Monthly Archives: November 2015

Finders Sharers

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

We welcomed our group of Yeovil College students last week for an initial guided tour. The students are studying English and History and the tour proved rewarding for everyone involved. We were especially keen to discover how the practical tasks we have planned can also help with the student’s future career aspirations.

Staff were interested to learn that the students did not know of CHAC’s existence until they were informed by their lecturer. This is often the case, but this soon changed and by the end of the tour, all were saying “did you see that green chiffon 1920’s dress” or “what about those amazing diaries.”

We aim to have our first practical session this week and will report back on our next Blog.

Staff are also helping with the ‘Know Your Place’ project. This is a new scheme designed to find the significant maps in a museum’s collection and then enable them to be digitally scanned and uploaded to the ‘Know Your Place’ website. CHAC is loaning a selection of Yeovil maps to the Somerset Heritage Centre in Taunton for this process to be completed at the beginning of December 2015. This is a reminder of the significant detail that goes into the preparation of objects for transit or exhibition, including the ‘condition reports’ to show that an object comes back in the same condition in which it left!

We also welcome the Somerset Finds Liaison Officer to CHAC for our next Archaeological Finds Afternoon. This is another beneficial activity, as local finders have a nearby, regular event to which they can bring ‘newly discovered’ archaeological material and finds brought in to previous afternoons can be returned to them. Finds dated to before 1700 come under the remit of the Finds Liaison Officer and where time allows, identifications are often made during our 2pm-4pm time slot. Often 5-6 finders arrive in the 2 hours. This may not sound many, but each person often brings 30 individual items to identify and then may also have some to be returned. In addition, accurate paperwork needs to be completed, often consulting an Ordnance Survey Map (or similar!) to obtain a 6-figure grid reference of exactly where the items were found. Two or three ‘finders’ can often be waiting, but this is another enjoyable aspect of the ‘Finds Afternoon’ – for different finders to see, discover and share discussion on what they have found and where. This underlines the professional standards around ‘responsible collecting’ and archaeological finds; which includes gaining permission from landowners in the first place and then reporting the finds under the Portable Antiquities Scheme (or PAS) as the context or place where something is found, is often as important as the object itself – particularly if an unusual object is found at an ‘existing’ site, which is already well documented; thus making us re-evaluate existing information!

We will try and report a selection of what ‘finds’ were brought in (where permissible) in our next post.

The Yeovil in the Past 2016 Calendar continues to do well – with sales around the 350 mark! Thank you to everyone including all our outlets, which are helping us; special mention to The Emporium, Princes Street, Yeovil; Yeovil and Cartgate Tourist Information Centres; Ninesprings Café and Brimsmore Garden Centre.

One of our recent donations is this Yeovil spoon with the St. John the Baptist Emblem representing St. John’s Church, Yeovil.




Stitchin’ USA

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

We began the week with our regular volunteer update meeting, where our volunteers can express any thoughts or concerns, based on their weekly tasks. This is also a useful opportunity to update everyone on what is happening and cultivate the sense of community that is in our title. This is key for staff and volunteers, especially where 5 hours a week on a volunteer task is profitable in itself, but enhanced when we realize that this helps with research visits from the public and also that this is taking place in Museums and Heritage Sites around the Country and world wide.

The contribution of volunteer time also enables staff to complete other vital tasks, to ensure the smooth running of the centre. Tidying up the mezzanine floor certainly comes under this category! This is where we store old exhibition panels and displays and some larger conservation materials. Since the closure of the public museum in 2011, this has become one area that has required sorting to enable us to access what we need effectively and dispose of what we no longer need. Setting a specfic time in our diaries has enabled staff to complete this and to see where more than one person is required to lift heavy items.

In other news, we have welcomed a group of Yeovil College Students for a tour today in order to familiarise them with the workings of CHAC. They will be with staff for a set time each week helping with practical activities like documenting a photograph or downloading information on relative humidity. This is to help them with their English and History Courses.

I also have to beg forgiveness from the Beach Boys for our ‘play on words’ title as the sewing machine used by Moffat’s of Yeovil has now arrived with the new owner in California, USA, with the following information:

Ok, the James Moffat Yeovil glove machine has arrived!!!  Safe and sound.

We now know this was purchased while on tour of Europe.

The top tension disks were missing.  The Singer disks from a 46k1 have a center hole that is too large for the Moffat machine to use, so  they removed the whole top tension mechanism and replaced it with the top tension mechanism from a Singer 46k1.  They have kept the original, in the hopes that some day he will find a set of disks that are the correct size.  If there is an opportunity to measure the outer diameter and hole diameter of the originals in your possession, that would be of great service in being able to locate a matching size.

So excited, looking forward to making it stitch again!

We also have a First World War display currently in Yeovil Library using exhibition panels supplied by the Imperial War Museum and linked to the Newnam VAD Hospital in South Street – which is stated on the former hospital on a commemorative plaque in South Street, opposite the library.

Yeovil Calendar Sales now stand at 324.

The Moffat Sewing Machine from Yeovil – now in California, USA! (Courtesy of the owner)

01 - 1885 Mofatt 46k1 clone - Front










When in Rome (aka Council Calendar Coincidence)

A busy, varied and involving week since our last posting from South Somerset District Council ‘s Community Heritage Access Centre, near Yeovil.

We recently enjoyed a timely reminder, which linked a research enquiry and the historical Yeovil 2016 Calendar.

The Centre welcomes research visits linked to Yeovil and South Somerset history by appointment.

A local university student made an appointment to view Roman related artefacts and documents from the Centre’s Collection. Staff answered this enquiry with a wide variety of sources, ranging from a fragment of black burnished ware pottery to the 4th Century AD Westland Mosaic pavement and a model of the Lufton Roman Villa to a depiction of the Roman God ‘Mars’.

When the enquirer was leaving, staff discovered they grew up only two minutes from the present Yeovil hospital. This was one of the houses on the entrance to Higher Kingston, now blocked off to traffic and allowing only pedestrian access. However, around 1965, off the ‘Fiveways Roundabout’ cars and scooters of the time are shown emerging from this turning in the October image from the 2016 “Yeovil in the Past” Calendar.

In addition, another link was created with the December 2016 image. This shows the thatched cottage at Ninesprings, which is now part of Yeovil Country Park. The 2016 “Yeovil in the Past” Calendar is now also available from Ninesprings Café, Education and Information Centre at the entrance to Yeovil Country Park, opposite Goldenstones Leisure Centre.

Next time – an update on our Stateside Stitch Sewing Machine connection with Moffat’s of Yeovil!

Taken by Mr Cave around 1965 – The Fiveways Roundabout showing the then ‘open’ access to Higher Kingston as featured in the 2016 “Yeovil in the Past” Calendar and a link for further details on where the calendar can obtained.

P3500 Fiveways Cave 767 Denners Summer Sale Poster for YIC

Point of Perspective

Point of Perspective

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

One of the main events so far was Data Protection Training for our volunteer team, provided by two of our District Council colleagues. Many of the points of security on Data tend not to apply to historical Museum data, but making sure our computer is locked and a tidy desk policy certainly do – that is why one staff member tries to ensure they have two desks! Many of the points also have an application in our daily lives, especially who we forward emails to in a multiple conversation. Overall, the Data Protection Training was also useful to remind every one of how apparently technology has progressed, but presents new security issues; smart telephones with the ability to access emails for example – never leave lying around!

We also had another ‘point of perspective’ literally speaking. One of our most recent donations was a series of photographs showing the building of Yeovil’s Quedam (Qwee-dam) Shopping Centre, completed in 1984. One of the main problems was just how much had changed in this area over the last 31 years. One photograph, in particular, presented a few puzzled expressions. A local fish and chip shop, Palmers was a distinctive yellow building on the corner of Market Street and the building in question certainly was a strong contender as the same building. However, under a magnifying glass, we read “Bat-Liners Automotive.” The strange thing was that staff remember going to the chip shop in the 1980s, the same period as the photograph, apparently showing a different shop in the same building. We even have a planning application showing when Palmers came into the Market Street location. Fortunately, we found another black and white photograph of the same scene, which stated ‘on the corner of Vincent Street and Earl Street,’ highlighted on a map that the two streets are near each other and with a car park in the background, literal perspective is once again a notable factor. However, we do not wish simply to accept what the donor writes on the back! We now believe Central Road is in front of the building and Reckleford in the foreground!

Fundamentally this highlighted the significant balance between what and how we remember and actual evidence – often when we wish we had a photograph that was ‘just left a bit’; closer in or further out – perspective in a ‘time’ sense.

Fortunately, we often do and some are featured in our 2016 Yeovil in the Past Calendar with images from 1880 to 1965.

The interesting image from one of our recent donations; Vincent Street, with Earle Street to the left.

Bat Liner 1138