40 & 42 Princes Street

40 & 42 princes street

(East Side) - An Eighteenth Century Town House


Today's Grade II Listed 40 and 42 Princes Street, presently occupied by the Mad Hatter joke shop, was originally a small eighteenth century town house still discernible behind the modern ground floor shop fronts and garish signage. In earlier times its red Yeovil brick frontage with golden Ham stone dressings would have given it the appearance of a fine residence, albeit somewhat less grand than its neighbours on the opposite side of the street.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century it was the home of wealthy gentleman John Glyde.

During the Second World War the basement of this building was adapted as an air raid shelter, known as Public Basement Shelter P19, with the ability to shelter up to 50 persons.

As seen in the photograph below, during the late 1970s / early 1980s 42 was Thorne's hairdresser and tobacconist and 40 was the WI Market. Later both would become the premises of Ceres wholefood bakery, then the Mad Hatter in 42 and Ceres in 40 and today both are the Mad Hatter.

The following description is from the Somerset Historic Environment Record -

Town house of the C18, now shops. Brick (colour-washed) with stone dressings, with Welsh slated roof of steepish pitch between coped gables, end chimney stacks now truncated. 2-storey. Modern shopfronts to ground floor; first floor similar to Nos 46 plain reveals, and wider side windows with C20 timber casements (the cills lowered to top of fascia to shops), all with gauged brick flat arches with keystones. Rusticated quoins and stone cornice, with parapet over of uncertain date, rendered and divided up into small square panels.




A photograph of the 1950s of the block of former seventeenth and eighteenth town houses on the eastern side of Princes Street, to the south of North Lane.


FW Thorne's shop at 42 Princes Street, in a colourised photograph of the 1950s.


This colourised photograph features in my book 'Yeovil From Old Photographs'

Photographed (I think) in the late 1970s when 46 & 48 were Channing's toy shop, 44 was Widgers estate agents, 42 was Thorne's hairdresser and tobacconist and 40 was the WI Market (before it moved to Hendford, near to the Butchers Arms).


40 & 42 Princes Street in an enlargement of the previous photograph.


This photograph features in my book 'Now That's What I Call Yeovil'

The terrace photographed around 1990.


During the late 1980s and early 1990s Ceres natural foods shop was in the left hand part of the property while their bakery was in the right hand side. Photographed around 1990.


By  2008 the Mad Hatter had moved into the left part of the property.


The nice eighteenth century town house survives behind the garish modern signage.  Photographed in 2013, by which time the Mad Hatter fancy dress and joke shop had been in the whole of 40 & 42 for about a year.