Glove Manufacturer of Court Ash
George Atherton was born in Yeovil in 1817, the son of William Atherton (1786-1871) and Elizabeth née Hewlett (1784-1871). In the autumn of 1845 he married Christian Dodge of East Coker in Yeovil and in the 1851 census they were listed living in Reckleford with their four-year-old daughter Louisa Susan, two-year-old daughter Emily and five month old son Henry George, together with a house servant. George listed his occupation as a glove cutter.
By the time of the 1861 census George was listing his occupation as glove manufacturer. He and Christian, together with Emily, Henry and a house servant were living in Rotten Row (today's Market Street).
However by 1866 George was being advertised as a glove manufacturer of Court Ash in the 1866 edition of the Post Office Directory. The 1871 census confirms that George and Christian, together with their three children and a servant were living in a large Court Ash residence set in extensive grounds with his glove factory adjacent. Atherton's neighbour, in Court Ash House, was fellow glove manufacturer Elias L Whitby. George gave his occupation as 'Glove Manufacturer employing 30 men & 12 boys' adding the note that 'no women were employed in the factory'. Of course, as was standard practice, George would have employed many outworkers, both women and girls, who worked at home stitching the leather gloves. Son Henry also listed his occupation as glove manufacturer.
George's wife, Christian, died in the winter of 1873, aged 60.
When George's son Henry had joined his father in the business, it became known as George Atherton & Son. The company was listed as glove manufacturers and leather dressers of Court Ash in the 1875 edition of the Post Office Directory and as glove manufacturers of Court Ash in the 1882 edition of Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser.
In the 1881 census both 64-year-old George and 30-year-old Henry gave their occupations as glove manufacturers employing 14 men and one boy. Living with them in the Court Ash house were Emily and a servant. The situation was largely unchanged in the 1891 census. In the 1901 Census 84-year-old George now listed his occupation as retired glove manufacturer. He was living with his children Henry and Emily, both unmarried and in their fifties, together with a general domestic servant.
After George's retirement, Henry took over the glove manufacturing business and renamed it Atherton & Co. It was listed as such in Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser of 1903 and in Collins Yeovil directory of 1907.
George Atherton died on 22 January 1907 in Yeovil. His will was proved in March and his total effects were valued at £10,734 11s 9d (around £3,750,000 at 2017's value).
By 1919, after a probable merger with the glove manufacturer Sidney Clothier, the company had become Atherton & Clothier Ltd, glove manufacturers of Court Ash, and were listed in Kelly's Directories of 1919 and 1935. Also in 1935 they opened a dressing yard in Addlewell Lane. After the Second World War the company became associated with glove manufacturers RJ Pullman Ltd in Addlewell Lane. In Edwin Snell's Directory of 1954 the company was listed twice; once as glove manufacturers and the second time as leather dressers, both in Court Ash. By 1964 however the company had moved to the Addlewell Lane premises and was listed in Foord's Directory of 1964 and Kelly's Directories of 1968 and 1970.
The company closed in the 1970s.
This map, based on the 1886 Ordnance Survey, shows George Atherton's large residence in Court Ash at centre left. Next to it, to the north of the sheep pens, is his glove factory. The site of both house and factory are today built up with offices.
Atherton & Clothier's table glove cutting shop photographed during the 1920s.
A full page advertisement from the June 1924 edition of "The Glover" listing those local companies taking part in the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley - including Atherton & Clothier Ltd.