago.


Potter’s Steps

December 18, 2014

Edwin Potter (junior) was the son of Edwin Potter the horse bus operator and also the mother of May Potter who became Mrs Elisha.

Amongst many jobs he had one was as a member of the ground staff for Dauntsey’s School. It fell his lot to produce a handy footpath so that the boys (the school was boys only in those days) could walk easily from the main site in West Lavington to the former Manor House in Market Lavington. The path he built started on the main road between Market and West Lavington and had to cross the Broadwell stream and the Northbrook before reaching the manor. Edwin constructed flights of steps to go in and out of each of these two steep sided valleys. He was obviously proud of his work for our photo shows him with a broom, keeping his walkway clean and tidy.

Edwin Potter of market Lavington cleans the path he made to the old Manor House. This path was once known as Potter's Steps.

Edwin Potter of Market Lavington cleans the path he made to the old Manor House. This path was once known as Potter’s Steps.

This route became known as Potter’s Steps and is still in existence and use today. But it is on private land and is not a public right of way. We can see that in times past – the 1930s – a rural chap was expected to be able to turn his hand to anything and constructing a path like this really did involve thought in the layout, engineering in bridge construction and a large dose of hard graft and heavy labour.

A book match tin

May 22, 2014

This item was recently given to the museum. The owner had already had research done on it and I include a copy of the researcher’s thoughts.

This Dauntsey's School crested match tin was once the property of Jack Welch

This Dauntsey’s School crested match tin was once the property of Jack Welch

The tin is just the right size to hold and protect those compressed paper matches that used to be (and may still be) given away at hotels and the like. It opens and in this case reveals one remaining match.

The tin opens to reveal just one match left from that book of matches

The tin opens to reveal just one match left from that book of matches

And now the research – and contact details for the researcher.

Dauntsey School Book Match Holder

This brass book match holder is stamped with the Dauntsey School crest.

It belonged to James Welch who was Steward of Dauntsey’s Agricultural School, the original name for the school. James Welch lived in Market Lavington.

The principle of ignition by rubbing phosphorus and sulphur together was discovered in 1680 by Robert Boyle. The chemical reaction was extremely hazardous and it was not until 1827 that John Walker, another English pharmacist, used the principal to produce the first matches; yard long “sulphuretted peroxide strikables.”

Small phosphorus matches were first marketed in Germany in 1832, but they were still extremely hazardous. In 1845, amorphous or red phosphorus was invented and in 1855 Carl Lundstrom in Sweden produced the first red phosphorus “safety matches”. These were  sold in boxes as ‘kitchen matches’.

Smoking in public become more popular during the second half of the 19th Century and wooden matches in large boxes did not fit easily into pockets. Joshua Pusey, a cigar smoking Pennsylvanian lawyer, developed and patented a paper based match in 1889. The idea did not take off until 1897 when the Mendelsohn Opera Company used books of paper matches to advertise their New York opening. Book matches became all the rage and because of their delicate nature book match holders quickly followed. As with all such small personal items the holders were often decorated. The Dauntsey School book match holder therefore dates from the early part of the 20thCentury and possibly because of it dull gun-metal manufacture, from around the time of the Great War, 1914-1918.

Research by Lt Col Robin Hodges, Court Hill Farm, Potterne, SN10 5PN     01380 723371

What a lovely addition to the museum collection.