Say Cheese!

Another varied and thought-provoking 7 days since our last blog page at South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, Yeovil, Somerset.

One of our fascinating recent donations was a series of papers and photographs related to the donor’s husband and father in law’s working life for Aplin and Barrett of Newton Road and Watercombe Lane, Yeovil. Aplin and Barrett will be familiar to many through the company’s “St. Ivel” Brand of Latic Cheese, made for many years in Yeovil and based on a fictitious saint. Also with the modern mis-description act it is probably not possible to advertise now as “The cheese served at the Doctor’s Own Table!”

The collection is significant for a number of reasons, but mainly it is so good to have information in the form of the documents and photographs which are related to a specific person’s working life in one company, over a number of years, which literally gives a ‘face’ to the workings of ‘buildings’ and an ‘organisation’ and one can make them more appealing to a wider audience; in other words ‘human interest.’ This is not to say we disregard or do not collect images that simply show street scenes – as any change over time is fundamental – but the added benefit of human or social interaction – shows how people have responded to that change and continue to do so.

Secondly, a new donation on such a well-known Yeovil Company makes us look again, reflect upon and appreciate anew the existing Aplin and Barrett items already in our collection and even say “I did not realize they made that” “or produced that advertisement.”

The actual photographs themselves are also intriguing as they reflect the whole cheese-making process; from stirring an unseen mixture in a large vat to ladies with hair covered and tied up, packing the ‘Latic Cheese’ in branded boxes – prominently displayed in the foreground of the image! There is also the two sides of these images, with a new piece of equipment delivered by mobile crane to a presentation for a member of staff on the roof!

A real insight into the working life of the donor’s father in law is shown in his retirement letters and also the ‘Little Cheese’ presented for an Atlantic Crossing (More on this later….)

However, there is always room for improvement, especially in terms of documentation! Our donor was not sure of exactly what is ‘going on’ in each stage of the cheese-making process. We have some idea as certain images are labelled “The Creamery” for example, but we would be glad to hear from anyone who worked in the cheese-making industry and even for Aplin & Barrett, as like the gloving industry, there are likely to be specialised terms involved!

Then like the Aplin & Barrett workers in the photographers – we too can really “Say Cheese!”

Just some of the many detailed photographs from the recent donation of Aplin and Barrett items – including a small self-indulgence on my part!

Sparrows Crane 834Say Cheese 2836 Say Cheese 835 Say Cheese 4838


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