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.)

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