the history of yeovil's pubs





nelson inn

Kiddles Lane (Eastland Road)


The Nelson Inn was a purpose-built corner site public house built on what is now the northern corner of the Eastland Road / Gordon Road intersection in the late 1860's to serve the New Town area that encompassed today's Eastland Road, Gordon Road, Eastville, Southville, Westville, Mount Pleasant, Grass Royal and so on. The map at right of the New Town area is based on the 1901 Ordnance Survey and shows the Nelson Inn coloured pink. Eastland Road was then called Kiddles Lane and runs from bottom left of the map (where it eventually joins Reckleford) to where it joins North Terrace. Only a few houses were build to the west of the Nelson Inn in what was to become the extension of Gordon Road.

In its edition of 9 September 1870, in reporting the Borough Petty Sessions, the Western Gazette noted "An application made by Samuel Dyer for a certificate for a beer-house license for a house in Kiddle's Lane, was granted." By 1880, when the premises were advertised as to be let, it was noted in the advertisement that the Nelson Inn was now a fully-licensed house.

In the 1950s a boxing ring was set up in the basement (the Cross Keys in Park Street had a similar set-up).

The Nelson Inn closed around 2002 and was later converted to flats.


Yeovilians remember...

From me - "In truth I only went inside once, back in the 1970's while waiting for my washing to finish at the launderette opposite, and the only thing I can remember was annoying the locals by winning the weekly Sunday lunchtime meat raffle!"





The first recorded licensee was Samuel Dyer who was born in Long Load, Somerset around 1814. He married in January 1840 and in the 1851 census he, his wife Mary and their five children (Samuel, William, Mary, Sarah and Robert), were living in Middle Street, Yeovil. Samuel was listed as a labourer. In 1861 the family were still living in Middle Street but Samuel's occupation was given as grocer. Daughter Mary had left home, but Anna and John were additions to the family. By 1871 Samuel was the inn keeper at the Nelson Inn, listed in Kiddle's Lane (the early name for Eastland Road), with his wife Mary, children Anna and John and new daughter, Ellen, known as Nelly. The family were still listed there in the 1881 census and Samuel was listed as the licensee in the 1882 edition of Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser. By 1891 Samuel had retired and was living in Townsend with Mary, now both in their early 70's and in the occupation column of the census Samuel has listed 'supported by sons'. Samuel died in December 1897.

Albert Allen Ostler was born in December 1860 in Sherborne, Dorset, five miles east of Yeovil. His father was a Yeovil glover, Thomas Ostler, who had lived in Yeovil then moved briefly to Sherborne where Albert and two siblings were born before returning to live in Yeovil. By 1871 the family were living in Kiddles Lane (now Eastland Road) and in the 1881 census were listed in Newtown, which was probably the same Kiddles Lane address. Albert was employed as a glove cutter. In October 1883 Albert got married and the 1891 census listed 30-year old Albert as inn keeper and glove cutter at the Newtown Nelson Inn with his 35-year old wife, Eliza, their three daughters and two of Eliza's children from her previous marriage. Possibly under a cloud (as his possessions including his 'Famous 8ft Oak Telescope' were sold - see below) Albert had left the Nelson Inn by 1896 when William Dade was listed as licensee, and Albert died in December 1900 aged about 40.

William Albert Dade was born in Yeovil in April 1858, the son of leather dresser William Dade and his wife, glove pointer Keziah, née Culliford. In the 1861 census William, Kesiah and their six children (of whom William was the youngest) were living in Rotten Row (today's Market Street). By 1871 the family had moved to Queen Street; William was still employed as a leather dresser but Keziah was listed as a shopkeeper and 12-year old William was employed as an errand boy. By 1881 William was a journeyman tailor, living on Reckleford with his new wife, Emily Jane, and baby daughter, Emily. Emily died in June 1887 and William remarried in January 1889. The 1891 census lists him as a tailor living at 3 Wyndham Street with his second wife, Annie, ten-year old daughter Emily (from his first marriage) and baby Gertrude. In 1895 Kelly's Directory listed William as a tailor and beer retailer at the Market Street Inn but by the following year, 1896, he had moved to the Nelson Inn. His advertisement (see Gallery) from Whitby's 1896 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser lists both his tailoring business and as the proprietor of the Nelson Inn. The 1901 census lists William as a tailor and innkeeper, living with Annie and four daughters; Emily, Elsie, Lilian and Audrey (baby Gertrude had died in 1891 aged just 9 months). Some time during the following ten years William became the licensee of the Bell Inn in Preston Road and the 1911 census lists him as the innkeeper with Annie assisting in the business, with Elsie, Lilian and Audrey still at home. William died in June 1926.


Yeovilians remember...

Many thanks to Steve Rodber for the following, recalled by Maggie Plympton née Cook - "A very good neighbour of ours, Bill Young, was drinking in the Nelson just after the war when a street party was in progress in Eastville. He got into an argument with four American soldiers and a young lad arrived at the street party and announced "Quick Bill's in trouble". Some local lads rushed over to the pub and found Bill standing at the bar drinking his pint, with the Americans in various states of consciousness."


Sketch Plan of the Nelson Inn


This is a sketch based on plans held at the Heritage Centre, Taunton. The original plans are dated 1934 when the owners were J Brutton & Sons Ltd. The plans were submitted at the time when the original L-shaped building was much enlarged by the addition of a mainly two-storey extension which included the gents and smoke room (this bit was single-storey with a flat roof), the right part of the hall, the ladies' and the living accommodation at right. At the same time the bar and servery, seen here at left, was made by demolishing internal partitions that had previously formed three rooms. The living accommodation for the landlord and his family comprised four bedrooms and a bathroom on the first floor of the existing building while above the new ground floor living room, etc. extension was a new large 'club room' which was accessed via the stairs over the ladies'. The dotted line running through the bar, jug & bottle off-sales and the mixed smoke room indicates the line of the main wall above, the ground floor being a continuous extension as seen in the photographs below.




Notice of let of the Nelson Inn placed in the 10 December 1880 edition of the Western Gazette. Note that by this time the house had a full license.


The sale of the property of Albert Ostler, including his 'Famous 8ft Oak Telescope' advertised in the 25 October 1895 edition of the Western Gazette.


William Dade's advertisement in Whitby's 1896 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser extolling both his tailoring business and the Nelson Inn.


The residents of Newtown celebrate VJ-Day (Victory over Japan Day - 15 August 1945) at the Nelson Inn.


Courtesy of Lee Enticott

Looking north along Eastland Road with the Freke & Gifford factory at top left and the Nelson Inn at top centre. A colourised photograph of the 1970s.


Courtesy of Lee Enticott

The Nelson Inn seen from the junction of Eastland Road and Gordon Road, in the 1970s.


This photograph is thought to be regulars of the Nelson Inn during the 1960s.


Courtesy of Chris Rendell

Seen from Eastland Road and photographed in 1985.


Courtesy of Chris Rendell

An enlargement from the previous photograph.


Courtesy of John Cornelius

The Nelson, photographed in 2008. 


Photographed in March 2009 - boarded up and awaiting conversion to flats.


Photographed in March 2013 - the former Nelson Inn, now flats.




1870 – Samuel Dyer – Beerhouse license granted (Petty Sessions) in Kiddles Lane
1871 – Samuel Dyer – Inn Keeper (1871 census) in Kiddles Lane
1872 – Samuel Dyer – Beer Retailer (Kelly's 1872 Directory)
1875 – Samuel Dyer – Beer Retailer (Kelly's 1875 Directory)
1881 – Samuel Dyer – Publican (1881 census) listed as Nelson Inn
1882 – Samuel Dyer (Whitby's 1882 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser) listed as Nelson Inn, Newtown
1889 – Albert Ostler – Beer seller (Kelly’s 1889 Directory)
1891 – Albert Ostler – Innkeeper & Glove Cutter (1891 census)
1896 – WA Dade – Proprietor (Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser 1896)
1897 – William Dade – Beer seller & Tailor (Kelly’s 1897 Directory)
1898 – William Albert Dade (Whitby's 1898 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser)
1901 – William Dade – Innkeeper (1901 census) listed as Nelson Inn
1907 – S Bradford (1907 Yeovil Directory) listed as Nelson Inn, Newtown
1911 – Mrs Bradford (1911 census Summary) listed as Public House
1914 – Samuel Lewis (Kelly’s 1914 Directory) listed as Nelson Inn
1915 – Samuel A Lewis (Whitby's 1915 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser)
1923 – Samuel Lewis (Kelly’s 1923 Directory) listed as Nelson Inn
1935 – Walter Cook (Kelly's 1935 Directory)
1936 – W Cook (1936 Yeovil Directory) listed as Nelson Inn
1938 – W Cook (1938 Yeovil Directory) listed as Nelson Inn
1939 – Walter Cook (Kelly’s 1939 Directory) listed as Nelson Inn
1947 – WG Norman (1947 Yeovil Directory) listed as Nelson Inn
1949 – WG Norman (Kelly’s 1949 Directory) listed as Nelson Inn Newtown
1951 – WG Norman (1951 Yeovil Directory) listed as Nelson Inn, Newtown
1954 – WG Norman (1954 Yeovil Directory) listed as Nelson Inn, Newtown
1957 – WG Norman (1957 Yeovil Directory) listed as Nelson Inn, Newtown
1960 – WG Norman (1960 Yeovil Directory) listed as Nelson Inn
1964 – William G Norman (Foord's 1964 Directory) listed as Nelson Inn, Highfield Road
1965 – Licensee not named (1965 Yeovil Directory) listed as Nelson Inn
1987 – Licensee not named (Denton’s 1987 Directory) listed as Nelson Inn