John Henry boll
Carriage Manufacturer and Mayor of Yeovil
John Henry Boll was born Johannes Heinrich Boll in 1858 in Hanover, Germany, to a family of corn merchants and ship owners. He moved to Yeovil in 1878 to become an apprentice of John Hill and became a naturalised British citizen in 1885 and anglicised his name at the same time.
He was employed at Hill's Carriage Works in Park Road and, according to the advertisement he placed in Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser of 1883, shown below, was an agent for various brands of bicycles and tricycles.
Hill's Carriage Works was founded by John Hill but run for many years by his widow Sophia, née Milborne. His employer at the carriage works was now Sophia Hill and in the 1881 census Sophia was a 41-year old widow listed as a coach builder and lodging with her was Johann H Boll, also listed as a coach builder. He married Sophia's daughter, Bessie Sophia, in 1886 and was clearly now established as a partner in the business known in 1888 as Hill's Carriage Works of Kingston and Park Street but by the following year had become Hill & Boll, Carriage Builders of Kingston and Park Road, Yeovil and South Street, Sherborne.
John and Bessie were to have three children; Hilda born 1887, Frederick born 1890 and Evelyn born 1892. In the 1891 census John and Bessie were living in Pitney Cottage, Kingston, with their daughter Hilda and son Frederick. John was aged 33 and listed as a coach builder. By 1901 he was listed as living at South Bank, Summerlands.
In the late 1890's John entered local politics and was elected to Yeovil Town Council in 1898. He served as mayor from 1911 to 1912 and his mayoral photograph above dates from this time. It was during his mayoral tenure that the Council began its first major housing project of fifty (or 150, depending on your source) council houses at New Town.
John was a Freemason and was initiated into Yeovil's Lodge of Brotherly Love on 1 March 1893. He served as Worshipful Master of the Lodge in 1900.
In the 1911 census John, Bessie and their three children were still living at Summerlands and John gave his occupation as "Manufacturer at Coach & Motor Works". Frederick, by this time aged 20, was listed as "Assisting in Works".
John Boll died in Yeovil in 1916, aged 58.
Johannes Heinrich Boll's signature on his marriage banns in 1885.
John Boll's signature on the 1911 census
This map, based on the 1886 Ordnance Survey, shows Hill & Boll's carriage works noted as the 'Coach Factory' north of Park Road, left of centre.
John Boll's advertisement in Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser of 1883. At this time John either worked at Hill's Carriage Works or rented groundspace. In any event he was clearly dealing in bicycles and tricycles.
Boll's advertisement for the 'Facile' bicycle in the Western Gazette's edition of 25 May 1883.
This advertisement for Hill's Carriage Works, where John worked, appeared in Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser of 1888. The following advertisement is from the next year, 1889.
In Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser of 1889, Hill's Carriage Works had become Hill & Boll Carriage Builders.
Courtesy of Olly Ewens
A postcard, probably dating to around 1900 of South Bank, the home of John Boll for the last years of his life. Summerlands Hospital, at this time Yeovil's workhouse, is seen at far right.
John Burns MP (centre) performing the opening ceremony of Yeovil's first 50 council houses at New Town in January 1912. John Boll, in his role as mayor, is at right and at left is mace-bearer Henry Jesty.