Posts Tagged ‘fire brigade’

The Fire Brigade

June 12, 2016

Today we have another article from an issue of Lavington Forum – the Market Lavington School magazine issued for a while in the late 1940s. This one is about the fire brigade which used to keep an appliance in its Market Place premises.

The Fire Brigade - an article from a 1940s Lavington Forum

The Fire Brigade – an article from a 1940s Lavington Forum. Hitting Ctrl and + will enlarge this and make it easier to read

A good little article there so well done to B Little and M Sainsbury.


The fire brigade

December 20, 2014

It is always good if photos are well captioned but sometimes thay just aren’t. Actually, this blog can be extremely useful in getting people named. We have a large number of regular viewers who keep in touch and put us right.

So today we’ll feature an uncaptioned photo of the fire brigade.

Market Lavington Fire Brigade posing outside beech House

Market Lavington Fire Brigade posing outside Beech House

We are not sure of the date of this photo but the appliance, almost totally hidden behind the men, is the one put together locally in the early 1930s. Reg Milsom did the work of converting the chassis to be a fire engine. This appliance was certainly still in use at the start of World War II.

The equipment trailer on the back looks more modern.

The location for the photo is very clear. This is outside Beech House on White Street so our firemen are, more or less, looking at Broadwell.

We’d like to date the photo and name the men, so lets see them in groups and enlarged.





If you can help identify then leave a comment on this blog or contact us by email.

Pumping out a cellar

August 1, 2014

In 1961 the cellar at 9 High Street became flooded. We do not know the reason but doubt it had anything to do with bad weather, but was, rather more, to do  with an internal plumbing problem.

There was no longer a local fire brigade so an appliance was got out from Devizes and a portable pump was used to pump the water away.

The fire brigade pump out a flooded cellar on High Street, Market Lavington in 1961

The fire brigade pump out a flooded cellar on High Street, Market Lavington in 1961

The local lads and a lass or two are out in force to watch this event. They have lined up outside what was then Lloyds Bank.  Maybe there are people reading this who might recognise the lads.


Thanks to Chris who gives us (from right to left.

(Girl) Christine Anderson
(Lad Holding arm up) Richard Baker
David Anderson
John Ingram
John Buckland?


And from Chris again, from right to left we have

Maurice Little
Graham Sheppard
Jonathon Coppock


Alan Baker – fireman

May 31, 2014

Earlier this month we featured a badge that had belonged to a fireman. That’s a fire fighter, rather than a man who managed the fire on a steam locomotive.

That fireman was Alan Baker, known as Shuner. We have now been given a bit more of Shuner’s memorabilia..

Let’s start with his service certificate.

Alan Baker's fire service certificate

Alan Baker’s fire service certificate

This document tells us that Alan joined up as a part time fireman on 16th February 1934 and he left at his own request on 13th September 1945. We know he was attached to the Market Lavington brigade although the certificate does not mention this. It does indicate that local authority brigades were, in effect, nationalised into a single service in 1941.

Shuner, as an established fireman, was not called up for army service during World War II. But a grateful country recognised his service (and others like him) with an award of the Defence Medal.

The medal was posted to Alan in a small brown package.

Package sent to Alan Baker of Lyndale, Northbrook in Market Lavington

Package sent to Alan Baker of Lyndale, Northbrook in Market Lavington

The package certainly told anyone who saw it what it contained.

The package contained a Defence medal

The package contained a Defence medal

Inside there is a duplicated ‘letter’ from the Home Secretary. That would have been James Chuter Ede at the time.

Accompanying letter from the Home Secretary

Accompanying letter from the Home Secretary

The medal itself has no recipient name on it.


Medal and ribbon


The reverse side of the medal

The reverse side of the medal

We’d like to thank Shuner’s son for donating these items to the museum.

A Fireman’s badge

May 12, 2014

Allan Baker was a Market Lavington man – born and raised. He was born in about 1906 to father George – a labourer and mother Eliza.

Apparently when he was young he had difficulty saying the word ‘sugar’ and his nickname of Shuner was born and stayed with him.

For many years Shuner was a member of the Market Lavington Fire Brigade and we have recently been given a lapel badge that he wore with pride.

Shuner Baker's fireman's badge

Shuner Baker’s fireman’s badge

Shuner married Olive Scard in 1930. Descendants still live in Market Lavington.

He died in 1989 and is buried in St Mary’s churchyard.

Market Lavington Fire Brigade in 1942

February 25, 2014

We have recently been given a photo of the fire brigade. The caption is a model of perfection. But first, the photo.

Market Lavington fire brigade in 1942

Market Lavington fire brigade in 1942

The photograph was taken in the Market Place and shows the men, smartly attired, standing alongside the fire engine, already an appliance of some antiquity. It was Market Lavington’s first motorised fire engine. And now the caption.


Wonderful information has come with this photo

Wonderful information has come with this photo

With that information there isn’t a lot to add. You can read more about Mr Reg Milsom and the fire engine by clicking here.

We can come up with a few biographical details for some of the men.

The chief, Tom Merritt, was born around 1884 so he was approaching 60 when this photo was taken. In 1905 he married Agnes Shore and Alf, their first born arrived the following year.

Allan and Cecil Baker were brothers, sons of George and Eliza. Both were born in the first decade of the 20th century.

Albert Potter was the son of Frank. The Potters had a farm on High Street, near the Green Dragon. Alf was born in about 1909.

It’s a lovely picture and we’d like to thank Diane for giving it to the museum.

More on Easterton Fire Brigade

January 13, 2013

Some readers may recall that on January 1st 2013 we showed a picture of ‘Easterton Fire Brigade’. It was clearly some kind of carnival item but we had no idea when or why or who was involved.

A blog comment suggested it was after World War 1 to judge from the souvenir helmets some of the men wore.

But now we have much more information along with a second picture of the same ‘Easterton Fire Brigade’.

A pretend Easterton Fire Brigade at the celebrations for the Coronation of King George VI

A pretend Easterton Fire Brigade at the celebrations for the Coronation of King George VI

This picture was made into a postcard so it has a caption which gives us a date.

The postcard caption

The postcard caption

So, the ‘New Engine and Brigade’ were a creation for the Coronation Carnival of 1937’

This picture is taken from the other side of the ‘appliance’. We see that the hon. Sec. of the brigade was a rather dubious character

I Doubtem was said to be the Hon. Secretary

I Doubtem was said to be the Hon. Secretary

Our donor for this picture tells us that he was led to believe that the driver was his Uncle Jack – Arthur John Spencer. He’d have lived and farmed at Halstead Farm on Easterton High Street at the time.

The other men are still not known and maybe we’ll struggle to identify them under the false whiskers. But once again, we’ll try. Can you name these men? Of course we now know the photo dates from 1937.



Can you name any of the men?

Can you name any of the men?

The Market Lavington Fire Engine in 1920

December 17, 2012

Marjorie (née) Milsom wrote the paragraph below – a part of her memories of the fire service in the village.

In 1929 the only fire appliance in the village was a tender which had to be towed behind a lorry, and my father used to stand on the back stoking the boiler when racing to a fire. But one day the tender hit the kerb and it turned over. After my father recovered from his injuries, the Council asked him to build the village a motorised replacement fire engine, which he did. The village of Mere had recently acquired a new fire engine so my father went over and copied the design, then built it to those specifications. The fire engine was a great success and served the village and surrounding villages well for over 20 year years. It was housed in The Fire Station in the Market Place.

But today we predate Marjorie’s memory with a picture of the fire engine in about 1920. It may have been the same appliance, but back then horse power was used. Regrettably, it isn’t the best photo we have.

Market Lavington fire engine and crew in about 1920

Market Lavington fire engine and crew in about 1920

As we can see, some of the crew have all but faded away in this picture which, we assume, was not taken on active service. There is certainly someone very youthful at the back. Another regret is that none of the people are named so yet again we appeal for help.

But despite our lack of information we still think this is a charming image of the way things were 90 or so years ago.

Easterton – Fire and Water

May 15, 2012

Another photo recently given to Market Lavington Museum shows a little bit of Easterton in about 1900.

A charming scene in Easterton, Wiltshire in about 1900. The photo is at Market Lavington Museum.

It can be seen that this picture is not in perfect condition. The photographer must have been standing on the bridge over the stream. This is on the road which leaves the main route and then veers round to the right, behind the two girls to head to the Village Hall and on up to The Sands.

The photo dates back to a time before Easterton had a pump for water. The two girls are about to fill their pitchers from a dipping well.

Girls fetch water from the dipping well at Easterton

So that’s the water from the title. What about the fire?

Fortunately, there isn’t a fire, but had there been, the wooden door behind the girls would have been opened to reveal Easterton’s very own fire engine. We have looked at this venerable machine before. Click here to see it.

In fact, the door behind the girls is clearly labelled FIRE ENGINE – it’s a bit blurred in this photo.

FIRE ENGINE is written on this entrance to an underground room.

This entrance also housed the jam factory pump – presumably to get water up to that building.

The door is still there, although it no longer hides a fire engine and the jam factory is long closed. Brambles and other plants have all but concealed this historic little cave-like building.

The Fire Station Bureau

April 23, 2012

A very recent arrival at Market Lavington Museum is a small, rather ordinary little bureau. It’s an ordinary item made special by its history. This is an item which was once used as the desk in the Market Lavington Fire Station.

Many people will not be aware there was such a fire station, but in fact, at one time both Market Lavington and Easterton each had their own fire engines, ready to serve (at a cost) the people of the villages.

Market Lavington progressed from a towed fire engine with a steam powered pump to a proper lorry style fire engine in the 1930s. You can click here to read Marjorie Milsom’s account of how her father came to build the first proper fire engine in the village.

Like the old towed vehicle, the new one was kept in the Market Place although the location for the station moved further back, behind the Co-op. Perhaps the small bureau arrived at that time – paper work had to be done and this item gave a chance to have somewhere to write and to store paper work. The glass-doored front, below the desk, allowed any trophies won by the brigade to be displayed.

When the station closed (about 1960, we think), the chief fireman, Alfie Burt rescued the little bureau. For the last 50 years the item was with the Burt family, handed down from father to son. Now it has been given to the museum where it can serve something like its old purpose. We have paper work in the desk – all items connected with the fire service in Market Lavington and Easterton.

Other museum artefacts are displayed in the glass-fronted section.

Bureau which once was the office desk at the Fire Station in Market Lavington

What a lovely little item this is – and for the first time for many a year, the old Market and Easterton Fire Brigades are remembered at the museum