Yeovil People

Joseph John Brook

Butcher of Middle Street


Joseph John Brook was born in Yeovil in the spring of 1864. He was the youngest of the ten children of butcher George Thomas Brook (1814-1905) and Julia née Chapman (1819-1883). George and Julia's children were; Albert Edward (b1843), George Thomas (b1845), William Henry (b1847), Julia (b1849), Laura Jane (b1852), Emily Sarah (b1854), Thomas Chapman (b1856), Martha Morgan (b1859) and Joseph. George and Julia were married in 1840 and lived in Taunton for a few months before emigrating to Rochester, New York, United States, where their first three children were born. By 1849 they were back in Yeovil and the 1851 census listed George and his family in London Road [sic] opposite the town gas works (roughly where Wetherspoons is today). He gave his occupation as a butcher. By the time of the 1861 census, George had moved his family to Wine Street where they lived above his butcher's shop. They later moved to Middle Street.

George Brook died during the 1860s and in the 1871 census Julia was listed as a widow and gave her occupation as a butcher at the Middle Street premises. Living with her were George, Julia, Laura, Emily and six-year old Joseph. By 1881 George Thomas was running the family business at 19 Middle Street, and was listed as the head of the household. He gave his occupation as 'Butcher & Farmer of 30 acres employing 1 man'. Living with his were his mother Julia, sister Martha and 16-year old Joseph who gave his occupation as assistant butcher.

Julia died in Yeovil in the winter of 1883, aged 64. It appears that Joseph now took over the running of the family butchery, moving it to 6 Middle Street, close to the junction with Union Street by 1891. In the census of that year, 26-year old Joseph was listed as the butcher of the butcher's shop and living with him was his sister Martha.

In the summer of 1895, at Sherborne, Joseph married Emily Elizabeth Stacey (b1871, Wiltshire). Although the Banns were read at St John's church, at which time Emily was 'of Trent'. They were to have three children; Margery J (b1897), John Stacey (b1900) and Richard Guy (b1903). A fourth child died in infancy.

The family, together with Joseph's niece and a servant, were still at 6 Middle Street in the 1901 census and Joseph still gave his occupation as a butcher. By the time of the 1911 census, however, Joseph, Emily and their youngest son Richard, had moved to Okeford Fitzpaine, Dorset, where 46-year old Joseph gave his occupation as a poultry keeper.

I could find no further evidence of John or Emily in the records.




Notice of Banns of Joseph and Emily's marriage from St John's Register of Banns.


Joseph Brook's advertisement in the 1888 edition of Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser. His father George had started the family business on his return to Yeovil from America in 1851.


... and Joseph's advertisement in the 1895 edition of Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser. Had he moved from 19 to 6 Middle Street? or, as many other streets in Yeovil at this time, had Middle Street been renumbered?