Market Lavington Museum

Receipts from Mac’s Stores


At Market Lavington Museum we have quite a selection of bill heads and receipts. Many of these relate to purchases made by a Mr Ted Carter. He lived in Marston, but used many of the shops and businesses in Market Lavington. He bought a lot of supplies for building jobs and house decorating, so maybe that was his line of work.

Billheads often give us details of local businesses and their addresses and the receipts offer a fascinating insight into products available in the past and their prices. However, they often pose more questions than they answer. Today we will look at a collection of receipts from A E McGrath.

This 1949 receipt shows that Mr McGrath had formerly traded from Lavington Hill – the top end of White Street, leading up to Salisbury Plain. However, this address has been struck through as the business had moved to Church Street, the west end of the main road through the village. Mr McGrath was obviously able to supply building materials and seemed to work as a plasterer.

Five more receipts from 1949 and 1950 show A E McGrath trading as Mac’s Stores as a builder’s merchant and ironmonger and also providing goods for farmers.

Mr Carter’s requirements were cream paint, which he bought by the quarter gallon, which would be two pints, a brush, some lining paper, window stays and some Marvo white distemper.

Nowadays, we would probably paint new walls with a watered down emulsion paint. Distemper had the disadvantage of being powdery and could rub off and fade. It was made from whiting (powdered chalk or lime) and a glue made from rabbit skins. Later decorators needed to remove distemper before repainting the wall or to seal and and paint over the distemper.

Ted Carter made more purchases in the summer of 1949.

These included a hundredweight (cwt) of cement and of sand, ten pounds (lb) of plaster, some putty, linseed oil and ceiling white. (In pre metric days, 112 lb = 1 cwt and 20 cwt = 1 ton.)

We have not yet found out which of the shops on Church Street was Mac’s Stores. Do please add a comment to this blog if you know. This postcard from about 1910 is too early. It shows Hopkins, in the distance, which sold similar products.

The postcard below, from about 1970, is probably too late for Mac’s Stores. By this time, Hopkins premises had become a private house.