the history of yeovil's pubs





blue ball

30 Middle Street


The Blue Ball (marked 'C' on the map below) was a relatively short-lived pub if the records are anything to go by - it first appears in 1859 when a spirit license was applied for and makes its final appearance in Whitby's Directory of 1900. It was situated in Middle Street just below the Triangle, approximately where the entrance to Glover's Walk is now. Adjoining it was a large wheelwright's yard, operated by the licensee of the Blue Ball, Henry Perry, throughout the 1870's and 1880's.

In 1863 the Western Gazette reported on the fatal fire at the nearby John Bull public house where "three cottages adjoining had a warehouse on one side and a shop and another inn, the Blue Ball, on the other". The subsequent inquest on the victims was held at the Blue Ball.

The Blue Ball was sold by auction, together with the adjoining shop (with a combined frontage of 82 feet), in August 1898 and was demolished by the year 1900 (there is no No.30 Middle Street in the 1901 census) and its position became the location of the Coronation Hotel which was itself demolished in the 1960's for the development of the Glover's Walk shopping complex.



The first recorded licensee of the Blue Ball, Elizabeth Westover, was a widow and recorded as a Beerhouse Keeper. She had been born in 1810 in Lytes Cary, near Podimore, some seven miles north of Yeovil. She was married to a butcher, John Westover, and had lived in Sherborne, Dorset, but after John died she moved to Yeovil and came to the Blue Ball. In the 1861 census she is shown living there with a visitor, Samuel Cordingley, and no less than thirteen lodgers, six of whom were listed as hawkers, which does give a firm indication of the type of establishment the Blue Ball was at this time. By the time of the 1871 census Elizabeth was aged 60 and was still living in the Blue Ball which was now being run by her nephew, George Cushing. By the time of the 1881 census we find Elizabeth living next door to the Blue Ball at 29 Middle Street with three other elderly ladies, and listed as a 73-year old spinster and shopkeeper.

Meanwhile the 1881 census shows Henry Perry, a 42 year old Crewkerne man, as licensee of the Blue Ball. He was described as a wheelwright and publican 'employing 2 hands' - presumably as wheelwrights. He lived with his wife, Martha, and their four children, his niece and a sole, elderly male lodger in the Blue Ball - the days of mass crowding lodgers into the Blue Ball of twenty years previous appeared to be over! In 1871 Henry, Martha and five children had been living in Crewkerne (where all the children were born) and Henry was described as a wheelwright. By 1889 Henry had died and the Blue Ball was being run by his son, Frank. Martha, by 1891, was described as a widow and was living with her son Richard and his family in Huish.

John Henry Norman was born around 1854 and in the 1881 census was found living with his Yeovil-born wife, Eliza, and their young daughter, Beatrice, at the Duke of Wellington. John was listed as an innkeeper and coal merchant. By the time of the 1891 census John, now apparently known as Joseph, was running the Blue Ball Inn in Middle Street with Eliza and Beatrice plus a new baby son, Daniel. John / Joseph died in the autumn of 1897, aged 41, and his widow, Eliza, took over the license of the Blue Ball. By 1900, however, Eliza had moved to Wellington Street and had taken over the license of the first Royal Standard from Jane Locock, who had assumed the license briefly after the death of her husband, Thomas.







The notice of sale "to Brewers, Traders, Capitalists and Others" of the Blue Ball Inn in the 5 August 1898 edition of the Western Gazette. It was demolished almost immediately afterwards.




1859 – Elizabeth Westover - applied for Spirit license (Petty Sessions) as Blue Ball
1861 – Elizabeth Westover – Beer House Keeper (1861 census) listed as Blue Ball
1862 – Mr S Westover – License application refused (Petty Sessions) as Blue Ball
1866 – Mrs Elizabeth Westover – Beer Retailer (Kelly's 1866 Directory)
1867 – Mr Cushion – Ale-house license refused (Petty Sessions)
1871 – George Cushing – Beer House Keeper and Cabinet Maker (1871 census)
1872 – Mrs Elizabeth Westover – Beer Retailer (Kelly's 1872 Directory)
1873 – Alfred Perry – 'late landlord of Anchor' fined for being drunk (Borough Petty sessions)
1875 – Henry Perry – Beer Retailer and Wheelwright (Post Office 1875 Directory)
1875 – Henry Perry – Beer Retailer and Wheelwright (Kelly's 1875 Directory)
1881 – Henry Perry – Wheelwright and Publican (1881 census) listed as Blue Ball
1882 – Henry Perry (Whitby's 1882 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser) listed as Blue Ball Inn
1889 – License transferred to Frank Perry from late Henry Perry (Borough Police Court)
1889 – Frank Perry (Henry’s son) – Beer Retailer (1889 Kelly’s Directory)
1890 – Frank Perry – License transfer (Borough Petty Sessions, September)
1891 – Joseph Norman – License transferred (Borough Petty Sessions, September)
1891 – Joseph Norman – Publican (1891 census) listed as Blue Ball
1895 – Joseph Norman – Beer Retailer (Kelly’s 1895 Directory) pub not named
1898 – Mrs Norman (Whitby's 1898 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser)
1899 – Mrs Norman (Whitby's 1899 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser)
1900 – Mrs Milligan (Whitby's 1900 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser)