Posts Tagged ‘fete’

Dancing at the fête

August 11, 2015

Here we have a charming scene from 55 years ago. In about 1960 children were entertaining at the fête at Clyffe Hall by doing some country dancing. This photo was given to the museum by Mrs Elisha. Perhaps she had been responsible for organising the children.

School children dancing at a Clyffe Hall based fête in about 1960

School children dancing at a Clyffe Hall based fête in about 1960

Of course, we have no names but surely a reader will recognise some of those youngsters. Let’s zoom in on them.



From left to right: Patsy George, not yet identified, Susan Giddings, Brenda Stevens, Mary Bishop, not yet identified, Christine Ashley bending down.



From left to right: not yet identified, Stella Dark, Jenny Danton, Gerald Oram, remainder not yet identified

We can be reminded that back in 1960 children were still able to be children. We can note that they are not wearing clothes like those the adults have on. Mind you, from the look of the adults it was a chilly day. Maybe those children would feel in need of wearing something warmer when the dancing stopped.

Do get in touch if you can name these young folks.


Easterton Fete – about 1955

July 6, 2015

It comes as a shock to some of us to realise that 1955 was 60 years ago. Only people in the retired generation remember it and for the majority of the population, 1955 is old history.

And perhaps with black and white photos it looks quite like ancient history as well. This photo of a fete parade in Easterton is a case in point.

Easterton fete parade in about 1955

Easterton fete parade in about 1955

Even the actual location is a bit difficult to sort out for the most immediate building, on the right has been demolished. Of course, the pub sign does give the place.

The location give-away. The photo was taken outside The Royal Oak.

The location give-away. The photo was taken outside The Royal Oak.

It is the Royal Oak which still operates in Easterton, but without the benefit of that building out the front. Beyond the sign we see the steeply pitched roof of the Manor House– a sure sign that this building was formerly thatched.


At the front of the fete parade we have a sandwich board man with a poster advising people not to miss the fete and a town crier complete with bell.

Further back we have clowns, flower girls and all sorts.


We are hoping, of course, that some of these people enjoying a bit of dressing up will be recognised.

So it is over to you once more.


St Mary’s fete 2015

June 15, 2015

Just a couple of days ago St Mary’s Church held their fete in the grounds of Clyffe Hall. This may be run under the auspices of the church, but the reality is that it is a village event with many local organisations having stalls of their own. Market Lavington Museum is amongst those organisations which put on a show. Our aim is not to raise funds but rather to raise awareness and also for the exchange of information. But let’s start at the beginning by thanking Margaret from New Zealand who was in the village researching her Garratt or Garrett ancestors and who very kindly helped set up our gazebo and tables. image002 Here we have an empty set of tables, ready to be covered in some of our photographs of the past. And here we have a shot including the hall itself, with similar assembly work going on. image004 I think Margaret was quite blown away by the whole scenario. She said it felt as though she was taking part in an episode of Midsomer Murders. Literally hundreds of people look at the stall. The fete may only be ‘live’ between 2 and 4 pm, but other stall holders are there all morning wallowing in the past and sharing memories.   There are great moments for us – those times when an older person looks at an old school photo and calls out, ‘That’s me’. That’s a cue for a crowd to gather round as stories flood out. One such lady was paying her first visit to Market Lavington in forty years and was more delighted that these words can do justice too. More amusing is when a younger person discovers they are in a photo. You might hear a comment about being a museum artefact, sometimes ruefully from the person concerned and sometimes with great glee from their nearest and dearest. Margaret was not the only overseas visitor. In the afternoon four ladies from Waiblingen, involved in the local exchange scheme were at the fete. It seems that like Margaret, they felt they had stepped into a film set when they arrived at Clyffe Hall. So there we have Kristine, Martina, Katja and Doris at the fete. image006 How wonderful that some memories of our village life will be taken back to other countries and continents.

A Hospital Week poster

March 1, 2015

We are really fond of our Hospital Week posters at Market Lavington Museum. They remind us of so many things.

First and foremost they were charity events for both villages – Easterton and Market Lavington. The procession on Carnival Day always started in Easterton and marched to wherever the fete was held.

Secondly we are reminded that we are so lucky to live in the age of the National Health Service which means the whole demeaning business of having to beg for money when ill has been abolished.

And thirdly we are reminded of an age when communities were much more reliant on self-made fun.

Here is one of the posters – this one is less bright than some being black printing on white.

Hospital Week Poster for Market Lavington and Easterton. Probably 1925. Click to enlarge

Hospital Week Poster for Market Lavington and Easterton. Probably 1925.
Click to enlarge

The most annoying thing about these posters is that they don’t give the year. We believe this dates from the 1920s and the only Saturday August 15th in that decade was in 1925 so we expect this poster advertises an even that took place 90 years ago.

The gates opened at 2.30 and adults had to pay 6d admission. Sixpence, in 1915, had the purchasing power of about £1.25 today but we are all richer these days. In the time taken to earn those six old pennies, a typical worker will earn over £6 today. So a 6d entrance fee was really quite a significant sum to have to pay.

But prizes can be similarly upgraded. The guinea (£1-1-0) prize for best horse and harness in terms of income would be much the same as £260 today.

And what entertainments you got for your money – many provided by the 6th Field Brigade of the Royal Artillery. Musical Chairs on Horseback sounds like a sight to behold and we are assured that Nobby the Clown and his Human Horses are worth the entrance fee all on their own.

There were races to be run, and won by somebody who would have felt suitably rich. Fairground type rides and side stalls had been brought in. Excisable (alcoholic) beverages were provided by Mr Greetham of The Green Dragon and the good old Ladies’ Committee were serving teas.

The venue was the Home Field – behind Shires Close which was regularly used as the village recreation ground.

This lovely poster is something like A1 size

Fete takings 1955

February 16, 2015

Sixty years ago the fete was held on June 25th which was, of course, a Saturday

The accounts for this fete give an indication of the way times have changed. We have a list of stalls, people who ran them and how much they took.

1955 Market Lavington Fete takings. Click the picture to enlarge it.

1955 Market Lavington Fete takings. Click the picture to enlarge it.

The figure of almost £267 may seem quite low, but to match it today the fete would need to clear about £6000.

But it is the individual items which give an indication of change. There was no Pimms back then although teas and ice creams were available. There’s no indication of barbecued foods either. There are clearly old favourites, like guess the name of the dressed doll, guess the weight of the cake, guess how many sweets in the jar etc. These are the small side stalls that fetes still tend to have.

We don’t know what happened in ‘farthings’ or threepenny pieces. Was it essentially a donation of these coins? And maybe somebody who reads this can let us know what the stall ‘Joe Soap’ actually was.

No doubt the folks enjoyed themselves just as they still do today.

A fashion parade with a difference

January 25, 2015


Actually this ‘catwalk’ display, back in 1955, was a part of the annual fete and it wasn’t so much a display of modern fashion but rather a pageant of historic costumes.

At Market Lavington Museum we have a list of who wore just what and who owned and loaned the costumes. It’s a long list, covering three sides of the then prevalent foolscap sized paper. This was longer, but a bit thinner than our present A4 size of paper.

Here’s the first.


And the second page.


And finally the third page.


By the way, you can click on any of the images to see a larger and more readable version.

And what a sight this must have been back then, 60 years ago. And what a grand list of names. Many have, sadly but inevitably, passed on but our curator is keen to hear from the many – youngsters at the time – who are still with us. Who knows, someone, somewhere, might even have a photo of the event.

We already know that Roger Francis remembers the event. He’s the former resident, now living in Tasmania who published a novel last year called ‘The Lost Pages’. His book features Market Lavington quite heavily and we have featured it on this blog. (Click here).

We do look forward to hearing from others who remember this long ago display of old costumes.

The Village Fete in 1959

December 21, 2014

It may be close to Christmas and we may be enduring that dreary December weather – so why not remember happy days in June. In this case it was Saturday June 27th 1959. This was the day of the Market Lavington fete in that year.  We have quite as collection of fete posters at Market Lavington Museum and this is one of them.

Poster for Market Lavington Fete in 1959

Poster for Market Lavington Fete in 1959

Perhaps the first thing to note is that the posters were sponsored by an insurance company. That’s quite a nifty way of getting their name in the public eye – and associated with fun and happy times.

The fete was in the grounds of Clyffe Hall and was officially opened at 3pm by Mrs D Davies who was the Vicar’s wife.

The attractions for visitors to watch included a judo display by a local club, a fencing display by pupils at Dauntsey’s School and country dancing by Market Lavington school children.

There was a comic dog show and a lady’s ankle competition.

The band of the Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry played during the afternoon.

Visitors to the fete were promised all the fun of the fair. It was, of course, a country fete so there was clay pigeon shooting and bowling for a pig plus other competitions.

1959 was 55 years ago as this is written. Most householders would have had a TV by then but many would not have had a car. Village events were still big – a chance to get out, have a bit of fun and meet people.

Easterton Fete

August 25, 2014

Today is the day of the Easterton Country Fair. We hope the weather will be OK, but sadly it may be a tad damp. But of course, the local folks will show up and make the best of the circumstances. We certainly hope to meet you there.

We’ll take a look at a fete some eighteen years ago. This one was in Market Lavington and featured a donkey cart to give people rides.

Market Lavington Church Fete in 1996

Market Lavington Church Fete in 1996


It looks as though that fete – on June 1st 1996 – was blessed with very good weather. The fete was at Clyffe Hall and that’s Dave driving the donkey hauled vehicle.

We can’t promise donkeys for Easterton 2014, but there will be something for everybody whatever the weather.


All the World’s a Stage

August 17, 2014

Today we have a photo from the same source as the one we showed yesterday – and its caption has some of the same problems.

A play within the church fete at Beech House, Market Lavington in about 1972

A play within the church fete at Beech House, Market Lavington in about 1972

OK. It was 30th June – but what year? There’s no doubt this was the garden of Beech House and on the left hand end we have Peggy Gye, the owner – yet to found our museum but as ever, closely involved in village activities.

Sad to say, we don’t recognise others in this photo so once again we are appealing for help. We think the year was 1972 (30th June was a Friday that year) which means even the youngest child in the picture is well over 40 now.

Do get in touch if you can tell us more about the people or even what the play within the fete was about.

Fete benefits

September 21, 2013

At Market Lavington Museum we do not attend the local fetes to make money for ourselves. We go partly to show the community – not all natural museum goers – that we are interesting and have things they’d like to see. It helps to keep our community profile high.

But we also go because we can learn much from local people who visit the fete.

Here’s a case in point from Easterton fete which took place at the end of August.

We took along a picture showing a school performance. All pictures we take out are copies and laminated to make sure bad weather doesn’t spoil them. It means we can also stick bits of paper on them. And here is this photo.

Children performing at Easterton School

Children performing at Easterton School

Our picture came back looking like this,


Same picture but with names added by the wonderful people of Easterton

Same picture but with names added by the wonderful people of Easterton

We basically have three rows of people and now have the names for several of them

Of the ten people in the back row we know that the 2nd (from left) is Robin McKinnon, the 6th is Robin Kent and the 7th is Piers Kent and the 9th is Paul Delancy.

In the middle row of eight we have, from the left, Peggy Buck, Jane Shergold, Maureen Stockley, Carol Foster, Lynne Stockley, Kasha Zubek and then two we don’t yet have names for.

In the front row of eight people we have, from the left, Hugh McFadzean, Judith Maule and Mary Lodge. Then we have an unknown one and then Carol Foster who seems to be in the front and middle row.  After another unknown we have Susan Jefferies, an unknown and the row ends with Brenda McBeth.

It is great to get so many people named. We offer huge thanks to the Easterton folk who provided the information.

But of course, there are more to name so do get in touch if you can help.