The Mudford Insight

South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre (CHAC) near Yeovil recently provided a tour for ten members of the Friends of St. Mary’s Church, Mudford.

This was a new group to visit with an interest in local history and artefacts. Staff provided an insight into the type of objects and documents in the collection and how we look after them. The collecting policy and accurate documentation were also explained, which were two of the key aspects of fulfilling and maintaining the Accreditation Standard.

One of the fun elements staff created came in the introduction to the collections and specifically on Mudford. Three Kelly’s Somerset A-Z Directories dating from 1910; 1923 and 1939 just happened to be open at the pages for Mudford! This was a very simple idea, but reflected how Mudford had changed over a 29 year period; particularly the type of traders in the village; the population and specific details of St. Mary’s Church itself.

Staff also showed a ‘book end’ type of two photographs related to Mudford’s history. The first was an image of St. Mary’s Church taken by Henry Stiby around 1890, which the group had not seen before and which led to some debate as to exactly where Henry Stiby was standing when he took the photograph. The second image was a colour photograph of “GT Motorcycles Yeovil” in 2001 not far from the Half Moon Inn courtesy of the Peall & Co Estate Agent Collection. This was another simple idea but was a great start to the tour and served as a useful ‘icebreaker.’

The tour of the stores once again highlighted parts of the collections we are less familiar with and where we need to increase our knowledge; blue and white tea cups and saucers being one example!

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The image of St.Mary’s Church, Mudford, taken by Henry Stiby around 1890 © South Somerset District Council, Community Heritage Access Centre. Not to be reproduced without permission.

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Pays to be Prepared

A Scout Troop of 20 members from Ilchester came to South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre to see the collections and learn about local history in order to gain their ‘history badge.’

 

Having the Half-Term Victorian themed trail already in place was another bonus as this really helped with the structure of the evening and is now in place for future events, with only minor alterations to the questions on the trail and small adjustments to interpretative text on the objects.

Volunteer development was another key highlight. Volunteer assistance was required in order to run the evening successfully as 1 staff member to 20 visitors is not practical on health and safety grounds or for the enjoyment of the visitors, or for the safety of collections. What was good to see was how all the volunteers took their role; 1 assisting me in starting off on the trail and two starting off with the three mystery objects; cub jumper link to the Barwick Follies and then coming to see me in order to start down stairs as we moved on upstairs. This level of autonomy was great and justified my guiding them through the trail a week before and on the morning of the event. This is something to feed back on at our volunteer meetings and to build on for the future and share with our Spark Volunteer representative.

 

Fundamentally, a great example of minimum effort; maximum gain, especially in terms of income generation, which South Somerset District Council have asked us to do and using other staff and volunteer help to achieve this.

We have our next Photograph Afternoon on Thursday 16th November 2017 from 14.45 – £2 per person on the theme: “Shops and Schools.” Places Limited!

The 2018 Yeovil Calendar in A4, spiral-bound format is now available at £6.00 each.

 

 

Dracula came from Keinton Mandeville

We have enjoyed a busy and enjoyable week at South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, (C.H.A.C) near Yeovil.

So far, we have loaned a set of display boards to our District Council planning colleagues, organised a Victorian-themed Half-Term Trail and enjoyed the company of a local Scout troop, earning their history badge – more on this in our next BLOG.

One of the recent highlights came in our talk with Keinton Mandeville Women’s Institute. Staff looked at two ‘self-made’ Keinton Mandeville men. The first was Oliver Chalker, a local quarry owner and known as the ‘Keinton Mandeville Strong Man’ – with some justification; as the photograph we have of Mr Chalker is believed to show him as a 91 year old possibly in the 1920s lifting a wooden wheel barrow laden with weights around 250kgs.

The second ‘self-made’ man was the more recognisable, Henry Irving; the great theatre actor, born in Keinton Mandeville in 1838. Henry’s father worked in the village for a drapery business. In 1842, the family moved to Bristol where there was more work available. Henry went on to become one of this country’s greatest stage actors at the Lyceum Theatre in London and appeared in many plays with the equally renowned Ellen Terry. However, the really striking element which came out of staff research for the talk was Irving’s connection to perhaps one of the greatest gothic novels of the late Victorian age.

Staff passed around Henry Irving’s portrait and then asked for reactions to the image. These included ‘brooding’ ‘mysterious’ and ‘like Oscar Wilde.’ Staff then explained that the connection was fitting, given the rather stormy, windswept night and the proximity to Halloween. One of the members then made the connection and said: “Dracula.”

Indeed this is the case as Henry Irving’s stage manager at the Lyceum Theatre was none other than Bram Stoker and it is said that Stoker based his now legendary character on Irving and so therefore (perhaps rather loosely!) we can say that Dracula came from Keinton Mandeville!

Staff also re-dressed the all-male balance by highlighting Lady Lucy Houston, the primary funder of the first ever flight over Mount Everest, achieved by two Westland Aircraft in April 1933, which was named (in her honour) as the Houston-Westland Expedition.

The 2018 Yeovil Calendar is now available from the Courtyard Café, Market Street, Yeovil – thank you!

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A set of Great Western Railway Buttons reflecting our Victorian-themed Half-Term Trail!

Victorian Insight

10.78 Painting of train 1

A painting of an M7 Class Locomotive by H Ball; painted in 1971 and believed to be passing by Stoford.

Half Term Fun at your Heritage Centre!

Queen Victoria’s Hat!

Enjoy a guided Victorian-themed trail around the Community Heritage Access Centre (CHAC)

Wednesday 25th October 2017

2.30-3.30pm

4.00-5.00pm

Places limited to 8-10 per session

£2.50 per group attending

(up to 2 adults and 3 children)

Please Contact us to

Confirm your Place:

Community Heritage Access Centre, Artillery Road, Yeovil, BA22 8RP

(01935) 462886

heritage.services@southsomerset.gov.uk

http://www.southsomersetheritage.org.uk

 

 

Hoard of Interest

We wished to highlight an important event happening at Yeovil Library on Saturday 14th October 2017. South Somerset District Council, Community Heritage Access Centre staff are due to attend!

This is a unique opportunity to see some of the 3,335 silver coins from the Yeovil Roman Coin Hoard.

Hopefully the document below can opened!

Yeovil Hoard

 

 

 

The problem of the Nankeen trousers

We have enjoyed a busy and involving week at South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, (CHAC) near Yeovil.

We started out early on Monday as staff from the Somerset Archives arrived to collect 153 Local Council Ledgers for deposit in the Somerset Heritage Centre (SHC).

We had envisaged them needing most of the day to go through the ledgers as the SHC is closed on Mondays, allowing the staff to travel over to us. However, after only an hour all the ledgers were loaded up into their van and the paperwork was completed. The ledgers would then be checked back at the SHC. The Archivist was grateful to everyone for the considerable preparation work put in by CHAC staff and volunteers; particularly one volunteer which noted the details of each ledger on pink paper slips, placing these inside each front cover.

Volunteer help has also proven essential in the preparation of a Jane Austen-themed display as part of National Libraries Week. One of our costume volunteers suggested having images of costume in the CHAC Collection from the Jane Austen period (1775-1817) alongside quotes from the author, which mention these items of costume. This was a particularly enjoyable display to create because of the collaborative nature. Our volunteer wrote up the quotes and highlighted corresponding items from the collection. Staff then typed up these quotes into captions and scanned the relevant images of the costume.

The Nankeen trousers were particularly difficult to photograph as they are rather ‘bright’ white and made of a stout, cotton material. We initially tried to photograph them on a background of acid-free tissue. However, the camera did not seem to be able to focus on the monotone backing. Staff then suggested a black, plastizote sheet backdrop. This really proved effective as it provided a superb contrast to the white material.

We hope to have this display in Yeovil Library from Wednesday 11th October 2017.

Detail on the Nankeen Trousers

Nankeen trousers (1790-1820) Nankeen (Nankin) was a stout cotton, usually of brownish-yellow colour named after Nanking, its place of origin. It was sometimes used for footwear as well.

The Watsons, p.345 – Lord Osborne tells Emma Watson…”You should wear half-boots…Nothing sets off a neat ankle more than a half-boot; nankin galoshed with black looks very well..”

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More Strength to the Weeks.

This is a note from the South Somerset District Council Community Heritage Access Centre, near Yeovil with a thought on Somerset Art Weeks.

The Festival runs from 23rd September 2017 to 8th October 2017. From Bath to Minehead and near Cullompton to Templecombe, there are well over 100 sites to visit.

If anyone is travelling around South Somerset, particularly numbers 94 to 99 around Merriott, Martock, Stoke Sub Hamdon and Yeovil, (A3088; A303; A37; A30 and A359)make your journey even more special with a visit to the Community Heritage Access Centre, in Artillery Road, Lufton BA22 8RP, around 3 miles from Yeovil Town Centre and only half a mile from Yeovil Town Football Club – Home of the Glovers.

We care for around 60 art works ranging from the Angel Inn Panel to a 1990s ‘Pop Art’ Yeovil Artist. In between, we have architectural paintings of Montacute House; Portraits of the ‘leading lights’ of Yeovil Industry including glove making; plus fabric samplers; maps; air raid shelter diagrams and costumes – some of which are works of art in themselves!

We are usually open Monday to Friday 9-5pm. Please telephone to make an appointment on: (01935) 462886 or email: heritage.services@southsomerset.gov.uk

Or visit the website: www.southsomersetheritage.org.uk

FINE ART COLLECTION

A glimpse of the CHAC painting collection!