Posts Tagged ‘traction engine’

Building the chapel

November 22, 2015

Back in the 1880s the Congregational Church in Market Lavington felt it had outgrown the old Quaker chapel they had used for 80 years. Plans were drawn up and a new chapel was built just opposite the old one at the Townsend area of High Street.

Market Lavington had its own brick makers, run by the Box family so it was natural for the church to turn to that company for building materials.

Market Lavington also had its own photographer and he was able to get out and organise a photo of a brick delivery to the site.

The Box family, as we know, were enthusiastic users of traction engines. And so that was the motive power that transported the bricks to the site.

Bricks delivered to build the Congregational Chapel in 1891 or 1892

Bricks delivered to build the Congregational Chapel in 1891 or 1892

The engine is obviously of interest and we imagine the men near the engine were the crew.


Locomotive and crew

The bricks have already been offloaded and are stacked where the new chapel is to be.

Bricks stacked and ready for use

Bricks stacked and ready for use

The chapel opened its doors to the public in 1892.

It is interesting to note that the wall around the chapel appears to pre-date the building of the chapel. It is already there.

The chapel, of course, still stands but is now a private house. The church community now meet in the very convenient Community Hall.


Norman Box

July 29, 2015

This blog post stems for a bit of serendipity. Our curator’s son visited a steam rally in his local (to him) Buckinghamshire village and snapped this shot of one of the road locomotives there.

When Dad, our curator, saw the picture he blinked and commented, ‘Norman Box was born in Market Lavington’. Of course, our photographer had no idea that this was the case. It was just one of those lucky chances that made him take this engine.

Former Norman Box traction engine photographed at a rally in 2015

Former Norman Box traction engine photographed at a rally in 2015

The engine itself is a Fowler and dates from 1902. It probably had no connection with Lavington apart from its owner, and possibly its driver, coming from the area.

Norman Box was born in the first quarter of 1881 in Market Lavington. He was three months old at the time of the 1881 census at which time his father, Edward, was the brickyard manager. He and his wife Mary and 3 year old daughter Lilian lived in the Market Place. Edward was the son of William and Sarah. William owned the brickworks and lived at the brick master’s house by the works.

Edward’s passion, however, was traction engines. It was probably a young Edward who was responsible for the brickworks becoming very early users of this form of motive power – possibly the first traction engine users in Wiltshire. Edward’s brother William was equally enthusiastic and it was him who devised a transmission system to cause less damage to bricks in transit.

Edward moved up to the Liverpool area taking his young family with him. Norman would certainly still have been a schoolboy when they went north.

Edward worked as a traction engine driver, nominally working for his brother. Amongst other drivers was Sam Rumble, also from Lavington and a relative of the Box family.

We can find Edward Box and family in Kirkdale on the 1891 census. In 1901 Norman, still with his parents, is an engineer. The family were in the Bootle area.

Norman married Mary Fishwick in 1907 – still in the Liverpool area.

In 1911 Norman, Mary and a 1 month old baby Mary were living at Rusholme in South Manchester. Norman was a haulage contractor and an employer.

Almost inevitably data gets less from then on.

Sadly, Mary, his wife died in 1921. At some point Norman’s business was bought up by Pickfords.

Norman was in Canada when he died in 1957 but his will was proved in the UK and he left a large sum of £122383 4/9 according to the probate book.


Now that’s at least two and a half million in today’s money. Not bad for the lad from Market Lavington.




The Smash on Lavington Hill

March 29, 2015

What do people expect under that heading? It would almost certainly not be what the postcard below shows.

The smash on Lavington Hill

The smash on Lavington Hill

It looks like a bunch of soldiers sitting around and waiting, which is probably just what they were doing. Actually, there’s quite a fearsome scene in the background, with a traction engine at a dizzy angle and trailers it was hauling all over the place with luggage scattered everywhere.

The traction engine with driver, believed to be Jimmy Oram

The traction engine with driver, believed to be Jimmy Oram

There we see the engine with a civilian engine man standing by, looking rather forlorn.

We have different stories about this card. Some say it was in 1907. Others say it was hauling Canadian officer luggage in 1914.

Somebody in the know will surely recognise if those men are Canadians?

Sitting and waiting - but who are they and when?

Sitting and waiting – but who are they and when?

Peggy Gye, who purchased a similar image, captioned it.


There’ll be no memories now, but maybe somebody could help with identification.

A Memo from Robert Wadman

December 30, 2012

Robert Wadman was a farmer in Market Lavington. The 1881 census records Robert with his wife Sarah and 17 year old son, William as living on White Street where Robert farmed 750 acres employing fifteen men and eight boys. The 1891 censuses record Robert and Sarah as living, still, on White Street with Robert as a farmer. By 1901, Robert was a widower. Sarah had died in 1893.

But Robert and his family came, originally, from Somerset. Robert had been born in 1827 at South Cheriton. Sarah came from Bath.

In 1861 Robert had been a master cabinet maker in Bath where he employed 28 men and 12 boys.

The move to Wiltshire came at some time after 1864. For the 1871 census Robert, Sarah and family were at Eastcott where Robert had a farm employing 26 men, 12 boys and 8 women on the 1100 acres.

The memo we have dates from 1907 so Robert was about 80. It was sent to Whatley and Co of Pewsey and is therefore of interest to our friends at the Pewsey Heritage Centre which is based in the former Whatley building.

Memo from Robert Wadman of NMarket Lavington to Whatley and Co of Pewsey

Memo from Robert Wadman of Market Lavington to Whatley and Co of Pewsey

The memo reads:

Dear Sirs

I have you this day and beg to say that I will send my men on Monday if you will please get up steam and put on coal for them to come home and I oblige

Yours faithfully

Robt Wadman

We’ll try to read meaning into that brief message. It sounds as though Robert Wadman had a traction engine and perhaps it had been at Whatley’s for repair. Robert was going to send some of his workforce to collect it.

We know very little of the Wadmans, but they have featured on this blog before when visiting Stonehenge. Click here to see that page

Robert lived until 1920. He joined Sarah in Market Lavington church yard.

Holloway’s brick delivery

October 18, 2012

Today we are looking at a photo of a traction engine which was, undoubtedly, based in Market Lavington.

Box Patent traction engine belonging to Market Lavington Brick and Pottery Works

The engine belonged to  The Market Lavington Brick and Pottery Works when it was owned by Holloway Brothers.

Front end of the engine – ownership made clear

We have no accurate date and do not know the location.

We do know that the steersman is Charlie Sheppard.

Charlie Sheppard – the steersman on the engine

We do not know the other two men in the picture.

The engine is a Box Patent engine. William Box, who designed this engine was born in Devizes in about 1844. When his father, William Box senior took the Lavington brickworks, the younger William became a Market Lavington resident. Like many in the family he was an engineer and he was concerned at the number of bricks broken because of the rough haulage by traction engines.  Part of his aim, in devizing a different transmission system for traction engines was to reduce such breakages. By the time the patent was issued, William had his own brickworks at Uffington.

Patent awarded to William Box – a former Market Lavington man

As we see, the patent was granted in 1876. Here’s the summary of the ideas.

Preamble to the patent

We imagine the idea was not a great success. Very few Box patent engines were built.

Lavington Steam Fair mug

March 10, 2012

We have recently featured plaques from John Kyte’s Garden Rallies on these pages. But at one time the local football club also ran steam rallies up on the Elisha Field and today we feature another new arrival at the museum. It’s a commemorative mug from one of these shows.

Lavington Steam Fair Mug, possibly from the 1980s and now at Market Lavington Museum

Now there’s an attractive little mug that bears the appropriate legend. This is on a plaque applied to a basic mug. No doubt a single firing in the kiln could have contained some of these mugs and many others, identical except for the plaque.

It is a mug as can be seen in this view.

Yes, the mug has a handle

We do not have a date but imagine it may have been from the 1980s. Perhaps someone who helped organise these rallies could give us a more accurate idea – and maybe there are people who have photos of these events that they could share with us.

The Big Box

December 28, 2011

In our file of news cuttings, at Market Lavington Museum, we have this item which is really about a book – The Big Box, by T McTaggart. It was published in 1986 and is about the various heavy haulage firms run by members of the Box family in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The firms operated in Lancashire, but the Box family hailed from Market Lavington.

This article, from the Wiltshire Gazette and Herald, published on 13th November 1986 features the local connection, showing pictures of an engine owned by the Box family – they ran the brickworks in Market Lavington – at Stonehenge on a village excursion and also a Box designed engine being operated by Holloways who took over the brickworks after the sad death of William Box – run over by one of his traction engines.

News Cutting about the Box family of Market Lavington

It will come as no surprise that we have a copy of the book in the museum – a well-thumbed copy.

The Big Box - a book about the Market Lavington Box family and their descendants in Lancashire

We can’t resist a photo from within the book. The photo shows Sam Rumble, formerly of Lavington and related to the Box family, on a traction engine delivering huge boilers in Liverpool.

Lavington born Sam Rumble at the wheel of a heavy haulage traction engine in Liverpool

If you can’t find a copy of this book – then it is available to read at Market Lavington Museum. The museum will be open this afternoon from 2.30 to 4 pm.

A runaway traction engine in Burnley

May 7, 2011

A couple of visitors to the museum, on Wednesday 4th May, were descendants of William Box. William Box was the owner of the Lavington Brick Company during the latter half of the nineteenth century. He lived at Broadway in Market Lavington, next to his works. His descendants live in Canada

William had a son called Edward, born in Market Lavington. Edward, in the words of the folksong, which is largely about Sam Rumble, ‘went to try our fortunes at the port of Liverpool’.

Words from 'The Ballad of Sam Rumble"

Edward’s chosen method of making a fortune was by setting up a heavy haulage company, for Edward was in love with the traction engine, a machine capable of hauling the huge boilers and equipment being installed in Lancashire factories around the start of the 20th century.

Our visitors at the museum were descendants of Edward so today, for them, we bring some images of a little problem that occurred in Burnley in 1907.

Images given to Market Lavington Museum by descendants of Sam Rumble - with apologies to the original publication. We do not know what it was.


But this was one setback – one of a few in a long and successful career for Edward, his son, Norman and their foreman, driver and distant relative, Sam Rumble.