Posts Tagged ‘school’

Our museum building in 1958

June 21, 2015

Back in 1958 a student teacher was allocated to Market Lavington School. Her name was Rowena Campbell Trigger and as part of her college work she undertook a village survey which we have in the museum. Here is an extract from her hand written survey. It is about what is now our building.


The most prized possession of the school has been kept until last. It is the little house. It was originally the headmaster’s now but is now used as an activity centre for the school. The children have done all the interior and the results are remarkably good. At the house I got quite caught up in ‘Sale of Work’ fever. Apparently each year the school organises this sale in aid of school funds that are used to supplement the expenses of the annual school outing that takes place in the summer term. One room at the school is packed with toys in various stages of renovation. I can see I could quite usefully spend the month up here patching dolls, mending toys and painting wheelbarrows. I feel I must make time to help a little even if only occasionally in the lunch hour.


This house is a wonderful idea. Downstairs a room is set aside for collections – butterflies and moths, coins, stamps, fossils etc. Upstairs one room is quite pleasantly furnished and complete with wireless and magazines and is set aside as a reading room. Upstairs also is a local history room. The older pupils do a local history study and the best sketches and brass rubbings are selected and hung in this room.

Rowena found time to get to the top of the church tower and take a photo of ‘the little house’.

1958 photo of what is now the museum building

1958 photo of what is now the museum building

I don’t suppose she ever thought her work would one day return to this building and be a valued part of village history.

Arts and crafts

June 17, 2015

The Old School was built in the early years of Queen Victoria’s reign. No doubt its three classrooms seemed perfectly adequate then. Class sizes could be huge and pupils sat at their desks all day.

But times changed. School leaving ages were successively raised up to 15 which meant more pupils had to be housed. Curricula got more adventurous too and that required more space. Over the years some classes were farmed out to other buildings and then, when the old school house became available, the school moved into it. Part of it became the space for arts and crafts and that’s what we see children doing here.

arts and crafts in the old school house in about 1963. This is now the kitchen in the museum.

Arts and crafts in the old school house in about 1963. This is now the kitchen in the museum.

On the left we see a lad painting a castle keep. A girl behind him also has a paintbrush in hand. At the back, the lad in jeans with the big turn ups is wielding a drill whilst the lad on the right is sawing.

On the back wall some shelves are filled with sailing yachts and other boats. The windowsill appears to have a small motorbike engine on it.

We think this photo dates from about 1963.

This room had once been the kitchen when the room was a house. These days it is our kitchen display room at the museum.

A School Photo

May 14, 2015

School photos can be a bit of a nightmare for us. Many people have them and they tend to be undated and uncaptioned. We were recently given this one.

A market Lavington school phot from about 1950

A Market Lavington school photo from about 1950

We think this dates from about 1950.  It shows a class of 38 pupils with their teacher who is Mrs Sybil Perry.

We are fairly sure we recognise family likenesses in this picture but as yet we have no names for students.

Are you in this picture? Can you name any pupils?

We did very well getting the names of the similar date photo of customers at The Green Dragon.

Perhaps, in a few days, we’ll come back to this photo with people named.

Here’s hoping!

At Easterton School

May 4, 2015

Easterton had its own village school which was situated along the High Street between the church and the road junction. It closed in 1971 when the new St Barnabas School was built to replace the Victorian schools in Market Lavington and Easterton. The Market Lavington School still exists as a community facility but Easterton’s place of learning was demolished and housing now occupies its site.

Recently we have seen a number of items and photos about Miss Gladys Windo who had been head at the school and here we see her again, in that role and surrounded by pupils and friends at the school.

Miss Windo surrounded by pupils and friends at Easterton School

Miss Windo surrounded by pupils and friends at Easterton School

Miss Windo stands next to a boy clutching something to his chest and at the moment she is the only person we can name. We do not know, and nor do the people who gave us this photo, the occasion or the reason for it let alone any certainty as to date. We suspect it is 1950s from the style of clothing worn.

So once again we appeal for help. Can you name any of the people in the picture? Are you one of them? Can you recall the occasion?

We look forward to hearing from you.


April 8, 2015

Many of the items we have at Market Lavington Museum are connected with childhood so this year we have organised a child level shelf in the entrance room to portray artefacts connected with childhood in times past.

It is behind glass and hard to photograph!

Childhood display at Market Lavington Museum for the 2015 season

Childhood display at Market Lavington Museum for the 2015 season

This display has a mix of toys and games which may have been used in homes along with school based items.

Children and adults alike will enjoy seeing reminders of things they once knew or that parents and grandparents once used. All items have simple labels to explain them and if you want to know more then ask the museum steward who is on duty to help you.

Other childhood items, from a doll’s house to christening robes, will be found elsewhere in the museum.

Even if you are a regular visitor to the museum there are plenty of new items and displays this year so do visit soon.


March 20, 2015

When school prizes were awarded in times past they were often books with a very morally correct storyline. Jacko would appear to be such a book.

Jacko - a story for the young

Jacko – a story for the young

Jacko is a story for the young by Hariette E Burch.

The book was published in 1893

The book was published in 1893

 As we can see it was published in 1893. It has a frontispiece picture.


But the book is plain text after that and the final paragraph reveals the message the book intends to pass on to young readers.


So what has this all got to do with Market Lavington or Easterton? The answer is that this book was a school prize given by Market Lavington Boys’ School. An inscription tells us about this.

The inscription in the book

The inscription in the book

As we can see this award was given by Mrs and Miss Hart on August 9th 1894. The recipient was George Ward for his regularity (never absent), punctuality and marks. The book is signed by Mr Duck who was the master in charge of the school.

The prize presenters were Mary Ann Hart, widow of a house decorator and her daughter Alice who, at the age of 34 was described as a retired school mistress on the 1891 census. The two ladies lived on Church Street, very close to the school.

The recipient was George Ward. George was the son of William, a Market Lavington born pig butcher. In the early years of his marriage he had moved around a bit. George had been born in Fleetwood in Lancashire but by 1894, the time this book was presented, the family were well established at the property next to the current Post Office. George did not have far to walk to school.

In adult life George settled in Melksham where he worked hard amongst the community. The former secondary school in town – The George Ward School – was named after him.

John Duck was the school master. He had been born in Easterton in about 1865 but by 1894 was living with wife and family on High Street in Market Lavington – near to where the nursing home is now.

What a great item this is.

An inkwell

March 10, 2015

Today we look at an item which will not be familiar to people much younger than 60 yet it will bring back memories for the older generation.

Inkwells date from the days of dip in pens and for many of that older generation, their first experience of using a pen was a dip in pen.

Sybil Perry, former pupil AND teacher at Market Lavington school certainly remembered them – they feature in her hand written and drawn memories. In a spoken tape Sybil made she reported that she felt very grown up when she was first allowed to use a pen like these.

A drawing by Sybil Perry

A drawing by Sybil Perry

Her drawing shows a couple of pens which were dipped in the ink put in the well and then used until the ink held on the nib had been used and it was time to dip again. Sybil shows a school room inkwell but there were also domestic or office wells for desks which didn’t have special holes to put them in and that’s what we have at the museum.


An inkwell at Market Lavington Museum

This is placed against a centimetre scale so you can gauge the size.

In this case the well is mounted in a pewter drum and has four holes in which pens could be put. A lid can be shut down over the well to reduce evaporation when the ink was not in use.

We believe this item dates from the very early years of the twentieth century



Market Lavington School – 1967

March 9, 2015

Photos published in newspapers are never of the best quality and certainly were far less sharp in time past. To many of us, 1967 may sound like yesterday, but it was 48 years ago. This photo has just turned up.

Market Lavington school pupils in 1967

Market Lavington school pupils in 1967

Now that’s a fascinating photo for us because the building in the background is our museum. Back in the 1960s Market Lavington was expanding and the old three room school was not able to cope. So the old school master’s cottage was brought into play as extra accommodation. Nancy Cooper, school secretary had her office in the building and rooms were used for craft activities. A TV was installed as well so that classes could watch appropriate schools’ broadcasts.

The outside stairway, no doubt familiar and useful at the time, no longer exists.  It looks a tad open sided for some of those little children. Actually, that lean-to on the left hand end was completely replaced when the building became the museum in 1985 as well.

The photo is captioned and tells us that these were some of the prize winners at Market Lavington School. Some of the proud mums and dads surely bought a print of this photo from the newspaper office. Now that would give us a much better copy if we could beg or borrow such a photo.

Names of pupils would also be appreciated.

A school outing in 1947

March 8, 2015

Teachers will know all the procedures associated with the school outing risk assessment. As we understand it you have to think of every possible thing that could go wrong and have a plan for what you’ll do if it actually happens.

I’m going to guess things weren’t like that when, in 1947, Market Lavington School took a group of youngsters on an outing to Westbury. They certainly wouldn’t have needed a plan for what to do if the coach broke down on the motorway. Well obviously there was no motorway – but there wasn’t a coach either for the mode of transport was bicycle. This might have restricted travellers to those with bicycles but we can be sure there was no fuss about safety helmets, hi-vis clothing, back up transport for the weary or anything like that. Two teachers went and one would like to think that one led the way whilst the other was the sweeper at the back, jollying along those running out of puff and making sure nobody got lost or left behind.  These days the front and back markers would be able to communicate with each other. Back then they’d have needed to keep within shouting distance.

Somebody, so perhaps there was a third unrecorded adult, took photos of the group in Westbury where they arrived at a play park.

Market Lavington School - outing to Westbury in 1947

Market Lavington School – outing to Westbury in 1947

The youngsters and at least one adult pose here on a slide. The slide of course involves a high climb with the chance to fall onto the ground with no softer matting to protect the youngsters.

For a second photo, our donor, Betty who is one of the girls in the picture, has captions.

A group of children and teachers pose for the camera

A group of children and teachers pose for the camera

And here is Betty’s caption.


E Stowe, the tall man at the back was the headmaster of the school. Apparently his nose was quite a prominent feature and all the youngsters called him ‘Pecker’. Sybil Baker, in the middle of the middle row was also a teacher, perhaps better known as Mrs Perry.

The boys are Howells, Glyn Arnold, Bert Cox, Gordon Baker, Gordon Porter and Brian Smith.

In the middle row we have Mavis Boulton, Joy Ellis, Molly Petts, Sybil Baker, Val Smith, Joan Perry and Betty Gye. Janet Stiles, Joy Razey and Marion Phillips make up the front row.

Now that’s a lovely photo, well captioned and a great reminder of times past when simple trips out obviously created pleasure and memories.

Lavington School – 1973

January 11, 2015

Do you remember those whole school photographs? Ages was spent in preparation. It was essential to have everything right. Chairs were needed for some. Items to stand on were needed for others. They all had to be carefully arranged in an appropriate curve. The cameraman with his special camera set himself at the centre of the circle. When all was ready, he set his camera going and it slowly exposed a picture, starting at the left end and working round to the right.

Sometimes a wag got him (or her) self at the left hand end and as soon as the camera was going, he ran round the back. with speed and luck he was able to beat the camera to the right hand end and got himself on the photo twice.

At Lavington they made this unlikely to happen by having boys on the left and girls on the right, and then stationing a large member of staff at the right end.

The pictures, when produced, were about a metre long and not that tall – not at all the right shape for a blog. We have divided the May 1973 picture into 6 parts with plenty of overlap below.

We do hope that experts – the youngsters of 1973 – will get in touch and tell us more about who was who – particularly the people from Market Lavington and Easterton.

These were the days when Mr Greening was head and Mr Jordan was head of science. We can name more people of course but let’s see the photos.

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There we have it so now it really is over to you.