Leslie in the frame

So far this week we have enjoyed a busy time at South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, near Yeovil and made an intriguing discovery in our environmentally controlled store.

A number of visitors have responded to our requests for photographs and objects of Westland Helicopters, particularly around the First World War Period and we have accessioned a notable selection of objects and photographs.

The discovery came in a week where two other significant objects were found in stores with an edition of the Magna Carta from 1300 in Maidstone Archives (but belonging to the town of Sandwich) and a marine dinosaur in Plymouth Museum, originally thought to be a plaster cast.

Our discovery was a series of pen and ink drawings by Leslie Brooke, Yeovil Historian and Graphic Designer at the Western Gazette.

Leslie Brooke was born in Taunton and served in the Royal Artillery and the Indian Army Airborne Division. He worked for the Western Gazette until his retirement as its first First Graphic Designer in 1979. Leslie was a well known lecturer on Yeovil’s past and wrote Somerset Newspapers 1725-1960 and his “Book of Yeovil” published in 1978, the first modern, illustrated history of the town, which achieved a second edition two years later.

Leslie and his wife, Marjorie were both keen artists. Leslie passed away in 2003 and Marjorie around 5 years later.

We thought we knew the extent of Leslie’s skills, until we found a series of mounted pen and ink drawings of well-known Yeovil Buildings with connections to local people. The drawings themselves are enhanced by a detailed annotated caption, which includes a small street map showing the location of the building in relation to other streets and historical detail related to the owner and whether the building was demolished. On the reverse is a larger map illustrating the location of the building.

Finding the drawings emphasised the importance of accurate documentation to not only locate the items, but also so they can be found again and provide yet another source to assist with enquiries. Fundamentally, accuracy of detail and how an object is described is of paramount importance – one wonders how the 1300 Edition of the Magna Carta was recorded – ‘document’ perhaps!

Gratitude to “Yesterday’s Yeovil : A Sketchbook” by Leslie Brooke (Barracuda Books) 1989 for biographical detail and image of the Author.

Leslie Brooke working on one of his pen and ink drawings (From “Yesterday’s Yeovil”) and Dr Flower’s House in Hendford, Yeovil with the detailed caption.

L Brooke Book of Yeovil796 L Brooke Dr Flowers House Hendford Caption798  L Brooke Dr Flowers House Hendford797


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