Yeovil people

charles wreford pittard

Fellmonger & Leather Dresser


Charles Wreford Pittard was born in Yeovil in 1844, the eldest son of leather dresser Charles Pittard and his first wife Ann née Wreford. In the 1851 census Charles Pittard, aged 29, listed his occupation as 'Leather Dresser employing 6 men'. He was living in Middle Street with his wife Eliza, their three children; Mary born 1840, Charles Wreford, Ebenezer born 1847, and a house servant. The situation was almost identical in 1861 except there was no live-in servant.

When Charles Pittard senior died in 1867 Charles Wreford Pittard and his younger brother, Ebenezer, succeeded to their father's leather business.

In March 1868 Charles was married to Fanny Mogridge at Newton Abbot, Devon. They were to have seven children; Florence Elizabeth born 1869, Harold Mogridge born 1872, Gertrude born 1875, Myrtle born 1876, Wreford John Charles born 1877, Bueford born 1878 and Nora born 1882.

The 1881 census recorded Ebenezer and Mary living at 52 Middle Street (see map below), next door-but-one to the South Western Arms, with their children William, Russell and Elsie, Sarah's mother and two domestic servants. Ebenezer described his occupation as leather merchant. Living next door was his brother Charles Wreford Pittard with his wife Fanny, their five children and two domestic servants. Charles described his occupation as 'fellmonger & leather dresser'. The porte-cochere between the brothers' two properties led to their leather factory. In the 1891 census there were no changes at all for either Charles or Ebenezer. Indeed Charles and his family stayed at 51 Middle Street in 1901 although in the census of that year he listed his occupation as 'leather dresser and glove manufacturer'. The animal skins they processed were imported chiefly from countries around the Mediterranean, but also from Australia and South America.

In 1858 Charles Pittard had purchased an area of land south of the Sherborne road at Penfield, also known as Dyke's Penn. Charles and Ebenezer added to the site some five years after his death and built a leather dressing yard. From this time onwards, for the next 40 years or so, the Pittard brothers operated two sites with the leather being dressed at the Penfield works and then moved to be finished at the Lower Middle Street factory. Apparently, skins were carried from one place to the other with just a single horse-drawn cart and a single handcart.

The women's suffrage campaign arrived in Yeovil, a Liberal seat, in March 1883 and the speakers at a meeting included Charles Wreford Pittard. In November 1883 the Liberals held a meeting in Yeovil Town Hall at which the speakers included both Charles and Ebenezer, both declaring themselves firmly in favour of women's suffrage. However, Yeovil did not have its own suffrage society until about 1910.

In 1891, Ebenezer and Charles went their own separate ways, and the partnership was finally dissolved in March 1893 (see below). Charles stayed on at Middle Street and Ebenezer established his own leather dressing yard at the bottom of Mill Lane. From this time onwards both the Middle Street and Sherborne Road sites traded under the name of CW Pittard.

Charles Wreford Pittard was elected to the Town Council, serving a total of 25 years. In 1897 he was made an Alderman and although he was offered the office of Mayor, he declined it. Charles died in Yeovil on 16 September 1912 and is buried in Yeovil Cemetery (see below).


Charles Wreford Pittard's signature on the 1911 census.


In September 2023, after a period of 175 years, Pittard's went into administration.




This map, based on the 1886 Ordnance Survey, shows Charles Pittard's leather factory at centre, later run by his two sons, Charles Wreford and Ebenezer. Charles Wreford lived in Middle Street with his family in the property marked 'A' and Ebenezer lived with his family in the property marked 'B'. For reference 'C' is the South Western Arms and 'D' is the Elephant and Castle on the corner of Middle Street and Wyndham Street


A notice placed in the Western Gazette's edition of 10 March 1893 announcing the partnership of Charles and Ebenezer dissolved.



Courtesy of Olly Ewens

This photograph is from a 1952 newspaper article and was taken on the occasion of the opening of Sidney Gardens in June 1898. The group, photographed with the Mayor, Mr John Vincent, has as its background the thatched bandstand given by Mr James Bazeley Petter to mark the opening. Standing (left to right) are: - E Benson, W Summers, J Kerby Whitby, Mr Brown, William Maynard, GH Gould, Edward Samuel Ewens, Henry Jesty (mace-bearer), William W Johnson, Charles J Hook, John Bazeley Petter (donor), W Armitage (Borough Surveyor), John Howe Farley, Walter J Nosworthy, William Beale Collins, Charles Fox. Sitting - Levi Beer, CW Pittard, Sidney Watts, Mrs Vincent, John Vincent (Mayor), Joseph Chaffey Moore, William Cox.


Charles Wreford and Ebenezer's Pittard's Middle Street leather dressing warehouse and office inherited from their father, Charles. Photographed in the 1930s.


The same view, photographed in 2013.


The extension to the factory seen from Central Road. Photographed in 2013.


This photograph of the 1970's shows Ebenezer Pittard's house - the two-storey building at centre with the entrance to their factory between it and the three-storey brick building at left which replaced the house that Ebenezer's brother Charles Wreford Pittard and his family lived in.


Charles' plot in Yeovil Cemetery. Photographed in 2014.


The inscription on the above monument.