Timely Thoughts

The new Visions of Yeovil 2020 Calendar is now available at £6.00 each – 01935 462855 for more details.

Or visit Yeovil Tourist Information Centre, Petters Way, Yeovil

Cartgate Tourist Information Centre

SSDC Reception, Brympton Way

The Emporium, Princes Street, Yeovil

Yeovil Town Council, Union Street, Yeovil 001 2020 Cover

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In Search of the Ship

We have recently received an enquiry looking for photographs of the Ship Café, Earle Street, Yeovil.

We know this was located in Earle Street in 1953, as we have a planning application to install two new conveniences when Mr Harris was listed as the lessee.

Interestingly, we believe this part of Earle Street was re-developed to become part of Central Road, which now runs from ‘Vincents’ roundabout down to the Bus Station.

The section of Earle Street remains which runs through to meet Reckleford.

Looking at the map on the planning application, this would need to be held upside down in order to be accurate with reality and would seem to indicate that the Ship Café was on the left looking up the road and almost part of what is believed to be the former Whitby Gloving Factory site.

We would be grateful to receive any information or ideally a photograph of the Ship Café to show our enquirer.

01935 462855 or  heritage.services@southsomerset.gov.uk


1953 Plan showing the Ship Café, Earle Street, Yeovil

1953 Plan547




Forthcoming Finds

Our next Archaeological Finds Afternoon will be at Ham Hill Ranger Station, near Stoke sub Hamdon TA14 6RW on Thursday 15 August 2019 from 10am until 2pm with the Finds Liaison Officer, Laura Burnett from the Portable Antiquities Scheme, South West Heritage Trust.

Please call 01935 462855 to let us know if you have an item of archaeological interest you would like identifying.

The Finds Afternoon is just one activity at our Pop Up Museum at Ham Hill Ranger Station throughout the summer holidays.


Heritage volunteers thanked for their long serving commitment

As part of National Volunteer’s Week, a special presentation was made to two long serving Heritage volunteers from South Somerset District Council’s (SSDC) Heritage services.

Dorothy Bark and Lorna Prudden have each given 30 years of commitment to the Museum of South Somerset and the Community Heritage Access Centre (CHAC), where their hard work and time will have helped protect South Somerset’s heritage for our future generations.

Joseph Lewis, Heritage Co-Ordinator, said: “Dorothy and Lorna have given so much, in terms of time, knowledge and experience, in their areas of expertise of art and costume that we wished to recognise this achievement in National Volunteer’s Week in this special way.  I am grateful to the Volunteer Team as a whole for their consideration in marking this moment.”

It’s thanks to SSDC’s 280+ volunteers like Dorothy and Lorna that we are able to continue to offer non-statutory services that enrich the lives of those that live within and visit our district.

Leader of the Council, Val Keitch, said: “A number of our services regularly benefit from the contribution of volunteers. Between them they deliver thousands of days a year covering everything from leading health walks, conserving our heritage, sports coaching, maintaining our footpaths and country parks, raising funds and serving patrons at the Octagon and Westlands. Here at South Somerset District Council, we value the time and effort that volunteers give to both the organisation and community.”

Those that volunteer are incredibly valuable to us. If each of our volunteers gave us one hour of time a week and were given the minimum wage of £8.21 in return, it would cost £120,000 per annum.

We’d like to take the opportunity to thank each of our volunteers for contributing their time and effort to the district. Each of our volunteers is recognised, appreciated and valued by both officers and elected members alike.


Long serving volunteers Dorothy Bark (left) and Lorna Prudden (right) being presented with special awards by Joseph Lewis – Heritage Co-ordinator, as part of a special thank you for their time, effort and contribution to the heritage service over the years.



Chard & Ilminster Insight

We enjoyed the company of Chard & Ilminster U3A Past Times Group on Thursday 18th April 2019.

We made a selection of objects and photographs which we thought would be of interest, including a copy of the Chard & Ilminster News from 26th July 1947 and a photograph of East Street, Ilminster on 12th May 1986 courtesy of the Peall & Co Estate Agents Collection.

We also looked at several other images of Chard and Ilminster, including lowering a spire from a Wessex helicopter onto what appears to be Forde Abbey.

Chard and Ilminster News 26th July 1947223

Ilminster Image Peall and Co220

(Courtesy of Peall & Co Estate Agents Photographic Collection – CHAC)


Metal Object Mystery

Dear Colleagues,

We have recently received a mystery metal object for identification. The shape is rather distinctive as is the number, which could be a Patent of some kind.

We wondered if fellow Heritage staff and volunteers have seen anything similar to make a suggestion as to the use or purpose of the object.

The two metal ‘halves’ are held in place by the screws and the photograph was taken from the top. Apologies for the lack of a ruler or pencil to provide an idea of scale, but the edge of a window frame behind is some indication of size!



Henry Stiby – Northover and Ilchester

Henry Stiby’s photographs of churches in South Somerset and Sherborne are a fascinating record. They show that many of the exteriors have hardly changed since the 1880s.  After plotting the photographed churches on a local map I wondered why neither St James’, Preston Plucknett nor St Catherine’s Montacute were present?  I decided to photograph two churches (from as similar position as Stiby) because I have driven past many times on my way to Street or Yeovilton.Stiby map with title

The parish churches of Ilchester and Northover are separated by the River Yeo and just a few hundred metres apart. The 1923 edition of Kelly’s Directory reveals that both churches were restored shortly before Henry Stiby photographed them in the 1880s.  St Andrew’s,  Northover cost only £558 whilst St Mary’s, Ilchester cost £1,970.

Standing outside St Mary’s on the opposite side of the road it is impossible to miss the large tree that is not in Henry Stiby’s photograph. Initially a van was parked on the A37 and totally obscured my view.  I am sure this was not an issue encountered by Henry Stiby in the 1880s.  Eventually I managed to get a picture from roughly the same position,.  Most of the church is obscured by the tree.  The most obvious change was the clock which was hexagonal in the 1880s and has been replaced with a circular clock by 2019.   Photographing St Andrew’s was an even more complicated proposition because Stiby’s photograph was taken from a position that is now a memorial garden which has been dug out.  There is large green growth in front of the church.  However, Stiby’s picture does have a row of trees in front of the nave.  Although the equipment used today seems more portable for taking pictures it was difficult to emulate Henry Stiby’s photographs.

ilchester stiby 12

St Mary’s, Ilchester  – Taken by Henry Stiby c.1880

Photo 28-02-2019 10 05 40 1

St Mary’s, Ilchester – Taken in 2019

northover stiby 12

St Andrew’s, Northover – Taken by Henry Stiby c.1880

Photo 11-03-2019 12 23 50 12

St Andrew’s, Northover – Taken in 2019

This was completed by a Yeovil College University Centre student as part of ‘Practice of English and History’.