Posts Tagged ‘Health’

Florence Eldin

August 20, 2014

Florence Eldin, daughter of a butcher who held the shop which is now Dowse the butchers, has been mentioned before on this blog. Click here for that posting.

We know that Florence was born about 1893 in Cambridgeshire and moved to Market Lavington when her father took over the butchery business.

She was in her 50s when she married George O’Reilly in 1945, a marriage which lasted just three years before George died. He was quite a bit older than her.

Florence herself died in 1973 but that length of life might have seemed unlikely back in 1922.

Extract from the Market Lavington tuberculosis reporting book

Extract from the Market Lavington tuberculosis reporting book

As we can see, it was in that year she was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis.

This could explain her absence from the village in 1926. She is not on the electoral register for that year.

At Market Lavington Museum we have quite a substantial record book, kept in accordance with the Tuberculosis Regulations of 1911. Our book, we should be thankful to say, received very little use.



Vapo-Cresolene Vaporizer

March 19, 2014

Let’s begin with an image. This is a Vapo-Cresolene Vaporizer.

The Vapo-Creolene Vaporizer at Market Lavington Museum

The Vapo-Creolene Vaporizer at Market Lavington Museum

What a work of elegance! There is a simple paraffin burner designed to heat a substance to produce a vapour. The vapour was said to be health giving and, as the somewhat worn box says, ‘to cure as you sleep’.


The burner has a small glass paraffin tank.


But having the box for this item really makes for interest.


We can see that the manufacturers claim effectiveness for treating whooping cough and got their device registered in various countries towards the end of the 19th century.


Some science to tell us that using Vapo-Cresolene is the only way!

Look at all these ailments the device treats.


This device and original packaging probably date from around 1900.

The Blood Donor

November 8, 2013

If you are of an age, the title for this posting will bring back memories of Tony Hancock grumbling that the pin prick of blood taken to test for anaemia was not the whole blood donation and that they wanted about a pint. He grumbled that a pint was about an armful.

Today’s item is a blood donor registration card dating from World War II. We have to confess it had us baffled for the person concerned was a Miss B Pye.

Identity card for Miss B Pye of Market Lavington which should have read Miss B Gye

Identity card for Miss B Pye of Market Lavington which should have read Miss B Gye

We knew of no such person, but then realised the address was a give-away since Primrose House was the home of the Gye family. For Miss B Pye read Miss B Gye – Bessie who later became Bessie Francis.

Blood donor information from the time of the Second World War

Blood donor information from the time of the Second World War

The information on the reverse makes it clear that blood donating was vital and very much needed.

Of course, the donation of blood continues to this day. The blood transfusion service makes use of the Market Lavington Community Hall.

Pink Windows

October 24, 2013

October is breast cancer awareness month. Our local Post Office in Market Lavington has supported this event and as part of that they have created a pink window display.

Market Lavington Post Office window - Otober 2013

Market Lavington Post Office window – October 2013

This is modern stuff – October 2013 – but it is important that we, at Market Lavington Museum keep a record of ‘now’ so that people in the future can look back at the way we lived and the quaint way we did things.

Maybe there is a hope here of some child, in a hundred years or so, looking at this photo and asking, ‘what’s cancer?’

But well done to Dave, Julie and the team at the Post Office for mounting this display and also for the all the year round service they give us, of advertising local charities and events.

Amongst non-commercial posters we can pick out in the window, there is one for a Farm Africa Lunch – and these have always been enjoyable events and there is one for the Day Centre sale – another fun morning. I note we are invited to go on ‘Ted’s Walks’. The WI has a poster and so, too does the Community Choir. And of course, there is one there for Market Lavington Museum.

We’d like all our readers and our local residents to know that we are very interested in conserving what happens now for the future – and not just special events. The ordinary way of life matters if people in the future are ever to understand why we did things.

A Nit Comb

July 11, 2013

You never know what will turn up next. Nit combs wouldn’t be everyone’s first choice for a museum item, but they are useful little tools – if you have nits. And of course, they form a small part of history – particularly with regard to attitudes.

It all depends on when you lived as to what you think of nits and crawlers in the hair. People of a certain age will recall the nit nurse visiting schools and the sense of utter shame for those on whom nits or lice were discovered. The same people might also recall that when their own children were at school it was not uncommon for the letter to come home saying a case of nits/lice had been found and please check your child’s hair. And sometimes you found the wee beasts. Nobody made much fuss about it. You used the appropriate chemical hair wash and raked out the eggs or egg cases with the nit comb.

We can imagine, that in the 1930s or 40s when this nit comb was made, then crawlers or their eggs were deemed disgraceful and regarded as a sign of uncleanliness – which is entirely wrong.

A nit comb from the 1930s or 40s at Market Lavington Museum

A nit comb from the 1930s or 40s at Market Lavington Museum

This comb, clearly well used, was found during renovations at the former Volunteer Arms pub in 1992. The small gaps between the tines allowed hair to pass through, but any items stuck on the hair would be dragged out by the comb. This one is made of bone and we can only wonder whether it was dropped by accident or in horror at the discovery of nits.

We do not know, of course, who lost the comb.

Nit combs are still available today. A very similar looking plastic item can be purchased for 50p or less.

A Victorian Eye Bath

June 1, 2013

Eyes are obviously important to those of us who are lucky and not blind. It is no surprise that cures and devices for keeping eyes healthy have been around for centuries. This one, which we have in market Lavington Museum, is 19th century, but looks little different to eye baths of today. It is like a small oval shaped egg cup. Water can be put in the cup which is pressed around the eye and then when the head is tipped back the water irrigates the eye and, we hope, washes out any source of irritation.

A Victorian eye bath at Market Lavington Museum

A Victorian eye bath at Market Lavington Museum

As we can see, it is made of green glass and it was given to the museum by a White Street lady. But curing eyes also moves into the realms of ‘magic’. A Market Lavington spring was once known as ‘The Eye Well’ because it was believed that the water cured eye diseases.

Katy Jordan took an interest in holy and other wells and talked to Peggy Gye about this one. She recorded that ‘This tiny drinking-fountain is badly encroached upon by the road, but can still be seen at the foot of Clyffe Hall hill between Market Lavington and West Lavington. Peggy Gye’s aunt, as a child, often fetched water for an old woman suffering from cataract. The water was used in West Lavington for treating eyes as recently as the 1940s.’

This was the well as photographed by Katy in 1995

Market Lavington eye well as photographed in 1995

Market Lavington eye well as photographed in 1995

It is just outside Clyffe Hall and has a long history of useful service. By 2008 it had all but vanished.

The eye well had all but vanished in 2008

The eye well had all but vanished in 2008

It has now been renovated, but of course, people no longer stop for a drink and nobody would dream of using it for eye healing.

Dr William Hay Ashford Brown’s brass plaque

November 11, 2012

The doctor, mentioned in the title was the Market Lavington medical practitioner from the early 1950s. For ten years he lived in the village, at Greystone House in the High Street which had long been a doctor’s house. In 1961 he and his family moved house, but for a while, continued to use the surgery at Greystone House. Later he had other premises, but the plaque we have comes from Greystone House.

Plaque from the Market Lavington surgery of Dr Ashford Brown

The plaque is made of brass, about 12cm by 8 and just carries the doctor’s name.

It is nothing remarkable but serves as a reminder of days when a room in a house (or even a caravan) was a doctor’s surgery. Nowadays, Market Lavington has a large, dedicated surgery building. There are four partners – doctors who run the surgeries, two practice nurses and a health care assistant, a practice manager and, no doubt, other admin and clerical staff.

Dr Ashford Brown, who retired in the mid 70s and died in 1998, would be amazed to see such services.

Fiddington House – 1920s

September 21, 2012

Fiddington House, was, for more than 100 years, a private home for people with nervous disorders – more usually, albeit incorrectly, called a lunatic asylum. Fiddington always had a very good reputation for the way it cared for the residents and its grounds were regularly thrown open to the community for events such as fetes and carnivals. The home also provided much needed local employment. Apart from actual care staff, cleaners, cooks, gardeners and clerical people may have found jobs at Fiddington.

Perhaps it was at one of the fetes that a camera belonging to a member of the Gale family was pointed away from any activity and at the back of the building. It was definitely in the 1920s, according to Tressie Gale who gave the rather damaged photo to the museum. The photo has been at the museum since we opened back in 1985.

Fiddington House from an unusual viewpoint in the 1920s

We can get some idea of the fairly extensive nature of the premises. The nearest structure here is a rather fine greenhouse. A gateway leads into what appears to be a walled garden and beyond that is a rather austere structure which was the main house.

In 1960, the whole area was swept away and the Fiddington Clays housing estate was built in the area.

Another Bedpan

August 22, 2012

Well, why have one bedpan when you can have two?

Today’s bedpan is 100 years older (at least) as compared with the one we saw a few days ago. This one dates, we think, from the early years of the nineteenth century.

Early 19th century bedpan at Market Lavington Museum

It is not a mass produced item and we think it would have been made by a fairly local potter. Of course, its function and method of use is identical to the other bedpan.

The UK science museum has a similar looking pan at

A bedpan at the UK Science Museum

The suggestion is that this pan dates back to the 16th or 17th century. It looks less smoothly made than ours.

A Bedpan

August 19, 2012

Market Lavington Museum does not have water laid on to it. It never has had this vital fluid, even when it was a lived in cottage, through into the 1950s. It never had a flush toilet and still doesn’t. Visitors need not worry, for we do have access to an adjacent community building which does have these facilities.

But it can remind us, that lack of water and internal flush toilets was the norm within living memory, for older Market Lavington and Easterton residents.

Householders had their emergency items – a potty under the bed which was often called a ‘guzunder’. Nobody wanted to walk down the garden in the middle of the night. Then, for people who were bed ridden, there was the bedpan.

Early 20th century bedpan at Market Lavington Museum

This bed pan dates from the early twentieth century and is clearly a mass produced item. It is a ceramic bedpan, predating enamel or stainless steel devices.

The hollow handle may have been used by urinating men, but its main function was for emptying the contents and washing out the pan.

This bedpan was given to the museum by a White Street (Market Lavington) family.