Monthly Archives: June 2017

Primary Function

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

One of the highlights was an invitation from our District Council Colleagues to meet with a class from Huish Primary School at the SSDC Headquarters Brympton Way, Yeovil to explain about the different services within the council. Heritage Staff met with colleagues from Environmental Health; Planning; Finance and Elections to each provide a 10 minute presentation on what we do and how it helps the community.

Heritage Staff explained about CHAC and the objects and photographs in the collection and focussed on the gloving industry. Glove finger stretchers from the handling collection were used to explain the importance of checking the quality and strength of the stitches in the glove fingers and due to the handling nature of the objects, the children could test these out – rather than having their fingers stretched – as they initially imagined!

Staff also used the false teeth from what is now Penn Hill Dentist and the former Town Clerk’s wig. These caused a similar reaction to when last used in the Yeovil Library Horrible Histories event!

Staff completed the Heritage talk by showing a copy of a photograph of a Huish Primary School Class in 1924.

CHAC is also planning the next Photo Afternoon shortly!




A Creative Find

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

One of the highlights this week was helping to ‘ethically transfer’ a selection of archaeological material to Ham Hill Country Park.

The assortment of scrapers and Samian ware was originally brought in together with some plans of Hendford Manor and staff were informed that if the items were not wanted they could be disposed of.

‘Disposal’ can be quite a broad term and does not simply mean ‘throw away’ or ‘recycle’ although due to condition, this can be the case. Staff initially thought educational use for community talks or activities. However, upon closer inspection, many of the finds were in envelopes marked in pen with “Ham Hill” or “Chiselborough.”

Therefore, the considered option was to return the 10 envelopes to Ham Hill straight away.

Before this was completed, the finds were shown to the Somerset Finds Liaison Officer (FLO). They had asked to see them, just in case any were worth recording on the national finds database, as part of the Portable Antiquities Scheme. This is important, as the finds could have been transferred straight to Ham Hill, where indeed (according to the envelopes) many of them came from in the first place. The items would then have a key role in educational activities and community engagement projects. However, any significant details about the items; what they are made of; where they are from and perhaps most importantly, how old they are, could become lost if the items were not checked over first. Certainly, CHAC and Ham Hill Staff would only have some knowledge of the items, whereas the FLO could provide much more detailed information.

Therefore, together with the named locations on the envelopes, where possible, the Somerset FLO recorded the key items. Often this could not be completed as ‘Barrow’ was too vague, but ‘Northern Spur Ham Hill’ could be connected to an Ordnance Survey Map grid reference.

At the end of this process, items like a flint scraper, were recorded, photographed and recognised for the key items they are and the information made available to be viewed on a worldwide basis via digital sources. The Finds Officers also aim to have printed reports on the key, recorded items made available and these would be ideal for educational purposes at Ham Hill; especially to help staff keep track of these items with the aid of the photographs, but also to highlight the key features of each item.

Staff from CHAC visited Ham Hill this Thursday with the archaeological items and because of the FLO reports, had a much greater awareness of what was being transferred. Ham Hill Staff were pleased to receive these items and are already planning a visual display with the finds in plastic ID bags provided by CHAC.

Items from the CHAC Handling Collection with a Roman or quarrying theme were also loaned for a display.



One of our recently scanned images, showing Yeovil Town Station, believed to be mid 1960s.

Requests the Pleasure

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

The last seven days have seen a selection of fascinating donations, all of which come within our Collecting Policy of Yeovil and South Somerset. We started with two banners and one tapestry from the United Reformed Church, Yeovil, to be followed by items related to Yeovil School, including the donor’s 6th Form Tie and then a rather intriguing diary with several entries related to the donor’s Mother-in-Law, who ran a business from home, fitting ladies bodices.

We completed the week’s donations with 23 photographs of Yeovil taken in 1969. The photographs were taken specifically by a lady for a ‘Where Am I’ in Yeovil type Quiz. The lady not only took each photograph, but also developed the images in their own dark room and mounted them on individual cards. Each image provides a ‘snapshot’ in time, particularly the photographs of the Electricity Showrooms and the archway through to Frederick Place.

We also enjoyed the company of six people on our latest Photo Afternoon, where the theme was “Royal Observer Corps – ROC” and “Westland.” Two of the attendees were particularly keen to come along as they were former members of the “ROC” at Southwoods in Yeovil. Each person paid £2.00, which included refreshments.

One of the highlights in the recent variety of donations is a letter from the Head Girl of St Gildas Convent School requesting the attendance of boys from Yeovil School to a Dance in 1964:

“Dear Head Boy,

The Upper V requests the pleasure of the company of the boys of the V and VI forms at a Beat Dance to be held in aid of St. Gildas Building Fund on December 16th. As this dance is in aid of a fund, we regret that we shall have to ask you to pay a small entrance fee. Could you please inform us of the number of boys wishing to attend, and we will send the tickets as soon as possible. We would be grateful for your immediate reply.

Head Girl.”

High Ham Highlight

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

We have helped Crewkerne Museum with their forthcoming Travellers and Explorers exhibition by loaning them some items from the C.H.A.C handling collection, including a parasol and late Victorian style ladies boots.

We have also received donations related to Yeovil Glove Company; Yeovil Co-Operative Society and Yeovil High School.

One of this week’s highlights was a talk to High Ham Ladies Group (plus one gentleman!) at the High Ham Village Hall, not far from Langport.

Staff spoke on the recent history of High Ham using the 1910 and 1939 Kelly’s Directories and then explored some of the ‘Hidden Faces of South Somerset’ with links to Petter and Westland with the Horseless Carriage of 1895 and Ben Jacobs and the first aircraft to fly over Mount Everest in 1933 which was a Westland Aircraft. Staff emphasised the rather colourful character of Lady Houston, who provided the financial backing for the expedition.

The real surprise came when staff shared their personal connection with High Ham in the form of their Primary School Group Photograph as their class teacher was from High Ham. When Staff mentioned the teacher’s name, a hand went up at the back to confirm “Yes, I am here, that’s me!”

Our next CHAC Photo Afternoon is Thursday 15th June 2017 at 2pm – £2.00 per person – please book (8-10 places available!) Themes: Royal Observer Corps and Westland.


One of our recently scanned images showing East Street, Crewkerne

Not So Horrible History

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

Tuesday saw our activity as part of Yeovil Library’s “Horrible Histories” morning event for Half Term.

Staff were assisted by volunteers as we related some of the ‘horrible’ connections with local industries, including the ‘finger stretchers’ from the gloving industry and the previously mentioned Town Clerk’s wig first worn in 1949. One of the ‘best’ reactions came with our set of false teeth contained in a small card box marked ‘Dental Surgeons’ which were pioneers in anaesthetics in dentistry and are still to be found on Penn Hill. This was especially useful, as the building could be indicated out of the library window.

Staff also met a student and their family researching their home for a college project during the activity. Shortly after, they came to CHAC and we found an original planning application for their row of houses – prompting a comment in our Visitor’s Book “Amazing – because we found the plans to our house.”

We also celebrated 3 years of volunteering with our volunteer group.

joseph dentures


Staff with the false teeth from “W.F.G. Harvey & J.J.Hinton, Dental Surgeons, 1 Penn Hill, Yeovil, Telephone 509” (Image courtesy of Yeovil Library Staff)