Tag Archives: exhibitions

The problem of the Nankeen trousers

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

We started out early on Monday as staff from the Somerset Archives arrived to collect 153 Local Council Ledgers for deposit in the Somerset Heritage Centre (SHC).

We had envisaged them needing most of the day to go through the ledgers as the SHC is closed on Mondays, allowing the staff to travel over to us. However, after only an hour all the ledgers were loaded up into their van and the paperwork was completed. The ledgers would then be checked back at the SHC. The Archivist was grateful to everyone for the considerable preparation work put in by CHAC staff and volunteers; particularly one volunteer which noted the details of each ledger on pink paper slips, placing these inside each front cover.

Volunteer help has also proven essential in the preparation of a Jane Austen-themed display as part of National Libraries Week. One of our costume volunteers suggested having images of costume in the CHAC Collection from the Jane Austen period (1775-1817) alongside quotes from the author, which mention these items of costume. This was a particularly enjoyable display to create because of the collaborative nature. Our volunteer wrote up the quotes and highlighted corresponding items from the collection. Staff then typed up these quotes into captions and scanned the relevant images of the costume.

The Nankeen trousers were particularly difficult to photograph as they are rather ‘bright’ white and made of a stout, cotton material. We initially tried to photograph them on a background of acid-free tissue. However, the camera did not seem to be able to focus on the monotone backing. Staff then suggested a black, plastizote sheet backdrop. This really proved effective as it provided a superb contrast to the white material.

We hope to have this display in Yeovil Library from Wednesday 11th October 2017.

Detail on the Nankeen Trousers

Nankeen trousers (1790-1820) Nankeen (Nankin) was a stout cotton, usually of brownish-yellow colour named after Nanking, its place of origin. It was sometimes used for footwear as well.

The Watsons, p.345 – Lord Osborne tells Emma Watson…”You should wear half-boots…Nothing sets off a neat ankle more than a half-boot; nankin galoshed with black looks very well..”







Non-Conformist Norton

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

We completed our new “Student’s Choice” exhibition last week and will now inform our students involved with the possibility of taking a photograph with everyone involved to celebrate the great achievement.

Last weekend saw the 2017 Wessex Truck Show roll into the Yeovil Showground with around 600 trucks on site. CHAC staff were present with a display of photographs in the model marquee. The photographs dated from the 1950s to the 1980s and featured delivery trucks and construction sites to fit in with the show and serve as a channel for raising awareness of the collection and the work we do in the community. Around 25 people came to see us directly with visitors from Taunton, Radstock and ‘born and bred’ Yeovilians! Staff also had a collection of toy trucks to show small children and families the different types of trucks available from a tipper truck to a forklift truck.

One of our visitors this week came from Norton Sub Hamdon local history group requesting information on non-conformist religion in their village of ‘Norton.’ This was a great two-way sharing of information as the enquirer had two small booklets, with one complied by the local Women’s Institute that we had not seen before.

Our trusty Kelly’s Directories from 1910; 1923; 1935 and 1939 also proved useful once again, particularly to confirm and enhance the enquirer’s existing information. One example was the change over these times in the people and trades in the village and in a specific case the occupier of a home living next door to one of the chapels.

The Somerset County History Volume III with the chapter on Stoke Sub Hamdon by R.W. Dunning was also a valuable source of information, especially with the one part entitled “Nonconformity.”

Our next project will be a 30th Anniversary of Yeovil Library Display and 3 talks over the next 3 months – plus work on our Small Grant Big Improvement display cases and the 2018 Yeovil Calendar!

Leyland Tipper125 1

 One of the newly discovered images used in our Wessex Truck Show Display during the building of the Quedam Shopping Centre in 1984.


Order of the Garter

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

Staff have completed arranging our new annual exhibition at Yeovil Town Council Building in Union Street. This is entitled “Student’s Choice” and comprises the objects chosen by our group of Yeovil College University Centre students. These include a leather bag used to collect rent by a member of the Harris family and a small Vesta case with a tiny photograph advertising a local bicycle agent.

Staff and volunteers are also in the process of finalising the Yeovil 2018 Calendar with a few tweaks here and there and discussions over the front cover!

Staff will also be present at this weekend’s Wessex Truck Show with a historical photographic display of trucks around Yeovil from the 1950s to the 1980s. The aim is to use the truck theme as a channel to share and generate interest in local heritage and hopefully raise awareness of CHAC and the collections.

We also discovered a notable find during our volunteering day on Wednesday. Two volunteers help us to look after and monitor the costume collection. In one small box was a garter dating from the 18th century, which was in a rather poor state. We did not have a record of any previous condition on our database, so therefore completed a detailed analysis on this occasion.

Last week we reported on the excavations at Lufton Roman Villa but forgot to include the link to the Blog page. To rectify this, the Blog link is below:



Rover’s Return

Another exciting, intriguing and varied week at South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, near Yeovil – with a transport-related theme!

One of the highlights this week was a visit from an enqurier researching Percy Winsor Ltd of Vicarage Street, Yeovil and specifically the Rover P4 motor car, purchased by Percy Winsor.

This was particularly exciting as the researcher now owns this car and visited in the said Rover to our Centre. This was exciting for many reasons; firstly as we work everyday and enjoy working with historical objects and people ‘from the past’, we were delighted to ‘meet’ a living link to a person and a company that was well-known and widely regarded in Yeovil; secondly, this was especially superb for me as a link to ‘my other job’ writing on tractor-related subjects to discover another link and more information on someone I thought I knew. The central point was a reminder to staff that Museums and acquiring knowledge is a ‘two-way-street’ and we should never stop learning or appreciating ‘hidden gems’ of information, or what could happen to turn up next.

Percy Winsor Ltd were a leading supplier of Ferguson (and later Massey Ferguson) tractors, combine harvesters and balers, based at the site formerly occupied by MotherCare in the Quedam Shopping Centre. They were taken over by South Western Farmers and employees moved to Crewkerne, Somerset, in 1966. It is understood, Percy retired at this stage and he died in 1972 and is buried in Yeovil cemetary.

Interestingly, our enqurier had a love of ‘old’ Rover cars as a first boyfriend owned one! When looking for a new project, this Rover came up for sale and they were unaware of the Yeovil Connection until a search of previous owners through the DVLA led to the first owner, Percy Winsor. Interestingly, this was an ‘old’ model when purchased in 1964 as a newer Rover was available at the time, possibly reflecting that Percy was something of a traditionalist!

After a seven-year search, our enquirer was able to tell us the following:

I now own and have restored his Rover P4 110 car that Percy bought from Males Garage in Yeovil in 1964. It has taken me 7 years to trace him as the original owner and am delighted to find such provenance. I believe that some of the 75 employees that worked there may still be alive and used to meet to remember the old days.

He visited Canada in 1950 via a Cunard White Star Cruise liner perhaps to visit relatives but he also seems to have met up with Ferguson bosses and Massey bosses, they joined together and Percy came back with a massive contract! His wife Winifred Ivy Winsor appears in a Massachusetts directory with a few details that are close but not totally the same. Also, they were getting on a bit when they bought this car but managed to clock up 48,000 miles in the 7 years preceding their deaths.

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In a transport-related week, Karen Field, the current owner of a Rover P4 110 car bought by Percy Winsor from Males Garage in Yeovil in 1964 and our Centre Display at the 2015 Wessex Truck Show!