Posts Tagged ‘late 19th century’

Glove Stretchers (2)

February 17, 2016

Yesterday we looked at a metal pair of glove stretchers. Today we step back in time a few years and possibly down market in money terms, and look at a wooden pair of stretchers.

19th century wooden glove stretchers

19th century wooden glove stretchers

This tool had just the same job as the metal pair. Insert the point into glove fingers, squeeze the handles and stretch the material the gloves were made of, just a little to enable them to slide more easily on the fingers. This was most important with kid gloves which, to be fashionable, had to be a tight fit.

This wooden version probably dates from the late 19th century. We think this pair is particularly elegant being very simple with its graceful curves, but also effective at the intended job.


A digging plate

November 16, 2014

Many spades have a kind of lip on the top of the blade so that when pressure is applied ordinary footwear is adequate to protect the digger from pain.

Some spades, though, have quite a sharp top to them and tough soles are needed on boots or shoes.

Or alternatively, you could attach a digging plate to your boot or shoe. This consists of a sturdy metal plate and a leather strap to fasten it under the sole of a shoe.

A digging plate at Market Lavington Museum

A digging plate at Market Lavington Museum

This dates from late in the nineteenth century and was used by a man who had an allotment on Northbrook.

From the underside we can see that the plate had a little lip to make sure it didn’t slide off the spade.

The lip on the underside

The lip on the underside

Now there’s a real reminder of past times.

A lily pot

October 30, 2014

We think of Edward Box as being the man who had the brick works in Market Lavington for most of the second half of the 19th century. And that is true, but of course, it was actually the brick, tile and pottery works and it is a pot that we’ll look at today – a pot designed for growing a lily.

Lily pot made by Edward Box of Market Lavington in about 1880

Lily pot made by Edward Box of Market Lavington in about 1880

Here is the pot and we can see straight away it does have a broken rim and that broken off part is missing and may well have been lost 100 or more years ago.

Anything made by Box of Market Lavington must date from that second half of the nineteenth century and we estimate this one as from around 1880.

The image above shows it has been decorated by two horizontal lines around the pot but it also has a vertical line motif running right round the shoulder of it.

Lily pot decoration

Lily pot decoration

Not surprisingly, we can see this pot has suffered other weather related flaking in the past – but how good to have something from our brickworks that is definitely not a brick or tile.



A Burgess Photo

June 18, 2014

This is one of those photos where we’d love to identify the person photographed.

A CDV by Burgess of Market Lavington - but who is the subject?

A CDV by Burgess of Market Lavington – but who is the subject?

This is CDV sizes (carte de visite) and we think it is late 19th century. A rather dapper young man has had his likeness taken. He is smartly dressed with an elegant watch chain displaying a cross motif. His hand rests alongside his bowler hat. We just don’t know who he is.

The back of the card is of interest and helps with dating the photo.

The back of the Carte de Visite

The back of the Carte de Visite

The person clearly visited Alf Burgess’s High Street Studio but of course he may have come from anywhere in the area – not just Market Lavington or Easterton.

Has anybody out there any ideas?

Baby’s Friend

June 3, 2014

Baby’s Friend? That’s an interesting title and name for an object which may have been responsible for illness amongst babies.

It was the trade name of a baby’s drinking bottle and we have one of them in Market Lavington Museum.

Baby's Friend - a late 19th century feeding bottle at Market Lavington  Museum

Baby’s Friend – a late 19th century feeding bottle at Market Lavington Museum

This is the bottle. As ever, glass items can be hard to photograph.

The stopper comes out and a rubber teat could be fitted instead.

With stopper removed

With stopper removed

Embossed writing on the bottle

Embossed writing on the bottle

There’s the legend, embossed on one side – Baby’s Friend and improved feeding bottle.

This item dates from the late 19th century when it was hard to keep the rubber teat germ free and this was a frequent cause of tummy upsets for baby.

A Brick from Devizes

February 21, 2014

Market Lavington had its own brickworks but that didn’t mean bricks weren’t imported from elsewhere. At the museum we have several bricks made outside the parish. This one is stamped with the name of Mullings of Devizes.


We know that in the latter part of the nineteenth century a Richard Mullings owned the Caen Hill brickworks in Devizes. We believe the deposit of suitable clay had been identified when the Kennet and Avon Canal was dug – and very useful it proved to the canal company. Some two million bricks were supplied, from this brickworks to line Bruce Tunnel. That’s a colossal number. If the works was able to turn out one brick every second, continuously, you’d be in the 24th day before getting two million bricks.

Now Mullings from Devizes moved out to Market Lavington, and before that Easterton. These were basket makers, involved in a slow, gentle country craft. But we do wonder if our Mullings family had anything to do with Richard the brickmaker of Devizes.

Maybe somebody out there could let us know.

Meanwhile, we can enjoy this brick, with its neatly made octagonal frog with a flat bottom.

A cornice mould

February 13, 2014

It seems to be the lot of a curator to have to know everything. We do our best at Market Lavington Museum, but nobody can begin to know everything. And when it comes to tools that are specialities in a particular trade we just don’t have the knowledge we might like to have.

So today we are featuring a cornice mould that is more than 100 years old. Without the benefit of the World Wide Web, we’d not know how it was used.

19th century cornice mould at Market Lavington Museum

19th century cornice mould at Market Lavington Museum

This device is to help make a fancy or decorative plaster joint between a wall and a ceiling. It is specifically made for one pattern of decoration

As we don’t have a full knowledge, we have borrowed an image from to show how such a tool is used.

This photo of a mould in use comes from

This photo of a mould in use comes from

Our tool was used by the Gye building firm and dates from the late 19th century.

A paraffin lamp

February 9, 2014

These days we really struggle without electricity. On those occasions, which really are quite rare, when we have power cuts, life rapidly turns into a misery and a cause for panic. Our heating fails because whatever the basic fuel, electricity seems to be needed. We have no lighting. Our phones and computers can’t get charged. We may lose internet access because our routers need their power. We can’t cook and we panic about what might happen to food stored in freezers. Yet well within living memory, many people just didn’t have electricity. Only people in their 90s will remember Market Lavington without electricity for the now vital energy supply arrived in 1927.

Before that, people had to make do with candles or oil lamps. We have several candle holders and oil lamps in the museum and today we look at a paraffin burning lamp which dates from the late nineteenth century and which can be found on the mantelshelf, above the range in the kitchen room at the museum.

Late nineteenth century paraffin lamp at Market Lavington Museum

Late nineteenth century paraffin lamp at Market Lavington Museum

This particular lamp has a carrying handle. It was for lighting your way to bed. Yes, remember that the stairway was probably the darkest and most dangerous part of the house at night time.

This lamp has a very elegant glass chimney which surrounds the otherwise naked flame. The wheel above the carrying handle is for adjusting the height of the wick. It was important to keep this just right. If the wick was made too tall then some of the paraffin would not fully burn and the lamp would have given off black smoke. Too little wick could make the lamp sputter and go out. In use, adjustments were needed all the time for the wick itself did slowly burn away.

This lamp once belonged to Mrs Gale who lived on The Spring in Market Lavington.

A Writing Case

January 11, 2014

In a museum some items are special for what they are and some for who used them. Some, of course, are both and perhaps this is one of them although as an object it is fairly ordinary and a bit battered. It is a writing case.


A 19th century writing case, once used by the Welch family and now at Market Lavington Museum

The case, of course, opens.


The case opens to reveal a writing slope and storage space

It becomes a large item, with a writing slope and beyond that storage capacity for writing essentials


The storage box is smartly made in wood

Here we have a compartmented box and alongside, on the wings there is storage for pens and paper.


Storage for pens in one of the wings

This late 19th century writing case was made by Milne of Hanover Square.


The maker’s name embossed on the outside

This, we think, was in Edinburgh.

However we have no doubt that it was members of the Welch family that used this case in Market Lavington. Peggy Gye, our founder was a member of the family and it was her grandfather who first used this case, no doubt as part of his duties as a secretary.

So, it really is an interesting item and it was used by a truly local family.

A Milking Stool

October 5, 2013

Market Lavington has areas that are as different as chalk and cheese. In fact that phrase could have been written with Market Lavington in mind, for we have our chalk lands of Salisbury Plain and the clay lands where dairying and cheese making was carried on.

As a largely rural area, it is no surprise that we have many artefacts with an agricultural background at the museum. One of them is this milking stool.

A 19th century milking stool at Market Lavington Museum

A 19th century milking stool at Market Lavington Museum

This was probably locally produced and was certainly used locally when milking cows in the last years of the nineteenth and early years of the twentieth century.

It can be found in the trades room at the museum.