Glove Manufacturer and Publican
William Ricketts was born in 1857 in Yeovil, the son of Yeovil glover John Ricketts (b1815) and Elizabeth née Rawlins (b1822). In the 1861 census four-year-old William was living in Middle Street with his parents, older siblings John aged 16, Elizabeth aged 13, Henry aged 9 and Frederick age 6, as well as his one-year-old sister Emma. In the 1871 census William was listed living in Middle Street with his parents and four siblings.
In the autumn of 1879 William married Lucy Sophia Dade at Yeovil and in the 1881 census William and Lucy were living at 8 Queen Street with their seven-month-old daughter Emily. William listed his occupation as a leather dresser. William and Lucy were to have a further seven children during their marriage; William born 1882, Ada born 1885, Ernest born 1886, Albert born 1888, Lily (known as Nellie) born 1890, Arthur born 1895 and Ivy born 1896.
By 1891 William and his family were living in the Duke of Wellington in Sherborne Road. Although William's occupation was given as leather dresser it is most likely that Lucy ran the pub during the day and William took over in the evening, as was the usual practice at the time. William was however listed as a beer retailer in Kelly's 1895 Directory, Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser of 1898 and in the 1907 Yeovil Directory.
By 1901 there was little change in the family except for two more children and William's occupation now given as glove manufacturer. William was a partner in the glove manufacturing company of Hawkins, Jesty & Ricketts Ltd with a factory in Higher Kingston that had earlier belonged to glove manufacturer Henry Bryant Phelps and later by his younger brother's company, Robert Phelps & Co.
Lucy died in October 1907 and the spring of 1910 William married Kate Cridland in Yeovil. In the 1911 census William was living at 178 Sherborne Road with many of his children and his new wife, Kate, ten years his junior (the census states they had been married 'under one' year). William was listed as a glove manufacturer and three of his sons - Ernest, Albert and Frank - were listed as glovers.
William Ricketts died at Yeovil in the spring of 1921 aged 63. His business interests were continued by two of his sons, William and Ernest, who went into partnership to create their own company of WJ & EG Ricketts Ltd, that was to become one of Yeovil's largest glove manufacturing and leather dressing companies, finally closing in 1980.
This map, based on the 1901 Ordnance Survey, shows the glove factory of Hawkins, Jesty & Ricketts at centre.
This photograph of about 1965 shows Hawkins, Jesty & Ricketts' glove factory in Higher Kingston, on the north side of the road opposite Kingston Manor House.