Monthly Archives: April 2014

Dress Down Friday….

Hi all!

Hope that you all had a wonderful Easter break! It’s that time of the week again and this Friday we are blogging about a mixture of what’s been happening at CHAC during the week and also a new Fish Friday post! (Finally!)


This week at CHAC were been thinking a lot about our costume collection – perhaps its because we ate too much chocolate last weekend and our own clothes aren’t fitting so well anymore. Our main aim for the week was to repackage our lace collection after some expert advice from the lovely ladies at Honiton All Hallows Museum (see previous post for details!). What started off as a quick hour or two job turned into nearly a whole day of wrapping, rolling and folding. Image

The lace all laid out as found before the re-packing began


Two lace butterflies – examples of Venetian Needle-Point hand made lace – The highlight of CHACs lace collection.


The lace all packed up and ready to be stored in acid free tissue and calico in a conservation standard box – lovely!


But of course it wouldn’t be a Friday without a Fish Friday post – so on the theme of costume we have selected a receipt from Mr Clive Alexander’s Ladies Outfitters in Middle Street in Yeovil for one Coat – paid £3.10s. What really made us interested in this item however is the date, dated 25th of April 1932 – 82 years old today!

Mr Alexander’s shop is mentioned in The Kelly’s Directory of Businesses in Somerset and was based at 38b Middle Street, Yeovil which is now the site of the Nationwide Building Society – Kelly’s Directory shows that by 1939 Mr Alexander’s shop was also occupying the premise next door – 38a,  so he must have been popular! It’s just a shame we don’t have any photographs of the 1930s shop!


If you remember Mr Alexander’s Ladies Outfitters, bought any items there or have any photos we’d love to hear from you! 



Happy Easter from CHAC…

This will be our last blog post before Easter so we would just like to take the time to wish everyone a very happy Easter (I am afraid that this means yet another Friday will come and go without a “Fish Friday” post – I promise to be more “on it” next week to make up for the last couple of weeks!)


I couldn’t find anything specifically Easter related in the stores to blog about this week but I did find some CHOCOLATE related items which is almost as good! Our chocolate item in question is a small foil wrapped chocolate coin found inside a wall during the rebuilding of Ivel House in Ilchester in 1957!!! (so that’s a 56 year old chocolate coin folks!) The coin was made in Italy and is decorated in the style of a 1938 Turkish 5 Kurus coin and bears a laurel wreath on one side and the star and crescent moon symbol on the other.




We’re not sure why someone would go to the lengths of encasing their chocolate coin inside a wall but we have a hunch that it was for a more significant purpose than just out foxing greedy family members. The star and crescent moon logo seems to have been important to the town of Ilchester for hundreds of years. 


Although widely known for being the symbol of Islam the star and crescent moon symbol has featured in many different cultures over the past millennium and was present in Ilchester from around the 17th century. Other items in our collection from Ilchester bearing the symbol include a button from the town’s almshouse and a Friendly Society brass polehead.

And on that note have a wonderful Easter and we’ll see you next week!


photographs, lace and an apology …

Hello! apologies for the lack of posts this last week, it’s been a very very busy week and a half at CHAC! We’ve been getting up to all sorts and have had lots of interesting visits!

Some highlights…


On Friday CHAC participated in English Tourism Week by hosting a photo day which was really successful. We had 5 people book in for an afternoon of looking through our collection of historic photographs ,teas and coffees and just general enjoyment. The group were also joined by one of our regular visitors who has to date looked through over 4000 items in our photographic archive, which made for very interesting conversation!!




But that’s not all….

Yesterday staff at CHAC were very fortunate to meet with staff, volunteers and trustees at Honiton AllHallows Museum following on from an earlier visit by a textiles expert from Warminster. We took down some samples of lace that we had found tucked away in our collection for identification and to get some advice from the experts about storage and conservation. We found out that most of our lace collection is from the Edwardian period and is mainly machine made, although we did find that we have a few examples of earlier French and English hand-made lace as well! So all in all it was a very worthwhile trip (and we also got the chance to have a little look around the museum – we highly recommend a visit! look out for the famous hippo!)

machined lace with a bell pattern, probably Edwardian


Late 1700’s to early 1800’s French Needle Lace known as Alencon

First World War in Yeovil

On Tuesday two of the staff from the Community Heritage Access Centre were lucky enough to meet, and record some interviews, with a BBC journalist in the centre of Yeovil. We took along some photographs of the First World War and walked the route that the soldiers marching off to the town train station would have taken. Clare, our Heritage Co-ordinator described the view that could be seen from the steps of the Liberal Club looking up Middle Street and compared the photo to the present day.Image


It was amazing to imagine how the scene must have felt for the men who were leaving Yeovil and the familys and well-wishers coming to see the soliders off but also quite sad to think how many of the men never made it home again.


Next we travelled up to Reckleford to the site of Petters Ltd , the munitions factory, which is now a depot for the towns buses. It was crazy to see just how much of the old building had survived even down to work benches, iron winches in the roof and metal tracks under the grass behind the building. The bus depot staff were really helpful and we could tell they were really interested in the history of the depot. We looked at old photos and talked about the staff who worked here, namely a lady called Alice Partridge and a man called Fitzherbert Glass. Image

 Alice Partridge (far right in the glasses) and two other women at the Nautilus Works in Reckleford. The winches and tracks that can be seen in the photo still exist to this day.

All in all it was a fantastic couple of hours and we really enjoyed it! Look out for us on BBC/WW1 soon, and be sure to check out all of the other amazing stories about the First World War in Somerset that are featured too!