Posts Tagged ‘tractor’

Tractors: Market Lavington leads the way.

June 26, 2015

Today we are looking at an article published in the Wiltshire Gazette and Herald on April 19th 1973. But it is about an event which took place in 1916 – the first use of a tractor in South West England.

The tractor was being trialled by T H White and Co, originally a Market Lavington company and the 1973 article was to mark the company moving into newer premises in Devizes.

Back in 1916, a tractor was clearly worthy of a photo and here is the photo, as published in 1973.

The first tractor in the West of England - Market Lavington, 1916

The first tractor in the West of England – Market Lavington, 1916

We are reminded, of course, of how much newspaper technology has moved on in the last 40 years. But the caption is clear to read.


The article was written by T J Witchell who was an apprentice with T H Whites back in 1916. It’s well worth a read.


Click the image to see a larger version


Of course, the Market Lavington interest is that Mr Watts was the farmer at Church Farm.  Does this mean Knapp Farm?

Now we’d love a real copy of that photo. Has anybody got one they could let us copy?


Work at Homestead Farm in the 1950s

May 27, 2015

Homestead Farm was just beyond where St Barnabas School now stands up Drove Lane which was once called Cemetery Lane because there is a cemetery just below the school.

It was never a big farm but in those days of yore a small farm could support a hard working family. The hard working family at Homestead Farm was a branch of the Gye family and in the photo below we can see that they had enough income to run to a tractor.

A loose hay stack looks to be under construction, brought in on a trailer which might well have had a horse drawn origin.


Work at Homestead Farm in the 1950s

Work at Homestead Farm in the 1950s

We believe Mrs Gye is standing on the stack whilst her husband is forking material up from the side. A girl, probably Betty, is standing on the right in front of the stack.

There is clearly a small pen surrounding a hen house. This doesn’t look much like egg production for sale, but rather for domnestic need. In the distance we look over the top of Northbrook, down into the village centre and then up to Lavington Hill and Salisbury Plain.

Let’s take a closer look at the tractor and people.

That looks like a grey Fergie!

That looks like a grey Fergie!

The tractor looks like a Fergusson, the ubiquitous tractor of its day and these days often called ‘little grey Fergies’. Mr Wordley, the agricultural engineer based in the Market Place certainly sold these tractors but possibly not this one with registration LWV 899. That would seem to have been first registered in Wiltshire. Possibly somebody can tell us a date of manufacture.

It isn’t the clearest of photos but it certainly tells us a story of times past.

Four more tractors

June 6, 2011

Yesterday we saw four tractors sold by Wordley’s, the agricultural engineers in Market Lavington way back in 1951.

Today we bring the story forward almost thirty years and find that the Wiltshire Agricultural Engineering Company posing another photo of four tractors to use as a publicity poster. ‘Wilts Ag’ as all the locals called them were the successors to the Wordley business and the tractors, Massey Fergusson 590s were the successors to the Massey Harris models of 1951.

Massey Fergusson 590 tractors as sold by Wiltshire Agricultural Engineering in 1980

The differences are striking. The photo, by Peter Francis, is, of course,  in colour. The tractors have gained size and have comfortable cabs for the operator. However, tractors like these are now a part of the ‘old tractor’ scene and they are collected by enthusiasts. Only the tractor on the left was a 4 wheel drive machine and by 2011 standards these look rather like mere toys.

Modern harvesting in the 1930s

February 21, 2011

The harvesting of corn crops has changed out of all recognition in the space of a couple of generations. Our curator remembers, in the 1950s, rushing to see combine harvesters at work for mostly the work was done by the older and much more labour intensive binder (reaper/binder to be more accurate). And only a few years before that, the binder would have been a horse drawn machine, working at walking pace.

Today we feature harvesting taking place in the 1930s. The scene looks like a gentle slope on Salisbury Plain but its precise location is not certain. It shows an early tractor hauling the binder. The crop looks to be oats.

Harvesting on the downs above Lavington in the 1930s - a picture at Market Lavington Museum

What we do know is that Bill Perry is the happy chap on the tractor – no doubt finding even this fairly basic tractor preferable to walking behind the horse. We think this is ‘young Bill Perry’ He lived at The Hollow on White Street.

The tractor with Bill Perry driving

Jack Ingram is on that precarious perch on the back of the binder. It was his job to control the cutting height as needed. Jack lived on Parsonage Lane.

Jack Ingram controls the reaper/binder

What the picture does not show is the team of people whose job was to pick up the bound sheaves and arrange them in standing groups- a task variously known as stooking up, stocking up or shocking up.

Do you have any pictures of harvesting in the parish? We’d love to have copies.

The Market Place – Then and Now

December 6, 2010

The Market Place is probably the most entirely changed part of the centre of Market Lavington. Back in the 1950s it was a rather derelict area. Men who are now in their 60s or 70s recall playing in the tumbledown buildings around the area. Gang warfare was on the cards as the lads from one part of the village encountered those from another. One can imagine older folk saying, ‘Something’s got to be done’. What was done completely changed the face of this part of the village.

This photo dates from the mid 1950s.

The Market Place in the mid 1950s - a photo at Market Lavington Museum

It is hard to see this as anything like the same Market Place we have now. In fact huge changes had already been made. For a rather nice house had once stood on the edge of Northbrook, facing into the Market Place. Many years ago, that became the bus garage and by the time of this photo, Wordleys, the agricultural engineers had those premises.

Wordley's Yard in Market Lavington Market Place

It is interesting to see the cars that were parked up in the market place.

Outside the old fire station

This lovely car was more or less outside the old fire station.

A vehicle of the type known as a shooting brake was parked at the top of Northbrook.

A shooting brake at the top of Northbrook

There’s a former maltings in the foreground and the building beyond is certainly in a derelict state.

Market Place maltings - and dereliction

We think the photo above (and all the enlargements) was taken from a location which no longer exists – the window in the carriage arch above the entrance to Woodland Yard. But earlier in this year, Museum board member Jim took a shot, as similar as possible, from the window above Dowse, the butcher’s shop.

The same Market Place scene in 2010

As can be seen, it is a totally different view. . There is hardly any item to pinpoint as the same. Maybe the pollarded tree on the right is close to the one with the shooting brake parked under it.