Market Lavington Museum

Market Lavington fire engine – 1852


At Market Lavington Museum, we display many objects used in and related to the history of Market Lavington neighbouring Easterton. We also have a large collection of photographs, which sometimes form part of two dimensional displays. However, there are many paper artefacts with less visual appeal, that are kept in storage boxes. Nontheless, they can provide interesting evidence about our villages in times past.

One such piece of paper is a typed up copy of vestry notes from 1852, relating to the fire engine. Unfortunately, although it proves that an engine existed back then, we have no pictures or descriptive details about it.

We are told that Mr John Baker was to be the Master of the Engine. John Baker was a whitesmith in East (Market) Lavington. Verification of this can be found in the 1852-3 Slater’s directory.

We are informed of the charges incurred by people availing themselves of the services of the fire engine within and outside the parish, so it must have been portable. As late as 1920, the fire engine was horse drawn, so we assume whatever appliance was referred to in the vestry notes that it was probably pulled by horse power.

Market Lavington fire engine, about 1920

However, the fire engine in this photograph post dates John Baker’s appointment by about seventy years. We do know of an earlier design of local fire fighting appliance, which we believe to date from about 1870. It became the Easterton fire engine, but was, apparently, shared by Market Lavington and Easterton in former times.

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Easterton fire engine on display at an event in 1970

The proposer and seconder of the motion to appoint John Baker were Mr H Gauntlett and Mr W Smith. Directories from that time show Henry Gauntlett as a baker in East (Market) Lavington, whilst William Smith esq. is listed as gentry.

For more information on early fire engines in the villages, see The Market Lavington Fire Engine in 1920, The Easterton Fire Engine, The Easterton Fire Engine (two different blogs) and A fire brigade horse whip.