Tag Archives: archives

Going Swimmingly

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

One of the highlights was our recent Photo Afternoon on the subject of schools. During the 2-hour time slot, three people attended and the subject of swimming pools came up with memories of the Yeovil pool completed in 1963.

We had available a photograph album showing the construction of this pool around 1961, with many local landmarks, including Douglas Seaton’s white tower, in the background.

One of these images is reproduced below – showing the “North End of Site – 31st August 1961.”

We would be grateful to hear from anyone with photographs of this swimming pool – inside or out!

We also welcomed 17 members of the Mid-Somerset Curators and Archivists Group on Thursday – many for the first time. A report back on this great occasion in our next BLOG – including the Somerset Relief Map as one of the highlights!

Yeovil Swimming Pool Construction 1961“North end of Site 31 August 1961” Construction of Yeovil Swimming Pool

(C) South Somerset District Council, Community Heritage Access Centre, not to be reproduced without permission (01935) 462886




The Banner of Life

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One of the great aspects about being the co-ordinator at South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre is the variety of sources we have available to assist the public with enquiries.

These include objects, documents and photographs but as staff are learning through the help of our volunteers,  another valuable source is the wonderful selection of costume. This features a notable array of banners and samplers, which are currently being checked for condition and re-packed.

The two examples are from a set of four school house banners from Grass Royal Secondary School in the period 1939-1971 and we understand were made by school teacher and archery champion,  Marion Felix.

In another request for information, can anyone tell us what happened to the canon or Howitzer gun that used to be in Bides Gardens. We have at least one photograph that shows the canon at the Princes Street entrance to Bides Gardens, possibly in the 1950s – therefore suggesting it was not melted down for the ‘War Effort.’

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Propelled to Preston

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

One of the highlights was a visit from an enquirer interested in having some glass items identified. These fragments of bottle and window glass were unearthed in their garden in Preston Plucknett. Staff suggested bringing these in to be photographed. The photographs could then be emailed to the Somerset Finds Liaison Officer (FLO) near Taunton, so they can provide an initial assessment. Sending ‘preparatory images’ is very useful for the FLO as they can gain some insight, instead of simply seeing the items ‘cold’ for the very first time. This also speeds up the identification process, which is essential when four finders are waiting to be seen.

CHAC staff also accept archaeological material for identification when the Somerset FLO is not actually present to send on to Taunton for identification. However, in this case, the FLO is due to be in Yeovil shortly and the enquirer aims to meet them in person on this occasion.

During the conversation, staff discovered that the enquirer was related to the owner of the propeller-driven car and even had some additional photographs of the car in action and interestingly, not so active!

The 2018 Celebrating Yeovil Calendar is now available at £6.00 each from Yeovil Tourist Information Centre, Petters Way; The Emporium, Princes Street and ourselves at the Community Heritage Access Centre, (01935) 462886.



The original of this postcard is labelled “Preston Plucknett around 1925″ but can anyone tell us which direction the photographer was facing?



Why I Volunteer

This week we reflect on volunteering through our Volunteer Co-Ordinator.

There are various reasons why I decided to volunteer after I retired; to meet new people; be involved in a subject I am interested in and doing something completely different.

The completely different one is parkrun; a 5k run every Saturday morning around the parkland of a National Trust House. Before we get carried away, I don’t run; I marshal, time keep, give out tokens and keep a check that everything is going smoothly. My daughter and grandchildren in Edinburgh are the ‘fit family.’ They run, swim, cycle and take part in their nearest parkrun. Being involved in my local park run makes me feel close to her for an hour or so every Saturday morning. With my daughter living in Scotland, perhaps you can understand why I feel closer to her.

Volunteering number 2 – I am a tour guide at the above National Trust house. I take people around the outside of the house and for 50 minutes give them a condensed history of the house and its occupants. This is where my love of history and amateur dramatics comes into its own.

Volunteering number 3 – An active steward at a local museum. Again, this involves meeting people and sharing knowledge of the town, our artefacts and the enthusiasm of our collectors.

Volunteering number 4 –Volunteer Co-ordinator at CHAC

(Community Heritage Access Centre).

Here I am involved with accessioning artefacts, which can be both objects and photographs. I spent nearly two years accessioning documents from a local clergyman, which covered all his life, from school reports to sermons, family photographs and much more. I found this fascinating and it gave me a real insight into the life of a very interesting man. I work with a team of six others, who all have their own speciality, i.e. costume, paintings etc. We work extremely well as a team and are always on hand to answer questions and help each other.

Volunteering is a wonderful way of spending time; I look forward to all my duties and would recommend volunteering to everyone.


A page from the clergyman’s family Ledger – His family owned a bakery in Hendford, Yeovil.


Explore Your Archive

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

The Celebrating Yeovil Calendar 2017 continues to do well thanks to our helpers, including The Courtyard Cafe, Market Street and The Emporium, Princes Street.

The main focus of our BLOG this week is to highlight the tours we have planned as part of Explore Your Archive Week. Details of which are below!

Explore Your Archive Week

As part of Explore Your Archive Week

The Community Heritage Access Centre, Artillery Road, Yeovil, BA22 8RP

will be holding two Afternoon Tours on

Friday 25th November 2016

2.00pm – 3.00pm

3.00pm – 4.00pm

Maximum of 20 people per tour

Booking is essential

Please contact (01935) 462886

Or email: heritage.services@southsomerset.gov.uk

Refreshments available : £2.50


One of our recently scanned photographs.


Fit for a Princes

Another busy and involving week since our last posting from South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, near Yeovil.

Highlights this week have included preparing items for loan to Bruton Museum, another accredited  site- with condition photographs taken and objects wrapped to support them during transit.

Staff have also met with a Mentor for their Associateship of the Museums Association (AMA)

One of the key public enquiries so far came in the form of historical information regarding 24-28 Princes Street, Yeovil, following the discovery of a photograph showing this to be a piano dealer at one time.

One of our favourite aspects at CHAC is helping to answer enquiries using the resources available to us in the collection.

The first thought was before using precious time to find all the images of Princes Street, we determined exactly where 24-28 Princes Street was located, in relation to other buildings in the Street. We achieved this by looking through the Peall & Co Estate Agent Index Cards. This former estate agent series of drawers includes all the properties dealt with by the Agents and is helpfully catalogued from A-Z. Searching in the drawer for ‘P’ we found ’24 Princes Street’ and an image on the Index Card of 24 Princes Street dated 18.2.1998 showing  John Hart and Partners Opticians. This relatively recent image helped us further to appreciate how things have changed in a relatively short space of time.

One of the most enjoyable parts of the search is then comparing and contrasting this source with another, that might be slightly older. Always trying to go back further with supporting evidence is crucial. Helpfully, we then turned to the planning documents and discovered “Plan No: 8696 Alteration to entrance door, Ryburn House, Princes Street for J. Hart.” Interestingly this had handwritten underneath “16.8.66 work not carried out.” Therefore, we were able to link something that was familiar in the photograph with a new piece of evidence in the documents – that was waiting to be discovered and brought together by the enquiry.

The benefit of having digital images of our photographs on our collection database soon became apparent when we searched under ‘Princes Street’ and there revealed was a photograph showing the end of a building with ‘Piano Dealer’ in the window.

Staff also discovered that in 1923 a Mrs A M Castle, Grocer was at 24 Princes Street.

Leslie Brooke in his “Yeovil History in Street Names” notes the following: “By 1853, the name Princes Street replaced “Cattle Market” – a more dignified title to a street which by then contained premises of a substantial character housing some of the more prosperous businessman of the town – thereby removing the anomaly of a street being partly in three separate manors so far as addresses were concerned. One wonders whether the new name commemorated the Prince Consort, despite the omission of an apostrophe, or whether it was in honour of the two infant princes, Edward and Alfred.”

Evidence used in the 24-28 Princes Street Enquiry – Photograph Courtesy of Peall & Co Ltd.

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