Market Lavington Museum

A long street of straggling shops – 1958


As part of her teacher training, Rowena Campbell Trigger had to make a study of children in a rural environment, so her work file, which we have in Market Lavington Museum, includes information about the village as well as the school.

It is useful to those of us trying to piece together local history as she was only attached to the school here for a month, which means her observations can be dated to 1958.

Her preliminary walk through the village led her to describe ‘a long street of straggling shops’ and to allude to an air of ‘past prosperity.’ A dictionary definition of ‘straggling’ is ‘to be laid out in an irregular, untidy way.’ Market Lavington had been a bustling little market town, serving many surrounding villages but had waned in importance as better transport links enabled people to gravitate to Devizes for shops and the market. In 1958, Rowena commented on the the closure of two shops in that year.

Her college had provided a list of prompts, which included an assessment of the provision of shops.

This is Rowena’s tally of the shops still trading, rather more than there are at the time of writing, in 2021, although the village is still far better served than many others of similar size.

In future blog posts, we will try to locate some of these businesses and their premises which were to be found ‘straggling’ to the east and west of our current run of shops, which are still, predominantly, in the buildings on this early 1950s postcard.