Tag Archives: community

Propelling the Commemoration

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

The week started with a call from a Western Gazette photographer requesting to photograph objects related to the Battle of Babylon Hill in 1642; as 7th September 2017 was the 375th Anniversary of this local ‘minor skirmish’ of the English Civil War.

We were able to illustrate the story with a Cromwellian sword dating from the time of the battle and a notable photograph taken by local historian, Leslie Brooke. This was a photograph of a painting, which was lost in the Town Hall Fire of 1935, which shows Parliamentarian Forces assembling at St. John’s Church.

On Thursday, following on from the photographer’s visit, we arranged to meet a colleague of the photographer, from the Somerset Live Group, in a lay by on Babylon Hill. The lay by in question has a memorial made of Ham Stone with an inscription commemorating the 350th Anniversary of the Battle of Babylon Hill in 1992. We then completed a live to social media interview using a mobile phone mounted on a ‘selfie-stick’ – a first for CHAC!

The questions around commemoration of the Battle were very interesting, particularly as staff had copied a colour poster produced for the re-enactment of the Battle for the 350th Anniversary in 1992. One of the questions asked was “what do we think would happen for the 400th Anniversary.” This is interesting when compared with how many people know about the existence of the Commemorative Stone in the lay by and what is taught in local schools. Clearly, commemorations are important and ways to remember events, but also may only happen at significant anniversaries and therefore only every 10-25 years, when something could be mentioned every year.

We were also grateful for the response to last week’s BLOG, when we asked the question if anyone knew about the “Propeller-driven car” in Yeovil. We were delighted to receive a response highlighting a video clip taken by Pathe News reel (no less!) explaining “Mr Robins driving his propeller-driven car.” Our enquirer was ‘over the moon’ to receive this confirmation as he had told many people but had never met anyone with details to substantiate this story.

Staff also enjoyed a tour of Brympton d’Evercy House, courtesy of the Yeovil Archaeological and Local History Society (YALHS) and more of this next week!

We also have a link to an interesting project involving local artists and local museums:

https:// musemakers.wordpress.com

The 2018 Yeovil Calendar will soon be available – all enquiries to (01935) 462886

One of our other recently checked items from the CHAC Costume Collection.

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A Notable Address

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

One of the main themes so far is the number of visitors attending with local history enquiries.

The first gentleman left a message on our answer phone requesting information on the Summer House, on the top of Summer House Hill. Staff welcomed the enquirer on the same day and together found an aerial image taken in 1961, looking down on the Summer House, which we had not seen before.

The following day, Yeovil Tourist Information Centre telephoned staff as a visitor was travelling back from Cornwall to Ireland and was interested to see the selection of Petter stationary engines cared for at CHAC. The enquirer owned a Petter M-Type stationary engine. The gentleman was dropped off by his daughter and in thirty minutes had not only viewed the stationary engines, but also the Nautilus Grate; Horseless Carriage engine and the Petometer adding machine.

On Wednesday, we shared one of our Volunteer’s birthdays with a visitor from Gloucester, whose Father had a long career in the local gloving industry, especially with Clothier Giles. The lady donated a plaque from the National Union of Glovers Registered Offices (1898); a photograph of Clothier Giles 1938 Carnival Tableau and two photographs of Clothier Giles Premises in 1976, shortly before closure.

Staff knew this visitor was of some renown. This was confirmed when the enquirer said they would write their ‘work address’ in our Visitor Book. After their departure, staff looked and found “House of Lords.”

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One of our recently scanned images – does anyone remember these photographs being taken – or know any one of the ‘practising bricklayers?’

 

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!

 

 

Scraping Home

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

So far this week, we are fulfilling the ‘Community’ part of our name. We have helped Ham Hill Visitor Centre with a selection of handling objects for a new display on Romans and Quarrying; we have met with a representative from Yeovil District Hospital interested in our loans box service for schools and how this can be used for reminiscence sessions with patients and we agreed a date for our next group of Yeovil College Degree Level Students to start in November 2016 to see how we can help with their English and History Courses.

We also held our autumn 2016 Archaeological Finds Afternoon with the Somerset Finds Liaison Officer (FLO).

The Somerset FLO is based in Taunton but has a number of ‘finders’ across Somerset. A busy timetable means it is difficult seeing everyone, particularly those in Yeovil. The idea is to see three or four ‘finders’ in one location in 30-minute slots. This helps local people to access this service and also to speed up the process of identifying archaeological material and returning items to people.

On this occasion, two particularly notable flint scraper blades from the South Somerset area were identified and returned. Flint scrapers were fashioned to scrape animal skin or for processing plant material and were not cutting edges. The earlier scraper dated from the Neolithic period, with the second scraper, more likely from the Bronze Age. Intriguingly, the Finds Liaison Officer informed us that as flint scrapers progressed they actually got cruder in design, which is one way to tell the difference in age.

The Celebrating Yeovil 2017 Calendar is featured in the October 2016 Conduit Magazine.

The scraper blades found in South Somerset which were a fascinating part of our autumn 2016 Archaeological Finds Afternoon, held at CHAC.

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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.

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Gloves made by Clothier Giles of Yeovil.

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

CHAC Commemorates WWI Centenary

It’s been all quiet on the blogging front here at CHAC for a few weeks whilst we concentrate on our WWI Centenary Commemorations, however this does mean we have lots to blog about!

On the 4th of August, The Centenary of the outbreak of War, CHAC lead two sessions of children’s activities at two of the community halls in Yeovil. The activities included “poppy pom-pom” making, post-card decorating, emulating the sorts of postcards that may have been sent home from the trenches, and “trench art”.  All three activities we very popular, especially the post cards and the trench art. We also asked the children what makes them happy, and what words of encouragement they would give to thier families if they were soldiers fighting away from home, which made for some very heartfelt messages. Here are just some examples of all the creative things that came out of the sessions.

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Our “Trench Art” was inspired by the idea of soldiers in the trenches creating art works and mementos out of general rubbish they found in the trenches. Our trench art, however, was made from discarded cereal packets and loo roll tubes rather than shells and shrapnel!

 

On the Thursday of the same week, CHAC were back out again in the community with the first of our WWI community lectures. The first lecture was held at the South Street Day Centre in the heart of Yeovil and focused on different aspects of industry in South Somerset around the outbreak of war.

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Its never easy to compete with a beautiful sunny day, but never-the-less the lecture sparked some very interesting conversations and we were able to find out more about the family history of one South Somerset resident, who’s great uncle emigrated to Canada in order to sign up after being turned away by the British Army!

 

Our next lecture is being held on the 4th of September at Milford Community Hall in Yeovil.

We hope to see you there!