Monthly Archives: April 2017

The Grand Plan

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

Highlights so far have included meeting a Yeovil College Degree Centre Student to discuss the booklet they have designed for our new exhibition starting in June 2017 and a photograph of wounded service men with nursing staff in the grounds of Yeovil Hospital. This image is particularly intriguing, as some of the service men are holding a rabbit or a small dog. The enquiry from the Dementia Care Team at Yeovil Hospital asked permission to use the image to show how animals were used to help in the rehabilitation of wounded soldiers.

We are also holding our next Finds Afternoon today – feedback next time.

We also came to document and accession two plans of Hendford Manor this week, which highlighted the great connections some donations can hold.

The plans were drawn by Dennis Michael Berryman in 1948, when we understand Hendford Manor was converted inside into offices. We were informed Dennis Berryman became the Area Planning Officer. The plans show an incredible level of detail down to stairs inside and fountains in the ornamental garden. What we enjoy with different sources is the ability to compare and contrast, as we have one or two images of the garden before the construction of the Johnson Hall, latterly the Octagon Theatre and showing the former Museum of South Somerset in the (as detailed on the plan) “Coach House.”

The key aspect of the plan is to show all of these details in context and on one piece of paper – then to look back at the photographs – especially the one of a Westland Dragonfly helicopter landing in the grounds of Hendford Manor! We wonder if there are any photographs of the “Fountain” or “Fish Tank” in an album somewhere.

The superb aspect of this particular donation is that we have a photograph of Dennis Michael Berryman – intriguingly helping out on one of Leonard Hayward’s excavations at Lufton Mosaic in “1946-1947.”

Therefore, we wonder at the age of the young man in the photograph and the progression he made to produce the plans of Hendford Manor in December 1948.

Examples of the Hendford Manor Plans drawn by Dennis Michael Berryman in December 1948
Hendford Manor Berryman645
Hendford Manor was built around 1750 for James Hooper and enlarged in the 19th Century by Edwin Newman; both were solicitors.
(Courtesy of Hayward, L.C., From Portreeve to Mayor, the growth of Yeovil 1750-1854, Castle Cary Press, 1987.)

Patten of Life

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

So far this week, we have helped two students from Yeovil College University Centre with their project on Henry Stiby; discovered the background to Kingsbury Episcopi Time Travellers Group’s First World War Project and received the two supporting poles for the Horsington Friendly Society Banner.

In a busy upcoming diary, the date for Yeovil Library’s “Horrible Histories” event is due to be Tuesday 30th May 2017, 10am-1pm and we are due to be present with an initial plan at the moment entitled “What’s In The Box?”

One of the exciting highlights were three pairs of shoes, which came back off loan from Bruton Museum. As an Accredited Museum, CHAC can loan objects of interest to other local Accredited Museums. This raises the profile of CHAC and helps other museums to show a variety of different objects and photographs.

Bruton Museum has a changing, temporary display area called “Case Space.” CHAC recently loaned a pair of bright red Mary Quant plastic boots; a pair of ladies open-toed, wedge sandals and an intriguing pair of pattens. These look like a leather sandal on the top, with a large metal ring screwed to the wooden base, perhaps with the idea to walk over muddy ground. The fascinating element was contained in a handwritten note accompanying the pattens. This highlighted that the ‘shoes’ were made near Wedmore in 1920 for a lady; but the lady died before she could wear them.

Any more information on these would be gladly received – particularly if we have patten spelt correctly as some versions have one ‘T’ and some have two!

In another Bruton – Yeovil connection, during the visit of the Horsington Friendly Society donors, we talked about our recent Volunteer outing to Bruton Museum and one of the “star attractions” being John Steinbeck’s writing slope. As it turned out, the donor’s wife, typed up Steinbeck’s manuscripts when Steinbeck lived near Bruton and several pupils from the local school went to see the ‘Great American Author’ when they were actually studying “Of Mice and Men.”

Steinbeck’s love of Bruton is underlined that when passing away, his wife wrote a note with the question: “When were we happiest?” and Steinbeck is reputed to have answered by writing: “Bruton.”


A pair of pattens (or patens?) made in Blackford, near Wedmore in 1920. More information and insights gratefully received!

Registering Our Success

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

Carrying on, from where we left off, the two enquirers with a shared interest in the Ship Café, Earle Street, Yeovil met at CHAC on Friday 7th March 2017 and shared memories together of growing up around the town. Two photograph albums were particularly helpful as they showed the area around Earle Street and Vincent Street before, during and after the Quedam Shopping Centre was built.

The particular reminiscences were great to hear, including remembering the blue and white diamond pattern table cloths; an especially fine coffee, which was a ‘trademark’ of the Ship Café and the staff behind the counter, which were the one enquirer’s relatives!

This Monday we were joined by a Yeovil College University Centre Student to complete a CHAC display for our regular Yeovil Library Window slot. This was on the theme of Registrars and Registration in Yeovil from around 1830 to the modern-day. This was a superb exercise as the student completed all the text and captions and requested copies of certain photographs to illustrate the locations of the buildings which historically housed the registration departments.

This collaborative project fulfilled two aims; to provide our next Library Window Display and the student with a practical piece of actual evidence for their coursework.

On Tuesday, staff and volunteers were made welcome at Bruton Museum and the nearby Hauser and Wirth Art Gallery for our Volunteer Outing. We were blessed with the weather and John Steinbeck’s writing desk and some were also able to enjoy the delights of Cole Manor Tea Rooms around one mile from Bruton.


The display on the history of Registrars and Registration in Yeovil created by a Yeovil College University Centre Student.


Meeting of Memories

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

So far, we have welcomed two District Council Colleagues on tours of the Centre. This was especially useful for staff as one tour highlighted the treadle sewing machines, which brought to mind a relative’s role as an outworker in the local gloving industry. The second tour revealed an interest in aerial photographs, so the 1948 black and white aerial image of Huish Football Ground and the colour image of Reckleford were of particular interest. Intriguingly, the Reckleford image showed a completed Yeovil Hospital, so was after 1973, but still showed the Huish Football Ground, so was therefore taken before 1992.

One of the key elements Centre staff expressed was the Collecting Policy and how this has become much more stringent over the years! We also explained the constant reminder that objects are from the public, for the benefit of the whole community.

We also met our prospective Work Experience Student for two days in July this year. Like the two staff tours, they were also surprised by the range of objects cared for at the centre.

All three tours raised what may seem simple questions, but are important to follow-up. These included: “What type of handle is that on the Denner and Stiby Knife”; “Is William Wyndham, the provider of Yeovil’s first Museum related to the Wyndham in ‘Wyndham Hill’ and “Can you loan dresses out to a film company for extra income?”

The last question is covered by our Accreditation standards and the original agreement signed by the donor of the item. Other ethical issues raised by the question need more consideration, to be ready for future tours.

We also enjoyed a co-incidental meeting of memories recently, when two separate enquiries shared a connection to the Ship Café in Earl Street, Yeovil. One enquirer’s relatives owned or worked in the Café and the second enquirer remembers going in for refreshments. We hope to unite the two enquirers today at 3pm. We aim to report back on progress next time!

We also completed the W.H. Slade, Glenville Road Glove Company Enquiry this week, by scanning two planning documents; one from 1920 and a second from 1952 – aspects of which are reproduced below.

Directory 1910 Slade578

In the 1910 Kelly’s Directory, Henry Slade are listed in Reckleford, Yeovil.

1920 Block Plan Glenville Road617

This is the proposed new Factory Site in Glenville Road, Yeovil. The plan is dated 31st January 1920.