Posts Tagged ‘early 20th century’

Edington Monastery Gardens

May 17, 2016

No. The Monastery Gardens at Edington are not in Market Lavington. But in the early years of the twentieth century they were a regular venue for church treats. Mr Burgess, the Market Lavington photographer often accompanied these trips. He, no doubt, had an eye to the chance of selling lots of copies of photos. Aspects were well recorded.

Here the Market Lavington band has been captured on photo. They are entertaining a vast crowd of people.

rket Lavington Prize Silver Band entertain at Edington Monastery Gardens in about 1912

Market Lavington Prize Silver Band entertain at Edington Monastery Gardens in about 1912

This is a lovely photo in its own right but we do have an ulterior motive for showing it.

We were recently visited by the current head gardener at these gardens along with his partner. She also gardens there. They want to recreate some of the former glories of the area and in seeking information and pictures they found this blog. But our interest, inevitably, is a bit niche. We only have a record of Market Lavington people at the gardens in the region of 100 years ago. There may well be other people with many more images than we have who could offer more help.

If you could help with this project then get in touch with us and we’ll pass your message on.

Maybe in the future we could be enjoying a day at these gardens with boating on the lake and a band on the lawn. Possibly, it could be the current Market Lavington band.




Starched knickers for Mrs Redstone

April 24, 2016

Mrs Redstone was the schoolmistress at Easterton. Holders of such posts are not always popular with the children and that seems to have been the case revealed here. But let’s first see where Lucretia Redstone lived – a lovely photo of a house in Easterton, just opposite the school or rather where the school once stood.


Mrs Redstone, schoolmistress at Easterton lived here.

Sharp eyed folk will notice a couple of girls in the doorway. They are Mrs Redstone’s daughters, another Lucretia on the left and Mary on the right.

image003Mary was born around 1892 so this dates the photo to very early 20th century.

This, of course, has nothing to do with starched knickers. That comes in a tale from Peggy Gye, our museum founder who was asked to write a piece for the Bratton History Association journal in 1997. Peggy recalled:-

There was a little laundry in the village, which used a pony and trap to collect washing from its customers, some of whom would take their laundry home after it had been washed and iron it themselves, especially if they had daughters. A local man came to the Museum one day, and when he told me a little story about the laundry, I suddenly realised he was talking about my husband’s family. It appeared that my husband’s grandmother used to send her smalls to the laundry. The laundry woman’s little grandson didn’t like my husband’s grandmother who was his headmistress; he thought she was too strict. So he got his own back by starching her knickers.

There could be a moral here – avoid telling tales about people because in a village, your listener might be related to them. But in this case it was harmless enough. I suspect we all snigger just a bit at the thought of the prim and proper school teacher being made a tad uncomfortable by starched knickers!

And we have a chance to show you two ‘daughters’ of Easterton as well.

A glove stretcher

February 16, 2016

We have more than one glove stretcher at Market Lavington Museum. Back in the Victorian era these devices were essential for ladies, particularly those who wore the fashionable kid gloves. Such gloves were definitely regarded as stylish and may well have been warm and cosy, but they could be hard to get on. That’s where the glove stretcher came in. You simply inserted the pointy end into each finger and squeezed the handles together. This opened up the end in the fingers and so stretched them a little. The gloves could now go on easily. Here is one of ours at the museum.

Glove stretcher at Market Lavington Museum

Glove stretcher at Market Lavington Museum

This ‘pair’ is made of brass with pretty embossing on the handles. These are thought to be early 20th century in construction. Kid gloves, of course, remained ‘de rigeur’ well into that century.

We’d like to thank this site – – because we needed to learn something of the history of glove stretchers and that’s where we found it.


Clay marbles

January 30, 2016

Here we have yet another ‘found under the floorboards’ collection from 21 Church Street. 2015 was the year of ‘Lost and Found’ at the museum as we featured metal detector and other finds dug up in our parish. 2016 seems to have started with a similar theme.

At the moment, five very nice clay marbles have been located under floorboards. Bob, who lives there and is doing the renovation work expects there to be more.

Clay marbles found under the floorboards at 21 Church Street

Clay marbles found under the floorboards at 21 Church Street

As can be seen, these marbles vary in size a little. The central one appears to be of a different material.

Marbles is a truly ancient and world-wide game. Marbles have been found in archaeology sites all over the world, dating back thousands of years. Early marbles are thought to have been naturally made. Mass production of clay marbles began in the 1890s. Prior to that they had been hand-made, one at a time. It was mass production that made marbles very affordable.

These days, of course, ordinary marbles are mass produced in glass with art marbles being hand made.

Our curator, who’d have been a marbles player in the 1950s doesn’t recall seeing clay marbles in use. ‘It was all glass marbles’, he says. So we rather assume these marbles probably date from before World War Two. They are possibly 19th century, but it is more likely that some poor lads, possibly in the Hopkins family for they occupied 21 Church Street, lost these marbles, irretrievably at the time, in the early years of the 20th century.

These are lovely items to add to our burgeoning ‘Lost and Found’ collection.

At Fiddington House

December 17, 2015

In some ways the local lunatic asylum seems an odd choice for a postcard, but no doubt the Burgess family knew if they were on to a reasonably good thing. Certainly they produced quite a few images of Fiddington House. As far as we of the present day are concerned this is all to the good for it gives us a chance to gauge something of the extent of the business. This shot shows house, extensions and rolling acres, together with the small lake that was a part of the scene.

Fiddington House and grounds - early 20th century

Fiddington House and grounds – early 20th century

It’s good to see the lake was fenced off. With people with a variety of mental health issues, it might have constituted a considerable risk to life otherwise.

The lake was fenced to prevent any accidental drownings

The lake was fenced to prevent any accidental drownings

We rather hope the ladder left leaning on the building was adequately supervised as well.

The House. Was a window cleaner in the area?

The House. Was a window cleaner in the area?

At times, not all of the residents at Fiddington House were closely confined. Jonny Maddox has been mentioned before as a resident who was often seen out and about in the community where, by and large he was liked. This image will predate him, though for he is remembered by older village residents now. This picture is more like 100 years old.

We can gauge, from the range of the building, that there was plenty of space for residents. Fiddington House certainly wasn’t on the scale of county asylums, like the one at Roundway, but it cared for quite a number of people who may have been finding life hard, or, often, for people who were proving hard for relatives to cope with.

A Political Badge from the Old Rec

November 2, 2015

We have seen a Primrose League badge on this blog and that, like the badge below, was a symbol for a political group. This one is for the Junior Imperial & Constitutional League. It was found by metal detectorist Norman.

Almost inevitably, wearers of this badge were known as Junior Imps!

Almost inevitably, wearers of this badge were known as Junior Imps!

Most of the enamel infill has been lost in its passage of time in the ground of the old recreation ground which is behind Shires Close. But we can recognise a cross of St George and a union flag as well as the lion and the words.

The organisation was founded in 1906. In 1945 it became the Young Conservatives. This badge is clearly from the first half of the 20th century.

We do know that political rallies were held on the old rec. Maybe this was lost at one of them.

Hopkins and the New Inn

October 22, 2015

This photo – we have a copy of the original and clearly it is under glass – is not of the highest quality, but nonetheless it shows and interesting scene.

Hopkins Ironmongers and The New Inn - Church Street, Market Lavington

Hopkins Ironmongers and The New Inn – Church Street, Market Lavington

This is a part of Church Street in Market Lavington in the early years of the 20th century and it shows two thriving and prosperous businesses.

The near one is clearly labelled Hopkins Ironmongery Stores. And some of the wares are displayed outside – it looks like a shovel for every purpose. We do not know if the people outside the shop are members of the Hopkins family or passers-by at the time.

In early Victorian times Enos Price had run a horse drawn coach service from here to a railhead at Hungerford and that, no doubt, explains the current name of Coach House. The shop closed many a year ago and has been a private home for years now.

Next door is the New Inn which changed its name to the Drummer Boy when it no longer was an Inn because it didn’t offer overnight accommodation. That, too, has closed and at the time of writing is awaiting further development in some form. At the time of this photo it was clearly offering Usher’s Ales – a Trowbridge company.

The New Inn was selling Usher's Ales

The New Inn was selling Usher’s Ales

Times change. Back in 1860 Market Lavington was a market town. Gradually it has turned into a large village but we can be thankful still to have shops, a coffee shop and a pub serving our needs.

Easterton Manor Garden

October 15, 2015

There is not a huge amount to say about this photo. It is just one to admire and enjoy.

Easterton Manor Garden - early 20th century

Easterton Manor Garden – early 20th century

We are looking, presumably, from an upstairs window, at a part of the garden at Easterton Manor. That’s the large house more or less opposite White Street in Easterton.

The garden looks simply stunning and has all the hallmarks of a household where gardeners were employed. The home owners were John William Morgan Williams (1855-1942) and his wife Florence Letitia (1866 – 1946). All tales point to Florence Letitia being the manager and organiser whilst John spent money he hadn’t really got on all sorts he probably shouldn’t have.

But there’s no doubt that the garden was in wonderful order. Everything looks in perfect, and beautiful condition. A couple of chairs look to be just the place for a servant to bring a tray of tea out to the couple.

Easterton Street

August 3, 2015

Easterton Street has always (or as far as memory goes) been more built up on the east side rather than the west and this photo certainly emphasises that.

Easterton Street - early 20th century

Easterton Street – early 20th century

We are looking pretty well due north along the street heading towards Urchfont. These days we’d expect a line of parked cars to be outside the houses on the right, most of which do not have any off-street parking. But what a different world it was when our photographer snapped this picture. The only vehicle we see is horse drawn and appears to be a water bowser. This had probably been filled at Easterton pump and may well have been on its way to a hill farm. In this Edwardian photo houses would not have had water on tap, let alone electricity.

Boys feel able to pose in the road, near that bowser. One of them is relaxed enough to have sat down in the highway.

People have appeared from their houses, probably hoping to be included in the photo. A postcard copy of the photo could be purchased very cheaply so getting in the shot could be a cheap way to have your likeness taken.

On the right we have the old forge. There’s a couple posing and then a young chap (could he be a Burnett) has what looks like a horse drawn plough. Further people have come out right along the street. These days we see roads as being for cars. Back then they were for people.

The stream is on the left which may explain the fact that there are fewer houses. The land stays low for longer on that side so flooding may always have been a problem.

James Philpott

July 26, 2015

We have recently been sent a photo of James Philpott who seems to have been an interesting character. Let’s summarise what we know about him first.

James was born on 10th December 1838 and was baptised at St Mary’s, Market Lavington in January of 1839. His parents were John and Hannah or Anna.

It’s a real shame there is no 1841 census for Market Lavington. It means we can’t trace John for by 1851 Anna Philpott is listed as a widow. At that time she and her eldest son work as gardeners. Twelve year old James was the youngest child and he was a scholar, maybe attending what is now the Old School. Anna came from Edington but the boys were all Market Lavington born.

In 1861 James was a resident at The Royal Oak in Easterton where his sister in law, Caroline Philpott was the victualler. She was a widower at the time. James, aged 22 was a cabinet maker.

At some time in the 1860s James left the Lavington area for he married Louisa Hopkins Tozer in 1869 in the Newton Abbot area of Devon.

In 1871 James, Louisa and baby Ernest were staying in a lodging house in Bristol. James is now described as an organ builder and we can guess at something of an itinerant lifestyle. He’d have needed to be near the building where he was working and when one job was finished he’d have moved elsewhere for the next one.

Our photo dates from about 1875 and is an interesting colour!


James is at back right with his wife, Louisa. Sitting in front we have her parents, William and Frances Tozer and each has a Philpott grandchild on their knee, Ernest and Florence.

In 1881 the family, with a third child called Reginald lived in Exeter. In fact all three children are given Devon birth places so it seems the family home was in that county. James was still building organs and so he was in 1891 when his parents in law, both in their 80s were staying with James and Louisa.

1901 still sees James as an organ builder. Louisa and daughter Florence are still with him. And so they are in 1911. James is now a retired organ builder and the family have remained in the Exeter area.

James died in 1915. Louisa followed in 1920.

The Philpotts had been business people in the Lavington area. We found it interesting to follow James the organ builder through to the twentieth century.