The Mace of Life

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

Staff and volunteers enjoyed a visit from a gentleman on Wednesday to see our gloving collection. He was specifically interested in the ‘glove irons’ as he made them for Hallet of Yeovil, formerly one of the leading manufacturers of glove tools in Somerset and responded to a press release.

Staff have some knowledge of many aspects of the collection, but always appreciate visits from former staff of companies, as they actually worked for the companies concerned and therefore have a ‘working’ knowledge of the tools, which staff can only research through other sources.

How a ‘glove iron’ was made was particularly fascinating to learn, particularly the internal element to link into the electric socket base. Another intriguing factor was that glove webs took a week to make. This provided an idea of the impact made by imports, which were cheaper to produce, both in terms of material, production and staff costs.

Staff were also asked to provide a talk to the annual Macebearers Guild Conference, held at the Manor Hotel, Hendford, Yeovil on Thursday. With members present from Sussex, Yorkshire and Wells, we started by asking people’s perceptions of Yeovil. Answers included “Helicopters”; “Football” and “Cider”. We examined these points with the impact of the gloving industry on Yeovil and the United Kingdom and the surviving evidence. This was highlighted by Yeovil Football Team being known as “The Glovers” (Rather than the Choppers or Rotors!) and we considered the background behind the name.

Staff were presented with a plaque from the Macebearer’s Guild and everyone enjoyed the illustrations sent around. One favourite angle was how the venue, Manor Hotel, itself reflected the significance of the Yeovil gloving industry. The building  was built for a member of the Daniell family in 1776 a local banker and glover and Yeovil’s second Mayor, Frederick Greenham (Mayor in 1855-56) was also a leading glove manufacturer.

We also place our next Yeovil Library Display, this time on Edgar James Pulman ‘Jim’ born in Hendford, Yeovil in 1917 and part of the Pulman Bakery Family. This should be from Friday afternoon (around 4.30pm!)

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Mr Smith enjoying the Hallet and Sparrows of Martock gloving presses.

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Enjoying the plaque presented to the CHAC Collection from the Macebearer’s Guild!

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