Tag Archives: 1950s

A very telling photograph

A busy and exciting week since our last posting at South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, near Yeovil.

We enjoyed the company of the Somerset Finds Liaison Officer from Taunton for our Archaeological Finds Afternoon and we have received donations related to Seavington St. Michael, near South Petherton and World War Two Instructions given to H.C.C. Batten, Yeovil Town Clerk.

We also experienced a strange occurence just before Easter, when we discovered a strange odour from a photograph in our collection. We are in the process of digitizing our photographic collection and during this process, the rather intriguing aroma occurred. The golden rule is never to sniff anything that is uncertain, as the effect can be hazardous. We did take a little close attention to determine the type of odour, which was closest to an adhesive aroma. Interestingly, this was the first time this had happened after around 500 photographs. Therefore this seemed to rule out, the actual scanning causing the problem, or the change in temperature from the store to the research room; which would suggest something in the photograph itself.

Therefore, we sought professional advice – and as we had scanned the photograph, we could email a copy of the ‘offending’ item across.

We isolated the image in a metal cabinet and this is some of the advice we received.

It wasn’t a camphor type odour? That’s an aromatic smell – think of camphor wood and old mothballs (not the naptha type).

If it was more of an animal-glue type smell, then it may well have been the remains of an adhesive you’re smelling, which might imply it’s a little damp. However, I don’t think anyone would have applied that to the surface of the image. It might be a varnish, which would have been used on a wet plate collodion image and would usually be shellac or a mix of natural resins including sandarac.

Is the image a negative or positive, and is it on glass, metal, paperor flexible clear film? Is there any discolouration or is it black and white (black and clear?)

I’ve copied this to our wonderful photo conservator to see what she thinks.

The photograph in question:623421

Lufton Roman Villa excavations, 1951





Hand in Glove

Another busy, energetic and exciting week at South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, near Yeovil.

Our new exhibition on the ‘Early Years of Westland’ is now in place in The Town House, Union Street, Yeovil and we have just received an exciting donation of gloves.

If there is one area of our collection we are always keen to receive, this would be gloves and gloving. Many people living in Yeovil today or the casual visitor will associate the town with Agusta Westland and the production of helicopters. However, Yeovil was responsible for around half of England’s glove production up to the 1950s and the donation which recently came in reflects this time.

Clothier Giles Ltd Glove Manufacturers were based in Addlewell Lane, Yeovil and were a leading glove producer at the time. The 12 pairs of gloves were made by Clothier Giles, which is something in itself and sufficient in terms of our collecting policy, but the donor was able to supply more superb detail and provenance.

Like the clock from Preston Road Methodist Church we looked at in a previous blog, the existing detail is significant, but this was heightened by the knowledge that these gloves were samples taken around by salesman to try to establish sales with shops and businesses. In addition, the donor’s wife also worked in the office of Clothier Giles as a secretary. This level of detail provides an extra degree of insight and social history, which places the already eye-catching designs, in a wider, intriguing context and provides another source of information when visitors enjoy a research visit to CHAC.

Not wishing to forget, of course, that there are a number of different designs of glove, in the 12 pairs donated, literally showing the variety of materials, techniques and stitches involved in glove production at the time. From fancy cuffs, to fine leather pointing and warm mittens, the gloves reflect the time, when the phrase ‘fit like a glove’ meant what it said and reflects our collecting policy and context go ‘hand in hand.’ (Or hand in glove!) We are also grateful (as ever) for donations with a Yeovil and South Somerset Connection and especially in this case, where the donation was ‘handed in!’

Upcoming events include our Storytelling for the Summer Reading Challenge at Yeovil Library on Thursday 20th August 2015 at 10am on a local history and helicopter theme! Hope to see you there.

CHAC Gloves 3 (2) DSCN1857

Gloves made by Clothier Giles of Yeovil.


Our new ‘product line’ of Greetings Cards and our ‘Remember First World War Booklets’