24 & 25 High Street

24 & 25 High Street

Yeovil's largest Department Store

 

 25 High Street had originally been built in 1836 for a draper's business, Edwards & Dean, who were listed as being in the Borough in Pigot's 1830 trade directory as well as the Somerset Gazette Directory of 1840. By 1841 it was occupied by draper Peter Edwards. It was later occupied by Hurrell & Berryman who were listed in the Post Office Directory of 1866 as silk mercers and were the owners immediately prior to Linsey Denner.

Linsey Denner was born in Honiton in 1845 and came to Yeovil in 1875 and bought the premises at 25 High Street, styling himself a "Silk Mercer, Family Draper, Hosier & Haberdasher".

In the 1881 census Linsey Denner was living above his shop premises at 25 High Street with his family, a live-in domestic cook, housemaid and nursemaid. Linsey described his occupation as "Draper, master, employing 12 hands" and it appears that most of these lived on the premises as well including five young lady draper's assistants, a draper's milliner and three young men who were draper's apprentices.

By 1891 living on the premises with the Denners were nine employees including six young ladies described as draper's shopwomen, three young men who were draper's apprentices and a fourth described as a draper's shopman.

In the 1901 census Denner was still living above the shop premises with his family, a cook and a housemaid. By now daughter Florence was aged 22 and was employed by her father as a draper's clerk while son Charles, now 18, was employed as a draper's assistant. There were also eight live-in shop workers, the oldest of which was 26. These included another draper's clerk, four draper's assistants, a draper's milliner, an outfitter and a draper's apprentice.

By the time of the 1911 census the premises over the shop were occupied by Linsey junior and his family, a cook and two housemaids. As ever live-in shop staff included eight draper's assistants, a dressmaker and a milliner. 

Around this time it is believed that Denner acquired the two-storey neighbouring property, 24 High Street, included in this page. A late eighteenth century building, it was incorporated into the store and remained as just two storeys until after 1983, when an additional floor was added and the roof of both premises converted to a fourth floor.

Linsey Denner senior died on 14 June 1917 aged 72. The store was called 'L Denner' until 1926 when the Chapel family bought it and renamed the store as 'Denners'. Hedley Chapman and his sister Vera ran the business. Vera married Norman Lock, of Locks Seeds, and they had three children; their daughter Penny married Tim Chappell and together they took over the running of Denners after Vera retired. Hedley died of cancer in the late 60's. Beales acquired the store in 1999 but kept the name Denners until 2011 when it was restyled as 'Beales'.

The following edited description is from the Somerset Historic Environment Record and, although the record was last updated in 2003, they clearly missed the third floor on No 24 -

Shop premises. No 24 a 2 storey [sic] building of plain brick with stone cornice and rusticated quoins and a plain clay tile roof behind a brick parapet. Modern shopfront to ground floor and 4-sash windows of 16-panes in simple architraves to first floor. No 25 of brick with slim pilasters and band courses (? plaster or stone) all now colourwashed, with a Welsh slated roof between coped gables [sic]. Of 3-storeys with 5-bays divided by the pilasters into a 1-3-1 pattern. Modern shopfront occupies the whole of the ground floor. The windows to both levels of 12-pane sashes in plain openings. The facade surmounted by a simple balustrade with pediment with incised ornament in a Soanian manner.

 

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This view of Linsey Denner's premises at 25 High Street was taken between 1887 (when the Sugg lamp was erected in the street outside to celebrate the Jubilee of Queen Victoria) but before 1897 when the Capital and Counties Bank replaced the building on the corner of High Street seen at extreme left.

 

High Street photographed in 1898. At this time Linsey Denner only owned 25 High Street. The two-storey shop to its left, 24 High Street, would later be acquired by Denner and remodelled during the late 1980s as a three storey extension to his premises. It had earlier been the premises of Edward Granger, chemist and druggist.

 

Denners in December 2008 before the name change to Beales.

 

.... and as Beales, photographed in 2013.