Posts Tagged ‘Royalty’

The Black Bordered Envelope

February 5, 2013

Back in Edwardian days as well as earlier and later, things were done properly. If someone died then letters were sent in a black bordered envelope. These, of course, were the days before the widespread use of the phone, let alone E-mail or social media. Your notification that someone had died would drop through your letter box in a black bordered envelope,

But propriety required that black bordered envelopes were also used for a period of mourning afterwards. Our envelope today covers that period of mourning following the death of Queen Victoria in 1901.

Black bordered envelope received by James Welch of Market Lavington in 1901

Black bordered envelope received by James Welch of Market Lavington in 1901

James Welch, as we can see, was Secretary of the Wiltshire Agricultural Association. This body of men had obviously sent their condolences to the close relatives of Victoria which included, of course, the new King, Edward VII. The letter in the envelope was to thank the association for their kind thoughts. It is a form letter, making use of what we’d now call mail merge although back in 1901 this involved a scribe in handwriting in various sections.

The letter to James was in his role as Secretary of the Wiltshire Agricultural Association

The letter to James was in his role as Secretary of the Wiltshire Agricultural Association

As we see, the King did not deal with this himself. He commanded the signatory and he got someone else to do the scribing. But obviously the Welch family thought this was worth keeping – until it was passed to the museum.

James Welch was our museum founder’s grandfather.

Before Lavington School

August 9, 2012

We commented, recently, on how the old Market Lavington School suffered from lack of space. Student teacher Rowena Campbell Trigger recorded these classes in her 1958 survey.

Market Lavington School classes in 1958

So, there were five classes but only three rooms. Other halls in the village were pressed into service.

Relief came in 1962 when Lavington Secondary Modern School opened. Secondary education had been available to those who passed the 11plus exam. Devizes Grammar School was open to them. But for the majority, until 1962, they started and finished their schooling at Market Lavington School.

Our picture today shows the site chosen for the new Lavington School, along The Spring and close to the parish boundary with West Lavington. This new school was to serve a range of local villages, taking the children aged between 11 and 15 from quite a wide area and providing them with specialist classrooms and teaching.

Lavington School playing fields – before the school was built

This picture dates from about 1958. Some of the items visible in the photo, taken by Peter Francis, tell us something of the history of the area.

The biggest, central item is the huge Wellingtonia tree. This would have been about 70 years old at the time for it was planted in 1887 as the tree to mark Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. It is still there today, now about 125 years old. Back in 1887, this field would have seemed the ideal place, for it was in use as the village recreation ground.

But that was to change. In 1902 Charles Awdry bought the Manor and that included the recreation ground. Charles had a passion for cricket and converted the area into a classy cricket ground, building the lavish pavilion that can be seen to the left of the Wellingtonia.

The cricket pavilion built by Charles Awdrey of Market Lavington Manor

The pavilion has now gone. The small estate of houses built on the site has the name, ‘Pavilion Gardens’.

Charles Awdrey died in 1912 and his executors decided the Manor must be sold. Nobody wanted the house until, eventually, Dauntsey’s School bought it. The nearer part of the field, as seen in the photo became a playing field for the boys. (Girls were not admitted to the school until much later.)

And then Wiltshire County Council built the Lavington School which opened in 1962. It is still there, much expanded, and is now a thriving comprehensive school.

At the 1953 Coronation

July 11, 2012

Yesterday we featured a photo which included Mr Lawrence Kitchener Cooper as a man in his early 20s. Today we move on 16 years, by which time Lawrie was a married man, approaching the age of 40. He was now behind the camera taking the photos.

The scene is the Davis Field. That name is now all but forgotten. It’s the football field at the top of Northbrook, using land donated by the Davis family who lived on Northbrook.  The year is 1953 and Lawrie Cooper is using his camera to record the fun and games and other happenings at the time of the Coronation of our Queen, Elizabeth II. What we see here is a table, covered in Coronation mugs for the youngsters.

Table of Coronation Mugs in 1953. These are under the watchful eye of Mrs Elisha, the long time infant teacher in Market Lavington

Do you know, we don’t have one of those Coronation mugs in Market Lavington Museum. Has anybody got one they’d  be willing to let us have?

And who is the lady deputed to look after the distribution of mugs. Yes, it’s Mrs Elisha. What a career that lady had. If you talk to people over 90 who have lived in the village all their lives, then Mrs Elisha was their infant teacher. If you talk to sub 40 year olds, then some of them remember Mrs Elisha as a supply teacher. What better person to make sure every child – she’d have known virtually all of them – got their mug.

Another photo of a past Royal Event

July 10, 2012

The main celebrations of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee may be over, but here in Market Lavington we are still being given photos of past events. This one, rather battered, was clearly made into a postcard at the time of the 1937 Coronation of King George VI.

Motorised Market Lavington fun at the 1937 Coronation

The card is captioned, ‘1937 ’ere’s health Coronation, Market Lavington’

As yet, we have not located just where the picture was taken.

There are half a dozen people in or on the car. The right hand standing man, in the paler jacket is Lawrie Cooper – or to give him his full name, Lawrence Kitchener Cooper.

Lawrie Cooper of Market Lavington is offering a health unto His Majesty

The others are unknown to us as yet – but even though the bad photo damage is across faces, we feel sure somebody out there will help us.

Do get in touch if you can give us any names or identify the photo location.

Bladud Founded Bath

June 18, 2012

About a dozen years ago, a small metal token was found at number 9, High Street, Market Lavington. This token, value one farthing, was given to Market Lavington Museum. It seems time it saw the light of day, at least in photographic form. The following information comes from the web site – although the pictures of the near perfect and well-cleaned example shown there have been replaced by our farthing at the museum.

Heath’s Bath (Somerset) copper Conder farthing token dated 1794.

Obverse: Crowned and bearded bust to left with bow and quiver of arrows over shoulder with legend: “BLADUD FOUNDED BATH”.

Obverse of token found at 9, High Street, Market Lavington showing King Bladud who founded Bath according to legend.

Reverse: The aforementioned crowned Bladud holding his bow and shield, driving two pigs or hogs with legend: “THROUGH HIS SWINE 1794”.

Reverse of token which shows Bladud as a swineherd

Plain edge.

This was issued by F. Heath who was an ironmonger, brazier and cutler with a business in Bath. Bladud was the eighth King of the Britons who is thought to have founded the baths in 863 B.C.

Legend had it that Bladud contracted leprosy and was locked away. He escaped and took a job as a swineherd. His pigs contracted leprosy as well. His sick pigs wallowed in mud and were cured. Seeing this, Bladud also rolled in the mud and he, too, was cured. He went on to be the 8th King of the Britons. In gratitude he founded a city where the pigs had been cured – the city now known as Bath. Bladud dedicated his city to the Celtic Goddess, Sul. 900 years later, the Romans called the place Aquae Sulis.

According to legend, one of the children of Bladud was King Lear – made famous by the Shakespeare play.

Francis Heath, the issuer of these and other coins, has not been clearly traced. He carried on his ironmongery, cutlery and brazier business, just previous to 1800, at number 2, Bath Street.

How this token came to be in High Street, Market Lavington we don’t know.

More from the 1953 coronation

June 17, 2012

This year we have celebrated the Diamond Jubilee year of Queen Elizabeth II. She has served 60 years as the Queen, not only of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, but also of Commonwealth countries around the world.

At Market Lavington Museum we have displays of photos and memorabilia from past royal events. Market Lavington and Easterton have both been very ready to have a party to celebrate these past events.

And this year, the people in the villages are re-discovering their own photos and memories and offering copies to the museum. We are so lucky to live in this digital age – photos can be shared with consummate ease. People, who might be very reluctant to allow their precious family images to be borrowed, scan or photograph them and email the results to our curator. Or, maybe, they allow him to come to their home to copy images. Either way, the originals need never be out of the possession of owners, yet the information they contain can be shared with museum visitors or blog readers around the world.

So, today we bring you a recently acquired photo of the 1953 Coronation celebrations in Market Lavington.

1953 Coronation fancy dress in Market Lavington

The person absolutely positively identified is Mrs Francis who is wearing the barrel.  When Frances Candy married Ron Francis in 1932, she became Frances Francis! The Francis family farmed Grove Farm for many years and the name is commemorated in Francis Road, built on their former farmland. The notice carried by Fran, as she was known, proposes the toast – ‘Here’s a health unto Her Majesty’. It is in the form of a pub sign.

We are pretty well certain that the lady on the left is Mrs Hurkett and the lady dressed as Britannia is Peggy Gye.

We rather think the char ladies are actually men.

Do let us know if these guesses are wrong.

The Golden Jubilee Show

June 14, 2012

Ten years ago, in 2002, we celebrated the Queen’s Golden Jubilee – the 50th anniversary of her accession to the throne in 1952.

Market Lavington certainly joined in the celebrations and had a real celebrity character to declare the Jubilee Fete open. It was none other than Sir Killalot.

Back then, a chap called Tom Gutteridge lived at The Old House in Market Lavington. Tom was a TV producer and creator of shows through his company at the time, Mentorn. The big show was one called Robot Wars and Sir Killalot was the star of this show. So it was that the robot, Sir Killalot, came to open the Jubilee Show of 2002. Here he is with a crowd of admirers, about to chomp through the chain to declare the procedings open.

Sir Killalot opens the 2002 Golden Jubilee fete in Market Lavington

Sir Killalot had a friend there (or should that be an enemy) and the two robots engaged in a bit of combat in the style of the TV programme.

If you recognise anybody in the photo, then do let us know who they are.

Ken Mundy’s Flag

June 12, 2012

Many years ago, when Ken Mundy was retiring from his shoe selling, making and repairing business, he gave our curator a flag. It isn’t a huge flag – about the size of an A4 sheet of paper. Ken had it to mark the Coronation of King George VI and his wife, Queen Elizabeth. The coronation took place in 1937.

There can be little doubt that Ken (who has featured before) was one of the village characters. He might have seemed to have led a basic sort of life – rejecting what he saw as luxuries, like piped water to his house. There are many folks alive now who recall Ken making his way to Broadwell with buckets hanging from his yoke, to collect his water. This was in contrast to some pigs he kept. They were allowed the piped variety of the vital liquid.

The village lads liked Ken. He was always ready for a chat and it seems they hung on his words of wisdom. This often seems to have been the case with village cobblers – and blacksmiths as well.

But Saturday night was for dancing for Ken. He’d put on his finery and head off to Devizes where, we are told, he was a real goer at the dances. He’d return on the late bus.

But in 1937 he must have decided he needed a little something for the Coronation – his flag.

For this season, you can see the flag with the display of shoes and cobbling tools in the trades room at Market Lavington Museum.

The Jubilee Tea

June 9, 2012

The Jubilee Tea was held on Tuesday 5th June 2012. In some ways it was the most historic event of the wonderful Jubilee Weekend in Market Lavington.

To explain why – here’s a booklet about the first 100 years of Market Lavington Parish Council.

A well thumbed copy of ‘Market Lavington Parish Council – The First One Hundred Years’. There are copies of this in the museum.

This is not what sometimes gets called a slim volume. It has 107 pages crammed with information about what went on at Parish Council meetings. The front cover is by former local artist Patrick Manley and shows the old Parish Room as seen from the arch under the Workman’s Hall.

We are going to turn to the entry for 1897, which was the year of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.

In April the Council appeared to have been bogged down in petty matters although Mssrs. Wadman and Brown suggested that a public meeting should be held to celebrate the Queen’s long reign. This suggestion met with general approbation and the meeting was fixed for 23rd April.

There was a good turn out on 23rd and the first proposal by the Revd Frith seconded by Mr. E. Notton, ” that the water supply be improved in the upper part of the village”, was not well received and was subsequently withdrawn. Then Mr. Edwin Potter moved and Dr. Lush seconded, “that a collection be taken in hand with a view to procuring a recreation ground for the village in honour of H.M.’s long reign”. This motion was carried without argument and a committee was set up there and then to deal with it.

At the beginning of June it became apparent that the acquisition of a recreation ground could not be achieved in time to form part of the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations on June 21st. Collectors were appointed to canvas the village to gather subscriptions for a dinner for the older folk and a tea for the younger. £61.0.7. was collected of which £51.10.10. was spent on the dinner and tea and £1 was paid to the bell-ringers. 500 tickets were issued for the dinner which was held in Miss Bouverie’s barn. 400 tickets were issued for the tea which was set out in the Rackets Court. After tea sports were held and there was dancing in the barn and in the adjacent field The weather was splendid Although this was not a Council managed affair it was thought that there should be some record of how Market Lavington had celebrated Queen Victoria’s 60th year on the throne. It was resolved that the balance of funds £8. 9. 9. should be set aside to form the nucleus of a fund for the proposed recreation ground.

So we can see that tea at the Rackets Court was a part of the celebration for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. How fitting that a similar event should be a part of the celebrations for Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.

Of course, there were differences. First of all, the Racquets Court is now a private house – so huge thanks to the owners who had the idea and who staged it. Secondly, the idea of 400 people there would probably be scary. And sadly the weather was awful.

The tea was organised as a Day Centre event but it was open to the village – and a very jolly occasion it was.

Tea at the Racquets Court – a finale for the Jubilee Weekend

Here we have some sippers of tea. The sandwiches, scones and cream and cakes were just fantastic – all home made, of course.

More tea sippers!

Some folk preferred to sit around a TV and watch national events. Now how amazed would their 1897 predecessors have been at such a possibility?

Relaxing in front of a telly was not an option in 1897.

Regulars who help at The Day Centre were on hand to serve tea. Here are Gordon and Pam.

Ace cake baker Gordon and his wife, Pam, are amongst those who regularly help at The Day Centre, normally in The Old School, Market Lavington.

Sadly we have no photos of the 1897 event but at least the 2012 one is saved for future generations to see.

It was a lovely finish to a marvellous long weekend.

The Jubilee Walk

June 7, 2012

More Pictures for Posterity

Ted’s walks are popular always. Ted Maslen leads regular monthly walks around the area. They are a great chance for newcomers to the area to meet up with other locals and to learn where some of the footpaths are.

But the Jubilee Walk, of June 4th 2012, was to be different. A new section of footpath was being officially opened. Market Lavington Museum was on hand to record the walk for posterity.

As for all of Ted’s walks, we started in the Market Place. There were about 150 of us.

June 4th 2012 – walkers are almost ready to depart from Market Lavington Market Place

That’s quite a crowd.

To start with the route was on long established roads and paths. We turned into White Street and then veered right at The Hollow to take the path which was once deemed the main road to Warminster.

Spring green as the walkers head along the path to Periwinkle Pond

We crossed the parish boundary into West Lavington before climbing up to the Ridgeway, the road along the edge of Salisbury Plain.

Climbing up to The Ridgeway

The Ridgeway was a good place for walkers to pose, for we were about to go into new territory for most people.

The walkers on the Ridgeway near Brazen Bottom

In front of those people was the track down to Brazen Bottom which is not new footpath but very few people bother to walk there and then come back. This track leads to the new Jubilee walk. Shown as a green dotted line on the aerial photo (taken from the Lavington parish website).

Plan of the new Jubilee Walk

Walkers step onto The Jubilee Walk

Some of the walkers step on to the new route. It had better be said that the precise route has not yet been waymarked. Hopefully the MOD will get some signs up soon.

What a wonderful Community event this was. Market Lavington shows it still has what it takes as our 150 walkers stretch out on The Jubilee Walk.

There are some of the walkers with the leaders away in the distance. But there were plenty more behind.

As we neared the top of Lavington Hill there was a bonus sight. This was the day chosen for a bus service to Imber run by ex London Routemasters. And, to quote the old joke about buses, having waited for ever for a bus down Lavington Hill, two came along at once.

Open topped Routmaster on the special June 4th service which linked Market Lavington to Imber and Warminster.

It was not the best weather for an open top bus! Market Lavington village can be seen below the plain, just in front of the bus.

Two buses at once travel along the Ridgeway above Market Lavington. They were about to head down Lavington Hill and into the village.

There were more passengers on the closed top bus.

This memorable and historic walk finished with a hog roast at The Green Dragon – Delicious!