yeovil people

william fooks

Glove Manufacturer


William Fooks was born on 18 August 1829 and baptised on 18 October at the Independent chapel. He was the son of glove manufacturer Thomas Fooks and Louisa née Bewsey.

In the 1851 census 21-year old William and was living with his parents, younger brother John and three servants at the family home in South Street, photographed below. William listed his occupation as a glover and would have worked in the family factory.

In 1856 William married Rachel Rawlins in Yeovil and the 1861 census listed them as a separate household but living in his parents' house with their son William aged 3, daughter Louisa aged 2 and their own servant. By this time William's father had retired from the family business and was listed as a landed proprietor while William was listed as 'Leather Gloving Master, employing 30 men and 8 boys'. Although not mentioned in the census, William also employed some 300 women and girls as outworkers sewing the finished gloves. After the death of his father William entered a partnership with Charles Dycear Gawler to form the company of Fooks & Gawler. The new company of Fooks & Gawler also owned a factory and dressing yard in Addlewell Lane.

The 1871 census listed 41-year old William simply as a glove manufacturer. He had moved from his father's house and was now living at Park Street House with Rachel, by now aged 34, and their children; William aged 13, Louisa aged 11, Alice aged 9, Thomas aged 7, Florence age 3 and Mabel aged 9 months. There were also a cook and a nurse living in.

William died in the autumn of 1872, aged 41. Rachel sold Park Street House and the glove factory in 1882 and the property was purchased by glove manufacturers Ewans & Gould. It became the home of Ebenezer Pittard who renamed it Woodlands.

Much of the land was sold off and housing built along the Park Street and Mill Lane boundaries. The house was finally demolished in the 1960s.


map & Aerial photograph

This map, based on the 1886 Ordnance Survey, shows South Street running across the top of the map from its junction with Bond Street and Park Street / Addlewell Lane at left. William Fooks' glove factory is shown at centre. The glove factory shown close to Bond Street was that of Clothier, Hitchcock & Giles. Park Street House, at centre, was the home of William and Rachel Fooks until it was sold in 1882.


An aerial photograph of 1953 showing Thomas Fooks' house in South Street at centre bottom, Thomas' son William Fooks' house known as Park Street House at top left, Harefield Terrace at centre and Holy Trinity church hall towards top right.




Courtesy of Wendy Leach

This photograph of South Street dates to about 1880 or 1890. The three-storey building at centre was William Fooks' glove factory. The two-storey building at right was the Park Street House gardener's cottage.


From the Cave Collection (colourised), Courtesy of South Somerset Heritage Collection
This photograph features in my book "Lost Yeovil"

This photograph of South Street dates to about 1920. The three-storey white building at centre was William Fooks' glove factory while the garden wall at extreme right was the South Street entrance to Park Street House. It later became a box-making factory and, later still, the site was cleared and it was occupied by the Somerset & Dorset Box Co Ltd. The site is now the car park behind the old Gaumont cinema.

I believe that the building at right, with a shop-front and the Pitman's School sign, replaced the Park Street House gardener's cottage in the earlier photograph above. This later building was demolished in 2001.


This 1920s aerial photograph shows South Street curving up from centre bottom to top right with Park Street and Bond Street running across the photograph with Woborn Almshouse at top right. The Globe Inn is on the top corner of Park Street and South Street with a pair of cottages behind it in South Street and then Thomas Fooks' house with possibly his glove factory at top centre. On the opposite corner of Park Street from the Globe Inn is the short Harfield Terrace (with twin gables at rear) and the shop - later Samuel McCreery's junk shop, now a hairdresser - built in the garden of William Fooks' Park Street House, which is the large white building just left of centre that still retains some of its garden to the left.


This colourised photograph features in my book "Lost Yeovil

This 1960s photograph shows William's father's house at right in its South Street setting. The white building at left with two people outside is on the corner of Bond Street while opposite is just seen the junction with Park Street. The house seen on the corner of South Street and Park Street was Park Street House.