Posts Tagged ‘hospital week’

Another Hospital Week gathering

December 18, 2013

Hospital weeks were very much the time for fun and games. Back in the 1920s we really were without mass entertainment. Television was still in the future. Limited wireless broadcasts began in the UK in 1922. So the 1920s were very much a time for self-produced entertainment – when leisure time allowed. No wonder the Hospital Weeks were times to let your hair down and have a bit of a laugh.

This merry crew are lining up outside The Grange in Easterton which is behind the hedge on the left.

A 1920s Hospital Week line up in Easterton

A 1920s Hospital Week line up in Easterton

Hospital weeks took place in the summer, but the person at the extreme left certainly has a look of the now seasonal Father Christmas.

Father Christmas seems to have come early that year.

Father Christmas seems to have come early that year.

Cross dressing, costumes and false hair make it hard to recognise any of the participants.


More people in that line up – one with a cross beneath his feet.

The person on the right of this group is marked with a cross.


Is the person with the cross ‘Greet’ of London?

Does ‘Greet of London’ explain the cross?

Hospital weeks always look as though they were fun – but in those pre National Health Service days it was fun with an underlying purpose of providing some healthcare for those in need.

It is always good to report that there is still a good community spirit in our communities.

A Hospital Week Poster

September 10, 2012

Market Lavington and Easterton Hospital Weeks took place in August. For many folks it was a chance to escape from what really was a daily grind. Folks could let their hair down and enjoy the events, many of which were by local people for local people.

The villages of Market Lavington and Easterton always came together for Hospital Week.

Today we are looking at a poster for one such week.

We have a number of posters like this at the museum. In today’s paper sizes they’d be something a bit larger than A2 size. Many are on coloured paper, but this one is on white. They all have the disadvantage of not having the year in question on the poster. 1930 had a Sunday 10th August so it could have been that year. The previous year with a Sunday August 10th was 1924 and that predates the BBC. 1936 would be another possible year. The only other clue we have is that our near neighbour, the Warminster Dewey Museum, have a photo of the Les Whitmarsh band dated to the 1920s. Other names on the poster give little clue as to the date. Miss Bouverie, Mr Benson, J H Merritt, Mr Pike, Mr Drury and Mr Welch were all long term local residents.

But we do get an idea of what went on, opening with the band concert at The Old House and a sacred concert at the Parish Hall. This was followed by a whist drive and then the cinema in the Parish Hall.

The Carnival Dance, with Les Whitmarsh was on the Wednesday and on the following days there was another whist drive and another film show.

The Grand Carnival was on the Saturday with the procession starting in Easterton, processing through the villages before ending up at Fiddington House where the grounds were used for a fete. Attractions included the baby shows and the ankle competition. Two different bands performed. In the evening, Les Whitmarsh was back for another dance night.

The week ended with a United Church Parade on the final Sunday.

And if this excitement was not enough, then you could decorate your house or compete in skittles at The Green Dragon, The Royal Oak, The Kings Arms or The Volunteer Arms.

Hospital week children in 1927

April 2, 2011

This charming photo of youngsters dressed for the carnival in 1927 was taken by the Burgess photographers.

Children in fancy dress for Market Lavington Hospital Week in 1927

We know the names of many of the children. From left to right they are:

  • Bessie Gye who later became Bessie Francis, the wife of Peter who took over the photography business
  • Tom Gye, the soldier, is still living in the village.
  • The tall girl is Lily Drury
  • Bob Drury is dressed as a golly – now politically incorrect but blacking up was not seen as any kind of a problem then.
  • Eric Hopkins looks to be a bus conductor.
  • The next two boys are not named. I wonder if anybody can help there.
  • This brings us to Peggy Welch as a flower girl. Peggy married Tom Gye and was, of course, our museum founder.
  • The next girl is actually Peggy’s brother, Tony Welch.
  • The right hand girl is Phyllis Hatswell who appears to be dressed as a candle.

Bessie and Tom Gye and Lily Drury from a photo at Market Lavington Museum

Here we have zoomed in on Bessie and Tom Gye and Lily Drury.

Behind them we get a seasonal clue for stooks of corn stand in the field. It was harvest time.

Dating the posters

October 21, 2010

Film Shows in Market Lavington and Easterton

In Market Lavington Museum we have numerous posters for ‘Market Lavington and Easterton Hospital Week’ events. These tell us everything, except the year which was probably some time in the 1920s or 30s. They give the day and date for events – for example, ‘Wednesday 15th August’ but on average every seven years there is a Wednesday 15th August so that doesn’t help much.

A poster that mentions film shows in the village may help to sort out the years for many other posters. This is the poster. The original is best part a metre long.

Poster for 1928 film shows now in Market Lavington Museum


The big clue here is the lead film on Wednesday 15th August, which featured the child star, Jackie Coogan. The film, ‘Johnny get your hair cut’ was made in 1927. 1928 had a Wednesday 15th August so we bet on the poster being for film shows in that year.

‘Winners of the Wilderness’, shown on Friday 17th August was also a 1927 film, starring Tim McCoy and Joan Crawford.

1928 thus would appear to be the year for this poster.

In 2010, Trinity Church hires the Community Hall from time to time to give village folk a cinema experience in Market Lavington. As this poster shows it is not a new idea.