princes street

princes street

Formerly Cattle Market


Like many of Yeovil’s streets, Princes Street hasn’t always been named as such. Indeed it was actually less straightforward than that, simply because of former ancient boundaries which meant that various parts of the street fell within the three ancient manors of Yeovil Borough, Hendford and Kingston. Even though it had lain within the ancient Manor of Yeovil Borough the eastern side of what is now Princes Street, from High Street to Church Street, was called Hendford. On its eastern side from Church Street to North Lane, having once been in the Manor of Kingston, the street was called Kingston and continued as such to Fiveways. The western side however, from Westminster Street all the way to Park Road, had also once been in the Manor of Hendford and consequently the road here was considered to be Hendford. So, when it was built in 1730, Old Sarum House was actually the last house in Hendford.

Indeed, Princes Street retains more of the fashionable houses of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries than any other part of Yeovil, although all are now converted to shops or offices. All are listed separately under their own Princes Street addresses in the P-index of this website.

On Watt’s map of 1806 the street was named as Cattle Market, indicating the particular business that was carried out in the street on market days here before the building of the cattle market between Reckleford and Market Street.


The Western Gazette, in its edition of 22 February 1924 that recalled John Plowman's recollections of '75 years ago' (that is, around 1850) - "Posts and small railings lined the pavements through Princes Street, and a pig market was regularly held in the roadway."


During the late seventeenth to early nineteenth centuries the area became more genteel and the home to gloving magnates, solicitors, doctors, and the like. Cattle Market was clearly not a salubrious enough name for those residing in it, so it became Princes Street. It was presumably named in honour of Prince Albert and probably at some time between his marriage to Queen Victoria in 1840 and his being formally granted the title of Prince Consort in 1857. It was most likely the latter since the 1851 census still refers to it as Cattle Market.

In any event, by the time of the 1886 Ordnance Survey both sides of the road were considered to be in Princes Street which, as today, started at the junction of Hendford and High Street and ended by Park Road on the western side and Court Ash on the east, after which it continued as Kingston until the widening of Reckleford closed the road at this point.




This photograph of Princes Street dates to around 1875 and is one half of a stereoscopic pair. It was taken from the junction with High Street and looks north. At the time Henry Marsh Custard was running his bookshop / printer's / stationers which was situated in the three-storey building to the left of the cart in the photograph. The narrow lane seen between Custard's building and the building at extreme left was colloquially known as Custard's Lane  and later widened to become Westminster Street. The imposing building at right, once a private residence known as Mayfair, was the hairdressing salon of Frank Gaylard, and home to the 'Yeovil & District Toilet Club', between the 1870s and 1920s. The two-storey building at extreme right, on the corner of Princes Street and High Street, was the home and furniture shop of Henry White. Between Gaylard's and the rear entrance to the Mermaid Hotel was, for decades, the premises of the Plowman family of harness and saddle makers.


The southern end of Princes Street, photographed around 1895.


From my collection. This image features in my book 'Yeovil - The Postcard Collection'.

This postcard by William Beale Collins dates to about 1900. At extreme left is just seen the edge of Lindsay Denner's shop and next to it are the remaining shops before he took them over. The two men at centre are standing outside Stuckey's Bank (demolished before 1918) and between the bank building and Genge's shop is the narrow entrance to Porter's Lane (later widened to become today's Westminster Street). William Beale Collin's own printing and bookselling premises are seen at extreme right.


.... and seen in the mid-1960s - Porter's Lane has now been widened to form Westminster Street. Genge's shop is now Hening & Tudor ladies' clothing shop.


This photograph features in my book 'Yeovil From Old Photographs'

This photograph was taken by Yeovil Photographer Jarratt Beckett and published in his 1897 book  "Somerset viewed through a Camera". At far left, with the awning, was Strong's Dining & Tea Rooms also known as the Princes Cafe. Next door to this was Collins, the printer and stationer, and then Cole & Sons. On the right is seen the new shopfront to Frank Gaylard's hairdressing salons. Between Gaylard's and the rear entrance to the Mermaid Hotel was, for decades, the premises of the Plowman family of harness and saddle makers.


This photograph was taken in 1910 and shows Mr JH Burrows (second from right) and his staff outside his butcher's shop, Hinton Farm Meat Supply, in Princes Street right next to the rear entrance to the Mermaid Hotel seen at extreme left.


.... and looking back the other way towards High Street, in the mid-1960s.


A view further down Princes Street, also published in Jarratt Beckett's 1897 book  "Somerset viewed through a Camera".


From my collection  -  This photograph features in my book 'Yeovil From Old Photographs'.

This postcard of Princes Street was used in 1905 although I have seen it as early as 1903. At left is lindsay

's "gentleman's and juvenile ready-made and outfitting establishment" at 79 Hendford, immediately next to the narrow entrance to Porter's Lane. Denner's shop would be demolished around 1919 for the widening of Porter's Lane into today's Westminster Street. On the opposite corner the building that had been Porter's printing works and bookshop is still there today and bears a blue plaque celebrating Porter's shop. At right is the Capital & Counties Bank building which opened in 1897.


From my collection. This image features in my book 'Yeovil - The Postcard Collection'.

A postcard of Princes Street, dating to around 1905, produced by William Beale Collins and showing his premises at left.


Princes Street in a postcard of 1935. At extreme right is the garage entrance to the Mermaid, but look at the shops next door - now re-fronted on the ground floor and currently occupied by Chant's estate agent.


Courtesy of Clive Dalzell

This parade of Naval ratings, with Lt Cmdr Robert Eric Dalzell (Clive's dad) marches past the rear entrance of the Mermaid Hotel around 1955.


During the 1840s and 1850s this was the house of yeoman and gentleman John Newman and his wife Jane. Photographed in 2017.


Nos 3 and 5 Princes Street, photographed (I think) in the 1960s.


Courtesy of Colin Haine

The junction of Princes Street at left and High Street at right around 1900 when horse-power meant horse-power.


The corner of Princes Street, at left, and High Street, at right, photographed in 1906.


From my collection

I'd guess this postcard of the southern end of Princes Street dates to the 1930s. Note the traffic policeman at bottom right patiently waiting for some traffic.


From my collection

The junction of Hendford, Princes Street and High Street shown in the 1950 Yeovil Guide (but taken much earlier). The Capital Counties bank on the corner is now the National Provincial bank.


From my collection

A postcard dated 1949. Note that the traffic light poles are no longer black and white stripes - or was this earlier? At left Genge's store is on the corner of Westminster Street. Next to the National Provincial bank the building known as Mayfair, that used to house Frank Gaylard's hairdressing salon, is now divided into two shops; that to the left (with the awning down) being occupied by butchers D & D Lawrence (later FH Martin, butcher) while that to the right (behind the traffic light) was vacant at this time, later the Mayfair dress shop.


A photograph of the mid-1950s showing the southern end of the western side of the road - little changed today. Princes Street at this time had two-way traffic. Note the traffic lights on the corner outside the shop.


From my collection

A postcard by HA 'Jack' Cooper, of the southern end of Princes Street dated 1958. The shops on the left hand side are - left to right - Maryon (dress shop), Vane (looks like a jeweller), can't make out the next two although the second is a shoe shop offering a shoe repair service, Finally, the building with the awnings down is Perris's (now Ask Italian restaurant). On the right hand side - right to left - is Mayfair (I think a dress shop), FH Martin ('high class butcher') then a small grocery store but I can't make out the name, followed by the rear entrance to the Mermaid Hotel.


Courtesy of Geoffrey White

The building known as Mayfair was, for many years Frank Gaylard's hairdressing salon and home to the Yeovil Toilet Club. By the 1950s the building had been divided into two shop premises; FH Martin butchers and Mayfair dress shop. 


Courtesy of Jack Sweet

Photographed in the 1970s, this is the shop on the corner of Westminster Street seen above.


John Old's house, at centre, set in the Princes Street streetscape, western side. Photographed in 2013.


Photographed in 1942 from Church Street. Who remembers the Chelsea Tea Rooms?


Looking from Church Street around 1960.


The same building on the corner of Church Street above, seen from Princes Street and photographed in 2014. This was Yeovil's third Post Office between 1876 and 1902. In the 1940s, as seen above, it was the Chelsea Tea Rooms and in the 1960s it was premises of the Halifax Building Society.


From my collection. This image features in my book 'Yeovil - The Postcard Collection'.

Princes Street in a postcard sent in 1912. It's nice to think that all these buildings are still with us.


From my collection  -   The original photograph features in my book 'Yeovil From Old Photographs'.

Largely the same view as in the previous photograph, but this colourised postcard is dated 1905. It features Ebenezer Whitby & Sons' bookshop, printers and stationers at (now 31) Princes Street with a pair of single Sugg lamps outside.


A photograph of the southern end of Princes Street, looking towards High Street, and dating to around 1900. All the buildings in this photograph survive to this day - the planners and developers must be holding their breath waiting to destroy these buildings like they've done to much of the rest of the town!


No 24 Princes Street (also seen at left in the previous photograph) and photographed, I would guess, in the 1980s.


The butchers, W & R Fletcher Ltd, was a New Zealand company with freezing works in Australia as well. They were sending mutton and lamb to the UK in the 1880s and opened cold stores to wholesale to butchers. By 1910 they had 417 shops, mainly in the south of England, as there was resistance to this so-called foreign meat. Union Cold Storage bought them out in 1912 and used the name W&R Fletcher until the 1960s in Yeovil. In 1922 UCS bought a small company of seven shops and a market stall trading as J H Dewhurst. The company went into liquidation in 1995. Photographed in the 1960s.


Courtesy of Tracey Williams

... and seen from slightly further north in the mid-1960s.


A photograph of the northern end of Princes Street dating to around 1900. At right, at this time the Assembly Rooms were known as the 'Palace of Varieties' as indicated by the vertical sign attached to it. The three impressive three-storey residences at left, beyond Whitby's ivy-clad shop, are Wyndham House, Bryndene and Old Sarum House.


From my collection. The original image features in my book 'Yeovil - The Postcard Collection'.

.... and almost the same view again in a colourised photograph of 1924 - note that Vincent's showroom has yet to be built.


This photograph features in my book 'Yeovil From Old Photographs'

A 1930s postcard of the same view. Wyndham House retains its small front garden and young tree, but notice how the post-box has gone and part of the pavement of the previous photograph has been whittled away in front of Whitby's shop premises. At the far end, on the right, are the newly built Vincent's showrooms on the corner of Court Ash.


Courtesy of David Perry

A sandwich-board man (remember them?) stops to chat with two contractor's workers outside Draytons' shop (now Bloor's Pet Stores) around 1963.


Looking south along Princes Street from Park Road, with the Chessman Café (later Prezzo, now a dental practice) in Old Sarum House at right. Photographed around 1965.


This photograph features in my book 'Now That's What I Call Yeovil'

The earliest buildings in this area, numbers 40 to 52 Princes Street were built as four early eighteenth century (No 44 is seventeenth century) town houses, now subdivided into seven shop premises.


Looking north towards Bide's Gardens from the northern end of Princes Street in the mid-1960s.


The original photograph features in my book 'Secret Yeovil'

This colourised photograph was taken from Bide's Gardens and shows the northern end of Princes Street / southern end of Kingston, with Court Ash running off to the left. At this time, before Reckleford was made a dual carriageway and Yeovil lost Bide's Gardens (the photographer of this photograph would today be standing on the southern carriageway of Reckleford as it approaches the hospital roundabout), Princes Street ended at North Lane on the eastern side (between the white flank wall and the ivy-covered Magnolia House left of centre) while the western side of Princes Street ended at Park Road (indicated on this image by the flank of three-storey Old Sarum House visible just right of centre).

The photograph most likely dates to the early 1920s, yet is probably one of the earliest of this location as witnessed by the building at far left, next to Mansion House and enlarged below, which pre-dates the 1930's Vincent's (now Batten's) building of the previous photograph, on the corner of Court Ash (running off to the left), we are all so familiar with. At right is the shop-front of the sales rooms of Hill & Boll's carriage works.


This photograph features in my book 'Yeovil From Old Photographs'

An enlargement of part of the above photograph with Edward Watts' home at left.

Edward Watts, a surveyor, map maker and land valuer, rented the property for £20 a year. When Samuel Purchase, the owner of the property, was declared bankrupt in 1828 the property was sold off and it is assumed that Edward Watts purchased it at this time since he was recorded as the owner when he sold it in 1835 - when it was described as "substantially erected within a few years". The description of the property from the notice of sale in 1835 notes that it was a "comfortable and convenient Dwelling-House situate in Kingstone, in Yeovil, comprising breakfast, dining and drawing-rooms of good dimensions; six large bed-rooms, two kitchens, cellars, brewhouse, and other domestic offices, together with the Lawn in front and garden, stable and gig-house behind the said dwelling-house, late in the occupation of Mr Edward Watts."


The same view taken from Bide's Gardens in the 1930's looking down to Court Ash running off to the left and Princes Street at centre. Note the spanking-new Vincent's building at left built on the site of Edward Watts' former home.


From my collection

The northern end of Princes Street seen in a postcard of the 1950s.


From my collection. This image features in my book 'Yeovil - The Postcard Collection'.

The northern end of Princes Street seen in a postcard dated 1961 (although the serial number 'V7781' dates the photograph to between 1942 and 1952). The three shops at right were Kitzerow & Sons (shoe shop), C&M Wareham (confectionery & cigarettes) and EJ Gregory (fruiterer & florist).

Thanks to Roger Willmott who recalled "Although we lived in Tintinhull, my mother always bought her fruit and vegetables from Gregory's and my Clark's shoes from Kitzerow's. Kitzerow's had an X-ray machine that you placed your feet in so you could see how well the shoes fitted. Would never be allowed today." Thanks to Stella Trent "Loved Kitzerow, during the war they sold American shoes, for some reason the name Joyce shoes comes to mind." and to Patricia Ann Smith "Kitzerow's had a beautiful old rocking horse in the children's department."


From my collection

An unusual view of Princes Street taken from the roof of Vincent's car showroom (now Batten's). The postcard is dated 1962. In Old Sarum House the Jolly Farmer Café became the Chessman Café by the mid-1960s (now Prezzo).


From my collection

A postcard dated 1933 showing the Princes Street entrance to Bide's Gardens. Note the cars in Vincent's showrooms at left.


From my collection

A postcard (I'm guessing from the late 1940s), looking down the northern end of Princes Street and showing the Princes Street entrance to Bide's Gardens.


From my collection

The central section of the previous postcard enlarged. Note the new pedestrian crossing in Court Ash in black and white striped wartime blackout markings.


From my collection. This image features in my book 'Yeovil - The Postcard Collection'.

A postcard dated November 1942 showing the Court Ash / Princes Street / Kingston junction from Bide's Gardens. The shop with the car parked outside was Tilzey's photographic studio.


From my collection

.... and a postcard of 1952.


From my collection

.... and a postcard of, I'm guessing, the late 1950s because the entrance to Court Ash had got nice new bollards.


Photographed by Geoff Bowler, courtesy of Sue Bowler

Photographed in 1969, the new hospital takes shape. At this time the Reckleford extension had not been finished and it was still possible to drive from Princes Street to Kingston. It's amazing how a long telephoto lens can make a building look much bigger than it actually is.


Courtesy of the Western Gazette

The construction of Reckleford obliterated the change from Princes Street to Kingston in 1975.


This photograph dates to January 1985 and looks towards the hospital. This area was originally the end of Princes Street and the start of Kingston but the termination was brought about by the extension of Reckleford.


.... and pretty much the same view in 2014.