Posts Tagged ‘drink’

Henry Hooper’s bill for booze

July 9, 2015

On the face of it, you could be tempted to say that Henry Hooper was a big time toper. The amount of ale got through looks to be enormous on this bill.

Henry Hooper received this bill for drink in 1915

Henry Hooper received this bill for drink in 1915

The ale was supplied by James Neate – in business in Market Lavington since 1852. This bill was delivered to Henry Hooper in 1915. If we have added it up correctly, Henry received 180 gallons of ale in a four month period – plus a case of whiskey.

Interesting to note that the tax cost was a third or more of the price 100 years ago. Of course, the Great War was in full swing at the time and no doubt money was needed from all sources.

The truth is that Henry Hooper was a farmer and employer of men in West Lavington. No doubt much of the ale was for the men.

Henry had been born in Imber in about 1870. His father had farmed there but Henry had set up in West Lavington. On the 1911 census he gave his address as Hunts House in West Lavington.

A horn beaker

March 13, 2014

The old phrase used to be ‘waste not, want not’. This implied that if you wasted nothing then you’d want for nothing. Certainly, in times past, very little was wasted.

Whether people were sentimental about animals they kept, we have no idea. But when the time came to dispatch the animal then every part of it was likely to find a use, whether it was food, clothing, or something else altogether.

Today we look at that last category – something else altogether. It’s a drinking vessel made out of cow horn.

An 18th century horn beaker at Market Lavington Museum

An 18th century horn beaker at Market Lavington Museum

This dates from the 18th century. A good bit of horn was identified as suitable for a beaker. It was cut, smoothed and then a base was fitted. And what an elegant item it made.

Now these days there will be plenty of people who object to the use of animal products. Our forebears just couldn’t afford to have such qualms. Trading in goods has gone on for centuries, but even so, by and large, people used locally produced products. Cow horn was widely used in rural areas to make drinking beakers.

The maker, or perhaps an owner, has scratched his initial on the base.

Initial 'H' scratched on the beaker's base

Initial ‘H’ scratched on the beaker’s base

Of course, we have no idea who ‘H’ was, but clearly his beaker meant something to him or her.

The beaker is on display in the kitchen at the museum.

More Unidentified Easterton

October 7, 2012

Today we’ll look at another unidentified Easterton picture. Maybe a reader out there in Blogland can tell us something about this photograph.

Ladies and gentlemen of Easterton, but who, when and why?

It looks to be in Easterton Village Hall and the people appear to be enjoying a glass of sherry.

Can anybody name the people or tell us the occasion?

A Lemonade Bottle

September 1, 2012

In times past, when water supplies were from wells, manufactured soft drinks were popular. Indeed, they are probably more popular today, but the soft drink industry has a long history.

We do not know of soft drinks being made on a commercial scale in Market Lavington but they were certainly made in other places in Wiltshire back in the nineteenth century.

Back then, and well into living memory, bottles were returned to the drink manufacturer. They were, in effect, loaned to the consumer and when returned safely, a small cash deposit was given back to the customer. There will be many people around who, as small children, were delighted to find a lemonade bottle in a hedgerow, for they could return it and collect that cash.

But one nineteenth century bottle escaped return in White Street, Market Lavington. Somehow, it got lost in a garden and was dug up nearly one hundred years later and given to the museum.

Hamilton bottle, used for Lemonade and dug up in a garden in White Street, Market Lavington

Glass is a wonderfully hard wearing material and the old bottle survived well, interred in that White Street garden. Sadly it carries no name to identify it, but the bottle shape is very nineteenth century. These bottles used a cork to seal them. It was important that the cork stayed moist for the compressed carbon dioxide could readily escape through a dry cork. The bottle shape meant it had to lie on its side and the drink itself kept the cork moist. Bottles of this shape are called Hamilton Bottles.

One place in Wiltshire where such bottles were filled by a drink manufacturer was Bradford on Avon and our friends at the museum there have a fine example of a bottle used by Wilkins Brothers. You can click here to see it.

Drinks at Clyffe Hall

February 13, 2012

 It looks as though the Warringtons were having a party at Christmas 1925 – at least if you judge from the drinks order placed on December 19th. A dozen bottles of Scotch, a dozen bottles of champagne and a couple of dozen of Sauterne wine seems quite a substantial order.

Drinks order for Clyffe Hall, Market Lavington in 1925

Thomas Warrington – we have met him before – was a senior judge who spent much of his time in London. No doubt he felt entitled to enjoy his Christmas break.

For the record, those bottles of champers at 150/- (£7-50) are the equivalent of £334 at today’s prices. Thomas was a rich man. What would a bottle of 1915 champagne cost today?

A sack bottle

April 25, 2011

Amongst what we call ‘The Treasures of Market Lavington’ is this rather odd looking bottle.

An 18th century sack bottle found during road works at Northbrook, market Lavington in the 1930s

This was an object, considered so worthless that was thrown away. Presumably the damage around the neck of the bottle made it unfit for purpose.  It is classed as a sack bottle. Sack was a name given to some wines. It is believed that sack is a corruption of sec – a dry wine.

This bottle dates from the early 18th century and came to light when road works were carried out at Northbrook in the 1930s.

Pairs of similar bottles have been found built into house walls. People believed this would ward off ill luck.

A Mystery item?

December 13, 2010


A mystery item at Market Lavington Museum? Not really! Read on to discover what it is.

Actually, this item is not really a mystery for we know just what its purpose was.

This piece of wood is about 4 cm diameter and a similar height. Maybe seeing the maker’s name might offer a clue.

This little item was made by a big company - Bratby and Hinchliffe.

It was made by Bratby & Hinchliffe of Manchester, Glasgow and London.

The device was clearly useful for we have another at Market Lavington Museum, almost identical but made locally.

A search on the web gives us the information that Bratby and Hinchliffe was founded in 1864. In 1961 they employed 300 people. They were making soft drink and mineral water bottling equipment.

This item performs the opposite of bottling mineral water. Its job was to open bottles to get the fizzy drink out. It worked with codd bottles, those old bottles that had an internally trapped marble acting as a stopper – held in place by the pressure of the drink. A user simply put the device on the bottle to form a kind of cap. When it was pushed down, the central pole in the cap pushed the marble in and then the drink could be poured out.

Here we see the opener on a codd bottle on the kitchen table at Market Lavington Museum.

Codd bottle opener in use at Market Lavington Museum

Like every item in the museum, this bottle opener has a local connection. This one was used by a family that lived on White Street, Market Lavington.