yeovil people

henry thomas adams

Rope & Twine Manufacturer of Middle Street


Rope making had a long tradition in Yeovil and its last known craftsman was Henry Thomas Adams who was born in Yeovil in 1850, the son of rope maker John Adams and his wife Susan, or Susannah, née Leach. In the census of 1851 John and Sarah together with one-year-old Henry were listed living on the south side of Huish, about halfway between Waterloo Lane and Wellington Street. John listed his occupation as a rope maker while Susan listed hers as a gloveress. By the time of the 1861 census the family had moved to Back Kingston (today's Higher Kingston). Henry now had two sisters; eight-year-old Ellen and five-year-old Jane. His father again listed his occupation as rope & twine maker.

The next census, in 1871, saw the family move yet again this time to Middle Street. From the location in the census they appear to have been living on the south side of Middle Street, between Bond Street and the Triangle. At this time both 44-year-old John and 21-year-old Henry, gave their occupations as rope maker.

In the spring of 1876 Henry married Martha Toogood, of West Lydford, in Yeovil. Martha was the youngest child of saddler William Toogood and his wife, Eliza. In the 1881 census Henry and Martha were listed living in Reckleford. Henry gave his occupation as a rope maker. They were to have no children. The 1891 census listed them still living in Reckleford and Henry gave his occupation as a twine maker.

His mother Susannah died in the winter of 1891 aged 77 and his father John Adams died in Yeovil during the winter of 1896, aged 73. Henry and Martha moved into his parents' house at 104 Middle Street and Henry took over his father's twine and rope business. He was listed many times in Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser as a twine maker, a rope and twine maker and even a rope, twine and sacking maker at Middle Street from 1898 onwards. In the 1901 census, still at Middle Street, he listed his occupation as a rope manufacturer as, indeed, he repeated in 1911. By this time Henry and Martha, both aged 59, had been married for 35 years.

Henry's last listing in a trade directory was in Kelly's Directory of 1919, when he was listed as a Rope & Twine Manufacturer of Middle Street, possibly the last in Yeovil's long history of rope making. Henry died in Yeovil in the summer of 1925 aged 75.