the history of yeovil's pubs





victoria inn

Victoria Place / 89 Huish


The Victoria Inn (marked 'B' on the map at left) was, appropriately, on the corner of Queen Street and Huish. From the photographs below, it was a two-storey, double fronted building fronting onto Huish and appears to have been built of brick under a slate roof. It sold Brutton's Yeovil Ales as displayed across the front of the building and was almost certainly a brewery-built corner-site establishment.

By the 1890s the Victoria Inn was a tied house of the Royal Osborne Brewery, with a long lease owned by Earle Vincent. When Vincent died in 1893 his estate was sold off the following year which included "the Victoria Inn, at Huish, let to Mr George Abbott at £16 (about £1,600 per annum at today's value)."

From details of sale in 1899 (see gallery below) the Victoria Inn comprised a front bar, parlour and kitchen with a living room at the rear with a scullery and other domestic offices on the ground floor and four bedrooms upstairs. The Victoria Inn was bought by Messrs Woolmington Brothers of Sherborne for £800 (around £500,000 at today's value) but subsequently sold to the Crewkerne United Breweries Co Ltd who were certainly the owners in 1906.

With the Licensing Act of 1904 (the Balfour Act) the intention of the government was to reduce the number of licensed premises and the standard of those remaining to be improved. To achieve this the grounds on which a license could be refused were extended. The justices could now refer cases which they considered to be outside their remit to the quarter sessions who could refuse licenses on almost any grounds, including the fact of there being more premises than required to suit the needs of custom. The act made provision for compensation of licensees deprived of their licenses based on the difference in value between the the house having a license and the value without one.  In July 1906 the license of the Victoria Inn was refused by consent, subject to compensation and in December 1907 The Victoria Inn was put up for sale by the Crewkerne United Breweries Co Ltd but the reserve price was not met and the property was withdrawn.

Although there appear to be no licensees after 1907, the photographs of the 1960's below clearly show the signage of Brutton's Brewery.

The Victoria Inn was demolished, along with Queen Street, with the construction of Queensway in the 1970's.


Yeovilians remember...

Many thanks to Sarah Masters for the following - "My father and mother, Brian and Patricia Hobbs, leased this property from Brutton's and opened it as a shop and off licence from approximately 1950 until it was demolished for the building of Queensway. I was born in 1955 at the Five Crossways Maternity Hospital and spent my first 12 years at Queen Street with lots of happy memories of the Fairfield opposite / Huish Infant and Primary schools /Yeovil Town Football Club / Brutton's Brewery / Huish Swimming Pool and the building of Wellington Flats. 1 Queen Street was empty and definitely not a pub when my parents moved in but I can remember a big cellar underneath that always flooded. When they demolished the building they found a huge well full to the brim so that would explain the flooding!! When the shop was compulsory purchased to make way for the road we moved to West Coker where they carried on their shop business until they retired to Mudford Road in Yeovil."




The first listed licensee, John Beaton, was born in Yeovil about 1791. Unfortunately there were something like six men of that name in Yeovil at the time so the only record pertaining to him with any certainty is the 1851 census in which he is listed as an innkeeper aged 60 with his 29-year old wife, Caroline. The address given for him and the neighbouring property was Custard's Lane next to Victoria Place - that'll need some more research then!

Edwin Ball was born about 1827 at Babcary, ten miles north of Yeovil, the son of a solicitor's managing clerk, John Ball, originally from Harlow, Essex, and his Babcary-born wife, Ann. In 1851 Edwin was living with his parents and five siblings at London Road, Yeovil. Edwin was employed as a glover. By 1861 Edwin had married and he, his wife Martha and baby son Edwin were living at Huish where Edwin gave his occupation as glove cutter. In 1866 Edwin was listed in Kelly's Directory as a beer retailer but he died in the first quarter of 1870, aged about 43. After his death Martha moved further along Huish and lived with Edwin's brother, Henry and his family.

The Victoria Inn doesn't appear in the 1871 census and there is nobody in the vicinity listed as beer seller, grocer, etc.

The next licensee was Sarah Brown. She was born in Wincanton, Somerset, about 1816 and married John Brown in the autumn of 1843, but I couldn't tell which of the four Sarah's married at the time was this particular Sarah. In the 1851 census butcher John and Sarah were living in Vicarage Street with their 5-year old daughter, Sarah Ann. Ten years later and they had moved to Paradise and were living immediately next door to the Crown Inn. John was still employed as a butcher and their family had expanded to include Eliza and William. John died in the winter of 1864. In the census of 1871 Sarah was still living in Paradise with Eliza and William as well as daughter Sarah with her husband, Henry Sims. Sarah's occupation was given as laundress while her two daughters were both glovers, William was a tailor and son-in-law Henry was a porter. There were also two lodgers. By 1875 Sarah was listed as a beer retailer in the Post Office Directory and in the 1881 census all her children had left home and Sarah was listed as beerhouse keeper of the Victoria Inn. By 1891 however, at the age of 74, Sarah was an 'inmate' of the Corporation Almshouse at 9 Union Street. Sarah died in the spring of 1892.

Albert Gatcombe was listed as the next licensee of the Victoria Inn in Kelly's Directory of 1889. However there were three men of that name in the area at this time and I was not able to positively identify which was the licensee either before or after this date.

George Abbot was born in Wambrook, Dorset, about 1838. In the 1861 census George and his older brother James were working together as servants in a large house in Wambrook. By 1871 George was newly married and he and his Crewkerne-born wife, Emma, and their baby son John were living in Chardstock where George worked as an agricultural labourer. They then moved around a fair bit during the next ten years with son Fred being born in Wambrook in 1872, Sarah was born back in Chardstock in 1874, Mary was born in Cudworth in 1877 and William was born in Dowlish Wake in 1879. By 1881 the family were living in Hinton St George, Somerset, where George was employed as a shepherd. By 1891 George had moved his family into Yeovil and they were living at the Victoria Inn. George gave his occupation as a general labourer so presumably Emma ran the pub during the day and he took over in the evening as was common practice at the time. Living with them were children John, Fred, Mary and William. George was listed as a beer retailer in Kelly’s 1895 Directory although the pub not named. By 1901 George, Emma and William had moved to Preston Plucknett, Yeovil, where George worked as a jobbing gardener. George died in the spring of 1904.

In 1897 and 1898 William Hooper was listed as licensee of the Victoria Inn, however there were four men called William Hooper in Yeovil at the time and was not possible to positively identify the correct one either before or after these dates.

The next licensees, Thomas and Cleopatra Thorne, I've probably got too much information on - but it does make interesting reading. Thomas was born about 1825 in Stoke-sub-Hamdon, six miles west of Yeovil, the son of glover Thomas Thorne and his wife, Martha. In the 1841 Thomas was living with his parents in Stoke with two older siblings. In the summer of 1844 Thomas married. His wife was Mary but there were about six girls called Mary married about that time in Yeovil so I couldn't identify her maiden name. In any event, Thomas and Mary were living in London Road (today's Sherborne Road) by 1851 with three children aged five or less. Thomas gave his occupation as glove cutter and Mary's as glove sewer. By 1861 the family had moved to Ebenezer Row (pretty much where Poundland is today). Thomas and Mary, as well as their children Joseph, Emily and Bryant - aged 16, 13 and 11 respectively - were all working as leather glovers. There were also four additions to the family; Frank, Henry, Charles and Frederick. Moving on to 1881 and Thomas and Mary were living in Middle Street next door to the Blue Ball Inn with all the previously-mentioned children having left home but two new ones, Kate and Ben, living at home. Thomas was still employed as a glove cutter. Mary died in the spring of 1887 aged about 66. In the 1891 census Thomas, a 66-year old glove cutting widower, was living in Kiddles Lane with his daughter Emily and her husband, Albert Hayward, and their family. In the summer of that year however, Thomas married Cleopatra and here I ought to temporarily divert attention to Cleopatra.

She was born Cleopatra Malvina Robina Colmer in 1847, the daughter of Yeovil chemist and botanist Robert Slade Colmer and his wife Jane, née Allen. Robert Colmer was listed in Hunt's 1850 Directory as a herbal doctor but in 1880 he and his wife were found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. In the 1861 census Cleopatra was living with her parents and her equally-exotically named sisters - Amanda Robinson, Messalina Lonenina Augusta Louisa and Bernice Jennett Josephine - and brothers Cornelius Agrippa and Christopher Augustus Robert Alexander. Nice. By 1871 her father had died and her mother had set herself up as a herbalist in Middle Street where she lived with Cleopatra, Messalina and Christopher. On 7 January 1879 Cleopatra married corn merchant William Henry Down Crocker, 17 years her senior, at St John the Evangelist in Finsbury Park, London. By the time of the 1881 census they were living in Middle Street with their baby, William, and Cleopatra's sister Amanda who had assumed her mother's role and was trading as a 'medicine vendor etc.'. By 1891, however, Cleopatra was a widow and living at 5 Peter Street with her widowed mother, sister Amanda and two children; Francis aged 9 (who would later become a photographer) and 6-year old Louise. Both Cleopatra and Amanda listed their occupation as herbalist while their mother, Jane, was living on her own means. In July 1891 Cleopatra, now aged 44, married 66-year old Thomas Thorne.

In 1899 Thomas Thorne was listed as the licensee of the Victoria Inn in Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser. In the 1901 census at the age of 76 Thomas was listed as innkeeper. Living with him was Cleopatra, now aged 54, and her children were listed as Thomas' step-children - Francis, now aged 19, was a butter factor's clerk and his sister, 16-year old Louise, was a dressmaker's apprentice. Also resident was Amanda, the medicine vendor. Thomas died in the early spring of 1903 and Cleopatra became licensee of the Victoria Inn for a few years - she was listed as licensee in Whitby's 1904 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser. In the 1911 census Cleopatra was back at 5 Peter Street, which had presumably been owned by her mother and was now hers. She was living alone on 'private means'. Cleopatra later left Yeovil and she died in 1920 at Aston Warwickshire.

P England was listed as the Victoria Inn's licensee in the 1907 Yeovil Directory but I could find no P England in Yeovil in any other records either before or after this date. Having scoured every Huish entry in the 1911 census, neither 89 Huish nor the Victoria Inn were mentioned and there was no-one in the area who could be described as a beer retailer, etc. apart from George Childs, the son of George Childs who had run the South Western Arms. George junior was running an off-license cum general grocery at 80 Huish.




A notice of sale of both the Victoria Inn, Huish, and the Anchor Inn, Vicarage Street, (together with the four houses of Anchor Court) in the 3 March 1899 edition of the Western Gazette. The Victoria Inn was bought by the Crewkerne United Breweries Co Ltd.


After its license was revoked, the Crewkerne United Breweries Co Ltd sold the Victoria Inn in December 1907, after which it became a corner shop.


This photograph dates to about 1910 and although the records below indicate a pub from 1850 onwards, it clearly operated as a shop after its license was withdrawn - the window facing Queen Street that bisects the terrace clearly advertising Fry's chocolate!


This photograph was taken in 1939 as part of the jubilee celebrations of the Yeovil and District Co-operative Society and their fleet of vans are lined up on Fairground Field in Huish. The large building at right is the rear of Huish County Junior School, which is itself masking the view of Yeovil Town Football Ground with its famous sloping pitch. Queen Street is seen between the two-storey buildings to the left of the photograph with the Victoria Inn on the left corner, facing Huish.


This is an enlargement of the previous photograph focusing on the Victoria Inn with its "Brutton's Yeovil Ales" signage at centre, facing Huish and on the corner with Queen Street. It had clearly regained a license.


A 1960's photograph of Queen Street seen from Huish. At left is the Victoria Inn and at right the beerhouse at 1 Queen Street. Note that both the inn and the beerhouse have displays of bottles in their windows. Note too that the Victoria Inn had a shop front to its side elevation.


Photographed from Huish in the mid-1970's the Victoria Inn, immediately behind the parked car, faces Huish and stands on the corner of Queen Street. It was completely destroyed during the 1980's when it was cleared for the building of the Queensway section of the Yeovil Inner Relief Road.


The same scene today at the end of Huish. Veering to the left Huish enters the car park while off photo at right is the end of the Queensway footbridge. The building at left, until fairly recently a pet shop, is clearly recogniseable as the shop at extreme left of the previous photograph. The Victoria Inn would have been just behind the white lorry in the photograph, in the north-bound carriageway.


Part of the previous black and white photograph enlarged to show greater detail of the Victoria Inn with its 'Brutton's Beers' signage. 




1850 – John Beaton – Beer Retailer (Hunt & Co's 1850 Directory)
1851 – John Beaton – Innkeeper (1851 census)
1852 – John Beaton – Retailer of Beer (Slater's 1852/3 Directory)
1866 – Edwin Ball – Beer Retailer (Kelly's 1866 Directory) pub not named but in Huish
1875 – Mrs Sarah Brown – Beer Retailer (1875 Post Office Directory)
1875 – Mrs Sarah Brown – Beer Retailer (Kelly's 1875 Directory)
1881 – Sarah Brown (63 year old widow) – Beerhouse Keeper (1881 census) as Victoria Inn
1882 – Mrs Sarah Brown (Whitby's 1882 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser) as Victoria Inn, 89 Huish
1889 – Albert Gatcombe – Beer Retailer (Kelly’s 1889 Directory)
1891 – George Abbot – General Labourer (1891 census) listed as Victoria Inn
1895 – George Abbott – Beer Retailer (Kelly’s 1895 Directory) pub not named
1897 – William Hooper – Beer Retailer (Kelly’s 1897 Directory)
1898 – William Hooper (Whitby's 1898 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser) as Victoria Inn, 89 Huish
1898 – William Hooper - License transfer (Borough Petty Sessions, October)
1898 – Mr T Thorne - License transferred (Borough Petty Sessions, October)
1899 – Thomas Thorne (Whitby's 1899 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser) as Victoria Inn, 89 Huish
1901 – Thomas Thorne – Inn Keeper (1901 census) pub not named
1903 – Thomas Thorne (Whitby's 1903 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser) as Victoria Inn, 89 Huish
1903 – Thomas Thorne died, request for transfer to widow (Borough Petty Sessions)
1904 – Mrs Cleopatra MR Thorne (Whitby's 1904 Yeovil Almanack Advertiser) as Victoria Inn
1907 – P England (1907 Yeovil Directory) listed as Victoria Inn, Huish