Monthly Archives: August 2016

Raising the Profile

A quick blog this week from South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, near Yeovil.

Exciting news from the Lufton Roman Villa excavations with the discovery of a new section of tesselated pavement. Hopefully this will raise the profile of the site and help with any further excavations in the future.

The interesting element is contrasting the latest evidence with that of L. C. Hayward from the 1940s to the 1960s, particularly the dating of the mosaic, in light of coin and pot discoveries.

The latest excavations may also result in visits to CHAC to see our Lufton-related items.

Also this week, our helper has scanned further photographs in the collection and one below with Frederick Taylor Stores, Boots the Chemist and Yeovil War Memorial is shown:



A Page in Time

We have enjoyed a busy, eventful and rewarding week at South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, (CHAC) near Yeovil.

So far this week, we have helped a researcher and writer with an historical interest in brewing in Somerset, by showing them related objects and photographs in our environmentally controlled store. This was particularly beneficial, as the researcher highlighted objects like the wooden bushel market measures, used to weigh out the barley and grain in the brewing process; something which we might not immediately consider when researching and finding information.

We have also helped the Abbey Manor Community Centre with an event on Saturday 20th August 2016. This is an illustrated talk by Dr James Gerrard at 7.30pm with an admission charge. Dr James Gerrard is a Lecturer in Roman Archaeology at Newcastle University and his talk will be on the latest survey and finds at the Lufton Villa site. We have loaned our model of the Lufton Roman Villa for the evening as an effective visual aid.

One of the highlights this week was a visit from the Yeovil University of the Third Age (U3A) Group for a tour of CHAC. With 16 members, staff provided refreshments and then led two groups of 8 around some of the highlights of the collection.

Two significant points arose. The first was the length of time which members had lived in Yeovil. It soon emerged that most were long-time or life time residents, with the exception of one, who had lived in Yeovil for ten years. This became more apparent as we discussed the present site of a local supermarket, being the former home of Yeovil Town Football Club and we also mentioned the George Inn.

The second was a number of bound volumes of the Western Gazette. Two members spotted these on the shelf and noted that they were married in September 1962. Sure enough, there was their group photograph and report, but there was further interest to come. The bridegroom concerned, worked for the Western Gazette at the time and had actually engraved the photographic plates including their own wedding photograph. To which, we received the reply, “No wonder we were at the top of the page!”

In other news, the ‘Celebrating Yeovil 2017 Calendar’ is now available from CHAC and Yeovil and Cartgate Tourist Information Centres.



Alex and Ruby Rollo on their U3A August visit to the Community Heritage Access Centre, with their wedding report in the Western Gazette volumes from the collection at CHAC.




Up, Up and Away!

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

So far this week, we have shared the company of an our enquirer interested in Fivehead Friendly Society and received an intriguing donation, related to a Yeovil-based company, which we know quite a bit about – but which underlines the point how a local company can take on national significance.

The items in question relate to the first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by hot air balloon. This was achieved by the Virgin Atlantic Flyer piloted by Richard Branson and Per Lindstrand. The route left Sugar Loaf Mountain, USA at 08.10am on 2nd July 1987 and landed at Limavady, Northern Ireland at 15.51 on 3rd July 1987; a time of 31 hours and 41 minutes and a distance of 3075 statute miles (4947 kilometres).

Where, might you ask, was Yeovil’s involvement in this fantastic flight and more specifically, NormalAir Garrett Ltd?

A letter from Richard Branson and Per Lindstrand explains:

“The testing facilities within your company are unique. To equate what we were able to do in your test chamber would have taken us months and months of test flying.”

The great thing about working in Museums is that one never knows what will be donated and we are always learning something new!


Richard Branson and Per Lindstrand after completing their successful crossing of the Atlantic Ocean – the first by hot air balloon.

Branson Balloon 774

The letter from Richard Branson and Per Lindstrand thanking NormalAir Garrett Ltd for the use of the company’s test facilities.


More ‘down to earth’ – part of our display for the annual Wessex Truck Show!

A Mosaic of Activity

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

In a fun-filled diary, we enjoyed our Volunteer’s outing on Monday to Ilchester Museum, which was opened especially for our visit with refreshments provided upon arrival; lunch at Kelways Nursery Potting Shed restaurant and an afternoon meeting at Clarks Shoe Museum in Street. We hope to organise another volunteer outing in the near future.

Wednesday saw representatives from BBC Points West visits us to film artefacts related to the Lufton Roman Villa and mosaic pavement discovered in the mid-1940s, where new excavations are currently underway. One of the highlights was a scale model of the Villa buildings, including the octagonal plunge bath and Leonard Hayward’s original note books of excavations carried out between 1946 and 1963, when he was History Master at Yeovil School.

On Thursday, copies of our 2017 Yeovil Celebrates Calendar arrived and see nervous excitement when we gingerly opened the boxes! Copies are currently available from CHAC and other outlets will be announced soon.

We also welcomed a visit from two young Petter engine owners for a tour of our Petter-related engines and items and discovered that one of their Dads had just purchased a 5hp Petter engine like an example detailed in one of the catalogues we hold in the collection. They were also fascinated by the range of Petter products from the Nautilus Fire Grate favoured by Queen Victoria and the Horseless Carriage engine from 1895 to the Petter ‘Petometer’ adding machine.

The new Celebrating Yeovil 2017 Calendar is now available!

Front cover mock up533

Some of the early excavations at  Lufton Roman Villa showing the octagonal plunge bath