Posts Tagged ‘motorbike’

Acetylene Lamps

October 28, 2014


Our curator remembers a pun from his student days which went, ‘she was only a welder’s daughter but she had acetylene legs’!

At Market Lavington Museum we have acetylene lamps and here is one of them.

Acetylene headlamp used on a motorbike by the Williams family of Easterton

Acetylene headlamp used on a motorbike by the Williams family of Easterton

This is a motorbike headlamp and has the sort of clamp to allow it to fit on a standard lamp bracket. There’s a container for calcium carbide at the bottom and a drip feed water tank above it. The acetylene gas produced is fed to the burner where it produced a bright flame which was ‘concentrated’ by a reflective mirror to give a good beam of light out of the front.

This lamp was owned by the Williams family of Easterton and was cleared out of a barn at Court Close farm and given to the museum. It has suffered some of the ravages of time and the metal body is somewhat pitted and corroded, But it is still a lovely item and reminds us that electricity was not always king.

These days, with the growth in LED headlamps, maybe we should be finding a local example of a filament bulb headlamp to save.


Delivering the Bread

December 4, 2013

Just recently people have been arriving at the Market Lavington Museum blog having searched for items about bread delivery carts and vans. This post, which follows on from yesterday’s offering, adds a different dimension to bread delivery – via the motorbike and sidecar.

The people are the same as those shown yesterday – Jim Sheppard in control with Chris Cooper behind. Jim was Easterton’s ‘Tip Top’ baker and Chris was an employee.

Jim Sheppard and Chris Cooper complete a bread delivery round in Easterton - late 1920s

Jim Sheppard and Chris Cooper complete a bread delivery round in Easterton – late 1920s

The photo isn’t a brilliant one. Clearly it was taken more or less straight into the sun. The location is just outside Jubilee Cottages. Perhaps this was the end of a delivery for the motorbike is about to cross the bridge over the stream in front of the garage. Behind them we see a section of the terrace of houses that still line the Easterton Street.

Unfortunately, we can’t make out what the motorbike is but the sidecar is clear enough. It clearly has boxes for bread and the standard baker’s bread basket for delivering to the door. It was probably very suitable transport for a new business in the late 1920s.

Our next hope is to know more about Chris Cooper. We’ll take a guess and hope somebody will tell us if we are wrong. We only find one Chris Cooper in the area. He was born in 1909 in Little Cheverell but his father, brick worker Sidney was a Market Lavington man and Chris had an Easterton born granny. In 1926 Sidney and his wife Lottie appear on the electoral roll as living at Fiddington Sands so it seems a fair bet that Chris would have lived in the area too, although at a mere 17 years of age he’d not have been an elector. We suspect this Christopher is the young man in both today’s and yesterday’s photo.

Motorbike and Sidecar

November 17, 2012

You don’t really see a family out on a motorbike with sidecar any more. Back in the 50s they were common. It was much cheaper to run a motorbike than a car and with a sidecar attached you could get mum and dad on the bike and a couple of youngsters in the sidecar.

Of course, in the event of an accident there was precious little protection but we have it on good authority that insurance companies liked the motorcycle combination and charged fairly low premiums for them.

Today we are looking at such a motorbike and sidecar at Homestead Farm on Drove Lane, although at the time of the photo it was called Cemetery Lane. James Gye is riding the bike. We think it is his wife in the sidecar.

Mr and Mrs James Gye ‘ride’ a motorbike and sidecar at Homestead Farm on Drove Lane, Market Lavington

Actually, it is a posed photo. James didn’t ride a motorbike. This one belonged to a friend and it wasn’t going anywhere.

No doubt an expert can tell us what make of motorbike it is.

George Dobson – again

August 9, 2011

Back in 1953, George Dobson was Market Lavington’s oldest inhabitant at the age of 96. Times change and there will now be quite a few residents older than that in the village. This is not all down to people living longer. In part it is because the BUPA Care home in the old Vicarage building and other associated buildings has become a feature of the village.

We described something of George Dobson’s life in an earlier item. This time we’ll content ourselves with a little extra information. In 1939, George and his wife, Mary, lived on The Spring in Market Lavington.

We recently featured a 1953 newspaper article about aspects of Market Lavington. Today we are looking at this paper again and its mention of George Dobson. It includes a photo of George with his motorbike.

George Dobson and his motorbike. George was Market Lavington's oldest inhabitant in 1953

And here’s the extract that is about George.

1953 news article about George Dobson

In fact, George’s motorbike accident led to him receiving a three year driving ban and he didn’t live to see that out.

Grandad Dobson

April 5, 2010

In 1953, Market lavington Resident ‘Grandad Dobson’, aged 95, was disqualified from riding his motorbike for three years following a road traffic incident. The case was reported in the Daily Sketch for Thursday August 6th of 1953. Market lavington Museum holds a cutting from this paper.

Grandad Dobson hits the news – Daily Sketch, August 6th, 1953

From the information given in the newspaper account we have tried to piece together just who Grandad Dobson was. We are not 100% certain we are right.

George ‘Grandad’ Dobson on his motorbike in 1953

George Dobson was born in 1858 in the Avebury / Preshute area of Wiltshire.

By 1881 George lived with his parents in Corsham where he worked as a stone miner.

Between 1881 and 1890, George must have married, had a couple of children and then his wife died.

In 1890, George Married Mary Tiley who was to be his wife for over 60 years. We think they had a son, born in 1890.

George continued to work in the Corsham stone industry.

We do not know when he moved to Market Lavington but by 1953 he was the oldest inhabitant of Market Lavington and he was chosen to plant the coronation tree in St Mary’s churchyard. It is good to report that, in 2010, the tree, a catalpa,  is still going strong.

And then George had his spot of bother with the law and lost his right to drive his motorbike. He never got it back, for he died in 1954, aged 96. Mary, his widow, lived until 1956.