Market Lavington Museum

The Cesarewitch (1939) Sweepstake


Now here is an odd little item to have in a rural museum in the middle of Wiltshire. It’s a book of tickets for a sweepstake based around a horserace to raise funds for Irish hospitals.

Book of 1939 Cesarewitch Sweepstake tickets at Market Lavington Museum

Book of 1939 Cesarewitch Sweepstake tickets at Market Lavington Museum

How to pay. It seems very complex by present day standards.

How to pay. It seems very complex by present day standards.

The money instructions seem complex in this day and age. Of course, in 1939 most people didn’t have bank accounts and credit and debit cards were items for the future. Interestingly, cheques were not regarded as secure, but then the use of a cheque has never, on its own, guaranteed that there is money in the account.

An individual ticket - as complex as a bank note.

An individual ticket – as complex as a bank note.

The individual tickets look as complex, in printing, as bank notes, but back then ten shillings would have been a banknote and able to buy what you’d need about £25 for today.

So why do we have this item in Market Lavington Museum? It seems that a White Street (Market Lavington) resident found it in amongst old butcher’s bills when having a sort out. It was felt to be an interesting reminder of life in those pre-war days and it was given to the museum as long ago as 1985.

For the record, the winner of the 1939 Cesarewitch was the horse Cantatrice.