Posts Tagged ‘under the floorboards’

A bell pull direction changer

September 20, 2016

We are, once again, back to that favourite of Market Lavington Museum – a found under the floorboards item. Like several other items this was found at 21 Church Street which was once the HQ of the Hopkins building and ironmongery business. This item may have been part of a shop bell system or it could have had a purely domestic function.

This is the object.

Victorian pell pull direction changer found at 21 Church Street

Victorian bell pull direction changer found at 21 Church Street

The pull string or wire would have been attached to the right hand end. It could have had a vertical or horizontal pull. The wings are heavily sprung which would have pulled them back to this position after a pull. The top of the object has a moderate cover of white paint. It was almost certainly made with a screw end above the white plate but a builder has removed this from its fixing by sawing through that. It is visible as a central steel core in the middle of the brass work.

The fixing screw has been sawn off!

The fixing screw has been sawn off!

It stands to almost certain reason that the final bell would not be in line with the pull, so a wire would work its way to the bell, using pulleys or devices similar to this one (but probably unsprung) to negotiate corners.

We are fairly sure this is Victorian – probably late Victorian but it is possible to buy similar systems today.

We’d like to thank Bob for finding and donating this fascinating and clever piece of bell system engineering.


Fifty years ago

July 30, 2016

Of course, most of us weren’t alive 50 years ago but if you were there’s a fair chance you watched the telly that day for one programme, or event, had the biggest UK TV audience ever. Apparently 32.3 million of us tuned in to watch the football world cup final. Those people saw this man lift the World Cup – the Jules Rimet trophy, for England.

Bobby Moore football token dating from 1972

Bobby Moore football token dating from 1972

This is Bobby Moore who was captain of England for that world cup. But in 1966 he had the still correct short back and sides haircut. This image is a later one. But it is on one of those Esso football medallions which the football enthusiasts collected – and which made youngsters tell dad to fill up with Esso petrol. The back has a little information.


This Esso token was found under the floorboards at 21 Church Street

This medallion or ‘coin’ actually dates from 1972.

And why are we showing this on the Market Lavington Museum blog? That’s simple. It is an under the floorboards item found during recent renovations at 21 Church Street in Market Lavington.

Clay marbles

January 30, 2016

Here we have yet another ‘found under the floorboards’ collection from 21 Church Street. 2015 was the year of ‘Lost and Found’ at the museum as we featured metal detector and other finds dug up in our parish. 2016 seems to have started with a similar theme.

At the moment, five very nice clay marbles have been located under floorboards. Bob, who lives there and is doing the renovation work expects there to be more.

Clay marbles found under the floorboards at 21 Church Street

Clay marbles found under the floorboards at 21 Church Street

As can be seen, these marbles vary in size a little. The central one appears to be of a different material.

Marbles is a truly ancient and world-wide game. Marbles have been found in archaeology sites all over the world, dating back thousands of years. Early marbles are thought to have been naturally made. Mass production of clay marbles began in the 1890s. Prior to that they had been hand-made, one at a time. It was mass production that made marbles very affordable.

These days, of course, ordinary marbles are mass produced in glass with art marbles being hand made.

Our curator, who’d have been a marbles player in the 1950s doesn’t recall seeing clay marbles in use. ‘It was all glass marbles’, he says. So we rather assume these marbles probably date from before World War Two. They are possibly 19th century, but it is more likely that some poor lads, possibly in the Hopkins family for they occupied 21 Church Street, lost these marbles, irretrievably at the time, in the early years of the 20th century.

These are lovely items to add to our burgeoning ‘Lost and Found’ collection.

Another Mystery item

January 26, 2016

Well actually there are two of them and, once again, they were found ‘under the floorboards’ at 21 Church Street.

Here are the items.

Could these mystery items, found under the floorboards at 21 Church Street, be wall plugs?

Could these mystery items, found under the floorboards at 21 Church Street, be wall plugs?

These two wooden objects are about 3 inches long and have been machined to make a ring around the wood, drill a hole (which looks to be conical) down into it and then the wood around the hole has been cut into four sections. The two items are so similar it would seem they were machine made.

But what are they?

Ideas considered were barrel bungs but that didn’t seem quite right. The drilled hole and saw cuts would have made it leaky.

The best bet – but not yet confirmed – is that these are wall plugs. First you make a suitable sized hole in the wall where you want to fasten something. Then you hammer this item into the wall. As you screw into the hole the four sections are forced outwards making the plug fit tightly.

That’s what we think, but it may not be correct. Similar objects, but made of brass can be found on the internet. Just type brass wall anchor into a search engine and you’ll find them.

We cannot date these items and have no idea as to where they were made.

So we seek help. Have you any ideas? If so do contact us.




January 23, 2016

It’s another ‘under the floorboards’ item today, once again found at renovation work at 21 Church Street. There’s no doubt as to what this is. It is a thimble.

Thimble found at 21 Church Street, Market Lavington

Thimble found at 21 Church Street, Market Lavington

Clearly it is a little battered and misshapen but there is no doubt as to its purpose. This was worn on a finger and used to push a needle through fabric when sewing.


It has no maker’s mark – in fact nothing really to help date it at all.

What is not clear in the photos above is that this thimble is the tiniest little one you ever saw. Here it is perched on our curator’s little finger.

This thimble is tiny

This thimble is tiny

This thimble has an opening diameter of just about a centimetre. It is less than 2 centimetres tall.

Clearly it was intended for use by a child, and in the sexist days of the past, that means a girl. We think it would have been really quite a young girl.

Do we have a thimble expert who could tell us any more?

A Mystery object

January 21, 2016

Or a mystery solved

Once again we draw attention to one of our favourite websites. This is ‘Under the Floorboards’ and can be found at We use it to introduce an item found under a Market Lavington set of floorboards.

The floorboards concerned are at 21 Church Street. This is an interesting building having been the HQ of Price’s horse coach in the mid nineteenth century and the HQ of builders and merchants called Hopkins in the 20th century, before becoming just another private house. It is being renovated at the moment and a number of items have been found under floorboards. This is one of them.

Small metallic object - but is it a spinning top?

Small metallic object – but is it a spinning top?

Of course, it can be hard to judge size with just a photo, but this object is small and is seen here resting on our curator’s little finger.


It would seem to be made of lead.

This was given to the museum at a regular get together known as ‘The Casual Cuppa’ which takes place at the village’s community run coffee shop known as Saint Arbucks.

A group including our curator, archivist, a couple of stewards, one of our older long-time residents plus others discussed this item.

Some became convinced it was a miniature spinning top and even proved it by spinning it and you can click here to see a very brief film of the item spinning.

Later, a search of the web for spinning tops revealed nothing like it so we threw the ‘what is it?’ problem to our wider museum community and rapidly had the suggestion that it could be an air gun pellet.

But other experts, made aware of its calibre, felt this was actually a fire arm bullet. We even got some suggested dates which point to it being around the end of the 19th century. But this is not confirmed

That would appear to be the truth – unless you know different. But we’d still like to get a verified date on it, of course.


Another ‘Lost and Found’ item

September 20, 2015

We have mentioned before that one of our favourite websites at Market Lavington Museum is ‘Under the floorboards’. The owner of this site has done a lovely job in documenting just what was found under the floorboards of cottages he renovated.

And today we have an ‘under the floorboards’ item found during recent work on 21 Church Street in Market Lavington.


This – we see both sides here – is an 1806 coin. It is just about 30 mm across which means it is a half penny or ha’penny as we all used to say in pre-decimal coinage days.

The coin may date from 1906 but that does not represent when it was lost. It is a very worn coin. The writing on the reverse or tails side has all but vanished as has some on the obverse or heads side. At no more than a guess this coin had been in circulation for 50 years before slipping between the boards at the Church Street house. If we guess a year, and say it was lost in 1860 then it would be a bit like losing something like £1.20 today. It would certainly have been annoying.

The King at the time was George III or Georgius III as the coin says. He reigned from 1760 until 1820.