Posts Tagged ‘play’

Play Time

March 27, 2013

We may not have seen much sunshine recently but Market Lavington has been lucky when compared with other parts of the country. We have had very little spring snow and, so far, we have avoided any power cuts. However, it has been bitingly cold, so it’s time to look at a happy time when people felt able to appear in summer weight clothing.

This photo dates from the early 1930s.

A group of Market Lavington youngsters in a play put on in the early 1930s

A group of Market Lavington youngsters in a play put on in the early 1930s

We do not know the event, but children’s plays like this were popular in those pre TV days. There are 16 girls, all dressed in the same fashion, and one other child dressed as a black bird of some kind. We have some of the names.

The four taller girls at the back are (left to right) Linda Shepperd, Sybil Baker, Gwen Phillips and Vilna Oatley

There are six girls standing just in front of the back four and they are unknown, Marjory Milsom, unknown, unknown, Vera Ellis and Rene Davis.

The five kneeling girls are Phyllis Halswell, Sylvia Cooper, unknown, Jean Davis and Cynthia Draper.

The bird has not been identified.

We have a copy of an original photo which had been folded – hence the line down the middle.

Let’s just pick on one of the girls – Gwen Phillips.


Gwendoline E Phillips was born in 1922. Her parents were Arthur and Emily (née Pocock). We have looked at their golden wedding before on this blog (click here). Gwen would have been raised at the former hardware shop, opposite the Co-op.

Gwen married a Mr Davis, we think in 1943. Their children had births registered in the Devizes area but, according to that 1970 Golden Wedding report about Gwen’s parents, The Davis family then lived in Calne.

As ever, we’d love to know more about the people in this photograph.

The Runaway Husband

January 31, 2013

The year is 1921. Young Ena Gye has written a play to be performed by her friends and family. It is called The Runaway Husband. Perhaps Ena, who was seven at the time, based this on some real life experience. Doting parents took a photo – or arranged for one to be taken.

'The Runaway Husband' - a 1921 play performed by The Gye children and their friends in Market Lavington

‘The Runaway Husband’ – a 1921 play performed by The Gye children and their friends in Market Lavington

What a charming tableau. Apart from the children – we’ll return to them – take a moment to admire the footlights.

The wonderful glass candle holder footlights. I wonder what became of them.

The wonderful glass candle holder footlights. I wonder what became of them.

Small jars which look to be different colours, hang from a string. They probably contained night lights and would surely have looked very pretty.

But back to the children.

lose up on the children

Close up on the children

These are well captioned on the reverse of the card.


A well captioned card. We know who all of the children are!

So, standing from left to right we have Eric James, Ruth Mundy, Winnie Mundy, Tom Gye (the baby) and Ena Gye taking the part of the runaway husband. Nancy Merritt sits in the middle and the other sitters, from left to right are Keniel Poolman, Bessie Gye and Ellie Gye.

We have looked at the Gyes and their cousin Eric James in the past, so let’s consider the friends this time.

Winnie Mundy was an incomer. She had been born in Hatfield, Hertfordshire in 1907. Her parents, Arthur and Margaret (née Burgin) had married there the year before. But in 1911 the family were in Market Lavington where Arthur was a bricklayer.

We think Ruth Mundy is little sister. Certainly Arthur and Margaret had another daughter in 1912 in the Devizes area so probably in Market Lavington. One letter of the record is difficult to read but the lass appears to have been named Sarah R I Mundy. So maybe she was known by Ruth – the R word. Unfortunately it is the R which is the blurred letter.

We are less sure about Nancy Merritt. A girl with that name was born in Farnham in Hampshire in 1912 which could be the right age for the girl in the photo. But here was a large Merritt family who lived close to the Gyes. It seems likely that Nancy was one of them.

Keniel Poolman was the child of Andrew and Rose (née Polden). He was registered as Jacob J K Poolman after his 1918 birth. We know that the Poolmans lived near the Gyes on White Street in Market Lavington.

A Dramatic Presentation in 1910

November 28, 2012

Back in 1910, the Parish Room was a new structure. Market Lavington had a hall dedicated and suited to the needs of a village community – and that included putting on plays. In those days, more than 100 years ago, interior photos of a large group of excited actors were difficult. Film was still comparatively slow and the poor interior light would have meant a long exposure and many a blurred actor as a result

But a solution was close at hand. You could get the cast to do an extra curtain call away from the hall, in the grounds of the Vicarage. The two buildings were closely adjacent. The Vicarage is now a part of the nursing home and the Parish Room was demolished to provide extra facilities in a new part of the same nursing home.

And having taken a cast photo, then why not issue it as a postcard. After all, there’s a fair chance that cast members would like a copy themselves, and they’d like to send it to family and friends away from Market Lavington. So that’s what we have at Market Lavington Museum – a postcard with a picture of the cast of a 1910 play, taken in the grounds of the old Vicarage.

Let’s look at the back of the card first. There’s a message. It isn’t in code like another card we showed recently, but it seems to be almost as hard to read!

Message on a card sent from Market Lavington in 1910

The sender has given an address which we think was Mona Cottage in Market Lavington.

It’s lovely to see a Market Lavington postmark.

The card has a Market Lavington postmark

Now to the picture itself.

The card shows the cast of a 1910 play performed in the Parish Room in Market Lavington

This card was given to the museum, many years ago, by May Elisha. She was able to tell us the names of three girls in the picture – Emmie Boulter, Fanny Merritt and Ann Smith. Sadly, we can’t attach faces to names.

However, we have picked on a few faces to enlarge. Maybe somebody will recognise a face here.