Posts Tagged ‘photograph’

Unknown photos

September 11, 2013

Today we’ll look at four photos of people. We don’t know who they are, but we believe they date from the time of the First World War and just may have been members of the Potter or Elisha family.

If you are able to identify these people then please let us know.

image002   Photo number one shows a young man in a sailor’s uniform – an able bodied seaman. We have no further information. image004

Picture two shows a different able bodied seaman. This one’s hat says HMS Victory.


Number three shows a young man in civilian clothing. We wonder if he may have been a porter or an attendant – and he could be the same person or a relative of number 2.

Number four shows a young man in a vignette photo so we have less picture to go on.image008

All four photos (and more) arrived at the museum at the same time as recently as 2003. Our records say they were given by Peggy Gye, but that conceals where she got them from. Those of us now at the museum guess they came from a collection held by Mrs Elisha.


Photographer’s Negative Wallet

September 8, 2013

The little wallet which came back from the photographer or chemist – the one that held our holiday snaps – has all but vanished. The absolute deluge of photos taken these days are virtually all stored digitally and rapidly shared with one and all via all sorts of networking sites. Even the pleasure of a photograph album is something probably reserved for a wedding day and not much else.

But at least at a museum we can preserve some memories and here is one of our negative (and print) wallets.

Negative wallet - Peter Francis of Market Lavington

Negative wallet – Peter Francis of Market Lavington

The wallet has been produced by Kodak and our local photographer and processor has been able to over-stamp it with his name. So we know that inside were photos processed by Peter Francis. The envelope shows a black and white image of a girl swimming. It probably dates from about 1960.

Inside, the envelope has eight negatives and seven prints. All are of dogs and, it must be said, they do not look well exposed.


The wallet is used for Kodak adverts

The wallet is used for Kodak adverts

Kodak has taken the opportunity to advertise their film and suggest that you might want to get extra prints made. People who have processed black and white film will note that the large format negative shown looks rather on the thin side. It’ll be hard to get a quality print from that.

The film was taken by Mr and Mrs Elisha. They are names that will be well known to regular readers of this blog, both being at the heart of village life in so many ways.

The customers were the Elishas of Market Lavington

The customers were the Elishas of Market Lavington

The price seems very cheap for it is listed as 3/0½ – just over 15p in today’s money. That may be cheap, but these days we tend to regard photography as just about free. And we certainly expect it to be instant.

So the wallet is just a memory of a past time when, perhaps, people thought about what photos they were taking and shared them with just the special friends and family.

William Cook of Eastcott

August 14, 2013


Eastcott always offers us a bit of a difficulty at Market Lavington Museum. This is because it has been part of neighbouring Urchfont (or Erchfont). But William Cook, in writing his 1911 census, seemed certain it was in Easterton.

William Cook of Eastcott considered it to be part of Easterton

William Cook of Eastcott considered it to be part of Easterton

Even so, it was enumerated as part of Urchfont.

However, there is no doubt that when William wanted a good cabinet photo of himself, it was to Market Lavington he turned – to the studio of Alf Burgess.

William Cook of Wastcott in a cabinet photo by Alf Burgess of Market Lavington

William Cook of Wastcott in a cabinet photo by Alf Burgess of Market Lavington

As we can see, the photo is not in A1 condition, but William has clearly scrubbed up well for having his likeness taken. And of course, Mr Burgess gets his name in on the act on the photograph mount.

As far as we know, William was born in Eastcott in early 1880. Unfortunately, we haven’t found William on the 1881 census (his parents are in Eastcott) but in 1891 three generations were living together at Eastcott Common. 62 year old William Cook was grandfather. George and Mary Cook were our William’s parents and William, aged 11, had Emily, Rhoda and Fred as younger siblings. All of them were born in Eastcott.

In 1901 William, his parents and siblings were still in Eastcott. William was now 21 and was working as a carter on a farm.

By 1911 William has been married for 9 years and he and wife Louisa have one son, Edward. As we have seen, this family lived in Eastcott and William was a farm labourer.  However, 9 year old Edward had been born in North Bradley so we assume the family had moved for a while. Louisa may have been Louisa Roberts and if so she and William married in Kensington in London. According to the census she came from Bath.

Any more information about this family would be very welcome.

Charles Burnett

July 28, 2013

We looked at Charles (or Charlie) Burnett a couple of years ago. You can click here to see that page.

We add a bit more information about Charles here, together with a wonderful, characterful photograph of him. Let’s start with that.

Charlie Burnett of Easterton - wheelwright for the Gyes of Market Lavington

Charlie Burnett of Easterton – wheelwright for the Gyes of Market Lavington

And now that little bit of extra information.

Charles Burnett, wheelwright, was brought up in Easterton where his parents kept the grocery shop opposite the Royal Oak. He was apprenticed at the age of 14 to Colletts, carpenters and wheelwrights in Poulshot. He started to work for Gyes of Market Lavington in the 1900s and worked for them until his death in the 1950s. His brother, Herbert, was the blacksmith.

Another photo of the Burgess Brothers

June 18, 2013

Yes, we have seen photos of Burgess brothers before – and no wonder. Their father, Alfred, was the village photographer. But here we have a delightful photo which was both decorative and served a function, for it was used as a part of a fire screen.


Decoration used as part of a fire screen by the Burgess family of 13 High Street, Market Lavington

Decoration used as part of a fire screen by the Burgess family of 13 High Street, Market Lavington

The photo, we believe, is of two of Alfred and Marion Burgess’s sons. It has been produced in triangular form and decorated with flowers – a bit reminiscent of floraldecorations by canal boatmen. Sadly, one corner of the triangle has been lost, but it still makes an attreactive device.

Of course, with a little digital jiggery-pokery we can reconstruct the corner. We have cut and copied the bottom right hand corner and rotated it. If we spent hours, no doubt a better job could be done. We would not, normally, go in for reconstruction of the original

A little digital repair has been carried out.

A little digital repair has been carried out.

As to the date of this, there are a few options. On the back of the photo the date 31 08 09 is written. If that date is correct, then these look to be the youngest sons, Alan and Charles, born in about 1898 and 1900 respectively.

However, there is also a suggestion that the photo shows the oldest two boys, Robin and George who were born around 1880. If that is the case then the photo is older.

Let’s finish with a close up of the lads. There are family members who will, we hope, be able to sort us out on the identities.

Two Burgess brothers of Market Lavington - but which two?

Two Burgess brothers of Market Lavington – but which two?

Please do get in touch if you can help us.

An excursion to Lavington

May 27, 2013

We might imagine that back in 1951 a lot of people made their way to London to enjoy the Festival of Britain. Over 60 years ago we lived in a different world – a world of real austerity. Most people didn’t have cars. Most people didn’t have a television. The festival had been created to give a boost to Britain which was still very war scarred and weary.

But Londoners needed to escape as well. London had suffered heavily from bombing and large areas of bomb damage remained boarded up six years after hostilities ended. So what better than an escape to the country – neat, tidy and comparatively unaffected by the war years?

But how do you get there? You had no car, of course, and it was a long way to cycle, if you had a bike. The train was the real option of the day.

But that was expensive so British Railways ran excursions that were well advertised and could use stock that would otherwise have been laid up in a siding for the day. Sunday was less busy so that was the day for excursions.

On Sunday 27th May 1951 an excursion was run from Paddington to Weymouth. The first stop was Lavington.

We have recently been given a flyer, informing the public of this train.

Handbill advertising an excursion to Lavington and beyond on May 27th 1951

Handbill advertising an excursion to Lavington and beyond on May 27th 1951

As we see, it wasn’t just an excursion; it was an ‘attractive excursion’. It left Paddington in London at 9.30 in the morning and stopped at Lavington at 11.15. We wonder how many passengers alighted at Lavington. In times past there might have been a fleet of coaches ready to take passengers on to Stonehenge. In the absence of that, presumably those who got off the train were hikers or folks who knew somebody in the area.

It would have been a quarter to nine at night before the train returned to collect the weary walkers. Maybe they were able to relax and the station hotel.

The day out cost 11/9 – about 58p in modern money. But that represented a lot of money when wages of under £5 a week were the norm. In 1950 the average income was just over £100 per year!

Of course, we’d love to know what the train was like. We wonder what motive power was used and whether the carriages were non-corridor suburban types – which surely would have been an ordeal for those spending 4 and a half hours on board to go all the way to Weymouth.

And who travelled? Presumably it was ordinary working Londoners. Let’s hope they had a merry time.

Lavington from the Hill

April 22, 2013

It is always tempting to snap a photo of Market Lavington from Lavington Hill. It is like an aerial photo, with the village laid out before you. This example is believed to date from about 1970 – and judging by the colours it was the Autumn of that year. This would have been before the Dutch bark beetle caused havoc amongst our elm trees. The colours are very pretty.

Market Lavington from the hill in about 1970

Market Lavington from the hill in about 1970

The obvious building is the church, still there, of course and still looking much the same. To the left of the church is Grove Farmhouse, now consigned to memory. We have our wonderful Community Hall on that site now.

To the right of the church we can just make out our museum building and then the Old House. We can see the barn on Parsonage Lane and the Racquets Court. We can make out houses in Market Place with Spin Hill (the road) rising behind them.

The large white barn like building near the right was the workshop of the Wiltshire Agricultural Engineering Company. Behind that are the scattered houses on the sands.

In the foreground of the village, in front of the church is the little close of houses on Lavington Hill and between them and the church there are the houses on White Street, The Muddle and Church Street.

We like these ordinary photos at the museum – there’s nothing special going on. We just see the village as it was 40 or so years ago.

And of course, we can spot the changes since this photo was taken in about 1918.

Market Lavington from the hill in about 1918

Market Lavington from the hill in about 1918

Arthur Potter

April 9, 2013

Sometimes a picture turns up which brings a smile to your face. Just look at this jaunty chap.

Arthur Potter of Market Lavington (1882 - 1946)

Arthur Potter of Market Lavington (1882 – 1946)

This is Arthur Potter, doffing his cap to the photographer, holding his pipe and wearing some very fine gaiters. The picture was taken at Old Bell House, adjacent to The Green Dragon.

Arthur was born in 1882. His father was Edwin who ran the horse bus service between Market Lavington and Devizes which we have seen before on this blog (click here). Edwin also had a small farm.

In 1901 Arthur lived with his parents and is described on the census as a farmer’s son.

In 1908 Arthur married Annie Hester Oram who lived on Northbrook in Market Lavington. Arthur and Annie were living on Northbrook for the 1911 census but Arthur was still described as a farmer’s son, working on farm.

As far as we know, Arthur and Annie had two daughters. Edith was born in 1913 and Violet in 1915. Arthur ended up following his dad into the carrying business.

In 1926, the family still lived on Northbrook. The couple were still there in 1939.

Arthur died in 1946 – he had been living on Northbrook. When Annie died in 1959 she lived at New Street – or as we call it, The Muddle.

Believe it or not?

April 8, 2013

Can we believe the written word? Often we can, but certainly not always. Today’s blog is a case in point.

We were looking through some old CDVs we had. CDV stands for Carte de Visite and they were quite a standard style of nineteenth century photograph. They measure 54 by 85 millimetres and were an ideal shape and size for a small full length portrait photo. They were exceedingly popular and it is no wonder we have quite a lot of them at Market Lavington Museum.

Here is one of them, a charming shot of two young lads.

Charming CDV showing two lads - a photo at Market Lavington Museum

Charming CDV showing two lads – a photo at Market Lavington Museum

Our records do not tell us the names of the lads. Indeed, it is really the back of the photo which holds definite Market Lavington interest,

The photo is by A Burgess of Market Lavington

The photo is by A Burgess of Market Lavington

We’ll ignore that bit of hand writing at the top for a moment and consider the main features. Well straight away we can see that this was a studio photo by A Burgess of Market Lavington and that he could use the new instantaneous process when photographing children. He kept his negatives so copies could be made later. But actually, we can learn more from the general style of the back of this CDV. A wonderful website at allows us to date the backs of these old photos. From that we think this card dates to around the late 1880s and possibly into the early 1890s.

Now to that hand written bit at the top. It barely shows on the original CDV. The enhanced photo here makes it easy to read – Wally and Eric James. Presumably someone decided this was a photo of these two lads. There is certainly a similarity between the younger lad and another picture we have of Eric which you can see here.

But that photo dates from 1918. If this one is a similar age, it surely wouldn’t have been printed on 1880s card. We don’t think this photo can be Wally and Eric. But those brothers had a father called Walter who was born and raised in Market Lavington – born in 1879. He fits with the supposed age of the CDV. Sadly he had no brother called Eric. Walter’s brothers were Charles born in 1876 and Arthur born in 1885.

At present we have no way of knowing if those two lads are members of the James family. It will be a long shot, but perhaps someone out there in blogland can help.

Whoever the lads are we can admire the skills of our Alf Burgess, our Market Lavington photographer.

Edwardian Church Street

February 15, 2013

Here we have a fine photo by Alf Burgess showing Church Street in Market Lavington in the Edwardian era.

Church Street, Market Lavington in Edwardian days

Church Street, Market Lavington in Edwardian days

Let’s start at the back.

These properties on White Street were part of Mr Walton's department store

These properties on White Street were part of Mr Walton’s department store

The buildings facing us – outfitter, clothier, draper etc. were actually on White Street and they were all a part of Mr Walton’s empire. He had a range of premises making his business a true department store. He even had an overhead wire system – a so called ‘cash railway’.

On the left the hanging sign is for the Volunteer Arms which would, at the time of this photo, have been run by members of the Trotter family.

On the right is a building on the corner of Church and White Street which is about to open in a new guise. Visitors to Market Lavington will be delighted to find a tea/coffee shop operating there. The building is owned by Trinity Church and they will be running the business under the name of Saint Arbuck’s. We certainly wish Trinity every success in this new venture.

This was to become  lavington Gas Works

This was to become Lavington Gas Works

Here, on the left of the main photo we are looking at buildings which were, for a while, the premises of the Lavington Gas Works. It was here that acetylene was produced and distributed around the village. You can see more of this company here and here.

Now to the right side of the photo.


Shops and other premises on Church Street, Market Lavington

At the left hand end of this photo we have the shop which many will recall as Peter Francis’s photographic shop. Back when the photo was taken it was part of Mr Walton’s emporium. Next to it, the building with the interesting brick front has an interesting history. That building and premises behind it have been almost everything from Baptist Chapel, to village grocery run by Mr Bullock, Mr Potter, the Proust family right through to Mr Dempsey. The white building with gable end facing the street was Mr Godfrey’s butchery. It became Mr Pike’s shop later – still a butcher and has now been completely rebuilt. On this side we have the Merritt’s cycle shop – later Mr Reid’s. At one time this became the petrol station in the village.

In the middle of the photo we have a donkey cart.

Billy Davis was Market Lavington's very own rag and bone man

Billy Davis was Market Lavington’s very own rag and bone man

This is Billy Davis who was what used to get called a rag and bone man – finding uses for people’s unwanted items.