Posts Tagged ‘Museum’

Market Lavington Fire Brigade in 1942

February 25, 2014

We have recently been given a photo of the fire brigade. The caption is a model of perfection. But first, the photo.

Market Lavington fire brigade in 1942

Market Lavington fire brigade in 1942

The photograph was taken in the Market Place and shows the men, smartly attired, standing alongside the fire engine, already an appliance of some antiquity. It was Market Lavington’s first motorised fire engine. And now the caption.


Wonderful information has come with this photo

Wonderful information has come with this photo

With that information there isn’t a lot to add. You can read more about Mr Reg Milsom and the fire engine by clicking here.

We can come up with a few biographical details for some of the men.

The chief, Tom Merritt, was born around 1884 so he was approaching 60 when this photo was taken. In 1905 he married Agnes Shore and Alf, their first born arrived the following year.

Allan and Cecil Baker were brothers, sons of George and Eliza. Both were born in the first decade of the 20th century.

Albert Potter was the son of Frank. The Potters had a farm on High Street, near the Green Dragon. Alf was born in about 1909.

It’s a lovely picture and we’d like to thank Diane for giving it to the museum.

Mabel Sayer

February 24, 2014

Mabel was the wife of Fred who drove, ran and operated motor bus services in the Lavington area Mabel was born as Mabel Weston in Bath in the year 1880. She married Fred in the Kings Norton area which is in the West Midlands. Their son, Frederick Herbert was born in Bath in about 1906 and in 1911 the family lived at Nailsworth in Gloucestershire but we believe they were in Market Lavington later that year.

Mabel was clearly keen on carnival. It gave her a chance to dress up and be an active member of the community. In this picture we see Mabel taking part in the 1929 carnival.

Mrs Mabel Sayer collects Market Lavington carnival money in 1929

Mrs Mabel Sayer collects Market Lavington carnival money in 1929

It looks as though Mabel has dressed up as some kind of gypsy or fortune teller for this carnival. The collection box she holds is one we now have at the museum.

People and signs in the background add interest.

A E Phillips had a general store in what we now often call Kyte's Cottage

A E Phillips had a general store in what we now often call Kyte’s Cottage

The shop behind Mabel belonged to A E Phillips – tobacconist, confectioner and general store. This was a different Phillips from those at the hardware shop, just further along High Street.

Mr Elisha's tailoring and haberdashery business was on the corner of Chapel Lane

Mr Elisha’s tailoring and haberdashery business was on the corner of Chapel Lane

This sign, on the corner of Chapel Lane, was on Mr Elisha’s shop. Mr Elisha was the father of Bill Elisha who married May Potter. May thus became Mrs Elisha, the very long term local teacher.


Down below, three young ladies wearing cloche hats peer out at the scene.


Behind Mabel’s left arm there’s another group of spectators, men, women and children.

What a lovely photo of times past when money had to be raised to allow poorer people to make use of any medical services.

Easterton Street in Edwardian times

February 23, 2014

This image was recently sent to us. We’d like to thank Judy for her kindness. In fact those of us most closely associated with the museum remain utterly delighted with the support and enthusiasm so many people show with regard to the museum.

Here is the photo.


Easterton Street in Edwardian times

Easterton has changed in the last 100 years or so. The thatched cottages on the left have gone and have been replaced with more modern dwellings. However, the long pale coloured terrace still remains although the lean-to on this end has gone. The houses further down look much the same as well although once upon a time there was a smithy down towards that end of the street.

Back in Edwardian days there was hardly any need to separate pedestrians from other road traffic. There are no pavements. But this doesn’t stop the people from coming out to get in the photo. There’s a fine crop of Easterton folk on the left.


Sadly, but not unexpectedly, we can’t name these people, nor those across the street standing on the edge of the stream.


Despite dredging and other improvements the stream still floods from time to time. It has this winter. The front of January’s Easterton Echoes is about flooding.


Easterton Echoes – January 2014

The photo was taken on 4th January 2014.

Another photo of floods was taken back in the year 2000. This shows a similar, albeit broader view to the old Edwardian photo.


Easterton in the year 2000

We can see that the terrace has gained a hip end to the roof and then we can see the red brick gable end of a building which replaced a thatched cottage.

Edington Monastery Gardens

February 22, 2014

We know from previous posts that Edington Monastery Gardens was a popular destination from Market Lavington. We have seen photos of the Congregational Church treats at this venue. You could click here or here or even here to see posts about the gardens

In one of the posts we featured a card of the gardens, but here we’ll look at that in more detail.

Edington Monastery Gardens were a popular day out venue for Market Lavington folk

Edington Monastery Gardens were a popular day out venue for Market Lavington folk

First of all, we’ll look at the credits on the card.

The card was produced by Burgess and Sons of Market Lavington

The card was produced by Burgess and Sons of Market Lavington

Our very own Mr Alf Burgess (or his sons) took the photos and made the card. A chap called F S Marsh owned the gardens.


F S Marsh was the proprietor

F S Marsh was the proprietor

Certainly a Frederick Sugden Marsh lived in the area. He was a shop keeper.

Mr Burgess has taken a variety of photos in and around the gardens.image005

Here we have the 1st class pavilion


This photo was taken on one of the Market Lavington Congregational Church outings.

Edington Priory Church – these days a venue for concerts as well as services.


Once again we see our Alf Burgess with an eye to the main chance. Presumably this card could be sold to visitors from elsewhere.


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.

Letter Scales

February 20, 2014

At Market Lavington Museum we have a set of scales for weighing letters that date back to the 1880s. They were given to the museum, many years ago, by Rose Crouch who had been a Hiscock before she married.

Victorian letter scales at Market Lavington Museum

Victorian letter scales at Market Lavington Museum

The scales are beautifully made in brass on a wood base and with a velvet lining. We think the weights, wrapped up in this photo, come from different scales.

The purpose is obvious. You could weigh a letter and then look up what value stamp was needed to post it. When made, you wouldn’t have needed a separate table of weights and prices for they are embossed on the scale pan.

Postal charges (for 1880) are embossed on the scale pan

Postal charges (for 1880) are embossed on the scale pan

Three rates were given. For letters weighing less than an ounce it was a penny. That’s an old penny of course with 240 of them to the pound. Between one and two ounces upped the cost to a penny halfpenny (1½d) and then up to four ounces cost tuppence (2d).

Using the retail price index as a measure of inflation, that old penny in 1880 is much the same as 35p today which makes stamps much more expensive now. But if you consider incomes, the equivalent of earning a penny in 1880 is £1.82 today, so in terms of income it is much cheaper to send letters now.

We think these scales are lovely items – a real treasure of Market Lavington.

Broadwell in the 1960s

February 19, 2014

Parts of the area around Broadwell have changed a lot. Today’s photo lets us highlight some of the items which have gone and others which remain.

Broadwell, Market Lavington, in the 1960s

Broadwell, Market Lavington, in the 1960s

The barn like building on the right still exists. So too, does large Knapp House seemingly on a hill in the background. Its former barns – we can see a bit of roof at top centre – are now the White Horse Barns dwellings

White Street still continues to pass by Broadwell on its way up to Lavington Hill. A road still leads down to the water.  It may well be better surfaced these days and cars are usually parked there.

Between White Street and the water there is what looks like waste ground. This had once been a small wood but they were felled when trees started to die off.  The area is now a young children’s play area but at one time a 1960s themed space play area occupied the site.

Across the water the pale building under a pitched roof had various purposes. At one time the Merritt family had a smithy there. They also kept cows and had a milking parlour.  The Market Lavington Prize Band used to meet in that building on Sunday mornings to practise. There are local people who remember that with much pleasure for it was like having a free band concert.

The free standing black building which looks like a shed was just that. It was a cow shed.

All of those rather ramshackle buildings have been swept away and now a decent family home occupies that area.

Church Street – 1910

February 18, 2014

In Market Lavington, Church Street and High Street run into one another. Church Street is really a western extension of the High Street. In past times, when Market Lavington was more a town than a village, there were plenty of shops and businesses lining Church Street. This picture dates from around 1910.

Market Lavington's Church Street in about 1910

Market Lavington’s Church Street in about 1910

If we start on the right, the sign that is partly in the photo was for Hopkins Ironmongery store which is now The Old Coach House. The next building we see was Merritt’s cycle shop at which they offer accommodation for cyclists.

The Merritts offered accommodation for cyclists

The Merritts offered accommodation for cyclists

Continuing towards the crossroads there were a range of shops – a butcher, a grocery store and parts of Mr Walton’s extensive retail outlet.


Walton’s on the right and more Hopkins on the left

 Mr Walton was declaring something was ‘up to date’ on his main White Street shop. At the left side of the above extract from the whole picture there was another part of the Hopkins business. They called it ‘The Lighthouse’ and it was where they made acetylene gas.

Ladies displaying ankles!

Ladies displaying ankles!

These two ladies are standing outside what is now the Rectory. They look elegant and just a bit daring. They are displaying their ankles!

The letter box

February 17, 2014

Our villages, Easterton and Market Lavington, have several letter boxes and some have been in place since the reign of Queen Victoria. We looked at one of them and some correspondence about it a year ago (click here).

But we are actually looking at a child’s money box this time. It is shaped like a pillar box and that’s something we don’t actually have in the villages. Here it is.

1930s money box in the shape of a pillar box for mail

1930s money box in the shape of a pillar box for mail

The fact that it is a George V box dates it to between 1910 and 1936. We think it is probably from the 1930s. Children are invited to post their pennies and in those days they’d have been the lovely, big old pennies.

The other side of the box has information about the old British coinage.

The back of the box helped to ensure children understood the rather strange old British currency

The back of the box helped to ensure children understood the rather strange old British currency

This lovely little item stands about ten centimetres tall.

It was given to the museum by a resident of White Street in Market Lavington.


When Politics Mattered

February 16, 2014

Of course, the title is not meant to suggest that politics doesn’t matter these days, although many people clearly think that our political leaders are something of an irrelevance. Maybe it was the events of 100 years ago which started the downward spiral. The First World War, some say, was an argument amongst three cousins who led different countries and that they were unconcerned about the mass slaughter. Whatever the cause was, I doubt you’d see, these days, a political gathering like this one.

Conservative demonstration at Market Lavington - early 20th century

Conservative demonstration at Market Lavington – early 20th century

This early postcard is clearly labelled Conservative Party Demonstration, Market Lavington and appears to have a date of July 2 1901.


Or is that a poorly written ‘nd’ and it just says July 2nd? We are confident it was definitely early in the 20th century.

The word ‘demonstration’ these days tends to have negative connotations. We demonstrate against things. We’d suspect that this demonstration was in support of the Conservative Party.

When it came to an election, what looks like a majority of people in the throng would not have been enfranchised. Children, of course, did not have the vote and neither, then, did women. But in these pre mass entertainment days people would go to hear a speaker and we think there was one of them. He’s not holding the attention of children who seem to have spotted the photographer, but most adults appear to be intent on something off to the right.

There are background items which are of interest. One is a motor vehicle.

A motor vehicle - perhaps a first for Market Lavington

A motor vehicle – perhaps a first for Market Lavington

If this really was 1901 that could have been the first car seen in the area.

No doubt the beer tent did a roaring trade.

The beer was supplied by Simonds of Reading

The beer was supplied by Simonds of Reading

Simonds ales and stouts are mentioned. They were a long established brewery in Reading. Maybe they had used traction engine and huge wheeled trailer on the left of the tent.


Traction engine and trailer – Market Lavington folk would have been used to such vehicles.

We can’t name any of the people.

A small portion of the crowd

A small portion of the crowd


Back in that Edwardian era, Devizes (including Lavington) was a marginal constituency.  In 1895 Edward Goulding held the seat for the Unionists (Conservative) but he lost out in 1906 to the Liberal, Francis Rogers. The seat returned to the Unionists in 1910 when Basil Peto became the local MP.

For political neutrality, we’ll mention that other parties, representing all shades of opinion put forward candidates at elections – and, praise be, we are free to vote for whoever we like amongst those standing.