Market Lavington Museum

The Hayballs’ shop


Current residents of Market Lavington will think of this building at the crossroads, on the corner of White Street, as the Gemini hairdressers’ shop. In former times it has been run by Mr Walton, by Mr and Mrs Hayball, briefly by Bonny Good and by Mrs Saunders. At Market Lavington Museum, we are fortunate to have some oral history recordings and one of these is by the adopted daughter of the Hayballs, Rosalia.

We have many postcards of their shop building, but mostly from other eras. This one, from about 1950, clearly shows the Hayball name above the door but, unfortunately, the blinds are down and we can’t see what’s in the shop window.

However, Rose tells us that their stock included shoes, toiletries, coats, clothes, bedding and underwear. About three days before Christmas, the toys for Christmas presents went on display.

The Hayballs ran the shop from just before the second world war until 1967. Rose was adopted in 1947, so her memories are from then onwards. However, she also relates things she was told about earlier times.

She knew that a tank had run into the front of the shop and that the army repaired the damage. (White Street leads up to the military training area on Salisbury Plain.) That wasn’t the only bit of poor driving at the crossroads as Rose spoke of a lorry running into the shop, almost hitting a little girl in a pram outside.

In the years after the war, the Hayballs would buy boxes of bomb damaged clothes, which they washed and sold. There was also an uncle who worked on the Queen Mary (passenger liner). He brought back rolls of cotton which was sold by the yard for making tablecloths, sheets and pillow cases.

When customers tried on shoes which they thought were a bit too tight, Mr Hayball would take them out the back to ‘stretch’ them. In reality, Rose said that he just made a lot of banging with a hammer and brought the shoes back unaltered, but people seemed to think they fitted better and purchased them anyway.

When Rose was about thirteen or fourteen, her parents went away on holiday and left her to run the shop. They did a stock take before they went, so they could check that the takings were right when they returned. The police used to call in to check that Rose was alright.

We will look at some of Rose’s other memories of Market Lavington in the middle of the twentieth century on another occasion.