Posts Tagged ‘Gore’

The Bus to New Zealand?

September 6, 2011

At Market Lavington Museum we like to keep a record of present day events so that  future generations can see and be amazed at the strange things we did. And they don’t come much stranger than the events of Saturday 3rd September 2011 when it was possible to go, by bus, to New Zealand.

Many people in Market Lavington, unaware of the special nature of the day would have been amazed to see a London Routemaster  bus making its way along The Spring at about 10.30 in the morning.

Routemaster bus on service 23a for Brazen Bottom makes its way along The Spring in Market Lavington

Ah yes, said the experts, waiting at the bus stop at the end of Park Road. It’s the service 23a for Brazen Bottom.

3rd September 2011 - the bus on Church Street in Market Lavington

The bus made its way along Church Street

Turning onto White Street for the ascent of Lavington Hill

It then turned onto White Street.

Passengers on the bus as it slowly grinds up Lavington Hill

Passengers could then enjoy the hard slog (for a 43 year old bus) of the ascent of Lavington Hill.

Plenty of people did know about the service and the bus was well loaded.

Actually, this was one of five former London Routemasters that were running an intensive service between Market Lavington and Tilshead via Imber to Warminster. This was in connection with the Imber open day.

Imber, of course, is not in Market Lavington so some Market Lavington people might not know that this was a village, on Salisbury Plain from which the villagers were removed, almost at the end of World War II to make space for an artillery training range. Most villagers believed they had been promised they could return home when hostilities ceased. That has never happened but after a campaign, some 50 years ago, the village was opened to visitors for a few days each year. For the last couple of years, a group of Routemaster owning bus enthusiasts have run a service of buses on an open day. This year, for the first time, they included Market Lavington on their itinerary.

In case ‘bus enthusiasts’ sounds like a bunch of amateurs – it was not. It was a highly professional set up and the bus crews all held the required qualifications and certificates.

The bus reached the top of Lavington Hill and then headed along the Ridgeway to the ‘terminus’ at Brazen Bottom. That’s  the name of a former farm which is actually in West Lavington parish.

The bus at Brazen Bottom

There’s the bus at Brazen Bottom, next to its bus stop with a view back towards Market Lavington.

Oddly, although the bus had got into West Lavington, it was about to enter what had once been an outlier of Market Lavington – Gore. The area around Gore Cross was, sensibly enough, transferred to West Lavington in the 19th century.

Gore was one of the interchange stops for buses, so, as one bus arrived from Brazen Bottom, another, an open top vehicle, was waiting for passengers wishing to travel to New Zealand.

The New Zealand bus waits at Gore Cross which was once a part of Market Lavington parish

The destination board makes it clear that this is New Zealand Farm Camp, named because New Zealand soldiers were based there during the first world war.

A New Zealand and a Warminster bus at GoreA quiet wait at New Zealand Farm Camp

And there we have a bus pausing at New Zealand so that travellers could take a photo.

The bus at New Zealand Farm Camp

It had better be added that really the day was about Imber but perhaps this blog for Market Lavington Museum is not the place to go there. Suffice to say that at Imber there were refreshments in the church alongside displays about the village. Toilets were provided too. It was possible to travel on the buses all day for a fiver. Last year the organisers were able to donate £400 to the Imber Church fund.  A different charity was supported this year and we look forward, very much, to the next bus service in 2012.

You’ll be able to see more pictures of this day – both buses and Imber by clicking here.

It really is like the old joke. You wait a year and then three come at once.

Three buses at Imber on 3rd September 2011

The Parish of Market Lavington

August 3, 2011

The parish of Market Lavington has a complex history. Here we are looking at a map showing parish boundaries in 1790.

Market Lavington parish in 1790

We can see that the bulk of the parish was long and thin, stretching from Potterne in the north west and way over Salisbury Plain to the south east.

The village itself forms a very small part of the parish and is marked on this map as East Lavington.

Easterton was a part of Market Lavington parish then, and until the 1870s. But between the two parts of the parish there was the long narrow strip known as Fiddington. Fiddington was a part of West Lavington, even though it was physically separated from the bulk of that parish.

Gore, however, was a separated part of Market Lavington. That’s the strange shaped piece of land in the south west.

Since then there have been numerous changes. Gore became West Lavington, which was logical geographically and Fiddington became Market Lavington/Easterton. Easterton became a parish in its own right and then took on Eastcott which had been in Urchfont parish.

A small area around Russell Mill moved from Market to West Lavington. Again, this makes geographical sense these days, for the surfaced road to the mill, Russell Mill Lane is in the West Lavington parish.

All areas which were or are now part of Market Lavington are ‘fair game’ for Market Lavington Museum. We are always willing to receive information or artefacts that have a definite  link to our parish.

A trip to Weymouth

February 19, 2011

Market Lavington Museum is exclusively about the parish of Market Lavington, past and present. This includes Easterton, Fiddington, Gore and the Russell Mill area as well as what we now know as Market Lavington. But Weymouth, on the Dorset Coast? Surely not.

Well, actually, yes, for whilst Weymouth may be some 50 miles away, as the crow flies or some 70 miles away by road, people can move. In 1925 the Congregational Church had a day out in Weymouth and our photo shows the group on the beach.

Members of Market Lavington's Congregational Church on Weymouth Beach in 1925

Mostly, people look very proper. The men wear their jackets, ties and caps. The women are suitably covered and wear hats. Children had a bit more freedom with shorts or short dresses and one lass appears to have tucked her dress into her knickers.

We know little of this trip. One suspects the journey was made in one or more of Fred Sayer’s charabancs for that was a local, Market Lavington company and there were links between that company and the Congregational Church. But possibly the journey was made by train from Lavington Station with a change at Westbury or Castle Cary for the Weymouth line.

We do not have names of people either, but maybe somebody out there will recognise some of the people. Here’s a close up on some of the children who don’t look totally happy.

A close up on some of the children on the trip

Do get in touch if you can give us any information about this trip.

A Motoring and Hiking Map

February 18, 2011

Another new map? Well actually, it is quite an old map and a very battered and worn map it is too. But it has period charm.

A Motoring and Hiking Map at Market Lavington Museum

It is a Motoring and Hiking Map and the illustration on the front shows a pair of hikers, studying their map whilst a period car trundles past on the road.

This map was printed by a well known firm of cartographic printers – W. and A. K. Johnston Ltd. Of Edinburgh and London.

There is no indication as to year of publication. From the cover illustration we believe it dates from about 1930. Several maps from this series can be found offered for sale on Internet auction sites. Most sellers suggest either 1920s or 30s.

The map owes its origins to, and gives credit to the Ordnance Survey.

As a map for hikers it must have been almost useless. The scale is three miles to the inch and at that scale very little in the way of detail can be shown. The size of the map is about 60 cm by 50 cm so it covers about 70 miles from north to south by 60 miles from east to west. That’s a huge area for hiking.

A series of these maps covered the whole country. This is map J. The area it covered can be seen described on the illustration. But that does not mention Market Lavington or Easterton, which do appear on the map. The section shown is about 7 cm across on the actual map.

The area of the map which includes Market Lavington, Fiddington, Easterton and Gore

The selective nature of the map is surprising. Northbrook, one of the more populous parts of Market Lavington is not shown at all. Market Lavington Church is marked with a cross. West Lavington’s has been missed. On the other hand the map shows West Lavington with an inn whereas Market Lavington has no such service shown.

Up on Salisbury Plain, above Easterton, Pond Farm is shown. That probably means the map survey predates the First World War, for the farm was in an area taken over for artillery training and used as target practice. Similarly, New Farm is shown above Market Lavington. The farm at that outpost of the parish, Candown, is not shown but the area is named as Candown and looks to be a major road junction. In truth there was a selection of vague track ways, ready to ensure the unwary traveller got utterly lost.

This is a delightful addition to our range of old maps at the museum.

The Forever Imber Rally

January 22, 2011

Fifty years ago today, on 22nd January 1961, a mass trespass took place in a bid to get the village of Imber returned to villagers. It had been taken over in 1943 as an emergency war measure, but villagers always understood that their homes would be returned to them when the emergency was over. In 1961, one man, Austin Underwood from Amesbury, announced he’d walk from Gore Cross (which was once in the parish of Market Lavington) to Imber and he invited others to make the trek with him. In the event, some 2000 people turned up and they used 700 cars to get there. It was at least ten times the size that Austin had anticipated.

Amongst the walkers was Peter Francis, Market Lavington’s photographer, who decided on this occasion to produce a movie of the event. We have this movie – converted from film to video and then on to DVD at Market Lavington Museum.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the Forever Imber rally, Austin’s daughter, Ruth, has organised an event taking place at West Lavington Village Hall from 9.00 am onwards today. There’ll be a chance to learn about Imber from expert Rex Sawyer. There’ll be music and audiovisual presentations, which will include ‘our’ film. There’ll be activities for all of the family so it’s an event well worth getting to.

Below we show some stills from the Peter Francis film.

The 'Forever Imber' rally set off from Gore Cross. Note the AA phone box which have largely vanished from the British scene.

More than 700 1961 period cars carried people to the rally

Imber Village Street as people on the rally arrive

Some of the 2000 people arrive in Imber on 22nd January 1961

It could be said that the rally failed, for Imber never was returned to former residents. However, the public enquiry which followed the rally did result in the occasional opening of the road through the village and the securing of St Giles Church. This was really a substantial victory which made the need for mass trespass a thing of the past.

The church has recently had considerable renovation and a peel of bells has been installed. People can visit the graves of ancestors and, from time to time, it will be possible to hear the bells ring out at Little Imber on the down, seven miles from any town.