Posts Tagged ‘Edwardian’

The Kings Arms

March 5, 2014


Until a few years ago Market Lavington had three pubs. The Kings Arms on High Street, opposite the newsagents closed some five years ago and the area is now used as a number of houses, some in the pub itself and others in what was the pub yard.

Today we are looking at a photo which dates from a time when the village had at least five pubs – the early years of the twentieth century. It shows the Kings Arms pub along High Street.

The Kings Arms, Market Lavington - an early 20th century photo

The Kings Arms, Market Lavington – an early 20th century photo

The most obvious part of the picture is the pub sign.

The landlord was Fred Simpson

The landlord was Fred Simpson

That’s handsomely written in raised writing and it carries the name of Fred Simpson. We assume he was the landlord but sadly the name crops up nowhere else in our annals. We have no other record of the man at the museum and he doesn’t appear on censuses.

So, the inevitable question – is there anyone out there who can tell us more about Fred Simpson?

Next to the former pub is the cottage many of us refer to as Kyte’s Cottage – and even that is having a new dwelling built in the back garden at the moment. In this photo it has a sign on it which we can just make out.


Mr Whitchurch’s name was on the shop next to the Kings Arms

Part of the name is hard to read, but we know that the man who had this shop was Mr Whitchurch but he was a druggist. However, in 1911 his married daughter was a newsagent and confectioner and his widow still lived in the house. Mr Whitchurch had died in 1906.

We think the photo dates from before 1911 but again, we’d appreciate any further ideas from our readers.

Easterton Street in Edwardian times

February 23, 2014

This image was recently sent to us. We’d like to thank Judy for her kindness. In fact those of us most closely associated with the museum remain utterly delighted with the support and enthusiasm so many people show with regard to the museum.

Here is the photo.


Easterton Street in Edwardian times

Easterton has changed in the last 100 years or so. The thatched cottages on the left have gone and have been replaced with more modern dwellings. However, the long pale coloured terrace still remains although the lean-to on this end has gone. The houses further down look much the same as well although once upon a time there was a smithy down towards that end of the street.

Back in Edwardian days there was hardly any need to separate pedestrians from other road traffic. There are no pavements. But this doesn’t stop the people from coming out to get in the photo. There’s a fine crop of Easterton folk on the left.


Sadly, but not unexpectedly, we can’t name these people, nor those across the street standing on the edge of the stream.


Despite dredging and other improvements the stream still floods from time to time. It has this winter. The front of January’s Easterton Echoes is about flooding.


Easterton Echoes – January 2014

The photo was taken on 4th January 2014.

Another photo of floods was taken back in the year 2000. This shows a similar, albeit broader view to the old Edwardian photo.


Easterton in the year 2000

We can see that the terrace has gained a hip end to the roof and then we can see the red brick gable end of a building which replaced a thatched cottage.

When Politics Mattered

February 16, 2014

Of course, the title is not meant to suggest that politics doesn’t matter these days, although many people clearly think that our political leaders are something of an irrelevance. Maybe it was the events of 100 years ago which started the downward spiral. The First World War, some say, was an argument amongst three cousins who led different countries and that they were unconcerned about the mass slaughter. Whatever the cause was, I doubt you’d see, these days, a political gathering like this one.

Conservative demonstration at Market Lavington - early 20th century

Conservative demonstration at Market Lavington – early 20th century

This early postcard is clearly labelled Conservative Party Demonstration, Market Lavington and appears to have a date of July 2 1901.


Or is that a poorly written ‘nd’ and it just says July 2nd? We are confident it was definitely early in the 20th century.

The word ‘demonstration’ these days tends to have negative connotations. We demonstrate against things. We’d suspect that this demonstration was in support of the Conservative Party.

When it came to an election, what looks like a majority of people in the throng would not have been enfranchised. Children, of course, did not have the vote and neither, then, did women. But in these pre mass entertainment days people would go to hear a speaker and we think there was one of them. He’s not holding the attention of children who seem to have spotted the photographer, but most adults appear to be intent on something off to the right.

There are background items which are of interest. One is a motor vehicle.

A motor vehicle - perhaps a first for Market Lavington

A motor vehicle – perhaps a first for Market Lavington

If this really was 1901 that could have been the first car seen in the area.

No doubt the beer tent did a roaring trade.

The beer was supplied by Simonds of Reading

The beer was supplied by Simonds of Reading

Simonds ales and stouts are mentioned. They were a long established brewery in Reading. Maybe they had used traction engine and huge wheeled trailer on the left of the tent.


Traction engine and trailer – Market Lavington folk would have been used to such vehicles.

We can’t name any of the people.

A small portion of the crowd

A small portion of the crowd


Back in that Edwardian era, Devizes (including Lavington) was a marginal constituency.  In 1895 Edward Goulding held the seat for the Unionists (Conservative) but he lost out in 1906 to the Liberal, Francis Rogers. The seat returned to the Unionists in 1910 when Basil Peto became the local MP.

For political neutrality, we’ll mention that other parties, representing all shades of opinion put forward candidates at elections – and, praise be, we are free to vote for whoever we like amongst those standing.

Market Lavington from the hill

February 15, 2014

In un-glorious Technicolor

Market Lavington is oft times called, ‘The Village under the Plain’. Salisbury Plain, and in particular Lavington Hill looks down on the village and since photography began it was an obvious location to set up a camera and take a picture. There are many variations on this theme with photos taken in different years, at different times of year and pointing in different directions. We have quite a collection of such photos, many of which were offered for sale as postcards throughout the twentieth century. Today we are looking at one which really is just a bit fanciful. It is a hand colour tinted version of a photo. We have it dated at early twentieth century.

Lavington from the hill - an Edwardian hand coloured postcard

Lavington from the hill – an Edwardian hand coloured postcard

Our photographer – who was probably originally Alf Burgess, has stood half way up Lavington Hill. An artist has added colour to the photo, possibly based on notes written down when the photo was taken or possibly he has just guessed what colours to use. It is, presumably, high summer, turning into autumn for a corn field is being harvested and appears to have sheaves of corn in it. It looks as though people on the right of the scene are standing them up in stooks.

The colours do not ring quite true. Houses in the village look too bright and white. The foreground appears too dark and black. But let’s applaud the effort to add colour to a scene at a time when photography was only in monochrome.

A part of Mr Walton’s empire?

February 7, 2014

Arthur Walton came from Reading. His wife, Emily (née) Archer came from Brill in Buckinghamshire. They married in 1890 and by the time of the 1891 census they lived at Lavington House, White Street, Market Lavington. The Waltons had taken the shop so presumably they lived on site. They were still over the shop in 1901 but by 1911 they had moved their home to Ivy Lodge on High Street.

Mr and Mrs Walton extended their empire quite widely. The range of premises in Market Lavington became a department store with an overhead cash railway system – little wooden capsules propelled along wires to a central cashier. Waltons had the shop at Easterton at one time. The ghost sign on the shop showed his name when photographed in 1974. Forty years on his name has washed away and Draper shows through from before Mr Walton’s time.

But was this another branch of Mr Walton’s empire?

Definitely Mr Walton's shop - but where?

Definitely Mr Walton’s shop – but where?

Our records say this is Mr Walton’s Market Lavington shop in 1907. We do not actually recognise where in Market Lavington this is.

Could it be in Pewsey where we think Arthur Walton had a branch.

We have, in the past, featured an image we have in the museum which was said to be in Pewsey (click here). We argued that the photo shown then was Market Lavington. Could a clerical error have occurred? Is this the Pewsey photo?

Do get in touch if you can help us.

Gye’s Yard in 1906

December 31, 2013

These days an interesting development of houses is known as Gye’s Old Yard. But of course, Gye’s Yard was where the family firm of builders, carpenters, blacksmiths, wheelwrights etc. actually worked

Gye's Yard, Market Lavington in 1906

Gye’s Yard, Market Lavington in 1906

This charming photo shows some of the workforce, and maybe the odd visitor too, in 1906. The various carts are of course a delight. Maybe an expert out there can tell us more about them.

But now the people. From left to right we have:


John Merritt Senior – the father of the John Merritt who was bandleader in Market Lavington for 60 or more years. The Merritts ran a blacksmithing business just across Broadwell from Gye’s Yard.


John James was a carpenter and may well have been employed by the Gyes.


Walter James was John’s son – he had married Elizabeth Gye in 1904 so was a family member by marriage. He was a baker and had the premises now occupied by the Post Office in Market Lavington.


Charlie Burnett was the Gyes wheelwright. He originally came from Easterton.


Tom Gye. Gyes often confuse by not being known by first names. We think this is the present Tom’s grandfather – boss of the firm.


This one is just recorded as J Gye. We think it is Joseph who later became head of the family firm.


Fred Burgess who worked as a labourer and at some time became a butcher.


Seymour Buckland was a painter who lived on High Street in Market Lavington.

It seems appropriate that members of the Gye family should mark the end of another year. Our museum owes so much to them for their support and generosity.

A Straw Boater

December 23, 2013

It may be the bleak mid-winter – a time when we think more of wearing warm coats, scarfs and gloves, but we can look forward to better climes in the new year, or look back to those enjoyed in the past.

In this case we are looking back more than 100 years and perhaps we can imagine a trip out for a picnic and relaxing, on a warm summer’s day by a lake or a river. Or maybe we can imagine a smart young man, sitting near the boundary of a cricket ground and hoping to impress his young lady when it is his turn to bat. What we are looking at is a hat of the Edwardian era, although of a style which stayed in use for much longer. Our batsman will need to change headwear before heading for the crease, for the hat is a straw boater.


This hat dates from the Edwardian era and is a standard straw boater with an elegant black ribbon to set it off. It was made by Tress and Co. They were very well known hatters based in Southwark, London.

The hat belonged to the Gye family. It could well have been a hat worn by Tom Gye’s father. He would have been around 15 when the twentieth century began.

The top end of High Street

December 21, 2013

This postcard dates from the early days of such cards, when only the address appeared on the back. A small space has been left underneath the image for a message to be written.

Market Lavington High Street in an Edwardian postcard

Market Lavington High Street in an Edwardian postcard

On the left we have the Police House – still there although no longer used by the local constabulary. We look up Market Lavington’s High Street in the direction of Easterton. The Congregational Chapel is more or less central.


Vehicles are horse drawn

The vehicles are, of course, horse drawn.

Over on the right hand side of the road some of the properties retained thatched roofs.


There is thatch on some of the roofs.

There is thatch on some of the roofs.

This, as we can see, is not the most sharply printed card but the view is not the most usual and it reminds us of the early days of postcards.

Christmas is Coming

December 15, 2013

The very name, Christmas, makes this a Christian religious festival to celebrate the birth of Christ. Most people now celebrate the event in a very secular way. It’s a chance to spend a lot of money, spoil the family and probably eat far too much and possibly drink far too much as well. The religious meaning of the day gets forgotten.

But it wasn’t always so. We can’t quite make out the date on this postmark but it would seem to be December 22nd 1907 or perhaps 1904.

A post card wishing a Happy Christmas to Mrs Stitson - from the Edwardian era.

A post card wishing a Happy Christmas to Mrs Stitson – from the Edwardian era.

The card was posted in Chippenham to a person in Newton Abbot in Devon. It doesn’t seem to have a lot to do with Market Lavington. But the picture does.

The image is a colour tinted version of Market Lavington Church

The image is a colour tinted version of Market Lavington Church

Yes, it is Market Lavington Church – an appropriate image for Christmas.

But why choose Market Lavington Church unless you are connected with the village?

Well, the person who chose the card were Potters by name – F and P we think.

Potter was a common Market Lavington name. There were 31 Potters living in Market Lavington at the time of the 1911 census. Another five had been born in Market Lavington but lived elsewhere. Three Potters had been born in Easterton.

But none seem to match the initials F and P.

But we still have a card of the church – colour tinted and used as a Happy Christmas Card.

Market Lavington Vicarage

December 11, 2013

Market Lavington had had a number of houses used by the parson. Once there was a parsonage on Parsonage Lane but this was demolished in the nineteenth century and replaced with numbers 6 and 8 on Parsonage Lane. These days we have the Rectory on Church Street. It had been a Vicarage, but when parishes merged into the present group benefice, it became a Rectory. In between, for the latter part of the nineteenth century and the early years of the twentieth, our local Vicar had the benefit of a delightful, large house. This was set back from the High Street, more or less opposite the Workman’s Hall. Two long term residents were the Reverend Frith and the Reverend Sturton. This building shows their delightful home

Market Lavington Vicarage from an Edwardian postcard by Mr Burgess

Market Lavington Vicarage from an Edwardian postcard by Mr Burgess

It is still there and still lived in. It is at the heart of the care and nursing home in the village.

This photo was taken in 2006 and shows the old Vicarage, now joined by many modern buildings.

Market Lavington Vicarage in its 21st century, care home guise.

Market Lavington Vicarage in its 21st century, care home guise

A couple of years ago we took a look at the sale brochure for the vicarage. This brochure was from 1956 and it described something of the interior of the building. You can click here to read it.