South Somerset Heritage Collection

7 Artillery Road, Yeovil , BA22 8RP

South Somerset Heritage Collection

Overview

South Somerset Heritage Collection is a fascinating historical collection of objects and images, including 30,000 objects and 6,000 photographs reflecting the heritage of Yeovil and South Somerset. The Collection is available for public viewing by bookable prior appointment, via email or telephone.

The collection ranges from a Roman mosaic to a recent Yeovil Town football programme. Highlights include a significant sample of gloves and glove tools, notable costume and fine art collection, the Petter / Westland story, St.Ivel dairy industry and football. Local photographs are also well represented, especially by pioneering photographer, Henry Stiby and a 1961 aerial survey of Yeovil.

Discover more about our collections by scrolling to this section below.  To give you a fascinating taster too, please do take a look at the gallery at the bottom of the page. 

Our friendly and helpful Heritage team provide lectures, resources and advice for community groups. We are also happy to organise tours, individual viewings and access for researchers.

Staff are actively supported by a team of knowledgeable volunteers. We have an active group of volunteers, helping us to manage the collection and helping with outreach activities. Any new volunteering opportunities are advertised locally. See our volunteering information section for more details. 

South Somerset Heritage Collection Calendar 2022 - Download your free copy...

The heritage calendar includes a series of photographs and associated items selected from the extensive collection. Click on the button to download your free copy: South Somerset Heritage Collection Calendar 2022

Alternatively, printed copies are available at £5.00 each from South Somerset Visitor Information Centre & Gift Shop, Cartgate Picnic Site, The Emporium, Princes Street, Ninesprings Café, Yeovil. 

Do not hesitate to contact us for more information. 

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Features

  • Parking On-Site Parking On-Site
  • Family friendly Family friendly
  • Group Bookings Group Bookings
  • Toilets Toilets
  • Free Entry Free Entry
  • Open All Year Open All Year
  • Partial Disabled Access Partial Disabled Access

Contact Details

South Somerset Heritage Collection , 7 Artillery Road, SSDC Lufton Depot, Yeovil , Somerset , United Kingdom, BA22 8RP

Monday to Friday 9.00am - 5.00pm by appointment.

Free Entry Research charges apply

Collections

Costume & Textile

The Costume & Textile collection includes a significant selection of items, ranging from a child’s sampler to Swayne Harbin’s wedding coat, from the Harbin family of Newton Surmaville House, near Yeovil. Pictured left to right, Swayne Harbin's wedding coat and a hat believed to have been worn by Queen Victoria. 

Swayne Harbin's coat

 

 

 

 

Gloves and Gloving

Gloves made by local manufacturers like Clothier & Giles and Ricketts plus formal, driving and fur backed gloves. Glove designs on acetate are also available to view on request. Glove tools include examples of the Donkey patented in Stoke sub Hamdon in 1807. From left to right a wooden glove finger stretcher and a wooden hand to display gloves, plus gloves from the South Somerset Heritage Collection. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fine Art

We care for around 50 paintings and artworks, plus maps, posters and local advertising. These range from formal portraits of gloving factory owners and their wives to more contemporary works by Martock-based artist, Arlie Panting and ‘pop artist’ Stephen Wilmot ‘Wilf.’ One of the star items is the Angel Inn Panel from 1603, shown below which came from the Angel Inn in Yeovil, now the site of the NatWest Bank. Alongside is a painting of a steam locomotive at Stoford pulling a two-coach train from Yeovil Junction to Pen Mill Station, otherwise known as a ‘push and pull’  Painted by H. Ball in 1971.

 

 

Industrial

The Petter / Westland story is well represented by a Petter and Edgar Cheese Press, shown below, the engine of the 1895 Horseless Carriage, an example of the Nautilus Grate and a Petometer adding machine, an early form of calculator. We also have a Linotype typesetting machine last used by the Western Gazette Newspaper in 1984 shown alongside the cheese press and examples of objects and photographs related to St. Ivel, makers of lactic cheese up until 2000.

 

Archaeology

This forms an important part of the collection ranging from a Neolithic hand axe found on Wyndham Hill, shown below to a notable collection of well documented Roman coins collected by Gregory Stevens-Cox from Ilchester, an example of which is shown alongside the hand axe. 

 

Ceramics & Glassware

Star ceramic items are the Yeovil Riot Jugs from 1831 and the St. Ivel Monks cheese serving dish, shown below. Yeovil Goss China and commemorative pieces are also of interest. An example from the Pinney Glass collection is also shown. 

 

 

 

 

Firearms

One of the most significant single donations came when renowned local businessman and photographer, Henry Stiby donated his collection of important firearms and pistols in the 1930s. Other notable items include the commemorative sword presented to Sir Charles Knight Pearson of Thorne Coffin by the people of Yeovil in 1837 for outstanding military leadership. A close up of a firearm stock and example of the Henry Stiby collection are shown. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coins and medals

In addition to Roman coins, we also care for First and Second World War Medals, plus a notable selection of pub and trade tokens. A tool deposit token for James B Petter & Sons is shown with a trade token of Brett & Cayme, cloth manufacturers in Yeovil in 1797.

 

 

 

 

 

We would be delighted for you to visit the collection but if you are unable to, do browse some of the wonderful pleces in the Look Around Section at the bottom of the page.

Please call us on 01935 462855 or email us on heritage.services@southsomerset.gov.uk to arrange a visit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

South Somerset Heritage Collection

All you need to know to enjoy your visit

Visitor Information

Please note the following useful information for charges that apply when using our services: 

  • Free entry with bookable guided tours also available at £2.50 per person. (£5 after 5pm)
  • Research (pre-booked only)
  • Telephone or email enquiry:  Free
  • Minimum subsequent charge:  £5
  • Identification Service:  Free
  • Talks to Outside Groups:  £50
  • Loans Boxes:  £24 per box per term (inc VAT)

The Collection is available for public viewing by bookable prior appointment, via email or telephone. Thank you. 

Limited parking is available on-site. Details and directions will be provided when you make your appointment. 
Facilities are available to visitors only. A disabled toilet is available. 
As we are primarily a storage facility we regret disabled access is ground floor only.

Leaflets, Maps & Information

Free Downloads

First World War Walk Leaflet

A fascinating 3.3 mile walk into the past, taking in the monuments and sites of the First World War at home plus objects from the collection.

Heritage Collection leaflet

An overview of the collection, services, fees and charges.

Costume Collection leaflet

This provides an overview of the costume collection with notable examples

Check out to see if you can help

Volunteering

We have an active group of volunteers that help to complete the following tasks and activities:

  • Documenting new objects and photographs received as donations
  • Checking the condition of fragile costume items
  • Helping with guided tours and visits 
  • Assisting with outreach activities 
  • Helping with social media posts and marketing projects.

Any new volunteering opportunities are advertised locally. 

 

Find out more about group visits

Groups

We help  a number of groups in the local community.  We see groups like the U3A and local history groups on bookable tours. If the group is from Yeovil and South Somerset we try and have a relevant object from the collection for them to see during their visit. 

 

We also have a selection of loans boxes. Community groups can borrow these for a small charge to provide an additional element at their regular meetings. Traditional toys and games have proven popular! Please contact us for details of the loans boxes available. 

 

Family History is one of our regular research requests. We have a link with the Somerset & Dorset Family History Society based in Yeovil and work together to assist with enquiries. For more information about this organisation, you can visit their website here

 

Check the latest happening at South Somerset Heritage Collection

Latest News

11
Nov

New Heritage Collection Calendar 2022

The new landscape format 2022 South Somerset Heritage Calendar will shortly be available from our usual locations at £5.00 each. For furthe...
Read More
26
Aug

Pop Up Museum Success

Thank you to our Countryside Colleagues and Volunteer Team for helping with our two Pop Up Museum activities at Ninesprings, Yeovil Country ...
Read More
12
Jul

First Fiveways Baby

An exciting new 'first' object for the South Somerset Heritage Collection
Read More
Explore more
Take a look around