Most people thoroughly cherish our National Health Service and don’t remember life without it. But people whose memories stretch back to the 1940s or before will recall a time when access to health care was based on financial means or charity. In Market Lavington and Easterton a carnival week, called Hospital Week was organised to raise money to assist people in need of health care. Today we are showing a picture of a Hospital Week procession on Church Street in Market Lavington. We don’t have a precise year but believe the picture was taken in the 1920s.
Here we see a carnival band – very definitely not Market Lavington Prize Silver Band who maintained a high standard of uniform. The band are marching past the premises of former village photographer, Peter Francis, although at the time of the photo the sign above the shop window may say ironmongery. Clear, although partly hidden by the union flag is the banner asking, ‘Please help our hospital’.
A farm cart pulled by a fine shire horse is following the band. Behind the horse is part of Mr Walton’s emporium. The white sign below the word ‘up’ says ‘The house that value built’ and that is still readable in 2011.
On the left of the picture is The Volunteer Arms whose hanging sign can be seen. This was one of four (possibly five) pubs in the village at the time and the landlord was W R Trotter.
The sums raised by these events seems very small in the 21st century, but of course, costs were much lower 90 years ago and no doubt the fact that people had a good time helped to keep them healthy.
If you can tell us any of the people in the picture we’d be delighted to hear from you.