south street house

south street house

South Street residence demolished for Petters Way


South Street House was a large Georgian town house, later known simply as 79 South Street. It was shown on all the early maps of Yeovil from Watts' map of 1806 onwards. It was of six bays and two storeys with a later extension on the eastern end and servant's quarters in the attic lit by a single dormer window. Fronting directly onto South Street, it had a central, typically columned porch supporting a full entablature. It had a large rear garden.

The 1846 Tithe Apportionment noted that a 'House & Garden' (Parcel 374) and The Orchard (Parcel 375) - South Street House and the orchard behind it - were both owned and occupied by glove manufacturer William Hooper Masters. The house and garden measured 0a 2r 10p and the orchard measured 3a 0r 0p (for details on historic land measurement - ie acres, roods and perches - click here). Masters also owned Parcel 371, comprising the whole of the properties on the corner at the junction of Hendford and South Street including the Butcher's Arms.

In 1861 85-year old widow Ann Cole of Bristol was living there with her 49-year old bachelor son Henry, a teacher of music, and a domestic servant.

 By 1866 rich glove manufacturer Richard Ewens and his wife Mary, together with their daughter Juliana and a female servant were living in South Street House. In the spring of 1870 Mary died in Yeovil at the age of 53. Richard moved out of the large house in South Street and by 1871 was living in Reckleford.

The Post Office Directory of 1875 listed Dr Ptolemy SH Colmer at South Street and this was almost certainly at South Street House. On 15 April 1880 Colmer, later mayor of Yeovil, married for the third time at Wood Green, north London. Colmer was at this time aged 38 and a widower, his new wife was 22-year-old Catherine Mary Offin of Wood Green, the daughter of William Offin a leather merchant. In the 1881 census Ptolemy, aged 39, and Catherine, aged 23, were living at South Street House, 79 South Street with six children, Ptolemy's sister Bernice and his assistant Robert Gilbert, together with a housemaid, a cook and a nurse. South Street House was the home as well as the surgery of Dr Colmer until his death on 8 April 1897.

Following the death of Dr Ptolemy SH Colmer, his son Dr Ptolemy Augustus Colmer took over the surgery and the family home. The 1901 census listed him as a 34-year old 'Physician, Surgeon, etc.' with his wife, two young children, his step-sister and step-brother and three servants.

On the 1901 Ordnance Survey what would become Petters Way was still little more than a track off South Street, between the Baptist Chapel and South Street House, leading to extensive orchards covering the area of today's Petters Way and the car park.

Following the death of Dr Ptolemy Augustus Colmer in 1932 South Street House was sold. The advertisement, including much of the sale particulars, is illustrated below.

On 22 September 1935 the Town Hall in High Street was destroyed by fire and, although the recently-built municipal offices in King George Street were available, the council decided that a new civic centre was called for. The following year the council purchased Hendford Manor and its extensive grounds with the intention of using the site for the proposed new civic complex. At this time South Street House was demolished and Petters Way was constructed alongside the Baptist Chapel. Much of the site of South Street House became a car park, which it remains to this day.




The 1886 Ordnance Survey map shows South Street House at centre alongside the Baptist chapel. The narrow track between them leading to orchards. Following the demolition of South Street House, Petters Way was constructed alongside the Baptist Chapel and much of the site of South Street House became a car park, which it remains to this day.


Taking a much larger area of the same 1886 Ordnance Survey map - the extensive orchards now covered by Petters Way and the car park, owned in the 1840s by William Hooper Masters. At this time access was via a narrow track between South Street House and the Baptist chapel.




The Newnam Hall and Schools and the Baptist Church in South Street before the construction of Petters Way alongside. The man is standing by the entrance to the track that led to orchards and the corner of South Street House is at extreme right. Photographed about 1912.


Courtesy of the Western Gazette

South Street looking east around 1905. At centre is the Newnam Hall and Schools and at right is South Street House.


This photograph features in my book "Lost Yeovil"

Dr Ptolemy Colmer's house and surgery at 79 South Street. The site is now occupied by the entrance to Petters Way and the Petters Way car park adjoining South Street. The railings at left belong to the Baptist Church and at the time of this photograph a narrow lane ran between Dr Colmer's house and the church, leading originally to extensive orchards.


The sale particulars of South Street House following the death of Dr Ptolemy Augustus Colmer from the Western Gazette of 8 July 1932.


From the Cave Collection (colourised), Courtesy of South Somerset Heritage Collection

Market stalls left in-situ in what is now the Petters Way car park. Photographed in the 1960's from Petters Way looking towards South Street. The rear of South Street House would originally have stretched right across this photograph.