Posts Tagged ‘pub’

The old ‘Volley’

September 1, 2015

The Volunteer Arms, always affectionately known as ‘The Volley’ was on Church Street in Market Lavington, on the North side of the street near the crossroads. It closed in about 1989 which reduced the number of pubs in the village of Market Lavington to three. This photo shows the building at about the time of closure.

The Volunteer Arms in 1989

The Volunteer Arms in 1989

Two things, in particular, are visible. They are the pub signs.


The bracket for that one is still in place in 2015.


That’s stretched a bit far but is just about readable.

Locals very much missed the Volley when it closed yet we have few memories of this pub, which had once been called ‘The Angel’ at the museum.

The view alongside the pub and into High Street is interesting.


Badgerline bus on High Street

The bus dates from the era when they went under the name of Badgerline. At that time the buses all terminated at Easterton and turned round at the road junction just below the jam factory. There was no regular bus service linking Market Lavington with Urchfont.

So a simple photo of a pub on the verge of closure can remind us of other things from the same era.

Easterton Fete – about 1955

July 6, 2015

It comes as a shock to some of us to realise that 1955 was 60 years ago. Only people in the retired generation remember it and for the majority of the population, 1955 is old history.

And perhaps with black and white photos it looks quite like ancient history as well. This photo of a fete parade in Easterton is a case in point.

Easterton fete parade in about 1955

Easterton fete parade in about 1955

Even the actual location is a bit difficult to sort out for the most immediate building, on the right has been demolished. Of course, the pub sign does give the place.

The location give-away. The photo was taken outside The Royal Oak.

The location give-away. The photo was taken outside The Royal Oak.

It is the Royal Oak which still operates in Easterton, but without the benefit of that building out the front. Beyond the sign we see the steeply pitched roof of the Manor House– a sure sign that this building was formerly thatched.


At the front of the fete parade we have a sandwich board man with a poster advising people not to miss the fete and a town crier complete with bell.

Further back we have clowns, flower girls and all sorts.


We are hoping, of course, that some of these people enjoying a bit of dressing up will be recognised.

So it is over to you once more.


Animal Crackers

March 19, 2015

Animal crackers are really little cracker biscuits shaped like animals. It was back in 1935 that little Shirley Temple sung about ‘Animal crackers in my soup’ but the real things predate that. Indeed, the Marx brothers made a film called ‘Animal Crackers’ in 1930.

And here in Market Lavington we had our own Animal Crackers in 1986. They were, actually, a group of young ladies who took part in what was then the annual barrel rolling competition. In the way of newspapers (and maybe blogs too) this quintet were chosen for a newspaper photo which we can find in a cuttings scrap book at Market Lavington Museum.

Animal Crackers - a news photo from 1986

Animal Crackers – a news photo from 1986

So here we see the girls dressed up in their animal finery, all ready to start rolling out the barrel. They are Andrea Wheeler, Karen Corbitt, Penny Thorn, Valerie Miles and Carol Brothers and they were representing the Kings Arms public house.

This reminds us of how much the licensed house or pub trade has declined. When there were four pubs in the village, it seemed natural to have some inter-pub rivalry and the old barrel rolling competition was part of that. Now we just have the excellent Green Dragon. There is no competition and a little tradition has gone from the village. Not that it was a truly old tradition. You can click here to read a little history of the event.

And what about those five young ladies who made up the Animal Crackers? Where are they now?

The Drummer Boy Pub

March 14, 2015


This was recently bought as a blank greetings card and it shows the Drummer Boy Inn on Church Street in Market Lavington, probably during the 1970s.


Church Street and the Drummer Boy pub in about 1970

Before describing the picture, we’d like to mention the issue of copyright as we understand it. The paragraph below comes from . It is thus a statement of copyright law.

The length of the copyright period will depend on when the image was created. Generally speaking, copyright in images lasts for the life of the creator plus 70 years from the end of the calendar year of their death. That means that images less than 70 years old are still in copyright, and older ones may well be, depending on when the creator died.

The image above is thus in copyright for any photo less than 70 years old, by definition is. In this case we at Market Lavington Museum know that the photographer was Peter Francis. Peter died in 1998 so this photograph is copyrighted to his heirs or assigns until 2068. Peter had no specific descendants but was closely involved with the museum and orally, he assigned copyright to us. We therefore believe this card should not have been published without permission from us.

But let’s now leave that on one side and take a look at the image. It shows Church Street and its poignancy at the moment does concern the Drummer Boy pub which recently closed. We expect it to be converted into housing. This Peter Francis image shows what it looked like and has the sign hanging outside.

This was the sign as taken by our curator in 2014. It is a different sign from the one in the Peter Francis photo.


Drummer Boy sign 2014


The other change in the photo is that the single storey shop front further up Church Street has gone. It was once Mr Milsom’s garage and had also belonged to the Hopkins family and more recently was held by a company called Sutech. Where it stood is now a part of Milsom Court – a small group of village houses.

Other than that the scene is pretty much unchanged in the last forty years.

Alex J Martin

March 4, 2015

We know very little about Alex Martin except that he was a landlord at The Green Dragon and we have a little sign which was, presumably, above the entrance door to this fine old inn at one time.

Wooden sign to tell us that Alex J Martin was a licensed victualler

Wooden sign to tell us that Alex J Martin was a licensed victualler

The style of writing – essentially a plain and simple sans serif font, does suggest second half of the twentieth century and we can, indeed, find A J Martin listed in our 1966 directory.

Highlighted entry in the 1966 local directory

Highlighted entry in the 1966 local directory

There was a different landlord on the 1964 electoral roll so we have a pretty good idea of when Alex arrived but that really sums up our knowledge. There will surely be regulars at ‘The Dragon’ who can tell us more about Alex J Martin

A crowd in the Green Dragon – 1950s

March 2, 2015

The Green Dragon remains the one pub in Market Lavington. The reduction from four to one such establishment in the past 30 years reflects a change in habits more than anything else.

Back in the 1950s, despite competition from the other three ‘locals’ the Green Dragon could still pull in a crowd as this photo shows.

A crowd in the Green Dragon in the 1950s

A crowd in the Green Dragon in the 1950s

It all looks very homely although it is very predominantly male.

We have names, but sadly not clearly attached to actual people. Here are the names we have. There may be somebody out there who can attach them to the people shown.

Amongst those standing we have Fred Davis, Bimbo Boulton, Charlie Golding, Freddie Hurle, Albert Potter, Len Francis, Harry Andrews and Bill Sainsbury.

Seated people include Ben Hurkett, Ed Potter and Mrs Bert Potter.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Some history of The Volunteer Arms

February 10, 2015



The pub known as The Volunteer Arms used to stand on Church Street, just around the corner from Parsonage Lane.  Back in the late 70s there were four pubs in Market Lavington but the old ‘Volley’ was the first of these to go almost thirty years ago. Here we present a short written account of some earlier history of the pub.


The Volunteer Arms, Market Lavington, formerly The Angel

This Public House was once owned by Mr Thomas Potter who died as the result of an accident on Ledge Hill, Market Lavington in 1848.

The property then came to his son, John Potter, who eventually sold it about 1864 to his step-mother Mrs Jane Potter who lived there till about 1876 when the house was sold to Messrs Wadworth, Devizes. Till this time the beer was brewed on the premises.

After Wadworth bought the house the first licensee was a Mr Wilkins who had been a…


…Volunteer and took a great interest in the movement, at this time the name ‘The Angel’ was changed to ‘The Volunteer’ and so remains. The sign was on a high pole at the end of the yard nearest the road.

This information was given by the late Mrs Hannah Crassweller, youngest daughter of John Potter and granddaughter of Thomas Potter.

Mrs Crassweller died February 1952 aged 91.

Which means her memories go back into the 1860s.


The Co-op in times past

October 15, 2014

Today we have a postcard which shows a part of the High Street in times past. The card was posted in 1910.

Market Lavington High Street on a card posted in 1910

Market Lavington High Street on a card posted in 1910

If we start on the left we can see what was then and still is the butcher’s shop. The building just beyond that, with the arched underpass has been demolished and stood at the entrance to what we now call Woodland Yard. Further down the street we can see the dark looking sign for the Kings Arms pub – now converted into housing and beyond it, with the windows in the roof there is Red House. From then on we look into Church Street leading down to the building with the gable end facing the road which was another butcher’s shop back then.

The curvature of the road hides much of the right side of the street. We can see the light coloured building which is the present Co-op and beyond that was Alf Burgess’s shop which had his little photographic studio behind it.

Let’s look at some detail.

The weighbridge - just outside what is now Woodland Yard

The weighbridge – just outside what is now Woodland Yard

This is the weighbridge which stood outside that arch near the butcher’s shop. It appears to have writing cast into the weighing platform but I’m afraid we can’t make that out. Maybe a weighbridge expert can tell us more.

Below we show a part of what is now the Co-op. It appears to say, above the window, something like A R Hole and Sons. We have no record of this name or anything we can read it as. Once again, we seek enlightenment.


For completeness, let’s look at the other side of the card which as the message written upside down just to make it a bit more awkward for the postman to read.


We can see that Fred sent a brief message to his Ma – Mrs Claridge – on August 17th 1910. The card was posted in Market Lavington.

Butcher Kidner

June 7, 2014

We were very recently given this postcard.

A Society walk in Market Lavington High Street in the early 20th century

A Society walk in Market Lavington High Street in the early 20th century

We already had a copy of the image, but this had been trimmed and some of the more interesting information is on the edge which had been lost in the copy.

The picture was taken, we believe, prior to 1904 and shows a society walk through Market Lavington. We believe the society was connected with the Oddfellows.

We are looking up High Street from outside the Market Place. The building on the left – which is where the chemist’s shop now stands, has two visible letters – CE. That’s enough for us to know that it was then the village Post Office.

The Green Dragon is clear with its porch right across the pavement.

The Green Dragon – still a thriving hostelry

In the middle is a large banner.

The banner appears to carry an Oddfellows motto

The banner appears to carry an Oddfellows motto

This carries the Latin motto Amicitia, Amor et Veritas – friendship, love and truth. This does appear to be connected with Oddfellows.

But it is the extreme right which really interests us. This shows the butcher’s shop, not so different now from how it was more than 100 years ago.

Outside butcher George Kidner’s shop

We can see that the pavement is cobbled which must have given a bumpy ride for the baby in the pram. The longish exposure time for the photo is revealed by the totally blurred child. We can see carcasses hanging outside the shop which would be deemed very unhygienic these days. And we can see that the butcher’s name was Kidner for it is written above the door.

George Kidner came from south London to Market Lavington in the 1870s. He had been a butcher all his working life and would have been approaching 60 when he moved to Market Lavington. His wife, Harriet (perhaps Hariot) died in 1894 but George, over 80, was described as a butcher working at home on the 1901 census. His daughter Alethea was with him.

We wonder whether it might be George on the extreme right, the elderly looking man with a stick.

George died in 1904 and his age was given as 89.

Does anybody know any more about him?

The Cottage and The Oak

June 1, 2014

Being given this image by a pair of local residents this week was quite serendipitous. The same image had been offered for sale on Ebay but the bidding had outstripped our ability to pay. And then we were offered a chance to copy an identical card held by the non-computer using couple.

The picture shows a part of Easterton Street. We think it dates from the early 1950s.

Cottage and Royal Oak on Easterton Street in the 1950s.

Cottage and Royal Oak on Easterton Street in the 1950s.

The thatched cottage on the left is still there and still thatched. The growth of shrubs make it difficult to see from the road now.

A similar view in the 21st century

A similar view in the 21st century

Let’s take a closer look at the cottage, some 60 years ago.

An Easterton cottage - 1950s

An Easterton cottage – 1950s

It was, and remains a cottage full of ‘olde worlde’ charm. It looks to have everything an English cottage should have.

Looking very closely adjacent to the cottage, but actually with Oak Lane between them, is The Royal Oak, Easterton’s pub which, again can be seen in the modern picture and which is still operating as a hostelry.

The Royal Oak as it was 60 years ago

The Royal Oak as it was 60 years ago

The big change to the pub has been the removal of the single storey extension under a slate roof that we see in this picture. Where that once stood is now a small car park – the pub has more parking space behind.

This lovely image can remind us of comparative constancy. Not so much has changed in 60 years here.