Posts Tagged ‘school’

The visit of Gumdrop

January 2, 2015

This is another story inspired by an extract from a copy of Easterton Echoes. This time it is from issue 129 dated May 1986. And once again we have to say that this is really quite some time ago – just about 29 years at the time of writing. It’s ancient history to people under thirty.

Here is the extract which shows a document still produced on a typewriter ( one with a pale letter ‘g’). No doubt this was used to cut a stencil which was then duplicated on something like a Gestetner copier. This article was written by Mr Phill Laycock who was then head of St Barnabas School. This was (and is) the primary school, physically in Market Lavington, but built to replace Victorian schools in both Market Lavington and Easterton.  It is about a book week. If you find this too small to read remember you can click on the extract to open a larger version.

Book week at local schools in 1986

Book week at local schools in 1986

It sounds as though Phill had organised some top notch authors to appear and lots of fun for children – not only at our most immediate school, but also at other schools in the area.

The star of Val Biro’s books for children was called Gumdrop and Val did, indeed, bring Gumdrop to St Barnabas. Our curator’s children were both pupils at the school at the time and on reading this extract Rog looked through his photo albums and came up with this one.

Gumdrop at St Barnabas School

Gumdrop at St Barnabas School

That’s Gumdrop with children in front. Those kids, of course, are now in their mid-30s. The location, of course, is St Barnabas School with the caretaker’s bungalow immediately behind Gumdrop.

Easterton School Children in 1934 – update

January 1, 2015

A Happy New Year to all our readers and in particular we send greetings today to the former Joy Sheppard who spent most of her life in Easterton but who now lives in Devizes.

Just two days ago we showed a picture of Easterton School Children in 1934 and we said we had a hunch about who one of the people was. Our hunch was correct and our known person was the above mentioned Joy. She has named all but one of the people on the picture.

Let’s refresh ourselves by seeing the picture again.


Easterton School pupils and teachers in 1934

Easterton School pupils and teachers in 1934

And now the outline sketch of the picture which numbers all of the people.

Easterton School in 1934 - numbered people

Easterton School in 1934 – numbered people

And here are the names of these people as supplied by Joy. She apologises for the name she can’t get and blames it on a blurred image. There’s always a chance that someone else will come up with the name.

Miss E Thomas
Infant teacher – Welsh
Mrs Fowbell
not with us for very long
Alan Bowyer
Richard Alexander
Elsie Clelford
Winnie White
Winnie Maynard
Eva Guntrip
Margaret Wiltshire
Stanley Nash
Joan Williams
Donald McGrath
Reggie Shears
Arthur Wiltshire
Stydney White
Ronald Maynard
Mary Stokes
Eva Webb
George Bowyer
Alan Alexander
note the calipers
Joy Sheppard
Doreen White
Edna Sheppard
Betty Sheppard
Mavis Coleman
not known
Bill Hussey
John Hussey
Tony White
Ronald or Arthur Stokes

Joy even provided a bit of extra information about families.

3 and 19 are cousins
4 and 20 are brothers
6, 15, 22 and 29 are siblings
9 and 14 are siblings
23 and 24 are sisters
27 and 28 are brothers
17 and 30 are siblings.

Fantastic knowledge! Thanks very much, Joy.

Easterton School children in 1934

December 30, 2014

Easterton children in 1934. Click the picture to see a larger version

This photo of youngsters at Easterton School arrived at the museum shortly before Christmas. The photo we were given is not an original photo but it tells us it shows the pupils in 1934 – fully 80 years ago. That means that the youngsters sitting on the ground in the front are now about 85 and the older children at the back could now be around 90 years old.

The photo has arrived with us via a roundabout route. We imagine it was purchased by Dave and Janet when they lived in Easterton (1980s/90s).. They moved away to Devon. Sadly, Dave died but Janet has lived in three different places in Devon. One of our stewards visited her recently and came back with the photo. Janet is keen to know if there are any Shergolds on the picture.

Almost inevitably we do not have names except for one guess. But we have feelers out and hope to identify some of the children, and the teachers. Maybe you can help as well.

Potter’s Steps

December 18, 2014

Edwin Potter (junior) was the son of Edwin Potter the horse bus operator and also the mother of May Potter who became Mrs Elisha.

Amongst many jobs he had one was as a member of the ground staff for Dauntsey’s School. It fell his lot to produce a handy footpath so that the boys (the school was boys only in those days) could walk easily from the main site in West Lavington to the former Manor House in Market Lavington. The path he built started on the main road between Market and West Lavington and had to cross the Broadwell stream and the Northbrook before reaching the manor. Edwin constructed flights of steps to go in and out of each of these two steep sided valleys. He was obviously proud of his work for our photo shows him with a broom, keeping his walkway clean and tidy.

Edwin Potter of market Lavington cleans the path he made to the old Manor House. This path was once known as Potter's Steps.

Edwin Potter of Market Lavington cleans the path he made to the old Manor House. This path was once known as Potter’s Steps.

This route became known as Potter’s Steps and is still in existence and use today. But it is on private land and is not a public right of way. We can see that in times past – the 1930s – a rural chap was expected to be able to turn his hand to anything and constructing a path like this really did involve thought in the layout, engineering in bridge construction and a large dose of hard graft and heavy labour.

Latimer Road School – 1942/43

November 7, 2014

It may seem odd that we, at Market Lavington Museum have a register for the London County Council School on Latimer Road.

Latimer Road School register at Market Lavington Museum

Latimer Road School register at Market Lavington Museum

But there it is clearly labelled. This register lists evacuees who came to Market Lavington – now slightly more than 70 years ago. It gives temporary addresses in Market Lavington.

The girls on the register

The girls on the register

Here we see the girls and for many we see the address was c/o or care of a Market Lavington resident. Others, we know, managed to find or were allocated a home for a family. Some of these stayed on and family members still live in the area. The Preedy family is certainly one such.

Edna Sellars, we can see, was care of Mrs Gye of The Sands. Mrs Gye did her utmost to make evacuees one of the family and they appear on family portraits. Here is one of Edna with Mr and Mrs Gye’s daughter Betty.

Betty Gye and Edna Sellars in about 1942

Betty Gye and Edna Sellars in about 1942

Betty has just written some memories and given a copy to the museum. You can read more about her childhood and the evacuees at the museum.

The Headmaster’s Story

September 9, 2014

Our blog story today comes from an unlikely magazine.


Yes, it is the National Savings News Letter for July 1965

One article in it was by Mr Pickering who was headmaster of Market Lavington School.

Mr. F. Pickering, headmaster of Market Lavington Primary School, Devizes, Wiltshire, decided that the school bank system best suited the aims he had in mind for his pupils. In The Headmaster’s Story he gives an analysis of these aims and of the method of running .the bank. His clear, factual account could be a valuable blueprint for any headteacher thinking of setting up savings facilities of this kind, as it emphasises equally the bank method’s simplicity and educational worth.



To foster the habit of regular saving through appeal to children’s imagination and interest.
To obtain the maximum educational effect from the system.
To make the saving as permanent as possible.


The bank is a regular Wednesday institution, opening at 8.45 a.m. and closing at 9 a.m. It is specially set up and takes the form of a bank counter, with cashiers using deposit and withdrawal forms. The children are found to enjoy this situation and imagine themselves as adults.

The school has a House system, with three Houses, St. George, St. Andrew and St. Patrick. Each House has its own cashier, its own cashbox, pens and forms. This again is an incentive to help to win the savings flag, which is presented weekly to the House that gains most points (amount multiplied by subscribers).

The savings books, brought in on Wednesday, are returned on the following Tuesday by the cashiers, thereby creating a memory factor for the next day’s savings.

The children become used to a bank routine of cashier, deposits and withdrawals and have to fill in their own form to hand over the counter. The smaller children are helped by the older ones and so get first-hand knowledge of the system, which, after six years of routine, becomes second-nature.

The hours of opening, before school commences, bring the children to school eager to participate in the scheme, arriving well before the official time of commencement. They have the motivation for coming to school even more willingly than usual.

It also makes a minimum of interference to normal timetabling.

The cashiers obtain the maximum benefit from the system, having to balance their registers correctly, before handing it to the headmaster.

Assistant cashiers sometimes take over and they, too, are taught the methods of cross-checking.

The subscribers’ books are brought up to date and checked and any withdrawals are requisitioned.

The practical application is most beneficial. They get a real sense of responsibility, actually handling the register, money and books.

The subscribers all have personal savings books with name and house clearly shown. New entrants to the school are given letters for parents to return, if they wish to join the bank. The children bring any amount from 3d. upwards. As soon as they get £1, a form is sent to the parent, asking whether they wish to change this £1 for a Certificate, or transfer to the Trustee Savings Bank.

Very few requests are made for cash – less than 2% over the past three years. This makes a very satisfactory background for permanent savings and no possible chance of loss, as with loose stamps.

Any books mislaid can be duplicated without any difficulty. The weekly amounts are handed to the local Trustee Savings Bank and adjustments made.

Interest from this account is transferred, by general consent, into the school fund.


The apparatus for setting up the bank consists, primarily, in the structure for the board holding the name. This was printed and mounted on a wooden plank. It is supported by two uprights, drilled to take two bolts for the name-board and two more bolts to fix them to the desk legs which also had to be drilled.

Two desks, old-fashioned type, put end-to-end form an adequate length, with another desk at right-angles, for subscribers to use.

Each cashier has a cash box of the House colour, a register, two ball-point pens, also of House colour, one for the cashier and one for the subscriber, and a quantity of deposit and withdrawal forms.


To receive the cash and forms from members and check that they balance.
To help younger members to fill in their forms.
On closing the bank, to transfer the amounts paid in to the register, total and check.
To complete the running total for each child.
To balance the totals in the columns and enter them in pencil.
To add the balance column as a check.
To bring the register and cash for verification.
To fill in the individual books, making out forms for children who have saved £I.
To put the weekly total in the House Competition Book.
To report the savings complete.
On the following Tuesday, to hand back the subscription books to members.


To supervise the setting-up of the bank and to be generally responsible during the time of business.
To check the register and take the cash.
To obtain Certificates (subscriber’s number required), or transfer to Trustee Savings Bank (subscriber’s savings book required).
To check the Savings Competition Book.
To present the trophy to the clerk of the winning House.
To check the members’ books each term.
To make the annual return to the District Commissioner.


It is found that there is no complication of wasted lesson time in the classes, except when the books are returned to members on Tuesdays. This takes but a minute.

Over 60% of the school population are members of the bank, with very little persuasion or advertisement.

The House competition provides the greatest spur to regular saving.

The letter which is sent to parents of new pupils and, from time to time, to those whose children are not yet taking part in this particular school activity, is a friendly reminder that school is not a place apart and that teachers share with them an interest in their children’s welfare.

Dear Parent,

You will be watching with close interest, I am sure, your child’s progress in all the various activities of our school life. Lessons are being learned and habits being formed, both inside and outside the classroom; all helping to develop character and to broaden the outlook.

Among the lessons that can have most far reaching results is the personal practice of ‘thrift’ and all that this implies; self-discipline, self-restraint and self-respect.

The constant and regular practice of saving – the regularity is more important than the actual amount saved – will give your child a sound attitude to the use of money, however little he or she may actually handle, and this training will be a valuable asset in later life.

This is why we have a National Savings Group in our school and I am most anxious that all our pupils should, if possible, become members. If your child is not already a member and you would like him/her to join, would you kindly sign the slip below and return it to me.

Yours sincerely,

Head Teacher.

To the Head Teacher:

Please enrol my son/daughter . as a member of the School Savings Group. I will do my best to ensure that he/she will save regularly.

Signed .


We wonder if any ex- pupils have tales of the bank or maybe the youngsters of 1965 in the photos could be identified.

A very old photograph

September 3, 2014

Today we look at an ‘unchanging’ corner of the village of Market Lavington. It’s the area around the church and the old school.

Our photo is very old, damaged and faded. It dates from around 1870 and as it is, it looks like this.

What we have - an old, faded, damaged photo of the church and school in about 1870

What we have – an old, faded, damaged photo of the church and school in about 1870

We have done a bit of digital repair and enhancement to make things a bit more visible.

A few minutes of digital repair and a tweak to brightness and contrast.

A few minutes of digital repair and a tweak to brightness and contrast.

More could, of course, be done.

Now this scene – ‘unchanged since time immemorial’ has actually changed in a couple of quite major ways.

The first is that a vestry has been built on the church. The second is that the front of the old school has changed as well. There is no longer a front door there, with a kind of balcony.

The Old School - 21st century

The Old School – 21st century

There’s now a window instead of a door there and outside a ramp makes for easier access for some.

Sailing at Lavington

August 16, 2014

Sailing is a bit of unpromising activity in Market Lavington where our big stretches of water are the Broadwell and the privately owned lake at Clyffe Hall. But that didn’t stop Lavington School from building a sailing dinghy.

A dinghy built by pupils at Lavington School in about1972

A dinghy built by pupils at Lavington School in about1972

The caption on this is not as useful as it could be. OK, it was 12th March, but in which year? We think it was about 1972. We’ll forgive the missed r in Crystal – and hope that others will forgive us our many similar errors – but ‘The Crystal Palace’ was destroyed by fire long before this photo was taken.

We believe the teacher in the photo was Mike Copland. He taught history and is remembered as keen on sailing. We can’t name any of the youngsters who will, by now, be in their 50s if we have dated the photo about right.

We’d love to hear from anyone who can help us be sure with our date and who can name the people shown.

Roseleigh School

July 11, 2014


A recent enquiry brought Roseleigh School to our attention. We have to confess to knowing nothing about it.

The enquiry began:

I don’t know if you can help with this, but I am doing some research into my grandfather (Frederick Sebastian Wrench) who was born in 1900 and was at Roseleigh School in Market Lavington when he was 5 years old.

The enquirer even drew our attention to a small news ad we had. This is it.

1906 newspaper advert for Roseleigh School in Market Lavington

1906 newspaper advert for Roseleigh School in Market Lavington

This was published in the Wiltshire Advertiser for November 26th 1906.

Roseleigh featured on an Alf Burgess postcard

Roseleigh featured on an Alf Burgess postcard

All sorts of questions were raised by this, some of which we can answer.

Where was Roseleigh? Well actually, where is Roseleigh? It is an end of terrace house next door to the Old Police House in Market Lavington. If this was the school, it seems quite small to be able to take boarders and have resident governesses. This postcard, which may date from the right era, shows the building.

Roseleigh is roughly in the centre of the picture – the left hand end of the terrace. The Police House was the next one heading up the street.

Roseleigh does have quite extensive outbuildings – two storey ones so maybe these were in use as accommodation or even school rooms.

Miss Hart would seem to have been Alice. She was a Londoner by birth, born around 1856. By 1881 she was with her parents in Market Lavington and described as a school mistress. By 1891 she was said to be retired. Her father had died by then. In 1901 Alice was a visitor in Woodborough described as a school teacher. It is quite irritating for us that she was away from home for census night. We don’t know where she lived. But we can guess that the family money had run out and she’d had to return to work again.

But we don’t know when the school opened or closed again, who the governesses were or, indeed, anything else about this school.

Can anybody out there help us?



The Class of 1891

June 22, 2014
Market Lavington School class in 1891

Market Lavington School class in 1891

For this photo we can answer the ‘where?’ question. It is outside Market Lavington School.

We can also answer the ‘when?’ question for it is dated as 1891.

We can only answer the ‘who?’ question in general terms. It is clearly a school class with a collection of women teachers.

Of course, we’d love to know more but recognition of children from more than 120 years ago is no easy matter. Let’s enlarge some of the children. Maybe somebody out there could help identify their ancestors.

Close up on some of the children

Close up on some of the children

Do get in touch if any of these strike a chord with you.