Tag Archives: research

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!

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

 

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.

 

 

Requests the Pleasure

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

The last seven days have seen a selection of fascinating donations, all of which come within our Collecting Policy of Yeovil and South Somerset. We started with two banners and one tapestry from the United Reformed Church, Yeovil, to be followed by items related to Yeovil School, including the donor’s 6th Form Tie and then a rather intriguing diary with several entries related to the donor’s Mother-in-Law, who ran a business from home, fitting ladies bodices.

We completed the week’s donations with 23 photographs of Yeovil taken in 1969. The photographs were taken specifically by a lady for a ‘Where Am I’ in Yeovil type Quiz. The lady not only took each photograph, but also developed the images in their own dark room and mounted them on individual cards. Each image provides a ‘snapshot’ in time, particularly the photographs of the Electricity Showrooms and the archway through to Frederick Place.

We also enjoyed the company of six people on our latest Photo Afternoon, where the theme was “Royal Observer Corps – ROC” and “Westland.” Two of the attendees were particularly keen to come along as they were former members of the “ROC” at Southwoods in Yeovil. Each person paid £2.00, which included refreshments.

One of the highlights in the recent variety of donations is a letter from the Head Girl of St Gildas Convent School requesting the attendance of boys from Yeovil School to a Dance in 1964:

“Dear Head Boy,

The Upper V requests the pleasure of the company of the boys of the V and VI forms at a Beat Dance to be held in aid of St. Gildas Building Fund on December 16th. As this dance is in aid of a fund, we regret that we shall have to ask you to pay a small entrance fee. Could you please inform us of the number of boys wishing to attend, and we will send the tickets as soon as possible. We would be grateful for your immediate reply.

Head Girl.”

High Ham Highlight

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

We have helped Crewkerne Museum with their forthcoming Travellers and Explorers exhibition by loaning them some items from the C.H.A.C handling collection, including a parasol and late Victorian style ladies boots.

We have also received donations related to Yeovil Glove Company; Yeovil Co-Operative Society and Yeovil High School.

One of this week’s highlights was a talk to High Ham Ladies Group (plus one gentleman!) at the High Ham Village Hall, not far from Langport.

Staff spoke on the recent history of High Ham using the 1910 and 1939 Kelly’s Directories and then explored some of the ‘Hidden Faces of South Somerset’ with links to Petter and Westland with the Horseless Carriage of 1895 and Ben Jacobs and the first aircraft to fly over Mount Everest in 1933 which was a Westland Aircraft. Staff emphasised the rather colourful character of Lady Houston, who provided the financial backing for the expedition.

The real surprise came when staff shared their personal connection with High Ham in the form of their Primary School Group Photograph as their class teacher was from High Ham. When Staff mentioned the teacher’s name, a hand went up at the back to confirm “Yes, I am here, that’s me!”

Our next CHAC Photo Afternoon is Thursday 15th June 2017 at 2pm – £2.00 per person – please book (8-10 places available!) Themes: Royal Observer Corps and Westland.

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One of our recently scanned images showing East Street, Crewkerne

Room for Improvement

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

So far, we have loaned a set of display boards for the Yeovil College University Centre Students Forum and welcomed a representative from the Quedam Shopping Centre interested in a “Then and Now” Photographic Project.

One of our volunteers is also diligently checking through items of costume; photographing and re-packing each item and making suggestions for conservation cleaning.

We have also just received some exciting news, which will definitely make some ‘room for improvement’ and hopefully we can share next time!

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One of our recently digitised images showing Montacute, we believe around 1910.

Written In Denture

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

So far we have shared the company of a Yeovil College Degree Student looking at their project on Henry Stiby and his influence on Yeovil and held our latest Photo Afternoon on the theme of “Yeovil Town Centre -1950-1980.”

We would like to thank Yeovil Library for helping us as the Afternoon was advertised via our historical display in one of the library windows. Three people attended as a result of seeing our note. A couple used to run the Quicksilver Mail in Yeovil and a gentleman enjoyed his time in the Royal Observer Corps. All three loved their time looking through old photographs and were happy with the £2.00 charge for our time and refreshments.

Staff always enjoy sharing memories evoked by the photographs. This continued with details of the lady’s time in the Telephone Exchange on the corner of Clarence Street up until 1960. These memories were enhanced when the gentleman visitor explained his sister had also worked in the Exchange from 1964.

We are now planning our next Photo Afternoon and choosing the next theme – suggestions via the BLOG would be appreciated.

Our next public vent with the help of our volunteers will be a Horrible Histories based activity at Yeovil Library on Tuesday 30th May 2017 from 10am-1pm. We are holding an activity linked to the ‘darker’ side of local industries, illustrated with a selection of main collection and handling objects. References include ‘The Pure’ used in the leather dressing industry and glove trade; a small box from a local dentist and pioneer in the use of anaesthetics and something first worn by a Town Clerk in 1949 right up until 2015. However, helpful information from Yeovil Town Council shows that only four people seem to have worn the item – which is interesting for them and us today, given the nature of the object! To find out more under the heading of “What’s In the Box?” – do come along.

We have also just received an important donation of objects and photographs, which include two group photographs of Robbins Gloving Factory Staff, formerly of Alexandra Road, Yeovil. The second image shows the Robbins Gloving Factory Ladies Football Team around 1935 – more on this next week!

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Some of the objects we hope to have at our “What’s in the Box” themed activity at Yeovil Library on Tuesday 30th May 2017 between 10am-1pm. These include something from a local dentist and the Royal Observer Corps. To find out, please come along!

Collecting Mrs Maudslay

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

Highlights so far have included an enquiry on the history of policing in Yeovil, from a former resident. Coincidentally, our current exhibition in Yeovil Town House is on the subject of historical crime and punishment, so this was a fairly quick enquiry to answer.

We have also received requests for assistance from Crewkerne Museum for their next annual exhibition and Ilchester Museum for their Norman-themed day.

A real gem of a story came in the donation of a pastel portrait. The portrait is of Dorothy Florence Maudslay born in 1892 and died aged 85 in 1977. Her maiden name was Dorothy Florence Fleming and then married Cyril Charles Maudslay, Director of the Maudslay Motor Co. They lived at Coker House, East Coker. Dorothy was very active in village affairs, holding committee meetings of the WI in Coker House and also giving out the prizes at the Yeovil Show. Dorothy was awarded an MBE in 1964.

The North Transept at East Coker Church belonged to the Maudslay Family until the Church took it over in 1985.

We understand the painting was sold at local Auctioneers in 1977 to a local family and then came to a neighbour of the donor. The neighbour passed away in December 2016 and the painting passed to a family member. The family member thought that our donor would like the painting and they then offered “Mrs Maudslay” to CHAC.

Staff enjoyed an exceedingly memorable morning meeting both the donor and the family member and sharing the fond memories the painting evoked. Both the donor and the family member were keen for CHAC to add the pastel portrait to the collection of paintings and artworks. Firstly, for the local person represented to be placed in a local context and secondly, also to highlight the significance of the existing portraits, which contain founders of the gloving industry, bankers, the founder of the first Yeovil Museum and even a Carnival King!

Staff had to explain, though, to colleagues when on the outward journey they had an empty car and then on their return, they had “collected Mrs Maudslay.”

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The portrait is of Dorothy Florence Maudslay born in 1892 and died aged 85 in 1977. We believe the portrait in pastel shows Dorothy around the age of 21 before her marriage – when Dorothy Florence Fleming.

Dorothy and her husband, Cyril Charles Maudslay, lived at Coker House, East Coker.