Yeovil Trades & Traders

charles john hook

Proprietor of the Golden Canister


Charles John Hook was born in Bridgwater in 1854 and he and his wife Sarah, born in Monckton, Somerset, moved to Yeovil around 1885.

Certainly by the time of the 1891 census they were living above their shop on the north side of Middle Street, next door but one to the entrance to Frederick Place, under the sign of the 'Golden Canister'. The building, of three storeys and three bays with simple fenestration above street level remains today

Living with them in 1891 were sons Frederick, Clifford and Herbert who were all born in Bridgwater, and William, Maggie and Mary who were all Yeovil-born. Also living in were two grocers' assistants and a grocers' apprentice, as well as two general domestic servants.

Charles was a Freemason, initiated into the Lodge of Brotherly Love in Yeovil in 1887. He served as Worshipful Master of the Lodge in 1896. He was a Governor of the Yeovil Boys County School and the photograph above left is taken from a 1909 photograph of the school governors and staff.

By the time of the 1901 census Frederick, Clifford and Herbert had replaced three of the young ladies as grocers' assistants, plus there was a live-in assistant, a cook and a housemaid. Charles Hook died in Yeovil in the spring of 1929, aged 74.

Following Charles' death his son Frederick amalgamated CJ Hook & Sons with the Western Counties Stores Ltd in the Borough as from 29 May 1933.




Charles Hook's advertisement in Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser of 1892.


Charles Hook's Golden Canister supply stores from an early advertisement. It would appear that at this time Yeovil was populated by midgets.


Courtesy of Olly Ewens

This photograph is from a 1952 newspaper article and was taken on the occasion of the opening of Sidney Gardens in June 1898. The group, photographed with the Mayor, Mr John Vincent, has as its background the thatched bandstand given by Mr James Bazeley Petter to mark the opening. Standing (left to right) are: - E Benson, W Summers, J Kerby Whitby, Mr Brown, William Maynard, GH Gould, ES Ewens, H Jesty (mace-bearer), WW Johnson, Charles J Hook, JB Petter (donor), W Armitage (Borough Surveyor), J Farley, WJ Nosworthy, WB Collins, C Fox. Sitting - Levi Beer, CW Pittard, Sidney Watts, Mrs Vincent, John Vincent (Mayor), JC Moore, W Cox.


This photograph was taken by Yeovil Photographer Jarratt Beckett and published in his 1897 book  "Somerset viewed through a Camera". Charles Hook's supply stores on the north side of Middle Street, under the sign of the 'Golden Canister', in this photograph. To give an idea of where this is, the entrance to Frederick Place is beneath the two single windows at the left end of the Albany Hotel. The buildings of Hook's, Richardson's and the Albany Hotel survive to this day.


A postcard of about 1905 looking up Middle Street towards the Borough, CJ Hook's Supply Stores is at right.


Men of "Kitchener's Army" march down Middle Street on their way to the Western Front. Note Charles Hook's 'Golden Canister' shop at top centre and the entrance to Frederick Place at right. Photographed c1915.


Hook's supply stores, now Clark's, photographed in 2013. It's nice to see that Richardson's and the Albany Hotel buildings also survive.


Again taken about 1900, this photograph looks west along Middle Street towards the Borough. Hook's 'Golden Canister' sign is seen just right of centre.


This postcard dates to 1903 (not the 1930s as the CHAC website would have you believe) and is taken a bit further towards the Borough than the previous photograph. Hook's shop is seen at extreme right with the smart, shiny new lights outside.


Advertisement placed in Jarratt Beckett's 1897 book  "Somerset viewed through a Camera".


Charles Hook's advertisement in the 1897 edition of Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser for his supply stores, the Golden Canister.


From my collection

An advertisement for CJ Hook & Sons in a Yeovil Guide of the late 1920s. 


Courtesy of Rob Baker

Notice placed in the Western Gazette's edition of 26 May 1933 announcing that CJ Hook & Sons was being incorporated into the Western County Stores Ltd in the Borough.


The Borough, photographed around 1955, and the awning shows that Western County Stores was amalgamated with CJ Hook & Sons as well as Somerville & Son.


From my collection

A Western Counties Stores' invoice. At this time the letter heading doesn't mention CJ Hook and Son although the attached receipt does. Do you remember when invoices were hand written? (and 12 "Flagons of Cyder" cost just £1 2s 0d?).


From my collection

A Western Counties Stores' invoice of 1961, by which time CJ Hook & Sons and JH Somerville & Son are listed as being incorporated within WCS.