Monthly Archives: September 2016

Canvassing Interest

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

One of the notable features of our week so far is the number of objects and photographs which continue to be donated to the Centre. We are particularly grateful that people have our Collecting Policy of Yeovil and South Somerset in mind, which enhances the existing collection and saves us time re-locating items to another Museum.

The intriguing items included two paintings with an especially local provenance, but which also raised some concerns, in terms of condition.

The paintings are timely as they depict an early tank and a bi-plane. The tank and the aircraft are painted on a type of canvas, which we understand is the same canvas used by Westland Aircraft to cover aircraft wings in the First World War. This connection is enhanced when the donor informed us that they were painted by her mother, when working for Westland between 1915 and 1918. This is significant as we already have a photograph showing another member of the donor’s family in the ammunition factory at Nautilus Works, Reckleford, Yeovil.

The donor also provided a thought-provoking detail. They understand the images of the tank and the bi-plane came ‘ready-made’ as an outline already painted on the canvas and the owner then ‘coloured in’ or ‘filled in’ with the desired colour. This would explain why we have a red tank!

The condition of the paintings, particularly the one of the tank presents an issue, notably in terms of storage. The donor’s mother nailed the canvas to a simple wooden frame to aid display. However, the canvas has become loose and is falling off the frame and the frame itself is now just about holding together. Due to the provenance, we would consider bringing these items into the main collection, but due to the condition, we are seeking specialist conservation advice. We will let you know the outcome!

The “Celebrating Yeovil” 2017 Calendar continues to do well!

The paintings on a type of canvas used to cover aircraft wings manufactured by Westland Aircraft in Yeovil. Can anyone tell us more?









Market Memories

We have enjoyed a busy and intriguing week since our last posting from South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre.

One of the main features of this week is the number of new items and photographs donated by the public. We are particularly pleased that people still wish to donate objects and these are within our collecting policy of Yeovil and South Somerset.

One particular highlight was a long service award for an employee of the Telephone Exchange in Clarence Street, Yeovil before this was ‘standardized.’   More hopefully next time!


This image of a Bedford lorry dates from the mid-1950s and is on the corner of Silver Street, Court Ash and Market Street, Yeovil showing ‘market traders’ and the main Yeovil Market in full swing. Also note the commercial vehicles at the top of the photograph in the main Yeovil Market parking area.

This image is featured in the new ‘Celebrating Yeovil’ 2017 Calendar, available in Yeovil Tourist Information Centre, Yeovil Town Council, Union Street and The Emporium, Princes Street, Yeovil.


Aiding Display

Aiding Display


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

One of the highlights so far was the extension of a loan of three mannequins to Dulverton Heritage Centre. The mannequins had made a display of costume possible and the theme proved so popular that staff at Dulverton wanted the items for another year and we were happy to oblige.

Visits this week included a fellow member of staff enquiring whether we had reference material for an anniversary event commemorating the closure of Yeovil Town Station around 1966. Helpfully, we had already prepared a display for a Great Western Railway celebration in March 2016, which can be used again. The Yeovil Town Station commemorative event is due to be held in October at the Yeovil Railway Centre, Yeovil Junction Station. This will be another way to promote our ‘Celebrating Yeovil 2017 Calendar,’ as the November image is of the naming ceremony for the ‘Yeovil’ locomotive.

We also had the ‘company’ of an electrician, installing a new emergency light over a fire exit. We discovered that the electrician came from Martock and had an interest in historical buildings. We therefore encouraged this interest with images of Martock from the Peall & Co Estate Agent archive, which were enjoyed over a lunch hour.

The ‘Celebrating Yeovil 2017 Calendar’ is now available from Brimsmore Garden Centre, near Yeovil.

All in all – aiding display in every way.


The Privilege and Poverty Display at Dulverton Heritage Centre, with mannequins on loan from the Community Heritage Access Centre (C.H.A.C)

(Courtesy of Dulverton Heritage Centre)

Costume Connections

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

So far, activities have included checking an ‘odds and ends’ box from a local garage for woodworm after treatment; looking at loans to local museums and deciding on the best course of action with a recent donation related to a photograph at Pen Mill School (More on this hopefully next week!)

Continuing our costume theme, we highlighted a connection between a fascinating apron and a well-known Yeovil figure.

When our volunteers requested a ‘familiarisation’ tour of our upper level environmentally controlled store (ECS) we started with two volunteers helping us with the care, re-packing and documentation of the costume collection.

This revealed how storage of the costume has changed, particularly from the former, very small and cramped store. We also asked our volunteers for their favourite item of costume and one ‘spoken of’ but not yet seen was a decorative apron listed as ‘Jacobean’ and worked by ‘Sarah 1st Duchess of Marlborough for our Great Grandmother.’ Upon locating the apron within the similar index of items, the true intricate nature of the garment was revealed – and radically different to our modern idea of a functional apron!

Upon checking our MODES Database for more information, we discovered the item was donated by W.R.E. Mitchelmore. This is particularly intriguing, as William Richard Edwards Mitchelmore also donated an eel spear and was involved in the preliminary investigations at the Westland Roman Villa Site in 1925. He was also the first honorary curator of The Wyndham Museum. Mitchelmore is perhaps best known as the ‘Peace Mayor’ – serving three terms between 1918 and 1921. Therefore, the connection with such a decorative item of costume, not only furthers our appreciation of the item itself, but also casts new light on our existing knowledge of this renowned individual and his status within Yeovil society.

The ‘Celebrating Yeovil’ 2017 Calendars continue to do well.

Gratitude to The Archive Photographs Series “Around Yeovil” Compiled by Robin Ansell and Marion Barnes, Chalford Publishing, 1995.

An embroidered apron listed as a production period ‘Jacobean’ from the period of English history that coincides with the reign of James 1 of England (1603 – 1625)




Costume Change

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

Highlights so far have been a donation of glove patterns from the former glove designer for Southcombes and continuing with the re-packing of the costume collection.

This is particularly important as there are often a considerable number of items stored in a comparatively small box. This may be due to the previous costume store being rather small and cramped. However, now at CHAC we have more space and environmentally controlled conditions. The challenge is to use the storage wisely.

The key element is re-packing items of costume in a way that limits any further damage or detriment. Therefore, our volunteer is assessing the needs of items and re-packing, where necessary, one box into at least two boxes. We are trying to avoid folding and creasing and opting instead for rolling, or placing flat, particularly with large items like decorative lace or even leather tranks.

We are grateful to our volunteer, who is following a thorough process; from renewing the acid-free tissue to photographing each item of costume, often from different angles, with a scale and accession number in the frame for ease of identification. The digital photographs can then be placed on computer as a visual record in terms of monitoring any signs of deterioration, uploaded to our MODES database, so the written record is accompanied by an actual image of the item; for use in exhibitions, twitter feeds or even the occasional blog!

The other simple and enjoyable element is each week revealing something exciting and new to our eyes, which we have never seen before. This is a fundamental point in itself as it is one thing to know what we have from a knowledge of the database and quite another to ‘physically’ look and study the actual items documented.

In addition, this is an important role in terms of volunteering, as the re-packing is something we need and must do, but which also our volunteer enjoys completing.

If not a costume change – then certainly a costume check and update!

Just some examples of the costume checked and re-packed so far!

The ‘Celebrating Yeovil’ 2017 Calendar is now available at The Emporium, 39 Princes Street, Yeovil.