Posts Tagged ‘show’

A show schedule

June 5, 2015

This is another recent gift from items discovered at Spring Villa. It’s an agricultural show schedule from 1902.

Wiltshire Agricultural Show schedule for 1902

Wiltshire Agricultural Association show schedule for 1902

OK, so what’s its specific connection with our parish? Well first of all, it was where it was found and secondly local farmers were almost certainly exhibitors. But mostly this schedule would have been put together by the secretary of the Wiltshire Agricultural Association and he was James Welch who lived at Spring Villa. He’s named on the back of the schedule.

James Welch of Market Lavington was the association secretary

James Welch of Market Lavington was the association secretary

The schedule lists all the different classes of item which could be exhibited and which might win a prize. The value of the prize is given. Most of the classes are for livestock. There are 21 different classes for horses plus extras for harness etc. Sheep and pigs have four classes each and for cattle there were 15 different classes.

For this blog we have chosen the cheese category. Wiltshire is not now a county we associate with cheese.

The different cheese categories

The different cheese categories

Clearly cheese making had been important. Class 50 is for the best one hundredweight (just about 50 kg) cheese – Wiltshire make and class 51 was only for past or present students at Wilts County Council Cheddar Cheese schools.

And clearly, from class 52 we can see that North Wilts cheese must have been different from Wilts cheese.

Cheese was produced in Market Lavington. The cheesemaker we know of was Mr Seymour who operated at Frieth Farm in the extreme north of the parish.

Lavington and District Poultry Show

August 31, 2014

Time was when many a householder kept poultry who could be fed, to some degree on food waste and thus form a vital part of the cottage economy. And, as well as that, there were commercial poultry keepers. No wonder there was a local poultry show.

These days we call it sponsorship and we have two examples of it in one document here. A chicken feed company have sponsored the letter heading – and very pretty it is too.


Letter to Mr Holloway from The Lavington and District Poultry Show

These days we call supporting events like this sponsorship and we have two examples of it in one document here. A chicken feed company have sponsored the letter heading – and very pretty it is too.

Compant logo for Chamberlain and Pole

Company logo for Chamberlain and Pole

Now isn’t that sweet!

The content of the letter tells us that Mr Holloway of West Lavington made a donation to the show, presumably for 1925 as that’s the date on the letter.

We see the chairman of the show was Arthur Walton who, in addition to his department store in Market Lavington also owned a poultry farm.

The secretary who wrote the letter was William Edward Elisha. He’s better known as Bill and he was a stalwart of Lavington in many, many ways.

Bill Elisha was the show secretary

Bill Elisha was the show secretary

The letter is another from the Holloway collection. These bills and letters make a very interesting addition to our museum.

Easterton Country Show and the Moore family

August 27, 2014

Bank Holiday Monday was as wet as wet could be. There’s a kind of tradition, which actually most of us there thought wrong, that it always rains on bank holidays. 2014 August bank holiday will surely go down in memory as very, very wet and will help keep that urban myth alive.

The show organisers were philosophical and kept a smile on their faces as they reorganised people to inside venues or under good, waterproof marquees.

We of the museum were lucky to get a spot inside the church – by our usual standards it was cramped and small but it was dry, warm and we had an absolutely lovely day.

The Easterton show is always lovely. How could it be otherwise with such friendly people. One person we met and chatted with had moved into the village only a month ago. He reckoned more people had chatted to him in that month than in 14 years when he lived in a town elsewhere. He absolutely loved the place.

There was many an old friend to chat to as well, but pride of place, for us, goes to some young adults from Bristol who put a message on a post on this blog just the day before the show.

It read  ‘Hi, some photos and information I didn’t know. Samuel Moore was my great grandad.’

And the next day they were at the show with photo album in hand. Here’s one of the photos.

Sons of Samuel! Wilfred and William Moore with a jam factory pan

Sons of Samuel Wilfred and William Moore with a jam factory pan

This shows two sons of Samuel Moore, both of whom worked in the jam business in Easterton. On the left we see Wilfred (officially he was Samuel Wilfred) and on the right his younger brother, William. They are holding a large preserving pan, obviously used in the business.

William is the grandfather of our visitors at the show.

Now for us, the rain might have been falling in torrents, but the sunshine was in our hearts as we learned more about the family and were able to copy some wonderful photos.

Well done Easterton – a great day for us and, as ever, a lovely friendly show.

Trowbridge, Melksham and District Agricultural Show

July 7, 2014

Another acquisition from the closing museum at Lackham was a catalogue for the Trowbridge Melksham and District Agricultural Show which took place on Wednesday May 26th 1954 – just over 60 years ago.

Front cover of 1954 Trowbridge, melksham and District Agricultural Show catalogue

Front cover of 1954 Trowbridge, melksham and District Agricultural Show catalogue

Of particular interest to us at Market Lavington was the advert on the inside of the front cover.

Advert for Wordley and Co of Market Lavington

Advert for Wordley and Co of Market Lavington

Yes, this was from our very own firm, of A. S. Wordley and Co who were based in the Market Place in the village.

We have already seen on this blog photos of Wordley’s stand at this show, from other years in the early fifties (click here).

But these catalogues also give some other ideas of what went on in our villages, by seeing who was exhibiting what.

First we note that Mrs N R Harmsworth of Kestrels in Easterton was showing flowers. She was one of seven competitors who had tried for the ‘best geranium in pot’ class. She was also going for the best flowering plant of any variety, the best vase of cut flowers arranged for effect, and the best vase of three bearded iris.

Mrs Harmsworth also showed vegetables – the best three cabbages, the best three lettuces, the best six carrots, the best 12 strawberries and the best collection of vegetables – four varieties.

D E Alexander of Southcliffe Farm was showing pigs. He had entered two large white sows. One was called Southcliffe Beautiful and she had been born on 20th October 1952. The other was Southcliffe Beryl 2nd, born 17th December 1952.

Mr Alexander had also entered the best two pork pigs, any breed or cross and the best two pigs suitable for Wiltshire bacon. He also showed in the two carcasses most suitable for Wiltshire bacon class.

We have here yet another period document from a past age with plenty of local information.

100 years ago

June 24, 2014

May the luck be with us and perhaps we have good fortune here.

The bad news is the demise of the museum at Lackham – but at least other museums can benefit. Some may be able to take wonderful buildings like granaries. We stick rigorously to our ‘only Market Lavington/Easterton rule and have acquired just three agricultural show catalogues. We actually first bid for these items some time ago but were invited to collect them a couple of days ago. This one, we were reminded then, is about the show which took place 100 years ago.

Wiltshire Agricultural Association show catalogue for 1914

Wiltshire Agricultural Association show catalogue for 1914

Here we have the front cover of the catalogue for the Wiltshire Agricultural Associatioin show which took placed at Chippenham on June 23rd and 24th 1914. This was the summer before the war and just four days after the show was the day that Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo, an event which many people believed fired the trigger which started the war. That’s an event to be commemorated in Market Lavington on June 28th 2014 when we hold a First World War concert in our Community Hall. We, of the museum, will take our part in this.

But for now let’s find out what some of the folks of Market Lavington were doing 100 years ago. That cluster of book marks, seen at the top of the image above, show the local entries in the catalogue.

Arthur M Walton, who was best known for owning the department store in the middle of Market Lavington, had entered eggs in ‘the best dozen white eggs’ class – both the open and the members section. Mr Walton also ran the Wilts Down Poultry Farm. From the same farm, white Wyandotte hens and White Faverolle hens were displayed. Mrs Walton, Arthur’s wife, was showing bantams both hens and cocks. Her variety was Belgian Barbes d’Amvers and her address was given as Ivy Lodge in Market Lavington.

Also in the poultry section, a chap called Kenneth Seaborne had entered white Wyandotte hens and cocks. Can anybody tell us anything about him? His address was just given as Market Lavington.

Two local brothers were competing against one another in various horse shoeing competitions. The two were John Hampton Merrit and Thomas Merrit. One of their competitions was for ‘the smith who can exhibit most skill in shoeing cart horses’. They were also involved in similar competitions for different types of horse like roadsters and hunters.

Two local companies had trade stands, one of which was W H Hopkins


Hopkins was displaying his acetylene gas generators and lighting system.

T H White became better known as a Devizes company but in 1914 they still had their roots in Market Lavington. They not only had a stand, they took out adverts in the catalogue.


Possibly the busiest Market Lavington person was James Welch. This was the grandfather of Peggy Gye, not her father although we know from his diary that he attended the show. James Welch senior was the secretary of the Wiltshire Agricultural Association and no doubt as the paid employee he was enormously busy ensuring everything ran smoothly.

Yes, we feel very lucky to get this catalogue.

Lavington Flower Show – 2013

September 2, 2013

At Market Lavington Museum we do like to record the here and now so that future people can have an understanding of how we lived in the early years of the 21st century.

An annual event in Market Lavington is the flower and produce show which is run by a local committee in conjunction with the Lavington Gardening Club. In fact it is two shows in one for there is an open to all section and a section only open to garden club members.

Here are some photos from this year’s show.

image002Liz and Phil are long term local residents but had not exhibited before. Here they discover that even in this fun festival of fruit, flowers and things that don’t begin with F there is paper work to be done. By heck, Liz, those cakes in front of you look good.


Jack, an old hand, is staging exhibits. People in the know will see that the Community Hall is used for this event.


Nick is supporting another new exhibitor, Stephanie, with her craft entries.


Simon is arranging his photos under the Millennium wall hanging.

Exhibitors must have their items in place by 11 in the morning and then there is a lull before judging can commence. There’s a chance to see what Lavington has to offer.


There’s some good looking food there!


2013 hasn’t been a good year for flowers, but there is still some good stuff.

With judging over, Nicki sits at the spreadsheet and works out the winners.


At 2pm the show opens to the public. Exhibitors can look round and see if they have won.


And here’s one that brought a smile to our curator for he got first prize for his fudge.


At 3.30, the prizes are awarded to the section winners – who receive a trophy for the year and a small cash prize.


Clare won the ‘open’ flower section.

Rupert, who really runs the show, was delighted to be able to award himself the trophy for the longest marrow.


There is then a frenetic ten minutes for exhibitors as the entries are removed. Anything remaining will be auctioned.

The show ends with the raffle draw. This is the real financial support for the show. Pat has sat patiently at her raffle table all day.


Well done Pat – the show relies on your work. Our photographer has caught you deep in thought but your smiling face is really the show winner.

Easterton Show

August 27, 2013

Yesterday, August 26th 2013, was Easterton Show day.

It is always a pleasure for us, at Market Lavington Museum, to have a stand at Easterton Show. We don’t aim to raise money but we do aim to raise awareness. The people at the show seem more than willing to have awareness raised. We have been thoroughly educated as well. Once people start, they are so willing to share stories and tell us who people are.

Our stall is simple. We have a gazebo and a lot of photographs. Yes, we have a quiz and we have a wind-up gramophone so that we can play such classics as ‘The Sun has got his Hat on’ whilst the band take a rest.

Market lavington Museum's stall at Easterton Show

Market lavington Museum’s stall at Easterton Show

So there’s a stall in the lull before the gates open. It’s a popular show so we are all crammed in together as one happy family.

This is the chance to see what else is on show – and there are cars.


This one particularly pleased our curator because it’s an Austin 10, similar in shape, but not colour, to the first car his dad had.



Maypole dancers from St Barnabas School

But of course, the show isn’t all history but, to conserve something for the future we grabbed a photo of the Maypole dancing by the little ones of St Barnabas School which serves both Easterton and Market Lavington.

It was a wonderful afternoon so well done to Easterton for putting on such a good show.

Easterton’s Black and White Minstrels.

October 23, 2012

These days, blacking up white people and having them perform like black people is probably deemed racist. We can only apologise if reporting the past on these pages offends anyone. It certainly isn’t meant to offend, merely to draw attention to things done in the past.

The TV programme, ‘The Black and White Minstrel Show’ ran for twenty years, from 1958 until 1978 but blacking up and performing as minstrels goes back much further than that. We think the Easterton performance, shown here probably dates from the time when the TV program was something many people looked forward to and really wanted to watch.

Easterton’s Black and White Minstrels. Can you help by telling us when this show was staged?

Inevitably, we can’t recognise people in the picture with the exception of Easterton school headmistress, Gladys Windo who is third from right in the middle row. Of course, many of the others are disguised by their make-up and, in several cases by their clerical garb.

So once again we appeal for help with basics. We don’t know who the people are. We don’t know when this was for sure and we don’t know what the occasion was. If you remember this, please let us know.


Bank Holiday in the Lavingtons.

August 27, 2012

On Saturday, Market Lavington held its annual flower and produce show alongside the Lavington Gardening Club’s members show.

Amazingly, in what had been a tough year for growing, there were plenty of entries and a good standard in all of the sections, apart from fruit.

Here we see people staging exhibits in Market Lavington Community Hall.

Staging cookery exhibits at the Market Lavington Show

Making sure the herbs are just right

A visiting moth took a fancy to some very fine parsnips.

Can anybody identify this moth species – here sampling Jack Curran’s parsnips.

Dahlias and other flowers made a fine show.

Some of the flowers at the Lavington Show


It is good to report new entrants and new names amongst the winners, In the open show, Claire Robertson – she entered for the first time last year – won by a big margin. In the members’ classes, it was Jack Curran who stormed it.

Well done to those two and all of the other entrants who make this show such a pleasant way to spend a day.

Tomorrow, Bank Holiday Monday, the action moves to Easterton where the museum will have a stall and a quiz at the Easterton Country Fair. This makes another lovely day out in the Lavingtons.

The Museum Miscellany 2012

August 1, 2012

This year our Museum Miscellany will be on Saturday 15th September. Details of time, place, price and tickets are below.

Amongst topics Rog will cover this year are Royal Events in Market Lavington, The Easterton Jam Factory, Love and Marriage (Lavington style) and Bricks. Tom Gye will talk (pre-recorded) about Hospital Weeks and an Edison Bell Phonograph will play a couple of its old cylinders. There will be an interval with our now famed ‘museum food’ to sample, washed down with a drink from the Community Hall bar.

Last year the event was a sell-out, so you are advised to get your tickets as early as possible.