Costume Insight

The launch of our new Costume Collection leaflet designed by our Design Volunteer with input from our Costume Volunteers and Volunteer Team. Costume Brochure MASTER for print NEW LOGO

Best wishes from the Heritage Team – South Somerset District Council


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.

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

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St Mary’s, Ilchester – Taken in 2019

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

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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’.

A Familiar Face

A couple from Oxford visited the Community Heritage Access Centre in November 2018 seeking information on their family history. They had already visited the Somerset & Dorset Family History Centre, in Peter Street, Yeovil and their volunteers kindly sent the couple on to us at Artillery Road.

During our discussion, a group of mystery family photographs, believed to be from Yeovil, were shown to us.

We would be grateful if anyone recognises the people, the occasions and can supply any background detail. Hopefully, they are familiar faces to someone.

Please contact us via the BLOG page or

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Can anyone identify the special badge or pendant?

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