Posts Tagged ‘WI’

The bus company in Market Lavington

July 19, 2016

Just recently charabancs and bus companies have featured quite a bit on this blog. Yesterday we featured a ‘lost and found’ button which may have belonged to Mr Fred Sayer. Today we bring you the history of motor bus operations as written by WI members in the mid 1950s. This also features Mr Fred Sayer.

image002 image004 image006Let’s transcribe the text.

Motor Bus Services

In 1911 the Bath Tramways Motor Company of Bath stationed two motor buses at Market Lavington, together with two drivers. The buses were garaged in the “King’s Arms” yard. After a few years however, they decided that they did not pay and so decided to withdraw them. Mr F. H. Sayer, one of the drivers, however, who apparently had foresight of the possibilities of motor buses in the Market Lavington district, purchased the buses from the Bath Tramways and set up on his own to run services.

Sayer’s buses began to pay and early in the 1920’s a company’ was formed which called itself the Lavington & Devizes Motor Services Ltd., and by 1934 the Company had extended to 37 buses and coaches – or rather “char-a-bancs” as they were called in those days. Services were running to all the principal towns and villages in the district, including Bath, Salisbury, Trowbridge, Pewsey, Chippenham etc.

About one-third of this fleet of 37 vehicles were charabancs which were only licensed during the summer months for running trips and day outings to the sea-side and places of interest. The charabancs were much different to the present day luxury coaches which carry out these trips. They were open with a canvas hood which was pulled over the seats when the weather was unkind. The seats went right across the vehicle, with a separate door to each row of seats. They had large brass head lamps lit by acetylene (later with bulbs and a battery), and up to about 1927-8 they all had solid tyres.

The buses too, were very different to the present day ones which serve the village. They were very high, fitted with solid tyres, and most of them were fitted with a carrier on the back, and sometimes on the roof, for carrying large parcels and crates of poultry etc., to and from the various markets.

All repairs and maintenance (body-building and painting etc) was carried on at the Company’s depot which was Oatley’s Yard and the garage now owned by Messrs. Wordleys. Wages for some time were 7/6 per week for conductors and £2.0.0 for drivers!

Mr. Sayer by this time was quite a well-known figure in the district as Proprietor of the Lavington & Devizes Motor Services: also because he was an exceptionally big man – at one time his weight was Just over 32 stones!

In 1934 the Lavington & Devizes Motor Services Ltd., was sold to the Bath Tramways Motor Co. Ltd., and a few years later they in turn were taken over by the Bristol Tramways & Carriage Co., but the Bath Tramways still retained their title, which still holds today.

In 1935-6 great changes took place: the Company built a large new depot comprising Garage. Booking office and waiting rooms etc., at Devizes which became the company’s headquarters for the district. More modern and up-to date vehicles were operated and services on practically all roads were made more frequent.

Although Devizes was made the centre for the Company’s operations Market Lavington was not entirely neglected as now a very frequent service is running between Market Lavington and Devizes, and the buses on the service are modern double-deckers. Some of these double-deckers are not much higher than some of the very early single deck buses were, especially when they had crates of livestock in the racks on the roof!

WI Centenary

December 24, 2015

Items are given to the museum right through the year and several items have been donated in the run up to Christmas. Yesterday’s photo of George Baker was one of them and here is another.

Banner made by Market Lavington and Easterton WI to mark the centenary of the first WI in the UK.

Banner made by Market Lavington and Easterton WI to mark the centenary of the first WI in the UK.

This is a quilted banner to represent the Market Lavington and Easterton Women’s Institute as part of a celebration of the centenary of these institutes within Britain. The first WI in this country was set up in 1915 and was seen as a way of encouraging country women to produce food to help with the war effort. The first meeting was held on 16th September 1915 at Llanfairpwll on the Isle of Anglesey.

The quilter has created a downland scene, as we see in this part of the world from oddments of fabric and has embroidered on to it the vital information for the centenary.

This banner will appear again in 2019 when the Wiltshire Federation of WIs celebrates its centenary, and who knows, it could make it to 2030 when the Market Lavington and Easterton Branch will celebrate its centenary as well.

At the WI in 1939

July 2, 2013

The Women’s Institute are meticulous record keepers. In Market Lavington Museum we have the record books of the local branch running from the 1930s through to the 1980s. Today we have picked on the May 1939 meeting.

ccount of Market Lavington and Easterton WI meeting for May 1939

Account of Market Lavington and Easterton WI meeting for May 1939

The monthly meeting of the WI was held May 9th in the Parish Room. Over 70 members present. Minutes were read and signed; arising from which Miss A. Gauntlett agreed with the help of twelve members to arrange a Ball Game for competition at Lacock, July 8th. Notice was given of a ‘Bygones Ex’ for June which Mrs Rivers Pollock will come to inspect previous to their being sent to Lacock. The monthly letter was read, also correspondence. Miss Gauntlett proposed, seconded by Mrs Burgess that £1-1-0 be sent to the Wilts Music Festival fund. This was agreed to by the members. A few vegetables were brought for Devizes Hospital. The speaker, Mrs Wild of Salisbury, was welcomed; she shortly discussed the agenda of the annual meeting of the NFWI in London June 7th. The agenda was afterwards handed to Miss Pomeroy, the delegate.


More from the WI meerting

More from the WI meerting

Mrs Wild had lost the notes of the talk she had arranged to give ‘The Year in Folklore’ and instead gave a short history of Lacock, she also spoke on different handicrafts showing some very good specimens. She offered to come at some future date and give the talk promised for this meeting.Mrs Hayball thanked Mrs Wild.

After the interval the W.I. choir rendered the four songs they sang at the festival. Then followed charades acted by Miss B Gye and Miss P welch.They were very amusing and not too easy. Miss Carter thanked the entertainers. The evening closed with singing ‘God Save the King’.

Iva Sturton


So there was not a mention of jam or Jerusalem. In fact it really sounds as though the ladies and girls had quite a good time with a variety of entertainment to stimulate and amuse.