16 Hendford - a charming 18th century building
The building itself is probably eighteenth century and built as a small town house. Of two storeys, it is built with local stone under a tiled roof. At first floor the two windows above estate agents Humbert's retain their glazing bars and give a good indication of what the building originally looked like. The mock-Georgian shop front is almost certainly modern.
In 1790 the occupant of the building was Henry Whitmash, a London carrier, who by 1827 was noted as a 'Gentleman' of the Borough. In 1830 Whitmash & Co were operating from Hendford to London and also ran services to Beaminster, Crewkerne and Taunton. Whitmash was still advertising his service to London in 1840 but by 1850 Jonathan Crocker was advertising his service "late Whitmash & Co" to London, Bristol, Taunton, Exeter and "all parts of the West" from Hendford.
By 1851 the premises, owned by the Three Choughs Hotel opposite, had been divided into two properties numbered, at the time, as 71 and 72 Hendford. No 71 was occupied by Chaplin & Horne, railway carriers and agents for the London and South Western Railway Company. Silas Allen was manager. No 72 was, from at least 1851 until after 1901, was the 'tap' of the Three Choughs Hotel known as the Chough's Tap. A brewery tap is usually the nearest outlet for a brewery's beers, often a bar or room in the brewery although it may apply to the closest pub. In this case it belonged to the Three Choughs where, in 1837 a new brewhouse was built, as well as other works. The Three Choughs was considered a 'genteel' establishment and the Chough's Tap was therefore an outlet across the road where it could dispense its own-brewed beer to the working classes.
In 1919 No 72 was advertised as "Miss Caroline Chant, Refreshment Rooms (Choughs Restaurant)". The Choughs Restaurant was still operating in the early 1960s as seen in the first two photographs below.
In 1928 William Frederick Banfield opened the Cottage Café in No 71 (later 16a). The café was later run by his son while Modelkits of the 1970s and 80s was run by his grandson Bob, late verger at St John's church. The Cottage Café closed in the early 1990s.
In 1994 No 16a was the premises of Premier Wines and 16b was the Yeovil Collector's Centre.
Courtesy of Rob Baker
The Cottage Café photographed around 1983.
From my collection
An advertisement for the Cottage Café dating to 1931.
From my collection
The Cottage Café's advertisement in the 1950 Yeovil Guide.
This photograph, taken around 1960, looks across Hendford and shows the very narrow entrance to West Hendford, originally called Horsey Lane, running alongside the Oxford Inn. Note that the Three Coughs Hotel (standing immediately behind the photographer) had a garage for patrons at left. This was the former livery stables of the Three Choughs Hotel. At right is the building housing the Cottage Café and the Choughs Restaurant, the former Chough's Tap.
Again taken around 1960, the quaint roundabout with the traffic light had gone by the early 1970's - in fact when I moved to Yeovil in 1973 there were no traffic lights in the town whatsoever. Those were the days! Between the Cottage Café and the Oxford Inn is the entrance to Waterloo Lane.
Photographed by Doug Keyse, courtesy of Andy Keyse
The 1968 St George's Day parade passes the whitewashed building that had been the Oxford Inn on the corner of Waterloo Lane, at left, and the Cottage Café. The Oxford Inn stopped trading in the late 1940's and later became the offices of the Petter & Warren architectural practice before being demolished in the early 1970s.
Courtesy of Jack Sweet
Photographed in the late 1960s by which time Bob Banfield had opened Modelkits while his parents ran the café.
Courtesy of Colin Haine
Part of the upstairs dining room, photographed in the 1960s.
An advertisement for the Cottage Café dating to 1964, using the above photograph of the upstairs dining room.
The advertisement for Modelkits in the 1970 Yeovil Guide.
.... and a Modelkits advertisement in the Somerset Express in 1990.
.... and a Modelkits advertisement in the 1991 Denton's Directory.
The Cottage Café and Modelkits, photographed in the 1970s.
.... and photographed in 2013.
.... and again in 2015.
The original Choughs Restaurant sign revealed during refurbishment works in March 2015.
The signage itself, photographed in 2015.