Monthly Archives: January 2017

Costume Highlights

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

We have welcomed staff from the British Museum and the Somerset Finds Liaison Officer, which we aim to report on shortly.

Our volunteer team is currently helping staff to examine, photograph and re-pack boxed items of the costume collection. This is particularly important, especially as the acid free tissue becomes rather old. The simple aspect of opening a box and checking a waist coat or hat for any signs of damage or new wear is an important role, especially when a photograph is taken at the same time. This allows us to have a reference to show the extent of any change and where this is located on the items and is also useful for talks and exhibitions.

New donations this week included a colour photograph of St. Michael and All Angels Church, Yeovil, in June 1990.

Copies of the Celebrating Yeovil 2017 Calendar are still available.

Some of the stars of the waistcoat collection.











Community Spirit

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

Tuesday morning saw staff and three volunteers attend the Photo Sharing Event at Ninesprings Café. Yeovil Country Park Staff are preparing new interpretation for the Country Park Area and wished to collect memories and photographs of the former pleasure garden and surrounding landscape.

The main aim of the 2 hour time together was for photographs of Ninesprings to be scanned and returned and to enjoy stories and reminiscences; all of which could be used in new information about the Country Park.

Particular highlights included three members of the Yeovil Swimming Club by one of the pools dated 22 December 1901 with one of the members about to dive in! We await a resulting image of the same diver emerging.

We also met a fascinating gentleman whose grandparents lived in the Ninesprings Thatched Cottage as caretakers up until the 1960s.Their memories were intriguing and exciting as we discovered new perspectives on one of Yeovil’s former, best known and most photographed landmarks. The detail on where the bedrooms were located and arranged was great to hear as was the story of a certain trout and monkey.

The gentleman’s grandparents caught a trout in Langport and brought this back to the lake, where the grand fish lived for many years. A small monkey also frequented the holly behind the cottage but seems to have stayed within the bounds of the building and the lake.

Interestingly, a keen local photographer brought in large, mounted photographs of Yeovil Country Park taken in the snow between 1995 and 2010. These were a great contrast and accompaniment to the ‘older days’ and reminded everyone that we need all perspectives; old and relatively new. As someone noted: “I didn’t bring in my photographs because I thought they were too old.” When asked how old the photographs were, they replied: “Oh, only about 30 years!”

The event was also useful to explain the role of the museum collections and we reflected this to a BBC Somerset Radio Reporter and a photographer from the Western Gazette Newspaper.

Tuesday afternoon saw staff travel to view a potential donation of a Friendly Society Banner and on Thursday, staff provided a talk on ‘Education in and around Yeovil’ to a Retired Teachers Association at the Quicksilver Mail at the top of Hendford Hill. Spookily, one of the teachers in the group was a staff member’s primary school teacher.


A busy display at Nineprings Cafe for the Photo Sharing Morning


The Yeovil School blazer from our handling collection, which the Retired Teachers Association enjoyed as part of a talk on ‘Education in and around Yeovil’

A ‘Jaunty’ Journey

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

Monday saw a visit from a local college student writing an essay on the question: “Investigate the history and running of a local heritage organisation.” This was a follow-up to an initial meeting and we went through the main text of the essay and helped to fill any requested gaps, including images of W.R.E Mitchelmore, an early benefactor to the collection and taking a photograph of a complete circular linen smoother of dark green, mushroom-shaped glass, found at Ilchester, dating from the Saxon or medieval period.

On Tuesday, we welcomed our regular weekly visit from our group of Yeovil College Degree Students, where we looked at the subject of exhibitions. We examined our current exhibition in Yeovil Town House on ‘Crime and Punishment’ and the factors which are involved in preparing the display. Our 2 hour session illustrated one of these factors, when we asked students to organise themselves into pairs and then pass a handling object from one person to their partner.

We used this simple activity to convey the preparation that has to be made, before an object is loaned to another museum. One specific point is the condition report for each object in the exhibition. With a photograph taken of the object prior to display, any change or deterioration can be noted when the object comes back. It would be difficult to be absolutely sure of this without any photograph for comparison.

CHAC is also attending the Photo Sharing Day at  Nine Springs Café on Tuesday 17th January 2017. We also asked the students to complete a small exhibition display for the Sharing Day.

We printed out a small selection of photographs related to  Nine Springs and asked the students to create the display for us. This resulted in quite a bit of discussion and sharing of ideas – resulting in the two ‘jaunty angle’ placement of images – which led to some more discussion!


Part of the display created by Yeovil students this week.

IAM New Order

A busy and eventful start to 2017 at South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, near Yeovil, Somerset.

So far this week, we have received two intriguing enquiries. The first was a letter from a gentleman in Cornwall, thanking us for a Yeovil 2017 Calendar he had received as a Christmas present and did not know that CHAC existed. They provided further information on certain pictures and offered to help in the future, having lived in Yeovil and the surrounding area for 58 years.

The second enquiry came from a lady in Oxfordshire, responding to an audio clip we had recorded discussing Petters and the Nautilus Works at Reckleford, Yeovil. Their Grandfather was an engineer working at Petters and the enquirer helpfully provided a scanned high-resolution image of a Petters staff group photograph and identified their relative. We may already have the image in the collection, but the extra detail is always superb to receive as it enhances our knowledge of an existing item and provides a renewed sense of perspective on something we may have become accustomed to seeing. The lesson, therefore, is to always keep learning.

We have also just received a donation of the Institute of Advanced Motoring (IAM) Yeovil Branch Newsletters from setting out in 1979 to completing their journey in 2014.

We will shortly be making the 2017 Yeovil Calendar available at £3.00 each.

We aim to feature some more fantastic costume items next time.

A Happy New Year to all our visitors.

One our recently scanned Images