Monthly Archives: March 2017

Mapping Progress

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

Monday started with two local student researchers. The first is helping staff with a planned collaborative window display for Yeovil Library on the fascinating history of registrars in Yeovil. This will also provide a practical project assessment for the student’s coursework module.

Soon after, the second student arrived and staff helped to answer the enquiry on the development of the St. Michael’s Avenue area of Yeovil and a more specific focus on W.H. Slade Glove Factory in Glenville Road, Yeovil, owned by a relative, for which we could provide evidence from local directories, photographs of the factory and plans of factory developments.

Tuesday saw staff travel to the Literature Exchange at Haynes International Motor Museum at Sparkford, Somerset, which was organised by the Economic Development section of South Somerset District Council. This was an opportunity to tell around 50 local businesses and heritage organisations about CHAC. We also discovered some inspiration from the Haynes displays to help interpret some of the transport themed collections at CHAC.

Wednesday saw a busy volunteering day, which included checking and re-packing one seemingly endless box of costume; documenting the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) Brochures (Yeovil Branch) and the newly donated Guide uniform. Of particular interest to our volunteer with cartographic experience was completing a detailed study of two maps for the Know Your Place Project. These were of Hinton (Mudford) and Marston Magna, near Yeovil, dating from 1763 and 1764 respectively. These used to be stored behind a Perspex frame, but following digitization at the Somerset Heritage Centre, are now stored in much more manageable inert plastic sleeves. The line drawing of the churches in each map is particularly detailed, as is the compass rose and the north pointer is indicated by a ‘fleur de lis.’ Both maps have a connection to landowner, John Old Goodford, Esq, a well-documented figure, but the actual cartographer of the map the ‘made and taken by’ Samuel Donne of Melbury Osmond (near Yeovil) in the County of Dorset needs further research, to discover more about what seems a fascinating figure based on their work.

The specific details taken by our volunteer is a great asset, which can be placed in the object history file for each map, for use by further researchers and added to our database records for each map.

Thursday saw our next Photo Afternoon, which was attended by two new people, one of which found out about the event through our library display.

While the Photo Afternoon was in progress, our contact from the Dementia Care Unit at Yeovil Hospital brought back our Glove Loan Box 1, which they were trialling. Suggestions for improvement were broadly based around more contextual information and photographs of the gloving process and this also provided useful additional income.


A photograph of W.H. Slade & Co. Ltd, Gloving Factory, Glenville Road, Yeovil.


Friendly Relations

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

On Tuesday, staff attended a training course at M Shed Bristol provided by the South West Museum Development Programme on the theme of strengthening links between Museums and Higher Education. This was a useful and effective day with talks on ‘setting the scene’ ; case studies, which included firstly, “Sharing the fun with University Volunteers,” led by Joseph Williams, PhD Candidate, Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, University of Bath to talk about the Young BRSLI Programme and secondly, “The Pathways Programme” led by Sam Jackman, Early Career Development Co-ordinator at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, (RAMM) Exeter and Plymouth City Museum. The Pathways Programme is a paid internship scheme led by the MPM partnership of Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery and RAMM with the University of Exeter. The programme will run in June 2017 and is designed to encourage more students to consider careers in the creative and cultural sectors.

This was an eventful time, especially after the freight train derailment between Castle Cary and Frome on Monday night saw us take an enjoyable, scenic coach trip from Castle Cary Station to Westbury, before proceeding back on the train to Bristol Temple Meads Station and our destination for the day.

Donations this week have included a late-Victorian vapouriser in the original box. This came via a telephone message left on our answer phone. The vapouriser looks like an oil lamp with a circular metal plate on the top and is useful in the treatment of (and to quote): “Catarrh; Spasmodic Croup; Asthma and Whooping Cough.” There is not a direct Yeovil link, so this will be useful in our handling collection.

On Wednesday, we were delighted to receive the Horsington Friendly Society banner as a donation into the CHAC Collection, following agreement with all parties concerned. We were grateful to the depositors for transporting the banner to us.

Information provided by the depositors explains: “The banner is a rare and significant relic of the social life of Horsington at a time when the village was still a traditional and largely agricultural community with much of its population employed on the land or in trades associated with farming by one of the few landowners like the squire. A Horsington club is known to have existed in 1850 and may have originated earlier. The modern development of the club was finally dissolved in 1982.

Clubs like Horsington existed in most local villages to encourage thrift and to provide insurance through savings schemes against sickness, unemployment and death. They were funded by monthly subscription from members for their common benefit. On or around May Day, the Horsington banner was paraded through the village and brought to a celebratory service in St. John’s Church. The date of the Horsington banner is unknown. The motif depicts a handshake between worker and master. The Union Jack was not part of the original design.”

This was a great example of staff and volunteers working together effectively to complete a range of tasks. While staff helped the visitors on a tour of the store, volunteers were documenting new donations; checking costume and where necessary lending a helping hand (literally!) for a photograph of the banner.

The Horsington Banner is an important donation in its own right, but also enhances the friendly society collections at CHAC, including another banner from East Chinnock Friendly Society and the village pole heads, among the earliest donations to the original Museum Collection.


The Horsington Friendly Society banner donated to the Community Heritage Access Centre.

The Vital Lynx

Working in partnership and forging new relationships was this week’s exciting theme at South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, (CHAC) near Yeovil.

The week began with confirming the date and time for a work experience student interview and arranging a visit for East Chinnock Gardening Club for May 2017. As 40 people wished to visit in one go, we decided on two visits of 20 people each to enable the group to see as much as possible.

Following schools training last Thursday in Dorchester, we aim to contact local primary and secondary schools to explain what type of collections we care for, to see how these can fit in with the curriculum.

The Know Your Place Digital Mapping Project have also contacted CHAC to request further information on four Yeovil maps from the collection which were scanned and digitized at the Somerset Heritage Centre for inclusion in the project. The 1806 ‘Watts’ Map of Yeovil is well-documented with at least one copy appearing as the end papers in L.C. Hayward’s “Portreeve to Mayor” book on Yeovil and a notable analysis in Duncan Black’s study of the History of Yeovil through Maps which appeared in Yeovil : A Hidden History by Brian and Moira Gittos in 2004. However, the three other maps dating from 1763 and 1764 may need more detective work. This will be a great exercise for one of our volunteers with cartography experience.

At 12.45pm today, staff also witnessed a fly past from four Lynx Mark 8 helicopters, together with a Merlin 101 helicopter. This was probably our only opportunity to see the Lynx helicopters during their farewell tour, after 41 years’ service, before production begins of the Wildcat, the replacement for the Lynx. The flypast covered southern England, visiting military sites associated with the helicopter.

Gratitude to the BBC Website for information.


Staff and Volunteers hosted a gloving themed activity as part of the “Back to the Future”  event at Yeovil Library on Wednesday 15th February 2017, where we were grateful for the loan of three sample pairs of gloves from Southcombe gloves of Stoke sub Hamdon, Somerset.      (Image Courtesy of Yeovil Library)

Seat Of Learning

We have enjoyed a busy and well-travelled week since our last posting from South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, (CHAC) near Yeovil.

We started the week by providing historical information on the Barwick Follies for a Radio Broadcast and then the week was centred on attending two South West Federation of Museums events. The first was the West of England Learning Symposium at the American Museum in Britain at Claverton Down, near Bath. Staff attended with volunteers.

Around 80 delegates attended the Symposium where the theme was “Measuring the Impact of Learning.” We enjoyed speakers in the morning on the theme of evaluation, followed by Case Studies from Bristol Culture and the Corinium Museum, Cirencester.

After lunch we shared a facilitated workshop on providing evidence for funding applications and sessions on formal learning and community engagement. These tended to be smaller discussion groups of 4 to 5 delegates with 5 minutes for each speaker to outline a project they would like to realise within their museum and then the other people in the group to suggest ideas to help. The only problem was that most of the time was taken up discovering all the exciting things about each everyone’s museums!

The second event was “Making the Most of Working with Young People and Schools” at the Dorset History Centre, Dorchester, Dorset. The day’s agenda identified how different organisations currently work with young people; introducing RIO (Real Ideas Organisation) our Trainers for the day; working with schools and current relationships and links to the curriculum. We also enjoyed a case study from the Learning and Access Manager at Poole Museum.

This training was useful for CHAC to see what we currently do to help young people in our community, including work experience and the Yeovil College Degree Students, but also to suggest other opportunities, especially links between the collection and specific parts of the curriculum, including gloving, First Flight Over Everest and changes over time in Yeovil using photographs.

Intriguingly, we also had a thank you from a local Brownie Group following an activity we delivered, further strengthening our links with learning and young people.

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Jack the Treacle Eater Folly, one of the Barwick Follies, photographed in the mid-1950s.

An Education in themselves

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

Highlights so far have included sorting out the finds to go back to Ham Hill; ordering our list of preservation materials; arranging a radio interview with Somerset Sound on the Barwick Follies and completing our order to attend the South West Federation Learning Symposium at the American Museum in Britain, near Bath on Wednesday 8th March 2017 with two of our volunteers.

Donations this week include a selection of Yeovil High School magazines dating from autumn 1947 to autumn 1953. Yeovil High School for Girls was based at 45, The Park, Yeovil. The ‘last ever’ Yeovil High School magazine was produced in Autumn 1973 prior to the school joining with Yeovil (boys) School and Summerleaze Secondary Modern School in 1974 as Westfield Comprehensive School.

The magazines are an education in themselves as they describe the prefects, examinations and the trips out including a visit to Bristol described in French and an expedition to Maiden Castle. There are also further links to Yeovil with trips to see an exhibition of dolls at Denners and in the ‘Old Girls’ Section, a number of girls were working at Aplin & Barrett. There is also some invaluable advice of gym attire!

Intriguingly, the donor had only a short time to complete the entry forms before departing for another appointment; CHAC being just one stop of the day on a lengthy list. However, when we opened up the summer 1948 Edition, we also discovered pieces of paper and two photographs tucked inside. These were a Speech Day; A Carol Service; A list of characters in a play entitled “Prunella or Love in a Dutch Garden,” and the photographs were possibly corresponding images of either the carol service or “Prunella.”

We amended the entry form and sent a copy to the donor. We continue to be amazed and delighted by the objects and associated history that still come to light and which people have the grace to donate to the Centre, in line with our collecting policy.



Examples from a recent donation of Yeovil High School Magazines. Note the Motto: “Palma Non Sine Pulvere” = Victory not without toil or ‘Dare to Try’ which seems to be the motto of many schools at the time. The pupil’s name and Class is also a great ‘human interest’ connection.