Monthly Archives: May 2017

“Our Local Surprise”

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

Staff attended the Yeovil College University Centre annual conference on Friday 19th May from 1pm to 6pm. This was an enjoyable combination of student talks and presentations based on their final course work assignments. CHAC had loaned a number of blue display boards and the colour co-ordination worked particularly well. The students also made reference to the work they had completed at CHAC in their displays, which was useful publicity in the wider community.

This Thursday, we also enjoyed the company of East Chinnock Gardening Group. 19 members of the group shared a tour of the stores, ably assisted by 4 volunteers. There were many memories prompted by the gloving tools; paintings and especially by the costume items selected and explained by one of our costume volunteers. We were also grateful for the £2 per person and contributions for calendars, books and postcards.

Staff and volunteers also helped to display possibly our key East Chinnock object – the East Chinnock Friendly Society Banner, which we got ready by placing inert foam and acid free tissue underneath and then acid free tissue on top. We completed the tour by viewing the Banner, which we introduced as “our Local Surprise.”

Making the effort to prepare the Banner for display was really worthwhile as the whole group got to see it and appreciate the size and quality of the design. This also helped staff and volunteers to check the overall condition. We noted the fringe was shedding and our conservation contact explained: “It looks as though the edging is a silk border which is shattering – breaking into small rectangular pieces as it ages and becomes more brittle. This is often associated with tin salts which were added to silks to make them stiffer.

The manufacturer has helpfully painted his name in the inscription. They are Edward Riley & Co. Ltd., Manufacturers of Flags and Banners, Ladies’ Skirts, Costumes and Robes, and Military Clothing, Providence Street Mills.”

One of the intriguing elements presented by the Banner is the hand in the middle with a heart shape in the palm.

We were also grateful to East Chinnock Gardening Group as several members wish to make repeat visits to see aspects of the collection in more detail. Many were keen on attending our next Photo Afternoon – just need to confirm the date!

East Chinnock Friendly Society banner

East Chinnock Friendly Society Banner cared for at the Community Heritage Access Centre

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Room for Improvement

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

So far, we have loaned a set of display boards for the Yeovil College University Centre Students Forum and welcomed a representative from the Quedam Shopping Centre interested in a “Then and Now” Photographic Project.

One of our volunteers is also diligently checking through items of costume; photographing and re-packing each item and making suggestions for conservation cleaning.

We have also just received some exciting news, which will definitely make some ‘room for improvement’ and hopefully we can share next time!

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One of our recently digitised images showing Montacute, we believe around 1910.

Written In Denture

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

So far we have shared the company of a Yeovil College Degree Student looking at their project on Henry Stiby and his influence on Yeovil and held our latest Photo Afternoon on the theme of “Yeovil Town Centre -1950-1980.”

We would like to thank Yeovil Library for helping us as the Afternoon was advertised via our historical display in one of the library windows. Three people attended as a result of seeing our note. A couple used to run the Quicksilver Mail in Yeovil and a gentleman enjoyed his time in the Royal Observer Corps. All three loved their time looking through old photographs and were happy with the £2.00 charge for our time and refreshments.

Staff always enjoy sharing memories evoked by the photographs. This continued with details of the lady’s time in the Telephone Exchange on the corner of Clarence Street up until 1960. These memories were enhanced when the gentleman visitor explained his sister had also worked in the Exchange from 1964.

We are now planning our next Photo Afternoon and choosing the next theme – suggestions via the BLOG would be appreciated.

Our next public vent with the help of our volunteers will be a Horrible Histories based activity at Yeovil Library on Tuesday 30th May 2017 from 10am-1pm. We are holding an activity linked to the ‘darker’ side of local industries, illustrated with a selection of main collection and handling objects. References include ‘The Pure’ used in the leather dressing industry and glove trade; a small box from a local dentist and pioneer in the use of anaesthetics and something first worn by a Town Clerk in 1949 right up until 2015. However, helpful information from Yeovil Town Council shows that only four people seem to have worn the item – which is interesting for them and us today, given the nature of the object! To find out more under the heading of “What’s In the Box?” – do come along.

We have also just received an important donation of objects and photographs, which include two group photographs of Robbins Gloving Factory Staff, formerly of Alexandra Road, Yeovil. The second image shows the Robbins Gloving Factory Ladies Football Team around 1935 – more on this next week!

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Some of the objects we hope to have at our “What’s in the Box” themed activity at Yeovil Library on Tuesday 30th May 2017 between 10am-1pm. These include something from a local dentist and the Royal Observer Corps. To find out, please come along!

Collecting Mrs Maudslay

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

Highlights so far have included an enquiry on the history of policing in Yeovil, from a former resident. Coincidentally, our current exhibition in Yeovil Town House is on the subject of historical crime and punishment, so this was a fairly quick enquiry to answer.

We have also received requests for assistance from Crewkerne Museum for their next annual exhibition and Ilchester Museum for their Norman-themed day.

A real gem of a story came in the donation of a pastel portrait. The portrait is of Dorothy Florence Maudslay born in 1892 and died aged 85 in 1977. Her maiden name was Dorothy Florence Fleming and then married Cyril Charles Maudslay, Director of the Maudslay Motor Co. They lived at Coker House, East Coker. Dorothy was very active in village affairs, holding committee meetings of the WI in Coker House and also giving out the prizes at the Yeovil Show. Dorothy was awarded an MBE in 1964.

The North Transept at East Coker Church belonged to the Maudslay Family until the Church took it over in 1985.

We understand the painting was sold at local Auctioneers in 1977 to a local family and then came to a neighbour of the donor. The neighbour passed away in December 2016 and the painting passed to a family member. The family member thought that our donor would like the painting and they then offered “Mrs Maudslay” to CHAC.

Staff enjoyed an exceedingly memorable morning meeting both the donor and the family member and sharing the fond memories the painting evoked. Both the donor and the family member were keen for CHAC to add the pastel portrait to the collection of paintings and artworks. Firstly, for the local person represented to be placed in a local context and secondly, also to highlight the significance of the existing portraits, which contain founders of the gloving industry, bankers, the founder of the first Yeovil Museum and even a Carnival King!

Staff had to explain, though, to colleagues when on the outward journey they had an empty car and then on their return, they had “collected Mrs Maudslay.”

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The portrait is of Dorothy Florence Maudslay born in 1892 and died aged 85 in 1977. We believe the portrait in pastel shows Dorothy around the age of 21 before her marriage – when Dorothy Florence Fleming.

Dorothy and her husband, Cyril Charles Maudslay, lived at Coker House, East Coker.