Posts Tagged ‘Shop’

The Elisha Family by their shop

August 5, 2015

These days people know the name Elisha because a playing field up Drove Lane is named, ‘The Elisha Field’. This honours Bill Elisha who had been a stalwart of the local football team as player and general organiser. He had also been a chairman of the Parish Council and had many other interests and hobbies.

His wife was May Elisha – the teacher who taught in the 1920s and was still doing occasional supply teaching into the early 1980s. She had been born Helena May Potter.

The first Elisha in the village, though, was Bill’s father – William George Elisha who opened his tailoring business on High Street in Market Lavington in 1910/11.

This photo probably dates from that time – 1910 or 11.

The Elisha family outside their shop in about 1911

The Elisha family outside their shop in about 1911

This is quickly recognisable as the building next to Chapel Lane. The current fish and chip take-away was once a Baptist chapel – hence that name.

William George Elisha stands on the steps. His second wife, Sarah stands in front of him. She was step mother to Bill who is holding the dog. One of the girls may be Bill’s older sister, Emily Gladys.

The Elishas were tailors

The Elishas were tailors

The shop name is clearly displayed and sewing machines could be purchased to order.

We can also see a bracket for a gas lamp underneath the larger Singer advert.

A gas lamp bracket on the corner of Chapel Lane

A gas lamp bracket on the corner of Chapel Lane


Easterton Shop in the 1930s

July 11, 2015

This photo was sent to us by a descendant of the man in the photo.

Easterton shop in the 1930s

Easterton shop in the 1930s

She writes, ‘Easterton Post Office and stores with my father, as a young man, standing outside the shop door. Sometime in 1930’s I guess. He was born in 1916.’

The man is Robert (Bob) Godfrey and the sharp eyed will note that name on the side of the shop. We have stretched it out here to make it more readable.

Easterton's ghost sign was clear and up to date back then

Easterton’s ghost sign was clear and up to date back then

Godfrey’s Cash Stores. Refreshments provided. Simple and to the point.

Bob Godfrey’s father was Robin Godfrey and he ran the shop and Post Office at these premises from the 1920s to 1940. Robin was not a local man by birth but he married a local lass, Lilian Smith.

What a lovely photo and a reminder of Easterton’s vanishing ghost sign – as paint wears away older signs are revealed!

When Mr Walton’s Empire spread

May 26, 2015

Mr Walton was once well known in Market Lavington for having a department store which spread from High Street, round the corner onto White Street, across to the other side of that road and round the corner onto Church Street. But seemingly, Mr Walton wanted to spread his empire and he also acquired one of the shops in Easterton as seen here.

Mr Walton's shop in Easterton - early twentieth century

Mr Walton’s shop in Easterton – early twentieth century

The shop is now a private house with Mr Kiddle’s car repair works behind it.

But what a lovely photo this is, capturing what a shop looked like in the earlier years of the twentieth century.

The enamel signs are particularly lovely.


They just name products with no other attempt to tell us our lives would be so much better if we used them. The supposed power of these adverts was just to get words into the heads of potential shoppers.

They have real collector’s value today. We note a similar Sunlight Soap sign on offer at £220.


The shop windows, then as now, displayed products. Of course, there was no self-service back then. Your requested purchases were selected by the shop keeper from shelves behind a counter.


Village shops were general stores so we can see crockery displayed in the other window.

Back in Market Lavington Mr Walton had a separate department for china, glassware and fancy goods. Easterton just had a window.

The photographer’s shop

April 19, 2015

There was a photographer’s shop in Market Lavington for about 100 years. Originally Alf Burgess and then his sons had premises almost next to the co-op. When Peter and Bessie Francis set up their business it was on Church Street and it is those premises we look at today.

Bessie Francis stands outside the photography shop on Church Street in this 1960s view

Bessie Francis stands outside the photography shop on Church Street in this 1960s view

Here we see the premises some 50 years ago. Bessie stands at the door of quite substantial premises which, apart from the shop contained a portrait studio and the darkroom with all its equipment. Peter and Bessie were, of course, photographers as well as shop keepers. They lived over the premises.

The door between the two windows looks absurdly small which may remind us that people are much taller on average, now, than they were even 100 years ago.

The impression from this photo is of a vibrant and thriving business.

By the time the Francis duo retired and sold the business, the writing was probably on the wall for a shop of this kind in a village and not surprisingly the shop closed down leaving the premises as more of a private house. And so this is the 21st century view of the premises.

Bessie Francis stands outside the photography shop on Church Street - 1960s

The same premises in the 21st century

In truth, it still looks much the same and the windows certainly indicate its former shop status. In some ways the buildings either side which we can see have changed more.

These days, of course we are all happy mass snappers with a multi-purpose phone/camera/music player. We do not need experts to help us process our pictures or a regular supply of photographic film. Oddly, in these days of truly mass photography, shops selling equipment for this near universal hobby have all but vanished. If we want equipment we probably research on the internet to find what we want, or maybe make use of a hypermarket or superstore.

Times, inevitably, change.

Knitters Paradise

March 13, 2015

All sorts of shops have been tried in Market Lavington. Sadly, many didn’t survive and this is one of them. This was a shop for all things knitting whether it was wool, needles, patterns or ready-made knitted items. It opened on 5th October 1987. The premises were on Church Street which had once been Mr Pike’s butchery shop and later a business called Lucinda. It was run by Mrs Karen Clarke

A new shop is announced in Market Lavington - 1987

A new shop is announced in Market Lavington – 1987

Karen was born and raised in Market Lavington and still lives there – but don’t try that phone number for we do not know who has it now. Not that there is a Lavington exchange with its own four digit numbers any more. Our local numbers became 6 digit Devizes numbers.

At the museum, we cannot recall how long Karen’s shop lasted but it does feel like quite long time since we had a knitting shop.

Sadly all trading outlets have declined, not just in Market Lavington and Easterton.  Shopping is so easy on-line these days.

Advertise in the Wiltshire Times.

February 13, 2015

Or Mr and Mrs Thomas Whitchurch

This flyer was an attempt to solicit adverts to go into one of the local newspapers – The Wiltshire Times.

A Wiltshire Times flyer inviting people to advertise

A Wiltshire Times flyer inviting people to advertise

It isn’t dated, but the list of agents with the average number of copies sold gives us a clue and provides the Market Lavington interest.

A list of Wiltshire agents for the newspaper

A list of Wiltshire agents for the newspaper

Just one line of this applies to Market Lavington. Easterton does not appear to have a Wiltshire Times agent.

Mr Whitchurch (chemist) was the Market Lavington agent

Mr Whitchurch (chemist) was the Market Lavington agent

We can see that Mr Whitchurch, the chemist sold an average of 42 copies of the paper each week.

So where and when can we find Mr Whitchurch? We have his shop (just) on an Edwardian postcard.

An early 20th century photo of High Street in Market Lavington

An early 20th century photo of High Street in Market Lavington

This is High Street in Market Lavington. The present day chemist stands on the corner with Market Place, behind the lady in the dark skirt and straw boater – but this has nothing to do with Mr Whitchurch’s premises which are at the extreme right, next to Chapel Lane which is the path that leads down to the fish and chip/take away shop. We often call that property Kyte’s Cottage. If we enlarge the sign above the window we can just about read it.

The sign on Thomas Whitchurch's shop

The sign on Thomas Whitchurch’s shop

Mr Whitchurch had his drug stores there – and also sold the Wiltshire Times. Or maybe his wife did, for on the 1891 census Thomas is listed as a druggist and his wife, Mary, as a news agent. Earlier censuses have Mary as a druggist’s wife. They had taken on the druggist business in about 1870 and were still running the two businesses in 1901.

Thomas died in 1906. In 1911 Mary was still at the shop premises but the business of stationer and confectioner was being carried out by her daughter, Mrs Sheppard.

We date our Wiltshire Times flyer as between 1891 and 1906.

A bill from Mr Pomroy

February 6, 2015

Charles Pomroy was a draper who operated from premises on High Street pretty well on the corner of the Market Place where the chemist’s shop now stands. He had been born in Market Lavington in 1829 but spent the early years of his married life in Sutton Benger. We believe he returned, with wife and family, to Market Lavington in the latter half of the 1860s. We can find him running his business in Market Lavington on the 1871 and 1881 censuses but by 1891 he had retired and was living in West Lavington.

We have a couple of bills from Mr Pomroy’s shop. We have seen one before (click here) and here is another sent to Mrs Gye, probably in the 1870s although a full date is not given.

An 1870s bill from Charles Pomroy of Market Lavington

An 1870s bill from Charles Pomroy of Market Lavington

Mrs Gye had clearly purchased a hat and a hair net. Other items could include blind cord, ruffle and something else connected with windows. We find Mr Pomroy’s writing hard to read. The total bill came to 18/10 (89p). This is in the region of £100 in terms of purchasing items but people were not so wealthy then. In terms of income somebody who earned that 18/10 in 1875 might well earn £600 today.

Times certainly change!

Butcher’s vans

February 3, 2015

Time was when shopkeepers delivered the goods. Yes, they do it again now as though it is some wonderful new idea but back in the day before nearly everybody had a car it was entirely the norm for the butcher, the baker, the grocer, the greengrocer, the fish merchant, the ironmonger etc, all to deliver for customers. And here we see two vans which Doubleday and Francis used to deliver meat in the 1930s (and on into the 40s).

1930s butcher's vans in Market Lavington

1930s butcher’s vans in Market Lavington

These are quite handsome vans for the era – not suited to large, heavy loads but well suited to the needs of meat delivery. They are parked outside what was and still is the butcher’s shop in market Lavington.

Back in the 1960s our curator had a temporary job as a butcher’s rounds man and the van he drove (it was in Sussex) was newer than these but similar in general size.

We think the front one with the registration BWV 551 is a Morris but hopefully we’ll be told if we are wrong.

From the state of the road we can see that the horse was still much in use when this photo was taken.

We do not recognise the two men in this slightly off focus image but again, just possibly somebody might help us.

Mr Dempsey’s shop

February 1, 2015

Mr Dempsey had a shop on Church Street into the 1980s – and here it is.

Mr Dempsey's shop on Church Street, Market Lavington - 1980s

Mr Dempsey’s shop on Church Street, Market Lavington – 1980s

Let’s position this shop, for it is no longer there as a shop. Actually, it is quite hard to define its place. People who have been in the village a long time might say things like, ‘next to Peter Francis’s photography shop’ or ‘opposite the Volunteer Arms’. But these will mean nothing to newer residents.

The building on the right (and that was clearly a shop back then) still looks the same. Mr Dempsey’s shop is on the south side of Church Street 30 yards or so from the crossroads.

It is a much altered building. Back in Edwardian days it looked like this.

In Edwardian times the same building still looked like a chapel

In Edwardian times the same building still looked like a chapel

It was still betraying its chapel origins.

Older residents tend to refer to the shop as Potter’s store.


Mr Potter had the building as a shop in the 1950s


The old school ‘torch’ sign adds interest to this image as does Mr Reid’s garage selling Cleveland petrol across the pavement.

By the 1970s the shop had become a Spar

It was a Spar shop in the 70s

It was a Spar shop in the 70s


The shop next door was in a sorry state and was subsequently rebuilt as in the Dempsey photo. Petrol pumps were still by the old garage but we don’t believe they were still in use at that time.

Mr Dempsey was the last shop keeper here and if we look back at his picture we’ll see that he sold fruit and veg as well as being a general store. After he left, the building reverted to being a private house.

The building has reverted to a private house - a 21st century image

The building has reverted to a private house – a 21st century image

And there it is with a hanging basket on each corner.

The Newsagent

November 1, 2014

Sadly, our village newsagent shut up shop for the final time recently. The Davis family had been selling papers and magazines in the village for forty or more years. For much of that time Keith ran the business single handed. Newspaper selling always involved very early mornings and as a sole operator, Keith had to work into the evenings to keep his paper work up to date. It was seven days a week, of course and pretty well every day of the year. Keith has been tied to that business for a very long time, unable to get away for holidays or to really follow his own interests.  We are sure all of the village will wish him well in his well-earned retirement.

But today we’ll look back to the year 2000 and a millennium photo that was taken of workers at the shop.

Here we see Keith outside his shop with four young delivery men who are Craig Hale, Matthew Hale, Richard Penney and Ian Gregory.


Keith Davis and the delivery lads outside the Market Lavington newsagents in the year 2000

Keith Davis and the delivery lads outside the Market Lavington newsagents in the year 2000

And here, taken shortly before Keith retired, we see him in familiar pose in the shop.

Keith in the shop in 2014, before retirement

Keith in the shop in 2014, before retirement

Newspapers can still be bought in Market Lavington for the Co-op now sells them.