Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Twine of Our Lives

IMG_1686 1Staff and Volunteers enjoyed a memorable visit to Dawe’s Twine Works and the Coker Rope and Sail Trust at West Coker, near Yeovil, Somerset on Wednesday 20th June 2018.

Ross Aitken and his helpers provided a warm welcome and insightful guided tour.

This was the first time most volunteers had visited the site, which featured on the BBC’s Restoration Village series of programmes.

We were shown the workings of the Twine Works and learnt of its wider significance to the local, national and international community. The 1927 Shanks Oil engine was just one of the highlights.

Visitors are welcome on the fourth Saturday of every month – 10am – 4pm and at other times by appointment.

West end of West Coker BA22 9AU

The Heritage Lottery Fund is funding completion of Dawe’s restoration.




Picture of the Week

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

We completed our last NHS 70th Anniversary workshop with the Arts Co-Ordinator for Yeovil Hospital and Hospital Placement Student at Yeovil District Hospital on Tuesday; our volunteers were photographed for Volunteers Week starting at the beginning of June 2018 and we enjoyed a tour with two visitors.

While researching images for our annual calendar, we found the following photograph of the former quarrying equipment at Ham Hill.

Visits and tours always welcome – (01935) 462886 for more details.

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Historic Gold

One of our most enjoyable recent activities was providing a ‘historical reflections’ talk for Queen Camel’s first community evening on Saturday 28th April 2018 at 7.30pm.

The talk was based on the objects and photographs related to Queen Camel cared for at South Somerset District Council Community Heritage Access Centre (CHAC).

One of the most popular objects was a case book belonging to District Nurse Bessie Goldney, compiled between 1944 and around 1967, recording births around the Queen Camel district.

This provided a fascinating insight into life at the time – particularly as there were only 5 five cars in the village of Queen Camel at the time and one of these belonged to Bessie!

More on Bessie next time.

Our next NHS 70 Years Anniversary Workshops at CHAC are on the 16th and 17th May 2018 – please contact (01935) 462886 for more information; or Caroline Barnes on (07834) 986 462

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District Nurse around Queen Camel – Bessie Goldney photographed around 1944.

Community Costume

South Somerset District Council Community Heritage Access Centre is an off-site store with Accredited Museum Status near Yeovil, open by appointment.

The collection comprises around 25,000 objects and 6,000 photographs. Objects range from a 4th Century mosaic pavement to one of the latest Yeovil Town Football Club programmes. Photographs span among the earliest stereoscopic views of Hendford, Yeovil from 1860 to a ‘Street by Street’ Survey completed in 1993.

The current Costume and Textile Collection has its origins in the collections belonging to the old Yeovil Museum and the Museum of South Somerset (1989-2011).

Some items were donated by (a) private collectors of costume (who often collected from outside the area (b) local individuals; families or organisations

After the introduction of a Collecting Policy in 1991, only items relating to Yeovil and South Somerset were to be accepted. This policy continues today.

The bulk of the collection consists of:

  • Women’s day and evening wear; wedding dresses; some men’s wear (civilian services) and infant wear including christening gowns.
  • Accessories such as hats; shoes; parasols; purses and gloves
  • Underwear and foundation garments
  • Dolls
  • Lace items and samples
  • Embroidered samplers.

There are significantly more women’s clothes than men’s; very few working clothes or children’s wear. The earliest items date back to the 18th Century.

The Gloving Collection. This forms an important part of the collection and consists not only of gloves, but also of equipment relating to the gloving industry and gloving design.

There are many examples of gloves manufactured in Yeovil and the surrounding area associated with such firms as Clothier and Giles; Ricketts and Southcombes of Stoke sub Hamdon.

There are long evening gloves of white kid; sheepskin mitts; golfing gloves to name but a few!

One of our eight volunteers is also helping us to conserve and document the costume collection. This involves going through the collection, box by box and removing each item from the old acid-free tissue; taking a condition photograph; noting any evident tears or stains and replacing the item in new acid free tissue.

For further information on the Community Heritage Access Centre, please contact us:South Somerset District Council, Community Heritage Access Centre, 7 Artillery Road, SSDC Lufton Depot, Lufton, Yeovil, Somerset, BA22 8RP. (01935) 462886.


Fabric style of dress 1820-1830. Not a toy – probably a piano doll (to stand on the top of a piano). Information provided by the West of England Costume Society.

We would be grateful for further information on this item.

What A Relief

We have enjoyed a busy month at South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre near Yeovil.

At the end of February, we hosted the Mid-Somerset Curators and Archivists Meeting with 16 members in attendance.

During the afternoon tours, one of the delegates’ favourite objects was the Relief Map of the south west of England. This was a gift from William Wyndham Esq, the founder of Yeovil’s first official museum in 1928. The relief map stretches from Hinton Charterhouse near Bath down to the Exe Estuary near Exmouth, Devon and across to Dorchester, Dorset. Of particular interest are the sites of historical interest marked on the map including Muchelney Abbey and the height of the major ranges of hills; The Quantocks; Mendips; Blackdowns and the Brendons.

We understand the large relief map was formerly in Hollands House, now part of Yeovil College, when Leonard Hayward was History Master. We would be grateful for any further information or memories related to this fascinating object in the CHAC Collection.


Our Area – a close-up of the Relief Map showing the area around Yeovil. The Map was manufactured by George Philip & Son Ltd London – the scale is Horizontal – 1 inch to 1 mile and Vertical 1 inch to 800ft.

We are also holding a memory gathering morning related to the NHS and the hospital in Yeovil on Saturday 21st April 10.30am – 12.30pm. This is part of a project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund to celebrate 70 years of the National Health Service.

Please contact (01935) 462886 for more details.


Stitch in Time

DSCN5417 1Our volunteers continue to help us at South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, (CHAC) near Yeovil.

One of the key areas is checking of costume items for possible mould and then re-packing with new acid-free tissue. Somewhere in between, ‘condition’ photographs are taken as a reference point for future condition monitoring. The images are then placed on our Database alongside the individual record, which also helps with accurate documentation and public research visits.

An even simpler, but no less important task is adding missing, vital detail to an item. One recent example was a Yeovil school tie without the length or width on the record. Ten minutes later, we had both recorded, while staff were able to complete other assignments.

Some other recently ‘condition’ checked costume items from the CHAC Collection.

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