Yeovil people

Witcomb & Son

Photographers - including twin sisters Ethel and Edith


Charles John Witcomb and his son Sidney George were professional photographers of Salisbury, Wiltshire, with their two main studios at 10 Catherine Street, Salisbury, and 9 Triangle, Bournemouth, throughout the 1870s and into the twentieth century. As early as 1861 Charles was listed in the census as a 'Tobacconist, Stationer & Photographer' of Milford Street, Salisbury, and by 1871 described himself simply 'Photographer'. By 1881 Charles and his family were living at 10 Catherine Street, which was to become his main studio. Charles gave his occupation as 'Photographic Artist' while his son Sidney George was a Watchmaker's Apprentice. Charles and Sidney were in partnership with Harry Alfred Meill as photographers at Town Hall Avenue, Bournemouth, Hampshire. The partnership was dissolved by mutual agreement in December 1890 and by 1903 Witcomb & Son were established in Middle Street, Yeovil, The Yeovil studio was run by Sidney.

Sidney was a Freemason and was initiated into Yeovil's Lodge of Brotherly Love on 27 January 1904. He served as Worshipful Master of the Lodge in 1915.

Witcomb & Son were first listed in Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser in 1903 and they placed an advertisement in the same edition, shown below, stating 'Under Royal Patronage'. In the 1911 census Sidney was listed as a photographer with his wife Melina 'assisting in the business' and their twin 22-year old twin daughters Edith and Ethel (both born 4 June 1890) working as photographer's assistants. Witcomb & Sons appeared regularly in Yeovil trade directories until their listing in the Post Office Directory of 1935. Sidney died in Yeovil in 1947 aged 87.

In 1920 Ethel married John E Linn at Yeovil. In the 1939 England and Wales Register Ethel was listed as a photographer and her twin sister Edith was listed as a photographer retired.




A photograph of a Yeovil family (any ideas?) by Witcomb & Son, Yeovil, dating to about 1905.


Witcomb & Son's advertisement in the 1903 edition of Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser.


From my collection

A colourised photograph by Witcomb & Son of the Yeovil Boy's Brigade parading along Middle Street, outside the Coronation Hotel and Vaults, around 1910. In fact Witcomb's studio is in this photograph - at centre, and enlarged below.


From my collection

An enlargement of the previous photograph showing Witcomb & Son's studio, at 31a Middle Street, with a display of their photographic work.


From my collection

A cabinet card with a highly embossed oval portrait framing, silver lettering on a dark grey cardstock with a plain back from around 1910. Note the "Under Royal Patronage" over the fleur-de-lys logo. By this time cabinet cards were going out of fashion and were being popularly replaced by the much cheaper postcard format.


This photograph, reproduced as a postcard, is by Witcomb & Son and shows the fire damage to the Aplin & Barrett factory. Photographed on 11 August 1912.


Courtesy of Dinah Cheek

A photograph by Witcomb & Son depicting men of the South Western Brigade Battalion, Territorial Force, photographed on 29 April 1915 on the forecourt of Pen Mill Station. This unit was raised in Yeovil from home service personnel, older or medically unfit men, classed as 'Category B'. In 1917 they became part of the 11th Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry, and saw action by August 1918 - fighting with such spirit that the Corps Commander ordered the 'B' category to be dropped.


From my collection

A Corporal of the Royal Engineers, home on leave in Yeovil, called in to Witcomb & Son's studio in Middle Street to have his photograph taken. By this time cartes de visite and cabinet cards had fallen into disuse and most portraits were produced as postcards, as here, which could be sent to friends and relatives.