Market Lavington Museum

Market Lavington’s Department Store

Time was when White Street – both sides of it and round the corners onto High Street and Church Street were all part of the empire of Mr Walton.

Arthur M Walton was born in Reading and trained as a draper. By 1891, at the age of 24, he was living at the White Street premises at the heart of his domain – the building he called Lavington House. Arthur had a drapery business which he took over from a Mr Brown.

Over the next 40 years or so he gradually extended his influence for he had ladies and gents departments as well as a hardware section, a bakery and a grocery.

Peggy Gye (you can hear her at the Museum Miscellany on the 17th September) spoke of Mrs Walton being at the heart of things, sitting in her cashier’s cage and receiving money and dispatching change and receipts using an overhead wire ‘cash railway’.

With increasing prosperity, Arthur and his wife Emily moved to a separate house, away from the shop, at Townsend.

Then, quite suddenly, in the 1930s, the business failed and Mr and Mrs Walton moved away to South Wales.

Today we feature a label from Arthur Walton’s early days in Market Lavington. It is just a little address label used, in this case, when delivering purchases across the road to Mr Gye’s house. We know it is early because the label makes reference to the former business owner, Brown Bros.

1890s label from Walton's Cash Drapery Store, Market Lavington

These days you’d need to be an octogenarian to have any chance of remembering Mr Walton’s emporium. We’d be delighted to hear any memories people might have.