Posts Tagged ‘Mullings’

A willow hook

January 24, 2015

Baskets used to be used for many purposes and many a village had its resident basket maker. In Easterton and Market Lavington we had four generations of the Mullings family fulfilling the role and making baskets for a wide range of purposes. Many of the tools used have ended up in our museum and here we look at their willow hook.

Early 20th Century willow hook used by the Mullings family in Market Lavington

Early 20th Century willow hook used by the Mullings family in Market Lavington

This is smaller than a standard sickle or reap hook and we can guess that Sid Mullings or his father or grandfather used it for willows they cut locally in an area below the Manor House.

One of the things that makes this tool particularly attractive to us is the repaired handle which had clearly split.

The hook handle repaired - perhaps by Sid Mullings

The hook handle repaired – perhaps by Sid Mullings

The repair, carried out by a basket maker uses his technique. The handle has been bound with split willow, nailed into place and then held tight with a wedge.

What a lovely item this is and that repair – let’s guess Sid Mullings did it – really adds local value to it.

A shopping basket

December 5, 2014

Baskets are something of a speciality at our museum. Market Lavington’s Mullings family were in place making baskets of all sorts and sizes for three generations. There had been an earlier generation before, possibly based in Easterton. We now know the family were in fact widespread across the south of England with basket makers and reed growers in London and East Anglia. Our branch had originated more locally, in Devizes.

What we are going to see today is a ‘modern’ basket, made by Sid Mullings, the last in the line of Lavington basket makers. This shopping basket probably dates from around 1950 – so actually it’ll be 65 next year and due its pension!

Shopping basket made by Sid Mullings of Market Lavington in about 1950 and given to Market Lavington Museum by his daughter.

Shopping basket made by Sid Mullings of Market Lavington in about 1950 and given to Market Lavington Museum by his daughter.

The basket looks as good as new.  Maybe it was kept especially for the person who gave it to the museum, back in 1996, was Sid Mulling’s daughter, Margery. It reminds us that this particular craft of the countryside was alive and kicking well into days of living memory.

We would, of course, like to thank Margery and all others who kindly donate things to the Market Lavington Museum.

A lunch basket

July 29, 2014

What we look at today is an elegant little basket, designed to carry lunch for one person who may have been working out in the fields. Our basket shows some of the ravages of time, but apart from having gone a bit squiffy, it is remarkably good.

We think this is a delightful item, right down to the stub end of pencil which now makes the closing pin.

lunch basket made by Alf Mullings of Market Lavington in the early 20th century

Lunch basket made by Alf Mullings of Market Lavington in the early 20th century

This is a basket made by Mullings of Market Lavington in the early years of the twentieth century so it is over 100 years old. We believe that the basket would have been made by Alf Mullings. His father, William was a basket maker before him, but died in 1903. Alf’s son, Sid, became a basket maker as well and stayed in part time business until the 1960s.

This simple box structure has a rather elegant opening lid.

This basket was used by Sid Mullings - brickworks labourer and later Market Gardener at Fiddington Sands

This basket was used by Sid Cooper – brickworks labourer and later Market Gardener at Fiddington Sands

With the lid open we can see it is curved and so, too, are the sides of the basket. Hinges, handle and fastenings are all made in basket fashion.

This lunch box belonged to Sid Cooper. We think he was born in the Northbrook area of Market Lavington in 1880 and was a labourer at the brickworks at about the time this basket was made. Later, Sid became a market gardener living at Fiddington Sands.

Sid died in 1951 and is buried in Market Lavington church yard.

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.

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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.

Sid Mullings

July 13, 2013

Sid Mullings was the last in a line of basket makers in Market Lavington in Easterton. His father and grandfather both made baskets in Market Lavington and a member of the previous generation worked at the trade in Easterton.

Sidney James Mullings was born just before the end of the 19th century. He first saw the light of day, on The Clays in Market Lavington in 1899. His parents were William Alfred and Amelia. Sidney was destined to be their last child and he was the one who took over father’s basket making business.

William Alfred, his father, died in 1927. By this time, Sid was married – to Emily Perrett in 1924. They had a daughter, Margery, born in 1926.

The family lived on The Clay and mother, Amelia, who lived until 1951 was with them.

Our photo shows Sid, with some of his products, probably in the 1930s.

Sid Mullings, basket maker of Market Lavington

Sid Mullings, basket maker of Market Lavington

This picture comes from the memories of Sybil Perry, who wrote this of the picture.

 

Notes by Sybil Perry, long term resident and former Market Lavington teacher.

Notes by Sybil Perry, long term resident and former Market Lavington teacher.

Sid died in 1973. Emily lived until 1993

We have many Mullings baskets and basket making tools in market Lavington Museum.