Virtual Museum - The 1940s

Above and below: This christening gown and baby clothes were used in the 1940s, but were made at least two generations before
With many thanks to Richard and Frances Berry

These World War 2 medals were awarded to George Pengilley. 

They comprise:

The 1939-45 Star

The Efficiency Medal

The Defense Medal

The War Medal 1939-45


George's wife Mabel later wrote: 'I met my future husband at a dance in aid of comfort for the troops.He had been in Radstock a week and was billetted with a local family, having been in the territorial army he was called up three days before the war started. His previous employment was in the gardens and poultry farm at Buckfast Abbey, Devon. George and I were married in Radstock church 5 Feb 1942........

After the war we went to Ashburton, Devon to live. George was born there and his parents and family lived local. .....

George worked at Staverton Builders, Staverton, Devon for 32 years....

I had worked at the Dartmoor Motel Ashburton for 18 years, and retired with George. We were both careful with money and had bought our house.'

Thanks to Sue Pengilley for these items


This is the medal of a Past Master of the Masonic Lodge, from a private collection.

The medal shows the Town Arms, and the recipient was P. W. Gilpin. It was awarded in 1947/48.

The Ashburton Lodge received its warrant of Constitution in 1886, and received its lodge number - 2189 - from 1894 onwards. Meetings were held from 1887 at the Commercial Hotel, North Street. (Lane's Masonic Records 1717 - 1894

Masonic Hall, Chuley Road 

The Commercial Hotel is presumably the same as The Commercial Inn documented by Pete Webb (The Pubs and Inns of Ashburton 1995 page 8), located at 7 North Street.

In 1890 the Ashburton Lodge moved to The Masonic Hall, Chuley Road.

In 1906, at the funeral of John Berry*, a newspaper report stated ' The Freemasons, wearing sprigs of acacia, headed the mournful procession...'

*Died 15th June 1906

Unknown newspaper article. Many thanks to Richard and Frances Berry for this item.

In 1945 the Ashburton Lodge of Mark Master Masons, number 1038, was founded and consecrated. In November 1946 the retiring Master was W Bro M H Needham, Prov G Chap. Bro E. O. Babbington was installed for the coming year (Western Times 22 Nov 1946 p5 col 6)


Above left: Foundation stone, Masonic Hall 

Inscription: This foundation stone of the Ashburton Lodge no. 2189 of A  F  and A Masons was laid on the 8th (?) day of December 1889 by W Bro the Hon R M W Dawson P M  ? Prov C S W Devon Founder and duly proved by Bro Walter S Gervis M D W M Founder  ? site Bro H Stevens Treas Founder

Above right: A box inscribed with the Ashburton lodge number and the date 1960
From a private collection



This is an identity card for Christopher Bligh. At the outbreak of war in 1939 a second national register was established (the first being during the First World War). It's use was three fold:  national security, organizing military and other service, and, crucially, rationing of supplies. Identity cards based on the register were issued - soon, you could only legally claim a rations book if you held one of these

Identity cards continued to be issued until 1952

(See Jon Agar's 'Identity cards in Britain: past experience and policy implications' for a discussion on identity cards)

Right: Looking from North St towards the site of Globe Arch

Linhay Hill refers to the quarry at the eastern end of the town - Globe Arch no longer exists, but was behind North Street, roughly where Ashburn Close is today. 



Below: Invoices from G B Soper

Thanks to Jane and Arthur Smith for these items.

Left: A price ticket from G B Soper, butcher at 42 East Street. Each individual part could be removed to alter the price - in this case it is 2/6d, (two shillings and sixpence) or one eighth of £1.

Thanks to Jane and Arthur Smith for this object.


Below: An advertisement from the Ashburton Official Guide - undated, but post 1947.


In 1861 Post Office Savings Banks were set up by the government. The aim was to encourage ordinary people to save and build up funds for themselves to use in times of hardship.

(see for more on the history)


Ashburton opened on 16th September 1861

By the end of 1870 the town had 88 depositors and £741 14s deposited.

Western Times 7 Sept 1861 p6 col1

Western Times 17 October 1871 p5 col5

David Pengilley's parents began saving on his behalf from the year he was born.

In February 1971 there is a stamp that says 'Decimal' when the country changed from pounds, shillings and pence to decimal currency.

Many thanks to Sue Pengilley for the above item