Posts Tagged ‘education’


February 19, 2016

We have featured ‘lost and found’ thimbles before on this blog but today’s collection were never lost so didn’t have to be found. They were essential items at Market Lavington School.

Thimbles from Market Lavington School

Thimbles from Market Lavington School

This collection is of very standard, ordinary thimbles. There is nothing fancy about them. They date from the first half of the 20th century. They are made of base metal and were designed to be functional rather than decorative. Mind you, many people would find them quite decorative items.

They date back to a time when the male and female genders were treated differently. Sewing was for girls although, oddly enough, being a tailor was a male job. Back in time – it could have been up to the 1970s, girls would have been expected to become proficient at hand sewing. They would have spent time at school practising the craft and learning how to do repair jobs as well as how to make new items.

Pushing a needle through tough material was hard and could be painful and that’s where the thimble came in. They were worn on the end of a suitable finger and could be used to push the needle through. The bobbled surface was intended to make sure the needle did not slip causing injury to the pusher.

We can see from this collection that thimbles came in a variety of sizes to suit any finger. None of these are as tiny as the one featured recently which was found ‘under the floorboards’ at 21 Church Street.

These thimbles are bound to bring back memories for many girls.



Our museum building in 1958

June 21, 2015

Back in 1958 a student teacher was allocated to Market Lavington School. Her name was Rowena Campbell Trigger and as part of her college work she undertook a village survey which we have in the museum. Here is an extract from her hand written survey. It is about what is now our building.


The most prized possession of the school has been kept until last. It is the little house. It was originally the headmaster’s now but is now used as an activity centre for the school. The children have done all the interior and the results are remarkably good. At the house I got quite caught up in ‘Sale of Work’ fever. Apparently each year the school organises this sale in aid of school funds that are used to supplement the expenses of the annual school outing that takes place in the summer term. One room at the school is packed with toys in various stages of renovation. I can see I could quite usefully spend the month up here patching dolls, mending toys and painting wheelbarrows. I feel I must make time to help a little even if only occasionally in the lunch hour.


This house is a wonderful idea. Downstairs a room is set aside for collections – butterflies and moths, coins, stamps, fossils etc. Upstairs one room is quite pleasantly furnished and complete with wireless and magazines and is set aside as a reading room. Upstairs also is a local history room. The older pupils do a local history study and the best sketches and brass rubbings are selected and hung in this room.

Rowena found time to get to the top of the church tower and take a photo of ‘the little house’.

1958 photo of what is now the museum building

1958 photo of what is now the museum building

I don’t suppose she ever thought her work would one day return to this building and be a valued part of village history.

The visit of Gumdrop

January 2, 2015

This is another story inspired by an extract from a copy of Easterton Echoes. This time it is from issue 129 dated May 1986. And once again we have to say that this is really quite some time ago – just about 29 years at the time of writing. It’s ancient history to people under thirty.

Here is the extract which shows a document still produced on a typewriter ( one with a pale letter ‘g’). No doubt this was used to cut a stencil which was then duplicated on something like a Gestetner copier. This article was written by Mr Phill Laycock who was then head of St Barnabas School. This was (and is) the primary school, physically in Market Lavington, but built to replace Victorian schools in both Market Lavington and Easterton.  It is about a book week. If you find this too small to read remember you can click on the extract to open a larger version.

Book week at local schools in 1986

Book week at local schools in 1986

It sounds as though Phill had organised some top notch authors to appear and lots of fun for children – not only at our most immediate school, but also at other schools in the area.

The star of Val Biro’s books for children was called Gumdrop and Val did, indeed, bring Gumdrop to St Barnabas. Our curator’s children were both pupils at the school at the time and on reading this extract Rog looked through his photo albums and came up with this one.

Gumdrop at St Barnabas School

Gumdrop at St Barnabas School

That’s Gumdrop with children in front. Those kids, of course, are now in their mid-30s. The location, of course, is St Barnabas School with the caretaker’s bungalow immediately behind Gumdrop.

The Museum Miscellany

September 14, 2013

The day has come. This evening at 7.30 in Market Lavington Community Hall the team will present their mix of photos, talk, sounds and food – all with a local theme. It’s a fantastic fivers worth.

Our men at work section (including women of course)  takes us from the farms of Eastcott through Easterton and Market Lavington and includes builders, publicans, shop workers, demolition – in fact many of the jobs that people do – in this case its local people – it could even be you.

Porters on Lavington Station in the 1950s

Porters on Lavington Station in the 1950s

We’ll do a tour of the villages – mostly photos we haven’t used before – maybe that will include your house, school or place of work. People appear in this too – like this photo at St Barnabas School in the late 1980s.

A performance at St Barnabas School in the 1980s. There are lots of people to recognise there.

A performance at St Barnabas School in the 1980s. There are lots of people to recognise there.

The chances are you won’t see yourself during our piece on the extraordinary Saunders family. They form part of our village history in the nineteenth century – and not just our village. Family members had huge influence right round the world.

In Church and Chapel life we’ll look at the people and how religion influenced social life. Expect to see people performing in theatrical events or just having a knees-up at the seaside.


A Congregational Church outing at Edington

In ‘Sybil Remembers’, we’ll share some of the memories of Sybil Perry who was a pupil at Market Lavington School in the 1920s who, later, became a teacher there.


Sybil and Des Perry in 2005

 We plan to end the evening by showing just a few of our magic lantern slides. These date from about 1860 and were owned by Charles Hitchcock who owned Fiddington Asylum.

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If time permits, which it probably won’t, we’ll share some metal detector items, ‘Found in the Soil’ with you.

And don’t forget the food interval – the high spot of the evening for some.

The Brickworks

August 31, 2013

Today we return to that wonderful Lavington Forum magazine from 1949 and feature an article about Lavington brickworks written by two Michaels – Baker and Sainsbury.

Title and authors of an article in the summer 1949 'Lavington Forum'

Title and authors of an article in the summer 1949 ‘Lavington Forum’

Now a transcription

On Tuesday 3rd of May 1949 we paid a visit to the Market Lavington Brickworks where we were shown, by Mr George the manager, the processes involved in brick making.

The clay is dug out by hand and heaped up to weather. After about three weeks of weathering it is then ready for moving into the brick making machine and is loaded onto a truck which is pushed by hand along rails to a turntable at the factory end of the pit. From here it is hauled up the steep slope by a cable pulled by an electric motor.

In the factory the clay is tipped from the truck to a hopper where it is ground, damped down, and then thoroughly mixed. The screw motion in this hopper forces the mixture slowly out to the presses and guillotine, a wire knife which cuts the clay into ten bricks at a time.

The bricks at this stage are called green bricks and have to stand for about two weeks to weather before being placed in the kilns for baking. The kilns take about three days to heat up to the required temperature of 1000 degrees Centigrade.

Many types of bricks are made by hand at this factory, the black Kimmeridge clay being particularly suited to high class brickmaking.

Some interesting facts about the factory in the past were told by Mr George. For example, he said he had recently found an old bill for some time in 1840 when the brickworks was an iron foundry. This bill was for’ repairing a roof of the foundry – 1 man, 1 boy for half a day, 1 hod of mortar, 2/6d’. He also said that the early brick workers at the factory got 15/- for a six day week – that is 2½d an hour.

Small coal used for firing the kiln was 3/6d per ton delivered to Devizes.

Mr George told us that the best brick is not the waterproof brick but that which can absorb some moisture and give it out again, or, as Mr George called it – can ‘breathe’.

During our visit we also found a number of interesting fossils, some shaped like, and as large as a cucumber, and some like bones – but we have not yet found out what fossils they are.

And now the drawings that accompanied the article.




Butter’s Spelling

May 25, 2013

We love old school texts. They tell us what was important in times past and what youngsters were expected to know. One such book is Butter’s Spelling – a book of no great interest from the outside.

Butter's Spelling - a book at Market Lavington Museum

Butter’s Spelling – a book at Market Lavington Museum

The title page of Butter's Spelling = published in 1879

The title page of Butter’s Spelling – published in 1879

The title page tells us that the book was published in 1879 and that this was the 400th edition. Clearly it was a very successful book, used widely and not just in Market Lavington. We are also told that the book has a portrait of the author, so we are able to see Henry Butter in all his magnificent glory.

Henry Butter

Henry Butter

But of course, at the heart of the book are lists of words, arranged in interesting ways. Here we see words that sound similar except for one small piece of pronunciation – and they have different spellings.


Some similar sounding words and how to spell them

Some similar sounding words and how to spell them

One can imagine the poor scholars being given lists of spellings to learn – but Mr Butter wanted more. He wanted our Victorian ancestors to know the meanings as well. Mr Hatley, headmaster at Market Lavington, no doubt encouraged the youngsters with his ‘great big stick’, but probably some found it very hard.

We can pick out changes in life style from the words. We’d guess not many 21st century youngsters would know the words bodice or chaise, let alone disseize. And it is interesting to see that Mr Butter regarded the pronunciation of ‘practice’ and practise’ as different.  Maybe that would save problems these days.

This book hasn’t made it to our ‘school days’ display this year, but it is in place in a cabinet in the entrance room at the museum.

Here’s hoping I have avoided too many spelling mistakes in writing this!

The School Run in 1915

April 13, 2013

Many, many children are taken to school by car these days. Let’s not blame laziness but rather suggest that with parents working it may be the only way to safely and conveniently get youngsters to their centre of education. But, as we all know, it does add an extra peak traffic time as cars converge on schools.

Is the school run a new phenomenon? Absolutely not. We have a picture here of a group of children whose parents had decided that the Miss Chinnocks’ school in Market Lavington was the perfect place for them to get their education. The family concerned lived in Erlestoke some 3½ miles to the west. This family had not, at the time, moved into motor transport. The family travelled in a small cart.


We have a charming photo here, with five children and an adult seated in the little cart. The horse decided to look away as the photo was taken but the people all posed nicely.

We don’t often look at the lives of non-Lavington residents but these were Lavington educated, so we’ll make an exception. Not that we do know all that much of them!

The children belong to the Look family. The family had Manor Farm in Erlestoke. The family had not been in Erlestoke for long. At the time of the 1911 census Edward Henry Look was a dairy farmer in Somerset with his wife, Eva and four young daughters – Edith, Ida, Eveline and Hilda. Perhaps they are amongst those on the cart. Edward died in 1957 and is buried at Erlestoke.

And off the children go to the Miss Chinnocks’ School which was sited next to the Workmans’ Hall in the village.

One of our new displays for 2013 is entitled ‘School Days’ and there you can see many photos of school children, posing for group photos or just at work. There are also other artefacts to remind us all of school days from the past. We hope to see you there.

In the Museum – in 1987

March 20, 2013

In 1987 our museum was young. No doubt, at the time, it seemed as vibrant and lively as we think it is today. But a look at a photo taken at that time makes it look quite an empty environment. Mind you, there are advantages to that. Less items on display means the things can be seen better. However, this photo also shows something of a cyclical nature. One item that was on display in 1987 has been stored away since then, but, as we saw on yesterday’s blog, it has re-emerged for 2013. It was clearly time for an airing.

In Market Lavington Museum in 1987

In Market Lavington Museum in 1987

Yes, back in 1987 the 1906 wedding dress and veil were on display. The mannequin it was on is the same one shown in yesterday’s blog – the one from Mrs McKinstry’s shop in Market Lavington. We see that the fan held by the bride is displayed behind her.

In the middle of the room is the school desk. This early 20th century desk was used at Market Lavington School and would have had drawers then. Back in 1987 it was displaying items used at the school.

A Market Lavington School desk of the early twentieth century. It can still be seen at the museum.

A Market Lavington School desk of the early twentieth century. It can still be seen at the museum.

Of course, we still have the desk but these days its use has become rather more functional. It houses all sorts of written and photographic items – folders about different aspects of Market Lavington and Easterton.

The display case we see in the background is now in the trades room. None of the shelving or cabinets we now have in the museum can be seen in this photo.

These days we have items on display on this side of the stairway, and the wall behind the stairway is covered in exhibits.

When we look at a photo like this one it is clear that the museum has developed hugely over the intervening period.

But that bride is back again to represent marriage in 1906.

A 1937 register

January 5, 2013

We have a number of school registers at Market Lavington Museum. Let’s take a look at one of them here. It dates from 1937 to 38 and is for the infant class.

Market Lavington School register - the infants of 1937 - 1938

Market Lavington School register – the infants of 1937 – 1938

Inside we have a list of names.

The names in the register

The names in the register

Some registers have addresses. All have dates of birth but we have missed that information for these people are now aged about 80 and many are still alive. You can, of course, look at the full register at the museum.

The names on this list are – boys:

John Gingell, George Perry, Douglass Wills, Frederick Reid, Gilbert Jenks, Edward King, Albert Lord(?), Anthony Sainsbury, John Chapman, Ronald Maynard, William Davis, Geoffrey Alexander, Terence Boulton, Eric Baker, Maurice Thompson, Robert Reid, Wilfrid Jenks, Donald Sainsbury, Leonard Cartwright, Thomas Roberts and George Love.

The girls are:

Brenda Holmes, Beryl Holmes, Ada Hopkins, June Baker, Honor Cooper, Valerie Cooper, Margery Burt, Joan Ellis, Mary Sargant, Joan Baker, Betty Maynard and Gladys Owen.

These are the top twenty UK baby names in 2012. Ethan, Eva, Leo, Dylan, Jacob, Oliver, Noah, Ella, Alfie, Amelia, Mia, Isla, Max, Charlie, Alice, Joshua, Jack, Oscar, Isabella, Imogen.

It looks like none of them were in use 80 years ago in Market Lavington.

A Happy New Year

January 1, 2013

January 1st 2013

Yesterday we looked back at major events in 2012 so today we’ll look forward to this New Year.

The truth is that we have no idea as to just what it will bring. We can just hope that it is a successful year for museum and for our parishes of Market Lavington and Easterton. We’d like lots of visitors through the museum door, enjoying what they see and writing lovely comments in the book. We’d also like lots of blog visitors bringing information about the Lavingtons from all round the world. The coloured countries below are those where people have visited the blog in the last 10 months.

People in most of the world know about the Market Lavington Museum blog

People in most of the world know about the Market Lavington Museum blog

You can continue to look here for latest news from the museum.

One display that will be new for 2013 will be ‘School Days’. We have photos and artefacts dating back to the start of Market Lavington School. With many more on display this will give people a chance to remember their own school days, or, indeed, those of parents, grandparents and great grandparents.

Market Lavington school pupils in the 1959 West Lavington carnival

Market Lavington school pupils in the 1959 West Lavington carnival

Here we see Market Lavington School taking part in a West Lavington carnival back in 1959.

If you have any school memorabilia – including Market Lavington or Easterton and any private schools in the parishes then do please contact us.