A Stitch in Time

A quieter week since our last posting from South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, near Yeovil.

This has allowed us to focus on caring and documenting for the collection, with the help of our volunteer team and helping with enquiries.

Definitely under the ‘caring’ heading was the conservation clean of the South Petherton Drum. This was a delicate operation for the object as it is in a number of parts and for staff as the drum was previously stored in a barn – so plenty of dust and potential for wood worm! We unwrapped the Tyvec and acid free tissue covering, which showed that the drum had acclimatised to the new workshop environment and we set to with a soft brush and the Museum Vac. With this completed, the drum was accessioned into the collection and is now awaiting a permanent location. During the cleaning, we even discovered that a new skin was fitted in 1902 as this was written in pencil on the inside of the main drum.

This week has also seen two gloving related enquiries; possibly one of our main topics from the public, as shown in the football team sign “Yeovil Town – Home of the Glovers,” reflecting that 50% of England’s gloves were produced in Yeovil up until recent times.

The first enquiry came all the way from California and concerned a sewing machine that was used at Moffat’s of High Street, Yeovil that somehow made it ‘across the pond’ to the USA.

The enquirer was searching for a Singer 46K1 for several years, but they are rare as hens teeth.  This machine is such a “clone” of the Singer 46K1 that most of the parts are interchangeable.  They aim to discover all the history available and share this with us.

They also noted that it is their sincerest hope to be able to visit Yeovil one day, and would try to bring this little machine with them, so it can have a “homecoming” as it were.

My colleague also helped with background information.  The earliest we can trace the shop to at the moment is an entry in a 1910 trade directory, he’s still there in 1923 but by 1935 it seems it has become Jason Moffat’s shop.  It was in a prominent position in High Street, Yeovil, opposite the Town Hall.

Our second gloving related enquiry came literally 2 hours ago from Kingsbury Episcopi Time Traveller’s Group. This Local History Forum near Martock have already published two collections of photographs on the village and came to see us regarding a gloving event they are holding on 28th November. We used the Kelly’s Somerset Directories to find information on the village and then showed aspects of the gloving process from the Donkey invented in Stoke Sub Hamdon to a full length glove iron. We also located specific images of Reed’s Gloving Factory in Kingsbury Episcopi which closed in 2005.

Recent donations this week included a silver plated “Yeovil” Spoon complete with St John The Baptist emblem.

Next week already looks busy with the Museum in Somerset Autumn Meeting at Montacute House, followed by a talk for Drayton Local History Group, near Langport. Report next time.

Yeovil High Street Inside 20 Views 765 DSCN2228

We believe the location of Moffat’s in High Street, Yeovil shown around 1950- an image from the 2016 Yeovil in the Past Calendar and staff very much in conservation cleaning mode!


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