Market Lavington Museum

The Coronation Tree and more on ink wells

Our Queen’s coronation was away back in 1953. To mark the occasion a catalpa tree was planted in the church yard by what was thought to be Market Lavington’s oldest inhabitant, Mr Dobson. Mr George Dobson has already featured in these pages  – a story of when he lost his motorbike licence aged 95, in 1953.

George Dobson, aged 95, plants the Coronation Tree in 1953 – a photo at Market Lavington Museum

Here we see George Dobson, born in the 1850s, with spade in hand by the tree. He stands opposite the Reverend Arthur who was the Vicar of Market Lavington at the time.

The others, from left to right are Tom Gye, Mrs Perry, Mrs Taylor (from The Fives Court), Reg Taylor, Gordon Shepherd, Miss Duncan and the Congregational Minister. Surely he had a name!

The tree flowered for the first time in 1976, a year before the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. It is now a well-grown tree and looks very handsome in the churchyard, quite close to our museum building.


Yesterday’s post about an ink bottle has brought this response from regular correspondent, John in Australia.

My mother Violet was at one time the cleaner of Lavington School. My brother and I at one time had to help mum clean the school, and part of our duties for mom was to fill the ink wells on each desk every morning and yes the bulk ink was kept in a very large bottle. We used pens with changeable nibs and, like you said, later moved to fountain pens. I believe that using this type of pen helped us form our letters properly and made our writing legible.

Lavington school’s 3 classrooms had large round fires, which burnt coke and heated the room. We had to light these fires in the morning with mum and make sure the coke hod was full for the day. The coke was kept at the back of the school in a shed.

Teachers when I was there were

  • Mr Norman Bardwell
  • Mrs McDowell
  • Mr Metheral (Headmaster)

Thanks, John for your memories of 1950s school life.