Yeovil Trades & Traders

john milborne

Tailor and Draper


John Milborne was born about 1815 in Yeovil. Although it is not known who his parents were, his father may have been Yeovil tailor William Milborn of Vicarage Street who was listed in Pigot's trade directory of 1830. In any event in 1838 John married Elizabeth Bidder, who was born in Moreton Hamstead, Devon, around 1816. They were to have seven children: Augusta (1839-1909), Sophia (b1840), William Bidder (1843-1907), Mary Jane (b1844), John (1846-1887), George Edward (b1850) and James Alfred (b1854). Their daughter Sophia was to marry John Hill, later coach builder of Hill's Coach Works.

In the Somerset Gazette Directory of 1840 John Milborne was listed as a tailor in Cattle Market (the early name for Princes Street) but by the 1841 census 26-year old John was listed as a tailor in Kingston, the census placing him several houses before the Duke of York. Living with him were Elizabeth, Augusta and Sophia, his sister Mary and a female domestic servant.

Hunt & Co's trade directory of 1840 listed him as a tailor in the Borough which was confirmed by the 1851 census where he was listed as living in the Borough with Elizabeth and their first five children and a housemaid. In the census he described his occupation as "Tailor & Woollen Draper employing 8 men and 4 boys".

At this time however, Hendford continued along the western side of today's Princes Street as far as Park Road and the eastern side of today's Princes street was known as Borough as far as Church Street after which the eastern side became Kingston. Previously, of course, the whole of today's Princes Street was called Cattle Market - confused? So am I, but in general I think it's safe to say that Milborne's premises were in today's Princes Street close to High Street but it's difficult to say which side of the road. By 1852 Slater's Directory was listing John as a tailor and draper in Hendford.

However, the 1861 census made it clear for the first time where properties were located in Princes Street since the enumerator clearly listed from Park Street, down the western side of Princes Street to today's Westminster Street then returning back up the eastern side of Princes Street. Milborne's premises were next to the rear entrance of the Mermaid Hotel as seen in the photograph below. The census listed John as "Tailor &c employing 14 men and 2 boys". He lived in the accommodation above his shop with Elizabeth and five of their children. Son William, aged 18, was listed as a tailor.

1866 Post Office Directory listed John as a tailor and merchant in Princes Street and in the 1871 census John was listed as "Woolen Draper, Master, employing 15 men and 1 boy". He was living above his shop premises with Elizabeth, 18-year old James Alfred who was listed as a hosier, and a domestic servant. By 1875 the Post Office Directory was listing the business as John Milborne & Son, tailors, in Princes Street.

John Milborne died in the autumn of 1877 and after his death, his widow stated on the 1881 census that she "derived her income from houses".

John's tailoring business was continued by his son, J Alfred, who kept the name Milborne & Son as seen in his advertisement of 1878 below. J Alfred kept the business going until at least 1903 when Milborne & Son were listed as "Tailors and Breeches Makers" of 6 Princes Street in Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser.




This very early photograph, half of a stereoscopic picture, was taken about 1875 and looks along Princes Street from its junction with High Street. Just right of centre is seen the rear entrance to the Mermaid Hotel and Milborne's premises was the building between the Mermaid's porte cochére and the large, impressive Savings Bank building at right (somewhat less impressive today with its unsympathetic ground floor elevation and appalling pink paintwork). 


This advertisement was placed in Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser of 1878 by J Alfred Milborne following the death of his father, John.