Posts Tagged ‘food’

Museum food

September 3, 2016

A couple of days ago we mentioned our forthcoming Museum Miscellany which takes place on October 8th at 7.30pm in the Market Lavington Community Hall.

One of the features of this event is museum food and during the past year we have been able to copy the pages of Bessie Francis’s recipe book. Much of the book is hand written but here we show one pasted in from an unknown source. We can’t guarantee that this delicacy will be made for the Miscellany but it gives an idea of the sort of item we’ll have there for you to sample.

Bessie Francis's recipe for barley flake biscuits

Bessie Francis’s recipe for barley flake biscuits

All our food is made and provided by volunteers. These sound pretty good although we are not sure that Banner’s still exists in the barley flake business.

See you on the 8th October!


Butter pats

March 9, 2016

Butter pats should not be confused with pats of butter. At a time when butter was not pre-wrapped, grocers used a couple of wooden paddles called butter pats to shape up a decent half pound of the substance. We have a pair of such pats at the museum.

Butter pats used at Clyffe Hall when it was a hotel in the 1940s

Butter pats used at Clyffe Hall when it was a hotel in the 1940s

These pats are lightly ridged and the total length is about 25 centimetres. Older readers may remember seeing grocers using these implements, showing amazing skill at getting the butter just as customers required it.

But this pair did not belong to a grocer. They come from a hotel – Clyffe Hall – and date from the 1940s. No doubt it was deemed essential to have very trim looking butter available for guests at such an establishment.

A vegetable mill

March 3, 2016

If you speak French you’ll realise that the item we look at today is just that – a vegetable mill for it says so on the handle.

The handle of a vegetable mill or Moulin-Legumes in French

The handle of a vegetable mill or Moulin-Legumes in French

And there we have it – Moulin – Legumes which must be French for Vegetable mill

And here’s the whole device.

The whole mill. Plates with different mesh size could be used.

The whole mill. Plates with different mesh size could be used.

Clearly small pieces of vegetable could be dropped into the container and when the small handle was turned the veg would be pushed through the holes into a waiting dish underneath.

We believe this device, which was made in France, dates from the first half of the twentieth century. They were invented by Jean Mantle in 1932 and can be used for all kinds of food – not just vegetables.

WE also think it probably had a big red (or maybe yellow) handle to use when turning the device. That is missing from our example.

These devices were used worldwide but ours, of course, has Market Lavington provenance having belonged to a White Street family.

A horn beaker

March 13, 2014

The old phrase used to be ‘waste not, want not’. This implied that if you wasted nothing then you’d want for nothing. Certainly, in times past, very little was wasted.

Whether people were sentimental about animals they kept, we have no idea. But when the time came to dispatch the animal then every part of it was likely to find a use, whether it was food, clothing, or something else altogether.

Today we look at that last category – something else altogether. It’s a drinking vessel made out of cow horn.

An 18th century horn beaker at Market Lavington Museum

An 18th century horn beaker at Market Lavington Museum

This dates from the 18th century. A good bit of horn was identified as suitable for a beaker. It was cut, smoothed and then a base was fitted. And what an elegant item it made.

Now these days there will be plenty of people who object to the use of animal products. Our forebears just couldn’t afford to have such qualms. Trading in goods has gone on for centuries, but even so, by and large, people used locally produced products. Cow horn was widely used in rural areas to make drinking beakers.

The maker, or perhaps an owner, has scratched his initial on the base.

Initial 'H' scratched on the beaker's base

Initial ‘H’ scratched on the beaker’s base

Of course, we have no idea who ‘H’ was, but clearly his beaker meant something to him or her.

The beaker is on display in the kitchen at the museum.

Honey, honey

February 11, 2014

Bee keeping was once seen as an important addition to the livelihood of some households. It still goes on but perhaps it takes a special person to cope with bees all over the place. Most of us are just a tad frightened of them.

In times past one of the best known bee keepers in Market Lavington was Bill Elisha. Mr Elisha and his bees last got a mention on this blog when we covered an article written in the school magazine back in the 1940s. You can click here to read it.

We have one of Bill’s honey pot labels at the museum.

William Elisha honey jar label

William Elisha honey jar label

That’s very pretty, with a traditional white hive shown in lovely English scenery.

But Bill was not the only beekeeper as another label we have shows.

Shore and Feltham of Lavington honey jar label

Shore and Feltham of Lavington honey jar label

This honey was produced by Shore and Feltham of Lavington (or rather, by their bees). It has a more modern style to it with a cheery looking bee and some clover. It even gives the weight of honey in metric as well as in Imperial measures.

We do not have a date for either label. I’m sorry to say we do not know who Shore and Feltham were. Can anyone out there help us?

Harvest – men and horses

August 20, 2013

As this is written, the harvesting of corn on Lavington Hill is all but over for 2013.

The mighty combine has hurried round the fields, cutting huge swathes of the crop at each pass. Tractors with grain trailers have bustled to and fro, removing the valuable crop.

The giant baler followed the combine and most of the huge rectangular bales have been carted off. Some have passed through the village on their way to unknown destinations.

Ploughs aren’t used, but some fields have already turned brown as the stubble has been turned in and broken up. The downs have an autumnal look to them.

With all that in mind we’ll look back at a past harvest which would have been much slower and more manual in style.

A past harvest at Eastcott. Note the pitchforks.

A past harvest at Eastcott. Note the pitchforks.

Our information about this photo is limited. The back of the cards says ‘Bowyer Farm’. Our records say it is to do with the Cook family of Eastcott Farm.

With such poor information it is over to you. Please get in touch if you can identify people, location or even the horse. It’s a lovely image of past times so it would be good to have proper facts about it.

Samuel Moore gives his son the news.

June 22, 2013

It is more than two years since we featured a letter from Samuel Moore of the Easterton Jam Factory, to his son Wilf who was serving in France during World War 1. Here we have another.

Samuel Moore of Easterton - headed paper of 1918

Samuel Moore of Easterton – headed paper of 1918

Samuel used his company notepaper and here’s who he was sending to.

The letter was from samuel Moore to his son Wilf who was on WW1 duty in France

The letter was from samuel Moore to his son Wilf who was on WW1 duty in France

Like the previous letter we showed, the date looks like 1915, but we are sure Samuel actually wrote 1918. In the letter, Sam refers to Sunday August 18th as a date on which he was writing. That was in 1918.

The start of the letter

The start of the letter

Let’s transcribe.

Dear Wilfrid I have received your last card & letter and am pleased to hear you are getting on alright. I have had so much to attend to that I have not had time to write to you. Our business has grown to be a very large one. And fruits are very scarce & dear. I have been having a lot of fruit from Hampshire this year. Now everything about here is all different to what it was when you were here. But with all the changes our business of jam making is the best. You can make jams day and night and sell them. I have the large boiler fixed and am putting the building out in line with the front door. I should have said the government fixes all the prices for fruits and jams.

I have had to leave this letter unfinished until this day Sunday August 18th. Since then a great deal has happened. I am now taking fruits and ??? from what is known as the Wiltshire Fruit and Vegetable ???. We are having a lot of blackberries through them at 3d per pound. There are scarcely any apples this year. They are 6d per lb. And plums are not less than 3½d per lb. I have 4 cases of oranges at 50/- per case – 10d per lb – and am using them in my new preserve at 7½d per lb. People rush for it.

Now all that is wanted in the business is money to extend it.

I have plenty of offers but I would rather be my own master.

I now employ several people every week.

Percy Webb – he is just leaving as he will have to join up. ??? Clelford – she works for us constantly.

The rest of the letter is not clear, but for those who would like to try to decypher it, here it is.


The sign off is ‘your loving father S. Moore’.

A Trivet

April 12, 2013

These days most people would have no idea on how to cook on a kitchen range. It was a work of skill getting things to the right temperature with judicious addition of fuel and control of dampers. And of course, at the same time you actually had to manage the food as well. It’s so different from our ‘touch of a button’ life with technology managing the heat leaving the cook free to deal with the food.

Back in those old days all sorts of extras were available. What we are looking at today is called a trivet. This one could be clamped onto a range and used to keep a pan warm in front of the stove.

Late nineteenth century trivet at Market Lavington Museum

Late nineteenth century trivet at Market Lavington Museum

As we can see this is quite an ornamental piece of cast iron. A utilitarian item could quite happily be cast into something which was ornament as well as useful. The underside, with the clamp, is more complex.

Underside of trivet with adjustable fastening

Underside of trivet with adjustable fastening

There’s a wing nut to enable adjustment to be made. The trivet could be held at varying distances from the fire.

This trivet is believed to date from the late 1800s and had been used by the Gale family of The Spring in Market Lavington. Presumably, it had been unused for some time when it came to the museum back in 1987.

The Potato Harvest

November 26, 2012

During the Second World War it was imperative that as much food as possible was grown in Britain. Areas of what might be called leisure ground were taken in hand to be productive agricultural land. This happened in Market Lavington, as elsewhere.

So here we see what had been the Warrington Playing Field. Goal posts are still in place but the pitch has been turned into a potato field.

Harvesting potatos on the Warrington Field, Market Lavington during World War II.

The caption on the back of the photo suggests the men in the picture are harvesting the crop, but we can see no sign of that happening.

Men to identify.

Can anybody name any of the men?

Grandma Doubleday’s Jelly Mould

October 21, 2012

It is not the first time that the Doubledays have featured on these pages. You can click here to read about Mrs Doubleday – born Ellen Maria White who is our Grandma Doubleday.

Today we feature one of her domestic artefacts – a jelly mould. It is believed to date from about 1910. This means it would have been bought in Wellingborough or Brixworth in Northamptonshire and would have come to Market Lavington when the family moved here. Almost certainly, the mould moved to Trowbridge for it was given to the museum by a grandson of Mrs Doubleday who lived there.

Grandma Doubleday’s jelly mould – at Market Lavington Museum

This mould is made of glazed earthenware and would produce a fluted product with a flower motif on top.

The mould's interest is, in part, due to its former owner

Some of us like to imagine that a recipe that came from another grandson of Mrs Doubleday might have been made in this mould. The recipe for Grandma Doubleday’s Potted Meat appeared in a 1970s publication which was fund raising for glazing at St Mary’s Market Lavington. This recipe has become a winner at our Museum Miscellany events each year.

Grandma Doubleday’s recipe for potted meat

We are informed by cooks who know that almost certainly a mould like this one, with its fancy decorations, would have been used for sweet jellies. But we can dream quite happily of the potted meat!