Posts Tagged ‘wagon’

A Merritt float

August 26, 2016

Here we have another new image given to the museum this month and this is one we particularly like. It shows a carnival float, no doubt in a trade class, entered by Merritt Brothers. We don’t have a date but we estimate it to be the 1920s.

Merritt Brothers float at a 1920s carnival

Merritt Brothers float at a 1920s carnival

Here we see a simple and pleasing four wheeled waggon drawn by horse power. There is some decoration with branches and a goodly collection of horseshoes.

The identity of the float

The identity of the float

The Merritts were farriers and smiths as their badge says. Their premises were the former smithy at the edge of Broadwell

Let’s take a look at the people.


The man on the left is wearing a bandsman’s cap. More than one member of this family was active in the Lavington Prize Band. John Merritt was its leader for 60 or more years.


Another bandsman’s cap. The Merritts were rightly proud of the band.


Sadly we have no positive names to put to these people.

In the background there is another waggon which belonged to the Spencer family at Halstead Farm in Easterton. So we would assume the photo was taken locally but we cannot identify just where.

And help with identities would be much appreciated.


A wagon kit

February 27, 2016

John Davis was a coal merchant in Market Lavington at the time when coal was king. If you wanted to keep warm or cook things then the chances are you used coal. Huge quantities were moved around the country, mostly by rail. Some merchants had their own dedicated wagons and although no actual wagons survive, a model company produced a kit of a Davis of Lavington wagon. We have seen this photo before on this blog which shows a made up wagon, ready to run on an OO gauge model railway.

OO gauge Davis and Co of Market Lavington coal wagon

OO gauge Davis and Co of Market Lavington coal wagon

We also have a nearly identical wagon in unmade kit form.

A very similar wagon in kit form

A very similar wagon in kit form

It looks as though Davis had at least seven wagons for this is number 7 whereas the made up kit is number 5!

The kit looks as fiddly as these things often are, but also has some information with it.

The kit contains some historical background information

The kit contains some historical background information

Our decision is to leave this one in kit form as we have the made up model. Our luck is that a company decided to make a model with a Market Lavington connection.


A Cider Press

August 1, 2015

We have a wonderful carnival picture today. It is utterly redolent of times past.image002

Here we see carnival floats lining up on Easterton High Street. Of course, the leading float commands interest being a horse drawn wagon. The wagon belonged to local farmer and eccentric, Alfred Alexander. He was normally known as Alfie.


We are not sure who the three people on the cart actually are.


However we think the lad on the right was known as ‘Polar’; Ingram and from him we date the photo to the early 1920s.

We believe the Alexanders did operate a cider press and that’s certainly what is on the wagon! It’s topped off with a notice perhaps meant to indicate the fine, strengthening qualities of the local brew.


‘Wiltshire will never go pussyfoot while the old mill turns.

There appears to be a liveried footman behind the wagon, but this being a carnival it is almost certainly a fancy dress.



The bearded and smocked man is leading a waggon which says, ‘All that is left ML&E FC’. Presumably that’s Market Lavington and Easterton Football Club. Had they had a bad season?

Another lovely photo!

West Park Dairy tank wagon

July 20, 2014

Not all items in a museum are old and here is one that is brand new. Back in the 1930s West Park Dairy, based at West Park Farm in Market Lavington had six milk tanker wagons which ran milk from Wiltshire up to London on the Great Western Railway. We have featured a photo of one such wagon in the past. You can click here to read that page but as a reminder, here’s the same photo again.

West Park Dairy tank wagon of the 1930s

West Park Dairy tank wagon of the 1930s

Recently, Hornby produced an OO gauge version of this tank wagon – we’d like to think our blog was in part responsible for this model hitting the market. We have just been given one of the models.

Hornby model of a very similar wagon - 21st century

Hornby model of a very similar wagon – 21st century

And there it is, in its box and packaging – but we’d better take it out for a closer look.

The Hornby 00 Gauge wagon

The Hornby 00 Gauge wagon

We can see that, with the exception of the standard Hornby couplers, it is a pretty good copy of the original wagon. Let’s have a photo to match the one of the real wagon – sideways on.

Sideways view - like the photo of the real wagon

Sideways view – like the photo of the real wagon

It isn’t the same actual wagon and so the differences may be due to that.

What a delightful item to have in a museum – brand new, yet recalling the 1930s.

A High Street for Horses

November 9, 2012

These days Market Lavington High Street is dedicated to the motor vehicle but as we have seen it wasn’t always so. Back in the 1950s the car or van was there, but not in vast numbers. If we go back 100 years then the car was virtually unknown. Today’s picture of the High Street dates from that era. It is taken from more or less outside the Co-op looking towards and beyond the crossroads.

Market Lavington High Street about a hundred years ago – A High Street for Horses!

On the left we have the Elisha’s shop and then a group of people surround a pram.

A pram of the period

Beyond the pram was Mr Whitchurch’s drug store and then the Kings Arms – which was receiving a delivery of beer. The dray, of course, was horse drawn.

The dray delivers at the Kings Arms

Beyond the dray is The Red House where James Neate lived. He was a wine and spirit merchant and had a brewery which supplied his own pub – The Brewery Tap on White Street. Further on we look down into Church Street.

On the right side we have Mr Burgess’s shop. He was the photographer and probably took this photo. Outside his shop there’s a small horse drawn wagon. Further down we can make out another horse drawn wagon. This could be outside where the newsagent is now.

Four wheels on the wagon outside Mr Burgess’s shop

What a delightful, if sadly faded,  photo.

Wagon and Horses at Knapp Farm

February 3, 2011

Today we feature a photo where, perhaps, we need more help than we can give.

Wagon and horses at Knapp Farm - a photo at Market Lavington Museum

The photo shows a farm scene at Knapp Farm, which is on White Street, just above Broadwell. The impression one gets is that a wagonner has just got his horses ready and harnessed them up to the wagon, ready to start a day’s work. Perhaps they are off to a hay field for there appears to be a hay rake on the cart.

The picture is believed to date from the 1920s. It was given to a later occupant of the Knapp Farm building by Mahala Parry who lived at the farm with her uncle, Farmer Watts, in about 1912/1913.

We do not know who the man leading the horses actually is. This photo has hidden his facial features but maybe somebody out there can help us. Do contact the curator if you can.

We believe the horses are shires but please do get in touch if we are wrong.

The wagon itself may be what was called a ‘boat wagon’. It lacks the sweeping curves of a typical Wiltshire Wagon but once again, maybe a wagon expert could help us

Jacob Bolter Cooper

May 11, 2010

Jacob Cooper – middle name Bolter – was born on 17th September 1839 and baptised at St Mary’s Market Lavington on 20th October.

There is no surviving 1841 census for Market Lavington. In 1851 Jacob was with his parents, Thomas and Mary, at Mount Pleasant, White Street. Thomas worked as a brick maker

In 1861 Jacob was a boarder at the Meadow (Now Meadow Cottage?). He worked as a farm labourer.

In 1871 Jacob was married but lived alone in the Market Place. He was a market gardener

By 1881 the Cooper family had moved to Parsonage Lane where Jacob was a farmer of 40 acres employing 2 men and 1 boy. He was with his wife, Mary and children James, Alice and Mary. He was in this house and working as a farmer for at least the next twenty years, being there for the 1891 and 1901 censuses.

Jacob, by then a widower, was still in Market Lavington in 1911 but when  he died, in 1923 he lived in Easton Royal, beyond Pewsey but he is buried in Market Lavington churchyard.

In Market Lavington Museum we have several items which relate to Jacob. At the museum we particularly like these wagon boards.

Jacob Cooper wagon board at Market Lavington Museum

Jacob Cooper sign board at Market Lavington Museum