Another exciting and varied week at South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, near Yeovil, Somerset.
One of our intriguing new donations is a series of colour photographs. These are fascinating for a number of reasons. Firstly, they date from the early 1980s; a time clearly within living memory, but because of being so recent, may not be thought worthy of inclusion in a museum collection. However, important changes and developments would have been lost if someone had not put their eye to the view finder and pressed the shutter release.
In the specific case of these photographs they document the major changes around Vicarage Street in Yeovil and the construction of the Quedam Shopping Centre (see footnote for meaning of Quedam) which is almost unrecognisable today when compared to what the street used to look like.
The photographs also highlight once more the significance of detailed and accurate documentation, which our volunteer team are helping us with greatly.
On the back of each photograph is a helpful caption – “Vicarage Street That Was!” 1983 for example. This could be enough for a description and would certainly mean something to those who have lived in Yeovil for some time or remember ‘life before the Quedam’ but the significant part of the description is to state exactly what is shown in the photograph and the date; firstly to differentiate the photograph from other images of Vicarage Street on our database; otherwise the brief description would simply be Vicarage Street 15 or 20 times over and an unless we could view them digitally, we would have to physically look at each individual photograph to ensure that was the one we wanted; secondly, extra detail can make the image meaningful for people unfamiliar with Yeovil and thirdly, and specific to this case, 4 or 5 images are of the same location, but taken from different perspectives, so we need to be as sure as we can what the buildings are, for our own time and for generations to come. This is especially true, when existing landmarks may have changed again in another generation.
The pictures are also helpfully dated in other ways – by cars – or as in the case below – what is in the car window! The images also reflect the social impact of the building work going on – as in the second example. This may not be high on the agenda for the upcoming election, but remains important in most towns, and especially so in Yeovil and notable as something, someone thought to record!
We are always grateful to receive (or copy) images of Yeovil and South Somerset – with a current interest in the early years of Westland. Please contact us via the Blog or contact us on (01935) 462886. For a time at everyone’s convenience!
We wonder where Andy and Jane are today!
Footnote: “Quedam” from Brooke, Leslie – “Yeovil History in Street Names” published Western Gazette and Yeovil Town Council:
“The name Quedam, which was the most frequent spelling used in early documents, seems to have been adopted as the result of a misunderstanding. In early leases, it frequently occured that the name of a location was unknown and was often recorded as ‘property in a certain street’, and since all such early transactions were recorded in Latin, the word quedam meaning ‘a certain’ was used. This fairly common expression seems to have been taken as a specific designation by a novice, whose Latin was not quite as extensive as it might have been, and so the error came to be perpetuated as a noun.”