Tag Archives: learning

Fabric of the Community

DSCN5380 1We have enjoyed a busy and eventful week at South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre (CHAC), near Yeovil.

Highlights have included a talk on the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) from a District Council Colleague for our CHAC Volunteers. We mainly handle names and addresses, but it was good to learn of the implications of the new policies on a personal and institutional level as well as in our own, daily lives.

On Thursday, we welcomed three people on our February Photograph Afternoon, where our theme was ‘School.’ We illustrated the theme with a selection of photographs including an album of Yeovil School, Mudford Road dated 1959, showing various school lessons and activities, like ‘Practical Chemistry’ and ‘The Head Prefect Addressing Assembly.’

We also shared a 1961 colour photograph album of the construction of the swimming pool in Felix Place as one visitor remembered competing in galas there. This also led to clarification of Yeovil’s first ‘swimming baths’ – which we confirmed was a smaller building to the side of the 1963 pool. One visitor recalled his father going to ‘The Baths’ for a morning bath with his bar of soap! – in the time before functioning bathrooms.

Our volunteer also continues to re-pack the costume collection. This involves looking at each costume box in turn; photographing each item within; making a note of any condition issues and re-packing with fresh acid-free tissue.

Staff and Volunteers aim to be at the Museum in Somerset Meeting at the Rural Life Museum, Glastonbury on Monday and are hosting the Mid-Somerset Archivists and Curators Group on Thursday – we aim to report back on how we get on!

Some further items from the CHAC Costume Collection.

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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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A Game of Two Halves

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

With the prospect of Yeovil Town Football Club playing Manchester United in the fourth round of the FA-Cup, this highlighted a few items from the CHAC Collection.

Interestingly, our volunteers selected ‘Football’ as one of the first themes for our new display case and this prompted staff to find a programme when Yeovil Town previously played Manchester United in the 2014/15 Season.

The FA Cup tie also revealed a 1948 aerial image of the famous sloping pitch at Huish and photographs of Yeovil Town Supporters “Up frum Zummerset” when Yeovil Town played Manchester United in the 1948 Season. Yeovil Town had previously beaten Sunderland.

One of our recent donations was also a great connection. This is a photograph of Robbins Gloving Factory Ladies Football Team, we believe around the mid-1930s. ‘Tink’ Robbins Gloving Factory was in Alexandra Road, Yeovil and Tink Robbins is in the back row of the image. We are grateful for this donation, particularly as it contrasts markedly with the Robbins Gloving Factory workers group photograph.


The Robbins Gloving Factory Workers, believed to be outside the Factory in Alexandra Road, Yeovil.

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The Robbins Gloving Factory Ladies Football Team Group Photograph – note the attention to detail with the ‘Robin.’ Kelly’s Directory lists the spelling of the Company as “Robbin.”


The Ties that Bind

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

During our costume conservation, our volunteer helped us to photograph several notable gentlemen’s ties. These included a selection related to Westland helicopters (Now Leonardo), including WG30 and EH101.

This is an intriguing element of social history that with each new helicopter, an item of costume, namely, the tie was produced.

The ties are also an exciting addition to the story of Petter and Westland that we can show researchers when they visit the Centre, alongside the equally fascinating Nautilus Grate; Petter engine catalogues and small number of helicopter models.

We would be grateful to hear any further memories related to these objects.

Two of the ‘Westland’ Ties in the collection of the Community Heritage Access Centre

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Dracula came from Keinton Mandeville

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

So far, we have loaned a set of display boards to our District Council planning colleagues, organised a Victorian-themed Half-Term Trail and enjoyed the company of a local Scout troop, earning their history badge – more on this in our next BLOG.

One of the recent highlights came in our talk with Keinton Mandeville Women’s Institute. Staff looked at two ‘self-made’ Keinton Mandeville men. The first was Oliver Chalker, a local quarry owner and known as the ‘Keinton Mandeville Strong Man’ – with some justification; as the photograph we have of Mr Chalker is believed to show him as a 91 year old possibly in the 1920s lifting a wooden wheel barrow laden with weights around 250kgs.

The second ‘self-made’ man was the more recognisable, Henry Irving; the great theatre actor, born in Keinton Mandeville in 1838. Henry’s father worked in the village for a drapery business. In 1842, the family moved to Bristol where there was more work available. Henry went on to become one of this country’s greatest stage actors at the Lyceum Theatre in London and appeared in many plays with the equally renowned Ellen Terry. However, the really striking element which came out of staff research for the talk was Irving’s connection to perhaps one of the greatest gothic novels of the late Victorian age.

Staff passed around Henry Irving’s portrait and then asked for reactions to the image. These included ‘brooding’ ‘mysterious’ and ‘like Oscar Wilde.’ Staff then explained that the connection was fitting, given the rather stormy, windswept night and the proximity to Halloween. One of the members then made the connection and said: “Dracula.”

Indeed this is the case as Henry Irving’s stage manager at the Lyceum Theatre was none other than Bram Stoker and it is said that Stoker based his now legendary character on Irving and so therefore (perhaps rather loosely!) we can say that Dracula came from Keinton Mandeville!

Staff also re-dressed the all-male balance by highlighting Lady Lucy Houston, the primary funder of the first ever flight over Mount Everest, achieved by two Westland Aircraft in April 1933, which was named (in her honour) as the Houston-Westland Expedition.

The 2018 Yeovil Calendar is now available from the Courtyard Café, Market Street, Yeovil – thank you!

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A set of Great Western Railway Buttons reflecting our Victorian-themed Half-Term Trail!


Victorian Insight

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A painting of an M7 Class Locomotive by H Ball; painted in 1971 and believed to be passing by Stoford.

Half Term Fun at your Heritage Centre!

Queen Victoria’s Hat!

Enjoy a guided Victorian-themed trail around the Community Heritage Access Centre (CHAC)

Wednesday 25th October 2017



Places limited to 8-10 per session

£2.50 per group attending

(up to 2 adults and 3 children)

Please Contact us to

Confirm your Place:

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

(01935) 462886






More Strength to the Weeks.

This is a note from the South Somerset District Council Community Heritage Access Centre, near Yeovil with a thought on Somerset Art Weeks.

The Festival runs from 23rd September 2017 to 8th October 2017. From Bath to Minehead and near Cullompton to Templecombe, there are well over 100 sites to visit.

If anyone is travelling around South Somerset, particularly numbers 94 to 99 around Merriott, Martock, Stoke Sub Hamdon and Yeovil, (A3088; A303; A37; A30 and A359)make your journey even more special with a visit to the Community Heritage Access Centre, in Artillery Road, Lufton BA22 8RP, around 3 miles from Yeovil Town Centre and only half a mile from Yeovil Town Football Club – Home of the Glovers.

We care for around 60 art works ranging from the Angel Inn Panel to a 1990s ‘Pop Art’ Yeovil Artist. In between, we have architectural paintings of Montacute House; Portraits of the ‘leading lights’ of Yeovil Industry including glove making; plus fabric samplers; maps; air raid shelter diagrams and costumes – some of which are works of art in themselves!

We are usually open Monday to Friday 9-5pm. Please telephone to make an appointment on: (01935) 462886 or email: heritage.services@southsomerset.gov.uk

Or visit the website: www.southsomersetheritage.org.uk


A glimpse of the CHAC painting collection!