Posts Tagged ‘railway’

A Single to Paddington

January 19, 2014

Lavington Station was in the parish of West Lavington but it served the whole area. No doubt people from all the Lavingtons, Easterton and the Cheverells made use of the station which opened for business in 1900.

Tickets issued at Lavington Station were of the Edmonson type, those delightful rectangles of thick card. Each pre-printed card had a serial number which meant the ticket office clerk had no difficulty keeping a record of what he had sold. When sold, the ticket should have been date stamped so that any inspector could be sure it was a valid ticket.

We have just been given an Edmonson ticket – a Lavington to Paddington single.

A Lavington to Paddington single rail ticket from about 1965

A Lavington to Paddington single rail ticket from about 1965

This ticket was issued by British railways Board and was valid for three days. As it has no date stamp we do not know when those three days were.

The fare of 23/9 is in pre decimal money which is no surprise since the station at Lavington closed before we changed our money system. However, we can be more accurate with the date of this ticket.

Until 1964 fares were charged on a strict mileage basis – at 3d per mile. Given that it is 87 miles from Paddington to Lavington, that would give a fare of 21/9. In 1964, many fares stayed based on the old three pence a mile rate, but rural fares were sometimes increased. So it would seem this ticket dates from between 1964 and the closure of Lavington Station on 28th April 1966.

These days the fare (from Pewsey) might be anything between £17 and more than £50 – plus getting to Pewsey and paying to park, of course.

If you have memories of the train service at Lavington why not tell us about it.

Landslip at Lavington

November 21, 2013

Back in 1961 the embankment which carries the railway line across the flatlands near West Park Farm collapsed. On August 21st of that year some 200 feet of the down line was left hanging in the air with the embankment underneath it washed away.

Much disruption was caused to services for the line was closed for some time

Now we’ll let Trains Illustrated Magazine for November 1961 tell the story.

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Since then, much additional work has been done to stabilise the embankment.

Lavington Station entrance

October 20, 2013

A railway station could be seen as an interface between the road network and the rail. Even in times long past a station required a frontage that could accommodate road vehicles and a building from which people could obtain their tickets for the rail journey.

Lavington Station was no exception to the rule. It had an approach road from just south of the railway bridge over the A360 road and quite a substantial road vehicle concourse in front of the station building. This concourse must have been invaluable when the old GWR used the station for excursions to Stonehenge and whole train loads of passengers decamped into Fred Sayer’s charabancs at the station.

The building was small, as our photo, taken soon before the line closed in the mid 60s shows.

Lavington Station entrance in 1965

Lavington Station entrance in 1965

Nearest the camera we have the corrugated iron parcels shed. There was a time when pretty well every station was also a parcels depot. The railways were deemed as common carriers and had to accept any item offered to them for transport. Before the little shed was constructed, parcels had been stored under the over-bridge stairs.

In this photo the bridge looks massive. Not all customers at stations were as lucky as those at Lavington, with a covered bridge to take them to the other platform.

Beyond that we see the small neat building which housed ticket office, staff facilities and waiting room for passengers.

Lavington Station opened in 1900 when the GWR built a connecting line from Patney and Chirton to Westbury as part of its shortened route between London and the West Country. Like many a country station it fell victim to Dr Beeching’s infamous axe (although to be fair he was only doing what politicians required him to do) in 1966.


Lavington Station – a new photo

September 28, 2013

Railways are always popular so it is probably no surprise that there are many photos of Lavington Station. The station was sited close by where the main road between Devizes and Salisbury crosses the railway – technically this is in the parish of West Lavington but the station served all of the Lavingtons including Easterton. A permissive path – the cinder path – was made alongside the embankment so that people from Market Lavington had a mud free walk to the station.

Our new photo shows trains as well as the station and poses a few questions for us. We hope a railway  enthusiast will be able to provide answers.

Lavington Railway Station - busy with trains

Lavington Railway Station – busy with trains

The photographer was standing on the plank construction down platform. We are looking approximately due west.


Gas lamps? Radio mast? Can anyone put us right please?

Let’s break the photo down a bit and pose our questions. We’ll start on the left.

We have a fine lamp but can anybody tell us what fuel it used? If it was gas, then where did the gas come from?

And what was that structure outside the station which looks to be some kind of radio mast. When was it built? When did it vanish? And just what did it do?

Lavington Station building and yard

Lavington Station building and yard

Here we see the main station building. The Lavington sign is too sideways on to read and the only sign we can make out is the one which indicates ‘gentlemen’. There is a bicycle and members of staff. Is that an early railway enthusiast on the far end of the platform? Can anybody make out enough of the train apparently departing? It appears to have passenger carriages, but the end vehicle looks odd. Do tell us about it. And is that a large goods shed visible just under the footbridge?

The train standing at lavington Platform is.... Can you help us?

The train standing at Lavington Platform is…. Can you help us?

The train standing at the up platform appears to have a very mixed rake of carriages. maybe somebody could tell us about them and date the picture for us. It’s a shame we can’t read the route board on the near coach.


Is that a gas tank on the roof?

 These two carriages could have the numbers 3458 and 7098 although they are not clear and so may be mis-read. Does that help anybody to tell us more? And what is that tank on the roof of the leading carriage? Our guess is gas storage for carriage lighting.

So we have a photo which is delightful in itself, but we hope to learn more from it – with your help.

The Museum Miscellany

September 14, 2013

The day has come. This evening at 7.30 in Market Lavington Community Hall the team will present their mix of photos, talk, sounds and food – all with a local theme. It’s a fantastic fivers worth.

Our men at work section (including women of course)  takes us from the farms of Eastcott through Easterton and Market Lavington and includes builders, publicans, shop workers, demolition – in fact many of the jobs that people do – in this case its local people – it could even be you.

Porters on Lavington Station in the 1950s

Porters on Lavington Station in the 1950s

We’ll do a tour of the villages – mostly photos we haven’t used before – maybe that will include your house, school or place of work. People appear in this too – like this photo at St Barnabas School in the late 1980s.

A performance at St Barnabas School in the 1980s. There are lots of people to recognise there.

A performance at St Barnabas School in the 1980s. There are lots of people to recognise there.

The chances are you won’t see yourself during our piece on the extraordinary Saunders family. They form part of our village history in the nineteenth century – and not just our village. Family members had huge influence right round the world.

In Church and Chapel life we’ll look at the people and how religion influenced social life. Expect to see people performing in theatrical events or just having a knees-up at the seaside.


A Congregational Church outing at Edington

In ‘Sybil Remembers’, we’ll share some of the memories of Sybil Perry who was a pupil at Market Lavington School in the 1920s who, later, became a teacher there.


Sybil and Des Perry in 2005

 We plan to end the evening by showing just a few of our magic lantern slides. These date from about 1860 and were owned by Charles Hitchcock who owned Fiddington Asylum.

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If time permits, which it probably won’t, we’ll share some metal detector items, ‘Found in the Soil’ with you.

And don’t forget the food interval – the high spot of the evening for some.

A milk churn label

September 10, 2013

At the recent Easterton Show a visitor arrived at the museum stall with a donation for us. It’s a brass label that was once attached to a milk churn. It gives the name of the owner and of his local Railway station which was, of course Lavington.

A milk churn label found at Ducks Farm in Eastcott

A milk churn label found at Ducks Farm in Eastcott

Let’s first deal with the finding. This item was dug up at Ducks farm in Eastcott. How or why it should have got there we don’t know, but there it was, in the parish of Easterton.

Lavington Station needs no introduction here. It was sited in Littleton Panell but was the railway station for all of the Lavington area. It should be noted that the Great Western Railway avoided confusion with other Lavingtons by calling our local train stop Lavington Wilts.

And now to E Bazell? Just who was he? Well, it is an unusual name and a quick hunt through on-line censuses provides the answer.

Edmund Bazell was born in about 1873 at Wyke in Dorset. His father was a farmer. Before the 1891 census the whole family moved to Little Cheverell and in 1897 Edmund married Annetta Butcher whose family farmed in West Lavington.

On the 1901 census we find that Edmund was listed at the farmer at Becketts Farm. This would have been close to Lavington Station.

In 1911 the Bazell family were at Glebe Farm which Edmund says is in Little Cheverell. Lavington would still have been the local station.

Annetta, his wife has a local connection for her grandmother was Mary Jane Gye who was born in the Fiddington area and was a distant relation of our Peggy who founded the museum.

So what a grand addition to our collection of local artefacts – a memory of the now vanished milk churn.

The Museum Miscellany – 2013

August 13, 2013

On September 14th, The Community Hall in Market Lavington will be the venue for our fourth annual Museum Miscellany. This year’s topics will include people at work

Bessie Gye at work in Market Lavington

Bessie Gye at work in Market Lavington

Here we see Bessie Gye as a butcher’s van driver

There will be a section called ‘In the Soil’ and this features metal detector finds in the parish.

13th century penny found in Market Lavington

13th century penny found in Market Lavington

This is a Scottish silver penny from the 1280s.

We’ll feature church and chapel life

Plaque on the former Congregational Chapel, Market Lavington

Plaque on the former Congregational Chapel, Market Lavington

There will be a photo tour of the villages


Our venue under construction

All this and more and, of course, our famous food made from recipe books we have in the museum. Maybe, this year, we’ll have Uncle Walter James’s fruit cake.


We hope to show some of our wonderful collection of magic lantern slides as well – a kind of Victorian horror show.

The event starts at 7.30 pm and admission is still just a fiver. Tickets are on sale in Market Lavington Post Office.

Lavington Station again

June 27, 2013

We recently acquired four photos of Lavington Station very soon after closure. The station buildings still looked in good order and these images give us a chance to imagine the station in its heyday.

Today we’ll look at the up or London bound platform. The main buildings at the station were on the down, Westbound platform. The facilities were smaller on the other side. This platform could only be reached by going up the steps and over the bridge although possibly staff might have helped some people across the wooden crossing that porters with barrows could use.

The up platform at Lavington Station

The up platform at Lavington Station

That is the up platform. We can see the covered bridge that could bring passengers from the main station entrance. The little building has a canopy to provide shelter and there is a waiting room in the brick built building. The sign still hangs outside this room.


The Waiting Room sign is still there, but this photio was taken soon after trains ceased calling at Lavington

The presence of a chimney suggests that in cold weather, a fire could be lit in the waiting room for the benefit of intending travellers.

The whole station, which was sited close to the bridge which carries the A360 road under the railway, has been swept into total oblivion. No traces of the old days survive for passengers to see as their trains race through.

Lavington Station

June 13, 2013

One of Market Lavington Museum’s 2013 displays is a time line of photos showing the history of the railway line through Market Lavington up to (almost) the present day. As a late build line, opening in 1900, we have good photos of construction in progress. For the most recent era we have the steam loco, Tornado (completed in the year 2010) passing through with a steam special.

But some superb photos of the station, just after closure in 1966, were recently given to the museum – and they arrived too late to be a part of the display.

This one shows the main buildings on the down or westbound platform as viewed from the up platform.


Lavington was blessed with a solid little station. It was actually in the parish of West Lavington in an area that gets called ‘Chocolate Poodle’. For a while, the former Railway Hotel traded under that unlikely name.  The station was sited where the line crosses the main Devizes to Salisbury Road and the old goods yard is now the yard of a scrap metal merchant.

We’d guess the station was built from local brick. The nearest brick works was actually in Cheverell. The bigger works in Market Lavington were not far away.

The station is equipped with all facilities (save a refreshment room). There is a booking office and general waiting room, a ladies waiting room and a gentleman’s toilet. The nearest door is marked ‘PRIVATE’ so must have been something the staff used.

It is all swept away now. Travellers racing through on the high speed trains would not recognise that there has ever been a station there.

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.