Posts Tagged ‘Lavington’

From the goods yard

July 4, 2015

Lavington had a railway station. It was by the bridge which the A360 road uses to get under the line. The road has traffic lights to control the road traffic under that bridge.

A station was more than a halt. Stations had facilities including the ability to handle parcels and, often, freight. Lavington had both. Parcels were handled on passenger trains, but a yard and sidings were needed for larger items of freight. This included milk at Lavington. This photo of the station was taken from the goods yard. It was taken in the 1960s, not long before closure.

Lavington Station from the goods yard in the 1960s

Lavington Station from the goods yard in the 1960s

The goods shed is on the left with the main running lines passing behind it. We can’t tell you anything specific about the carriage and guard’s van on the right. Back then, many goods trains were made up of wagons with no brakes. The guard, in his heavy van, was part of the driving team. He needed to know when the line was going uphill or down dale so that he could apply his brake to keep the troublesome trucks in order. That’s why a guard’s van is often called a brake van.

Further into the picture we can see there was a coal storage area.

Davis and Sons had the coal yard

Davis and Co had the coal yard

We can see that Davis and Co made use of a coal yard at the station. They were the Market Lavington coal merchants.

We can also see the impact steam trains had on infrastructure. Look at the blackened paintwork on the station footbridge. That’s filth from steam engines on London bound trains.

The telegraph pole with, potentially about fifty wires is also a reminder of times past. Such sets of wires often made use of railway line sides and so a view from a carriage window was often of wires.

This is living memory, but methods of working fifty years ago seem impossibly outdated now.


Lavington Station in the 30s

March 7, 2014

It’s a regular question at the museum.

‘Where was Lavington Station?’ people ask.

Nothing of the actual station remains but there are tell-tale signs. One is that a building which looks like a former pub stands at the point where the main A360 road between Devizes and Salisbury passes under the railway just north of West Lavington. The other, for those who venture along the road that runs parallel to the railway next to that bridge is that there is a scrap yard right alongside the railway. The former pub was once the Station Hotel although for a while, after the end of the railway it was given the unlikely name of The Chocolate Poodle. A scrapyard seems to be quite a common use for former goods yards.

The station building was along the road that now leads to the scrapyard. The platforms, made long to cope with military traffic, reached across the road bridge.

All that has gone, but in today’s photo we see the station in the 1930s.

lavington Station in the 1930s

Lavington Station in the 1930s

As is usual in photos of the station, the expensive infrastructure is devoid of passengers. The track looks beautifully maintained with no sign of any weed growth but there is a complete absence of any activity.


That’s blown up a bit large, but what a polite sign. ‘Passengers are requested to cross the line by the bridge’.


Lavington Signal Box

Beyond the station we can see the West Signal Box which outlasted the station but has gone now.

Near the signal box there is a mass of points and crossovers.


Heading off to the left, a track leads to the goods shed although it would appear that access was only from the up (London bound) track on the right.

This photo shows a siding on the right curving away behind the signal box. This line does not appear in other photos and we are not sure what its purpose was. But surely, somebody who reads this will be able to tell us.

Lavington – What’s in a name?

January 7, 2014

We have some ideas about the origins of the word Lavington as applied to both Market and West Lavington in Wiltshire. It may have been the ‘tun’ or farmstead owned by a chap called Laffa and, over a long period, Laffa’s tun has become Lavington. There are other possibilities for the naming of our parishes is truly lost in the sands of time.

Another Lavington, now a part of Albury in New South Wales, Australia, was named only 100 years ago but the reason for that name is also, it seems, a bit lost. The area had been called Black Range but it seemed there were too many Black Ranges in the area and a new name was sought. Eventually, Lavington was chosen. For various, obvious reasons, we at Market Lavington in Wiltshire have felt a sense of friendship with our antipodean namesake where a book has recently been published about the town and its naming. A copy of the book has been given to Market Lavington.

What's in a Name is a book about Lavington, New South Wales

What’s in a Name is a book about Lavington, New South Wales

In many ways this is a delightful, photographic record of the history of Lavington, New South Wales.

It has been inscribed as a gift to Market Lavington.

The book is a gift to the people of Market Lavington, Wiltshire

The book is a gift to the people of Market Lavington, Wiltshire

One theory about the reason for naming this Lavington after our parish stems from Joseph Box who emigrated from Market Lavington to New South Wales in 1852 and named his house Lavington. But let’s let the book tell the tale.


After the saga of renaming the town, the source of the name Lavington became lost. There has been much supposition through the years, and some great detective work to try and track down the origins.

The name appears attached to a number of historical documents. During the gold rush, there was a Lavington Gold Mining Company (gazetted in 1865) and a Lavington Hotel (opened in 1865 by Messrs Jennings and Davis). Also in 1865, a crushing mill was brought to the goldfields and was christened by the mayoress, Mrs Blackmore, before a 300·strong crowd. She broke a bottle of champagne over it and called it ‘The Lavington’. Some sources say, intriguingly, that this was after the mill’s inventor. In 1952 a booklet published as part of the Lavington Water Celebrations implied that the name was taken because of these long associations with the gold diggings. But how did that association come about? Perhaps the origin is in the name of one of the shareholders in the Lavington Gold Mining Company: John Lavington Evans.

However, Lavington was also the name of one of the early properties in the district. By the early 1880s, Joseph Box had purchased land portions 253, 255 and 256 of the newly subdivided land around Black Range, along what is now Centaur Road. His family had come out from Market Lavington in Wiltshire, England, in 1852 and he named his property after their hometown. There is also, to muddy the waters, some evidence that the name Lavington had been previously used in the 1870s by other landholders in the area.

Whichever theory one accepts for the origin of the name, its history appears to go right back to the early days of white settlement in the district. In the 1960s, a movement to change the name back to Black Range met with acrimonious resistance, while in 1993 the Council floated the idea of changing it to Hamilton. It has however stayed, fittingly, as Lavington.

The book is housed at Market Lavington Museum so that all people have an opportunity to see it.