Monthly Archives: December 2016

Getting Ahead

We have enjoyed a busy and involving last working week of 2016 at South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, (CHAC) near Yeovil.

Our volunteers helped to document new objects and photographs including images of Kelways Nurseries and Yeovil School and also assisted with a request from Ilchester Museum.

Our volunteers also helped to re-pack several items of costume, ranging from a macebearer’s hat to a suede waist coat, photographing each item and replacing the acid-free tissue as we went along.

We also completed a photographic print for a lady whose relative was in the St. Ivel Photograph in the 2017 Yeovil Calendar. We also received a request for a calender from Cheshire, as the enquirer and their Mum used to live in Yeovil and wanted a calendar as a Christmas present for ‘the stocking.’

We also have a few projects planned for 2017, including our next Yeovil Library window display due in on 3rd January – our first day back! This will reflect some of our newly donated photographs and continue with our panels on the First World War, prepared by the Imperial War Museum.

We wish to thank all our Museum contacts, visitors and groups for visiting CHAC throughout the year and thank you for your support.

We wish you all a peaceful Christmas and an enjoyable New Year.


Happy Christmas – Denners Department Store, Yeovil, early 1960s.


Princes Street Theatre, Dick Whittington, 1954 – as featured in the 2017 Yeovil Calendar!



If you want to get ahead – get a hat! Yeovil Macebearer’s Hat.




Timely Reminders

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

Highlights this week have included our regular weekly visit from Yeovil College Degree Students to learn about what we do at CHAC.

This week we looked at entering records onto the computer database. This was particularly useful as we entered the records completed on the students’ previous visit. These were the photographs of Ian Botham, we believe receiving “The Freedom of Yeovil” in 1983. Each student entered two paper records to get used to the layout and the often specific detail required. However, they all commented that getting the information accurate at the outset, saved much more time later on and could be especially helpful for enquiries and exhibitions.

During a tour of the stores, we familiarised ourselves with the idea of accurate documentation, which is a key requirement of the Accreditation Standards. One of the ways we illustrated this was to put the accessioned photographs in their archival box and then ask the students to put the box in the designated permanent location; CHAC; ECS1, Row 5, Bay 1; Shelf 2 for example. This was a fun way to learn as we worked our way down from a relatively big ECS1 to the shelf in question.

During this process, we also highlighted an object associated with a student’s dissertation. One student is studying the Louisa Harris Diaries 1887-1920 and Louisa’s life in Yeovil. On our tour, we found a leather bag with the following description on a paper label:

“A bag used by Bessie Harris, sister of Louisa Harris, to collect rent from the properties owned by the Harris Family.”

This raised the question of which properties; especially as the Harris family lived next door to the Edgar Family in Clarence Street, Yeovil; the Edgar in Petter and Edgar fame, which would eventually lead to Westland. We will try and report back!

Another star find this week includes the memories evoked by the 2017 Yeovil Calendar. Real gems include the owner of the original image featured on the front cover showing VE-Day 8th May 1945 in Silver Street – so now we can put names to the faces! In addition, we also received an email stating that a relative was in the St. Ivel Image and the Scout Leader in the High Street Image still lives in the south west of England and upon opening the Calendar pronounced “That’s Me!”


One of our recently scanned images – notably showing Genge’s Corner on the corner of Princes Street and Westminster Street – another link to the 2017 Yeovil Calendar.







Wheels within wheels

We have enjoyed a busy and exciting week at South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, near Yeovil.

Highlights so far this week have included a visit from the new SSDC Chief Executive on a tour of the collections and to see what we do in terms of income generation and returning a spinning wheel to Chard Museum after 11 years in storage at CHAC.

We also welcomed a group from the Yeovil Hub on Thursday for their first booked tour of the collections. The Hub supports the development of work and life skills for their service-users, known as trainees – young people and adults with learning difficulties, disabilities, social communication and mental health issues. The group found out about CHAC through the 2017 Yeovil Calendar on sale in the Courtyard Café.

After a cup of tea and coffee, staff and the group leader guided everyone around the Large Object Store and Environmentally Controlled Stores. Favourite objects included the Horseless Carriage engine; Petter and Edgar Cheese Press and Lufton Roman Villa Model. The Angel Statue from the Angel Inn also attracted attention, mainly due to a certain episode of Doctor Who!

The selection of bottles from the brewing industry and Newton Chemist Collection proved particularly popular as one member of the group is a keen bottle collector.

We also looked at some paintings of well-known Yeovil people of the past including the Dampier family of leather dressers, which the Eastland Road leather dressing factory was constructed for.

The group completed their tour by studying an aerial image of Yeovil taken in 1965 – as they were keen to find the location of the Hub near Eastland Road; what the town looked like at the time and what had changed. We were delighted to see the group’s enthusiasm for their local heritage.


A group from The Hub, Yeovil studying an aerial view of Yeovil in 1965.



A Hidden Jewel

We have enjoyed another busy and exciting week at South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre.

Highlights so far have included our group of Yeovil College Degree Students accessioning the new photographs of Ian Botham in 1983 from Yeovil Town Council and learning about the decisions we make when accepting new objects. The key point in this respect is always referring to our collecting policy.

One of the specific items the students considered was a wig in a metal tin. They then noted the name on the outside of the tin, so dismissed the original idea of a biscuit tin.

In reality, the box inscribed ‘T.S. Jewels’ holds a wig first worn by the Yeovil Town Clerk in 1949 and by successive Yeovil Town Clerks right up until 2012. Therefore, under our collecting policy of “Yeovil and South Somerset,” in general terms this is a very good provenance – which is always something we consider. A label with ‘T.S. Jewels’ is also sewn inside the wig.

The major issue was how to look after the wig. Fortunately, we are assisted by a knowledgeable conservator, based in the south west of England from the South West Federation of Museums with the following advice:

“Touch it as little as possible, but if you feel it needs a little more padding on the wig stand, use some soft, crumpled tissue to add support inside the wig. Then, if there’s space in the hat box, I would consider laying a sheet of tissue over the wig inside the box before you put the lid on, to protect it from condensation. Then I would keep the whole ensemble in a box perhaps with a blunder trap inside the box.”

The 2017 Yeovil Calendar continues to do well with support from our outlets including The Emporium, Princes Street, Yeovil and The Courtyard Café, 27 Market Street, Yeovil. £6.00 each or 2 for £10.00.

The Yeovil Town Clerk wig first worn by T.S. Jewels Esq in 1949