Posts Tagged ‘transport’

A 1920s bus and a bus book

October 13, 2014

Things (like buses), they say, come in threes. On that basis we wonder what the next Market Lavington book will be. Yesterday we looked at a work of pure fiction – The Lost Pages. Today’s book is, by contrast, pure fact. It’s about Lavington and Devizes Motor Services and is due for publication next month.

As yet, we have a flyer (but we have seen proofs and know it is a thorough and interesting read).


Laurie James is the author who has put together this scholarly work. His flyer is showing two of many photos from our museum collection.


So, in the last two days we have shown you two items for your Christmas stocking – and by the way, the museum itself has no financial interest in these sales but we are willing to support items that highlight our district because we are very proud of the Lavingtons in general.

We can be amused by the fact that the photographers who took photos of buses weren’t actually that bothered about the bus. After all, buses didn’t buy copies of the photo but passengers did, so the idea was to make sure you showed all of the passengers. And here’s a case in point from our museum collection.

1920s photo of a Lavington and Devizes bus - concentrating on the passengers

1920s photo of a Lavington and Devizes bus – concentrating on the passengers

Our caption for this is limited. All we have is ‘Bus with passengers from Market Lavington at Salisbury – 1920s’. All of the passengers have been lined up, along with the driver. The front of the bus, which might have enabled an easy identification, has been missed.

And sadly we have no names for passengers on this outing which does not appear to be a summer trip. Nearly all of the passengers are wearing overcoats.

Of course, we can always hope that a reader of this blog will recognise a parent or a grandparent amongst those shown. If you do happen to, then do let us know.


Another Charabanc

January 31, 2014

Yes, we have many charabanc photos at Market Lavington Museum. This one doesn’t have enough information to let us know the location. Such photos were often taken in Salisbury. We believe this photo was taken in Wiltshire’s cathedral city. The year given is 1923. We now think it may have been a few years later.

Charabanc trip from Market Lavington - at Salisbury in the 1920s

Charabanc trip from Market Lavington – at Salisbury in the 1920s

The information we have is that the driver was ‘Tubby’ Cooper. There look to be two crew members by the bus. It is only a guess that the rather more portly gentleman on the right is ‘Tubby’.


The driver was 'Tubby' Cooper

The driver was ‘Tubby’ Cooper

Our information also tells us that passengers on the bus include Mr and Mrs Harry King Junior. Again we can only guess that they might be the couple sitting in the front row. But Henry King Junior was born in 1905. It is possible, but unlikely that he was married by 1923. Oh for better annotation!

Is this couple Mr and Mrs Harry King junior

Is this couple Mr and Mrs Harry King junior?

Maybe other passengers can be recognised as well. Do let us know.


Another charabanc in Salisbury

January 23, 2014

Today we look at another of the many charabanc photos we have at Market Lavington Museum.

Fred Sayer had a substantial fleet of vehicles, based in Market Lavington and he ran trips to all sorts of tourist destinations during the 1920s. If trips were heading to the seaside they were almost bound to pass through Salisbury where a ‘comfort break’ was made. An enterprising photographer took photos of the party on the outward journey and had prints for sale on the return. So, as per usual, the location is Salisbury but certainly quite a few of the people come from Lavington.

A Charabanc carrying Market Lavington people photographed in Salisbury in about 1922

A Charabanc carrying Market Lavington people photographed in Salisbury in about 1922

The driver, in white coat and cap is Percy Notton and amongst those on the vehicle we have Ivy Pomeroy, Jack Plank, W Trotter senior,  Harry Merritt, Mrs Gye and baby Tom Gye and also Mrs Ross and her son.

Standing by the bus we have Joe Gye and Charles Ross.

The charabanc is a Commer Car and has a registration, partly hidden by the starting handle of A? 9868.

The photo can be dated by the age of Tom Gye, the baby, to about 1922 or 23.

As ever, any tales about these people, or identities of others in the photo would be very welcome.

Jim Sheppard again

December 6, 2013

Today we’ll complete the recently given sequence of photos of Jim Sheppard. Jim, as we know, was the ‘Tip Top’ baker in Easterton. We have seen him with a colleague, using a motorbike and sidecar and we have seen him with his first van.

A second van was needed and Jim purchased a similar three wheeler, this time a late 1930s version. But we don’t see Jim at work here. We see him on a little jaunt.

Jim Sheppard, Tip Top baker of Easterton relaxes in front of his delivery van

Jim Sheppard, Tip Top baker of Easterton relaxes in front of his delivery van

There’s Jim, relaxing on a deck chair with the van behind.

Close up on Jim

Close up on Jim

He has driven this van up Salisbury Plain, to the top of Easterton Hill. We can see that Jim is a bit older here, but he still retains his jaunty, cheerful look.

He came up the hill with his daughter. She is standing behind a low arm chair they obviously brought up the hill. The family dog appears to have occupied that one.


Jim’s daughter and dog

 What a charming photograph – it looks like a very happy family life.

We would like to thank descendants of Jim for making these photos available to us. They show a way of life that has vanished and yet it was probably very typical of the 1930s rural scene.

The baker’s delivery van

December 5, 2013

We are continuing our look at Mr Shepppard who ran the Tip Top bakery in Easterton today.

Yesterday we saw his motorcycle combination delivery system. Today we see his first delivery van.

Tip Top Bakery van in Easterton - early 1930s

Tip Top Bakery van in Easterton – early 1930s

What a stunning picture this is. Jim Sheppard is driving the van.

Jim Sheppard owned the business and the van

Jim Sheppard owned the business and the van

This looks very much like a motortrike. It appears to have handlebar steering. But having a small van body it had space for advertising.

The side of the van names the business

The side of the van names the business

This vehicle was the forerunner of the Reliant Robin – made famous as Del Boy’s transport in the TV sitcom, ‘Only Fools and Horses’. It dates from the very early 1930s and was actually produced by Raleigh.

Now we’ll turn our attention to the other person in the picture.

Ralph Maule was a neighbour on High Street, Easterton

Ralph Maule was a neighbour on High Street, Easterton

This lad is Ralph Maule. He was a neighbour who later became Jim’s apprentice. We think he was born around 1918 although we find no record for a birth. He appears on the 1939 electoral roll for Easterton, living on High Street, Easterton with Alice who we guess was his mother. Ralph may have had two wives. He first married in 1942 and then he married Monica Burgess, in 1981.

Does anybody know any more about him?

Landslip at Lavington

November 21, 2013

Back in 1961 the embankment which carries the railway line across the flatlands near West Park Farm collapsed. On August 21st of that year some 200 feet of the down line was left hanging in the air with the embankment underneath it washed away.

Much disruption was caused to services for the line was closed for some time

Now we’ll let Trains Illustrated Magazine for November 1961 tell the story.

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Since then, much additional work has been done to stabilise the embankment.

A Bus Ticket

November 18, 2013

Recent items to arrive at the museum have included items, trivial in their day, which somebody had the foresight to save or rescue. There was the paper bag from the bakery of Mr Sheppard in Easterton and an old jam jar from the jam factory. Now we bring you a bus ticket, given to us earlier this month.

It is between 80 and 100 years old, we think. What a survivor for an item of no further use after the journey has been made.

It was issued by Lavington and Devizes Motor Services from the era when the company was in the hands of Fred Sayer

Lavington and Devizes Motor Services bus ticket

Lavington and Devizes Motor Services bus ticket

Lavington and Devizes Motor Services bus ticket

Lavington and Devizes Motor Services bus ticket

We can see it is a return ticket and the conductor (or clippie) has punched holes to indicate it was used on the up and down journeys. We do not know what route it was used on but a two shilling fare (that’s what the big red number 2 says) indicate a longer route. Apparently the fare from Market Lavington to Bath was half a crown – two shillings and six pence.

Some of the cost of printing tickets has been paid for by an advert on the back. As we are Market Lavington Museum we’d have loved it to have been for a Market Lavington Company. It isn’t. It is for a Devizes clothier.

The advert on the back of the ticket is for Joseph Clappen of Devizes

The advert on the back of the ticket is for Joseph Clappen of Devizes

Joseph Clappen was certainly in business in 1911. There’ll be somebody, surely, who can tell us when he got his phone (number 103) which may help us date the ticket with more accuracy.

Yet another fabulous little item has arrived at the museum. Our thanks to Jim for acquiring this one for us.

Lavington Station entrance

October 20, 2013

A railway station could be seen as an interface between the road network and the rail. Even in times long past a station required a frontage that could accommodate road vehicles and a building from which people could obtain their tickets for the rail journey.

Lavington Station was no exception to the rule. It had an approach road from just south of the railway bridge over the A360 road and quite a substantial road vehicle concourse in front of the station building. This concourse must have been invaluable when the old GWR used the station for excursions to Stonehenge and whole train loads of passengers decamped into Fred Sayer’s charabancs at the station.

The building was small, as our photo, taken soon before the line closed in the mid 60s shows.

Lavington Station entrance in 1965

Lavington Station entrance in 1965

Nearest the camera we have the corrugated iron parcels shed. There was a time when pretty well every station was also a parcels depot. The railways were deemed as common carriers and had to accept any item offered to them for transport. Before the little shed was constructed, parcels had been stored under the over-bridge stairs.

In this photo the bridge looks massive. Not all customers at stations were as lucky as those at Lavington, with a covered bridge to take them to the other platform.

Beyond that we see the small neat building which housed ticket office, staff facilities and waiting room for passengers.

Lavington Station opened in 1900 when the GWR built a connecting line from Patney and Chirton to Westbury as part of its shortened route between London and the West Country. Like many a country station it fell victim to Dr Beeching’s infamous axe (although to be fair he was only doing what politicians required him to do) in 1966.


The Museum Miscellany

September 14, 2013

The day has come. This evening at 7.30 in Market Lavington Community Hall the team will present their mix of photos, talk, sounds and food – all with a local theme. It’s a fantastic fivers worth.

Our men at work section (including women of course)  takes us from the farms of Eastcott through Easterton and Market Lavington and includes builders, publicans, shop workers, demolition – in fact many of the jobs that people do – in this case its local people – it could even be you.

Porters on Lavington Station in the 1950s

Porters on Lavington Station in the 1950s

We’ll do a tour of the villages – mostly photos we haven’t used before – maybe that will include your house, school or place of work. People appear in this too – like this photo at St Barnabas School in the late 1980s.

A performance at St Barnabas School in the 1980s. There are lots of people to recognise there.

A performance at St Barnabas School in the 1980s. There are lots of people to recognise there.

The chances are you won’t see yourself during our piece on the extraordinary Saunders family. They form part of our village history in the nineteenth century – and not just our village. Family members had huge influence right round the world.

In Church and Chapel life we’ll look at the people and how religion influenced social life. Expect to see people performing in theatrical events or just having a knees-up at the seaside.


A Congregational Church outing at Edington

In ‘Sybil Remembers’, we’ll share some of the memories of Sybil Perry who was a pupil at Market Lavington School in the 1920s who, later, became a teacher there.


Sybil and Des Perry in 2005

 We plan to end the evening by showing just a few of our magic lantern slides. These date from about 1860 and were owned by Charles Hitchcock who owned Fiddington Asylum.

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If time permits, which it probably won’t, we’ll share some metal detector items, ‘Found in the Soil’ with you.

And don’t forget the food interval – the high spot of the evening for some.

I want to ride my bicycle

August 18, 2013

So sang Freddy Mercury and the rest of the band, Queen.

So also said Sybil Perry, former resident of Market Lavington – well she said something akin to it.

Sybil was actually born in Hertfordshire, but her ancestors were Market Lavington people – none other than the famous Smith family who had been dew pond diggers for centuries. Sybil came to live in Market Lavington at the age of four in 1924. At first the family lived with her grandparents Smith on White Street in Market Lavington.

Sybil attended Market Lavington School and, at the Museum Miscellany on 14th September in the Community Hall (7.30 pm with tickets at a fiver each available from the village Post Office) we hope to present some of Sybil’s memories of being a school pupil.

Her mother, Mrs Baker, was actually a teacher at the school.

Sybil left Market Lavington School at age 11 for she passed the scholarship and went to Devizes Grammar School.

In 1948 Sybil married Desmond Perry. She became the Mrs Perry that many people remember her as.

After a spell away, Sybil returned to Market Lavington School as a teacher.

She and Des moved away from the village in 1994 to be nearer family but Sybil maintained a close contact, hand writing memories and recording some on tape.

Sybil died in 2010.

But what about the bicycle? That comes from Sybil’s memories.

Sybil Baker, later Mrs Perry, rides her bicycle in about 1928.

Sybil Baker, later Mrs Perry, rides her bicycle in about 1928.

What a charming photograph.