Relatively Speaking

A busy and varied week at South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, near Yeovil, including two notable research visits.

The first came as a result of the Westland 100 event on Sunday 12th July. One of the people attending was Branscombe Young, from Australia, grandson of Percival Petter. Percival and Ernest Petter were twins who founded Westland Aircraft in 1915.

Branscombe remembered seeing the horseless carriage engine when the Museum was housed above the library in King George Street and wondered where the engine was located today. The horseless carriage was an early car made by the twins in 1895 with the assistance of their foreman, Ben Jacobs from Martock and based on a ‘Boy’s Own Paper’ Design.

The following day we arranged a visit to see the engine, plus other Petter related objects, including the Nautilus Grate, an early form of circulating heat radiator, which Queen Victoria purchased for Osborne House, Isle of Wight. This Royal Patronage set the Petter name on their way.

This was a great opportunity to meet a living relative of such a central part of Yeovil’s heritage, particularly as we look at documents, photographs and objects everyday related to the family. We also took the opportunity as the gentleman was flying out to Australia the next day!

These thoughts were also in our minds on Wednesday with a visit from two members of the Brutton Family. The Brutton Brewery in Clarence Street, Yeovil was a distinctive landmark, especially with the ‘brewery tube’ across the road and the majestic chimney. We were able to show photographs of the building, a ‘Bruttons’ Mirror from one of the Bruttons’ owned pubs and examples of the beer bottles themselves. Interestingly, we were also able to show newly donated photographs of a Bruttons / Charringtons works outing (Charringtons took over Bruttons we believe in the mid 1950s) with the barrel of beer supplied by the company for the outing. This illustrates how one image can have many meanings for a variety of people. Especially on our Photo Afternoon last week, another lady saw the same image featured in our library display and recognised her brother – and did not even know he worked for Bruttons Brewery! Thus proving the value of capturing information and context, ‘the relationship of museums’ as a ‘two-way street’ and the joy of never knowing what we will find out next! (Relatively speaking of course!)

P.S. – We found a Magna Carta in our store last week – a modern translation copy! But a Magna Carta none-the-less.

DSCN1735

Relatives of the Brutton Brewery Company in Yeovil enjoying a visit to the Community Heritage Access Centre.

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