Mr Stowe on basket making
We have met Edgar Julian Stowe before. He was headmaster of Market Lavington School and took an interest in local crafts, including Basket making. Mr Stowe wrote a book on Crafts of the Countryside and we have a copy of it in the museum.
In the museum we also have a range of basket makers’ tools and some of the baskets made locally by members of the Mullings family.
The last member of the family to make baskets in the village was Sid Mullings. This photograph is of one of his baskets. (See A shopping basket.)
Whilst Mr Stowe’s book is not specific to Market Lavington or Wiltshire, it is lovely for us at the museum to have local craftsmen mentioned by name in the text.
Having spent time with Sid Mullings, Edgar Stowe was able to describe far more about the process than we, at the museum and in the village, would be able to understand from just having the finished baskets and the tools. Without this account, we would not have known that Sid Mullings made his baskets seated in front of a low platform so that he was able to use his feet to anchor the work in place.
For more information about the basket makers of Market Lavington, see also A lunch basket, The Basket Maker, A Mullings Basket, A Basket Case, Basket Making Tools, A willow hook, The Mullings’s Willow Hook and A Bill from Alf Mullings.