Yeovil Celebrates the 1954 Corporation Centenary

1954 Corporation Centenary

How Yeovil celebrated a hundred years as a Borough


By the middle of the nineteenth century progress in the town seemed steady, if somewhat slow, but the powers of the Town Commissioners, Portreeve and Burgesses were not adequate for a modern, growing town. Consequently they sought to present a Bill to Parliament in order to create a municipal borough. The Act was passed on 3 July 1854 and as a result the town became the Municipal Borough of Yeovil with an elected mayor and councillors, thereby ending over eight hundred years of medieval government in the town.

The centenary of this event, so important to the continued development of Yeovil, was celebrated on Saturday 3 July 1954 with a large parade through the town watched by large crowds. This was followed by a civic service in St John's church, attended by the Mayor of Yeovil, Alderman WB Hickman, and members of the Corporation as well as civic dignitaries from other boroughs.

As part of the celebrations a trades fair was held in the grounds of Hendford Manor, opened by Marshal of the Royal Air Force, Sir John Slessor, GCB, DSO, MC. The grounds of Hendford Manor were also host to a veteran car rally which later toured through the main streets of the town.




The band of HM Royal Marines, seen here in Lower Middle Street, lead the procession as it marches through the town.


The parade passes along Princes Street, watched by the crowds, en route for the civic service. Among those attending were contingents from the Royal Naval Association, the British Legion and the Army Cadet Force seen here.


The parade enters Church Path from Church Street and turns to enter the west door of St John's church for the civic service. Led by Mr Eveleigh, the Yeovil Mace Bearer, who was followed by the Mayor and other civic dignitaries.


Marshal of the Royal Air Force, , Sir John Slessor, GCB, DSO, MC performs the opening ceremony of the trades fair in the grounds of Hendford Manor.


A veteran car rally was also held in the grounds of Hendford Manor and later toured through the main streets of the town. Here the Mayor and Mayoress of Yeovil, Alderman and Mrs Hickman, pose for the camera in a 1905 Coupelle.