Market Lavington Museum

A bedroom fireplace

The old school house, which houses Market Lavington Museum, was built in 1846, long before houses had any of the mains services we take for granted nowadays. At the museum, we do now have an electricity supply and that must have been installed at least when the school used the building for extra teaching space from the mid 1950s until it moved to the new St Barnabas School in 1971. Mains electricity came to the village in 1927, but we do not know when this little house, tucked away at the edge of the churchyard, was connected.

So, Victorian buildings relied on coal or log fires for winter heating and for cooking. The photograph of the building as the home of the Burbidge family in about 1914, shows that it had two chimneys. (The right hand one was removed during conversion into a museum in the 1980s.)

The left hand chimney took the smoke away from the kitchen range, which still features in our museum.

Above this kitchen is a room which had been a bedroom and later, at the museum, had been used as a store room lined with shelving around the walls. Recent building work and subsequent reorganisation of the function of some of the rooms means that some of the shelving is being dismantled and moved downstairs. Today (16.10.2021) a large bookcase was moved to expose the wall for painting. Now, after many years of being hidden away, we can see the old bedroom fireplace.

It is still partially obscured by a shelving unit, but we look forward to having it as a focal point when the room is rearranged and open to our visitors next year.

The small hearth is within a white fire surround, with a neat, patterned border and topped with a mantelshelf – handy for displaying a few appropriate artefacts.