Posts Tagged ‘Leisure’

Playing Cards

July 5, 2013

Some folks refer to playing cards as ‘the devil’s picture book’. But mostly they are, or have been, a perfectly harmless amusement. There are so many different games that can be played. Some are pure luck, some require speed of hand and others need some mental dexterity. They surely, of themselves are not devilish.

We have recently acquired a couple of packs of cards of some antiquity. The first, in a damaged box is described as ’Rufford Playing Cards’. They were sold by Boots and similar packs were made and marketed between 1930 and 1955

Rufford Playing Cards - probably 60 or more years old and now at Market Lavington Museum

Rufford Playing Cards – probably 60 or more years old and now at Market Lavington Museum

The cards, which had belonged to a Canada Rise family, are in remarkably good condition considering they are at least 58 years old.


The backs of the cards have a classical design.


The face sides are very standard, with the joker and the ace of spades of interest.


These cards certainly make an interesting addition to our collection of pastimes from past times.

Have Patience

May 13, 2013

These days, if people have nothing better to do, you tend to see them sitting holding a little black item, busily sliding a finger over it or tapping it. They are probably playing a game on their smart phone or tablet.

In times past, pastimes were, no doubt, just as silly, but without electronic wizardry, they were much simpler. People of a certain age will, no doubt, remember playing patience, not on a screen, but with a pack of cards. Today we are looking at patience cards, packed neatly in a red cardboard box.

A box of patience cards which once belonged to Norman Neate of Market Lavington

A box of patience cards which once belonged to Norman Neate of Market Lavington

These cards were once the property of Mr Norman Neate of White Street, Market Lavington. He had some difficulty with his legs and had difficulty getting around. No doubt he needed to play a game of cards to keep his mind active.

But playing cards are quite big. Patience cards are often half the size but these are quarter size.

The cards in the box are one quarter size

The cards in the box are one quarter size

Opening the box reveals two perfectly formed packs of miniature cards – and actually, by the look of them, Norman hardly ever used them for they look pristine. We think these cards date from the 1920s.

Who was Peggy Waters?

Who was Peggy Waters?

It would seem the cards have also belonged to Peggy Waters. We do not know who she is (or was)

An old Malthouse

September 25, 2012

Beer is made, in part, from malt. Malt is barley which has been allowed to germinate and sprout for just the right amount of time.

Traditionally barley was first steeped in water, maybe for a couple of days. This barley was then placed in large boxes to a depth of about 30cm where it started to germinate and generate heat. In this labour-intensive process the barley was then spread on the malthouse floor to a depth of perhaps 15 cm (it depended on temperature). The sprouting barley was turned regularly and gradually spread more thinly over the floor.

When the maltster considered the time right, the barley, complete with developing root and shoot, were transferred to the kiln and another carefully controlled process began which killed off the living plant and aimed to produce the right colour and flavour for the beer.

Market Lavington once had many of these malthouses. Barley grew on Salisbury Plain and its conversion to beer began in the local malt houses.

All have now gone, but one building survived into the mid 1970s. It was behind number 38 High Street.

Former malthouse behind 38, High Street, Market Lavington. The little bit of car the photographer included shows the substantial nature of these buildings.

The malt trade had long since departed from this area but the building proved useful. The malt house needed a large, flat, sturdy floor. It proved highly suitable as a makeshift dance hall. But before the 1970s better transport had carried dancers away to the towns. The building fell into disrepair and was demolished.

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.

Vacuation – a Second World War Card Game

October 10, 2010

The Second World War ended some 65 years ago. Older residents of the village remember wartime and it is, perhaps, not surprising that we have many mementos of life during those dark years. One of them is a card game called Vacuation.

Vacuation card game box. Find it in the 'war cabinet' at Market Lavington Museum

The box for the cards appears to show three members of a family. They seem to have a mixed set of emotions. 

The back of the cards - a sombre looking evacuation area!

The cards themselves have a fairly sober back with a representation of a smoky city as the evacuation area and a more pastoral reception area. The card fronts however are enormous fun.

Just a few of the 'Vacuation' cards at Market Lavington Museum

Sadly we have no rules for the game. Can anyone help us with this missing component?

Stonehenge in the 1880s

May 12, 2010
No, Stonehenge is not in the parish of Market Lavington, but it is easily reached, and even in the 1880s local families went there for a day out.

A picture we have at Market Lavington Museum shows members of the Wadman and Welch families relaxing amongst the stones at Stonehenge. Since about 1980, special permission has been needed to get in amongst the stones, but in 1880, the site was open to all.

The Wadman and Welch families from Market Lavington at Stonehenge in the 1880s

The picture is old and rather careworn but it looks as though the families were able to relax, no doubt with a picnic basket full of goodies to enjoy.

We believe the Welch family consisted of James and his wife Sarah and their adult children Sarah, Mary and James. In 1881 this family lived at Beech House on White Street. Later this became the home of the museum’s former curator, Peggy Gye who was born Peggy Welch.

The Wadman family also lived on White Street in 1881. The family were Robert, his wife, Sarah and their son, William.

There are more folks in the photo than there were family members living in Market Lavington so we clearly have not got all of the people pictured. We have also not identified who is who on the photo. Maybe somebody out there can help us.