Market Lavington Museum

Outside the museum-pictures through time

Over the years, a Saturday morning in April has often seen a gang of volunteers tidying up ‘the courtyard’ outside Market Lavington Museum ready for opening to visitors during the summer. Well done to all those who took part in 2022. Of course, this area has not always been covered in elderly tarmac, prone to becoming covered in moss and weeds.

The house was built behind the Victorian school in the 1840s and, although we do not know of a schoolmaster living there, it was certainly a family home for many decades.

Flo Burbidge (born 1908) and her sister Dorrie lived there and their father was a gardener, so the outside work was very different then. When the parents, Louisa and Alfred Burbidge died in 1954, the house was left empty until the school took it over for extra classrooms in the 1960s. That was when the garden received its hard surface for use as a playground and for PE lessons.

After the children left for their newly built St Barnabas School in the early 1970s, the building became derelict and the outside area began to weed over too.

The museum opened in the building in 1985 and, as we can see by this 1989 photo of a museum courtyard party, the tarmac was already in poor condition.

Moss killing and weed scraping working parties have been a feature of museum maintenance ever since.