Tag Archives: photographs

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!

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Crewkerne Community

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

One of the highlights was helping Crewkerne and District Museum with an exhibition on local travellers with a mention of Thomas Coryate, known as “The Odcombe Leg Stretcher.” We loaned a black umbrella; a purple parasol; a ladies pair of formal heeled shoes with a press stud material ankle piece and a button hook.

We received feedback that this really helped to complete the exhibition and therefore was useful for Crewkerne Museum and CHAC.

We also aim to be at the Super Saturday event in Yeovil Town Centre tomorrow with the Yeovil Calendar – so we look forward to meeting people there!

There is also a First World War and Willow event at Coates Willow near Stoke St Gregory tomorrow – Saturday 23rd September 2017.

 

 

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 View of the Villa

We have enjoyed a rewarding and worthwhile week since our last posting from South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, (CHAC) near Yeovil.

One of the highlights so far this week was the opportunity to view the latest excavation at the Lufton Roman Villa co-ordinated by Newcastle University; SSARG (South Somerset Archaeological Research Group) and Brympton Parish Council . On Tuesday 1st August there was an ‘open time’ for the public to come and see recent finds and discoveries, including a section of mosaic pavement.

The following day, staff loaned a model of the Lufton Roman Villa from the CHAC Collection for an illustrated talk on the latest archaeological excavation at the Villa, given by Dr James Gerrard – Lecturer in Roman Archaeology at Newcastle University at the Abbey Manor Community Centre, Yeovil.

The model provided a useful context to the new discoveries like pottery fragments and scallop shells.

CHAC also loaned two handling boxes of Roman-themed material and copies of newly donated photographs of the first excavation of the Lufton Villa by Leonard Hayward with the help of school pupils from Yeovil School in the late 1940s.

CHAC Staff were particularly intrigued to see the reaction of the 2017 students helping with the current Lufton dig to the 1940s students – particularly in terms of the difference in ‘dig dress.’

The 2017 excavation also provided further evidence to re-evaluate Leonard Hayward’s findings and present another ‘view of the Villa.’

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?’

 

Quite a Find

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

Monday saw the return of a loans box from Milford Junior School. The request to borrow the box of Victorian, First World War and Second World War material was received with 4 days’ notice. However, all the material was already available and ready to go from our Outreach Store and the small payment for the 1 day loan was gratefully received with a new contact made. We are also grateful to Yeovil Library as the initial contact with the school was made during our Horrible Histories event held on the ground floor of the library.

Wednesday held a tour for members of the United Reformed Church, Princes Street, Yeovil. One member enjoyed seeing the ‘self-assembly’ television with 10 inch (230mm) screen as his family purchased a similar ‘set’ for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on 2 June 1953 for the princely sum of 96 Guineas or £101 in ‘old money.’

Today sees our next archaeological finds afternoon organised with the help of the Somerset Finds Officer from Taunton. We are particularly excited as this finds event from 2pm-4pm is part of National Archaeology Week (NAW) and is advertised on the NAW website. Therefore, we feel part of the nationwide celebration of archaeology from 15th to 30th July 2017. We even have a NAW poster outside our front door to ‘greet’ people!

We also aim to have our 2018 Yeovil Calendar available shortly.

 

 

Measure of the Past

We have enjoyed an eventful and intriguing week at South Somerset District Council’s Community Heritage Access Centre, near Yeovil.

Enjoyable visits have included researching the construction of the Yeovil Royal Observer Corps Headquarters  and finding the required photographs of Denners Department Store and particularly the ‘Choir Boy’ Christmas display of 1961.

One of the fascinating recent donations was a diary from 1941 kept by a lady with a connection to Yeovil Glove Company. However, the primary focus of the diary is recording the lady’s role as a ‘home measurer and fitter of corsets for women.’ This is fascinating to read, especially where there are repeat visits from the same lady or ‘three corsets arrived this week.’  This also makes a striking contrast with the ‘air raid today’ entries.

Our next Finds Afternoon is due to be Thursday 20th July 2017 from 2-4pm. Booking essential please (01935) 462886.

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