Grocer of Lower Middle Street
Charles Ripper was born in Perranzabuloe, Cornwall, in 1849. He was the son of lead miner, later flour miller, John Ripper (1817-1895) and Mary Ann née Yelland (1816-1871). In the 1851 census John and Mary were listed at Perranzabuloe with their children William Henry (1840-1858), John Collins (1842-1905), Richard Yelland (1844-1868), Sarah Ann (b 1847) and one-year old Charles.
By the time of the 1861 census the family had moved to Wheal Mexico, Perranzabuloe, where John was listed as a 'Miller (Master)'. There were also four new additions to the family; Sarah C (b 1854), Frederick (b 1856), Edwin (1858-1904) and William Henry (1859-1927).
Still in Perranzabuloe for the 1871 census, John was now listed as a flour miller at Treworten Mill. By this time only four of the children were still at home. Charles, now aged 21 and the oldest of his siblings at home was listed as a miller like his father.
In 1879 at Cubert, Cornwall, 30-year old Charles married 42-year old Arabella Robbins. Arabella had been born in Stoford, Yeovil, in 1837 and by the time of the 1881 census Charles and Arabella had moved to Yeovil and were living above their grocer's shop in Lower Middle Street on the south side about halfway between Newton Road and Station Road (see photograph below) where he was to run his grocery business for the next thirty years or so. The premises is now a tanning salon.
In the spring of 1903 Arabella died in Yeovil, at the age of 71. In the 1911 census 60-year old widower Charles was listed as a 'Grocer (Master)' and was living above the shop with his assistant, 19-year old Harry Baldrick. Both Charles and Harry are seen in the photograph below.
Charles died in the summer of 1915, aged 66.
Courtesy of Bill and Audrey Robertson
Charles Ripper and his assistant, Harry Baldrick, stand outside his shop in Lower Middle Street, on the south side about halfway between Newton Road and Station Road (see photograph below). The premises is now a tanning salon. This photograph dates to about 1911.
Courtesy of the Western Gazette
Lower Middle Street photographed around 1895. Notice Charles' shop's bay window projecting onto the short length of double pavement just a few doors along from the Fernleigh Hotel.
A photograph of Lower Middle Street, dating to about 1900, shows the Railway Inn at extreme left projecting slightly beyond the terraced building next to it. The photographer is standing roughly outside where the William Dampier is today and looking along the eastern end of Middle Street with Station Road (now Old Station Road) at right. The large building on the junction at right was the Fernleigh Temperance Hotel and was most recently an Indian restaurant. Charles Ripper's grocery shop is on the right of the photograph (note the split-level pavement as seen in the previous photograph) where the sign projects into the street.