Stitch in Time

A busy and involving week since our last posting from South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, (C.H.A.C) near Yeovil.

So far, exciting developments include putting the Celebrating Yeovil 2017 Calendar into print; helping with a new project around Lufton Roman Villa and accessioning a Kelway’s Nursery document from E. Goodman & Son Ltd, The Phoenix Press, Taunton apologising for the delay in printing the ‘Hardy Plant Catalogue.’

One of our new donations this week was a minute book from the ‘Seavington Stitchers’ Group based in Seavington St Michael, between South Petherton and Ilminster, Somerset. The book dates from the ‘Stitchers’ founding in 1982 until their last meeting in May 2007.

This came about after a long-standing member wished to give the book to an appropriate location to benefit the community and a neighbour suggested C.H.A.C.

The group members were originally individuals, making kneelers for the village St Michael’s Church. Upon discovering their shared interest in stitching, they formed the “Seavington Stitchers” with an inaugural meeting at Seavington House on May 31st 1982. “It was agreed to form a committee to be known as the Seavington Stitchers with the purpose of promoting the purchase of a piece of land for and on behalf of the village on part of the existing playing field.”

In addition to this aim, the group, predominately, women, also made patchwork quilts to raise money for a new village hall, with one such draw raising nearly £175.00. There were also cheese and wine parties; ‘sale of work’ ; an annual outing and knitting of ‘squares’ for Zambia.

We were exceedingly grateful to receive this record of social history, as it is a valuable record of village life and efforts. With our collecting policy of Yeovil and South Somerset, we can often miss items from the ‘outlying villages;’ Indeed this type of item actually enhances our knowledge and existing collections, particularly that of ‘women’s history,’ which can often go unrecorded due to the predominant version of history being recorded by rich, powerful, men.

Secondly, the minute book is a fitting example of contemporary collecting, which actually fits our collecting policy. This often ‘thorny’ issue has seen museums look back at what was collected in the recent past to find items like 50th Anniversary biscuit tins, which were popular at the time, but which every museum could collect and which does not have anything to do with Yeovil and South Somerset.

We have also received a fascinating enquiry concerning tables that were presented during the naming ceremonies of the new ‘County’ class railway engines, ‘Yeovil’ was named at Yeovil Town Station on 2 November 1945, but we are uncertain as to the whereabouts of the ‘Yeovil’ table. If anyone can help there is a web link below to see the example of the table presented during the ‘Wadebridge’ locomotive naming ceremony.

Tab ‘Naming and Re-naming’ – http: / www.34007wadebridge.uk

An enquirer to see aerial images of Preston Road, Yeovil is due at 2.30pm.

The Seavington Stitchers Minute Book 1982-2007 – Important for women’s history and contemporary collecting!

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