Yeovil People

George Brown

Blacksmith of Tabernacle Lane


George Brown was born in Trent (just northeast of Yeovil and, at this time, in Somerset) in 1859, and baptised there on 5 June 1859. He was the son of carter Job Brown (1822-1885) and Elizabeth née Hooker (1821-1895), originally from Heytesbury, Wiltshire. In the 1851 census Job and Elizabeth, both aged 29, were living in Trent with their three children Hannah (b 1842), Eliza (b 1848) and one-year old James, known as Jim. Job gave his occupation as a carter. In the 1861 census the family were listed at Sherborne Road, Trent. By this time Hannah had left home and Eliza had died, but there were now four new children; Tom (b 1852), Eliza (b 1854), Job (b 1857) and George. By 1871 there were two more children; Charles (b 1862) and Elizabeth (b 1867). Job gave his occupation as a labourer, as did his sons Tom and George. James was working as a smith.

At some time during the early 1870s George's brother Jim took over the smithy in Tabernacle Lane from John Higdon. Jim and his wife Mary lived at the smithy and started their family there. In the meantime, Job, Elizabeth and 22-year-old George had moved into Yeovil and were living at 115 Park Street (see Gallery), next door to the Rifleman's Arms. In the 1881 census, Job gave his occupation as a general labourer while George gave his as a smith - working for his brother Jim in the Tabernacle Lane smithy.

On 30 June 1883, at the Congregational church in Princes Street, 24-year-old George married 21-year-old Beatrice Alice Allen (1862-1946), the daughter of glove cutter William Allen and his wife Eliza. George and Beatrice were to have four children, all born in Yeovil; Reginald (b1885), Mable Alice (b1887), Ada Eliza (1889-1976) and Beatrice Nellie (1892-1983).

George's brother Jim and his  family moved just around the corner to 63 South Street (almost next door to South Street School), certainly by January 1889 when their son Arthur was born there. George moved into the accommodation over the blacksmith's forge with his family. In June 1890, George's brother Jim was killed in a railway accident, following which George took over the smithy. In the 1891 census George was listed living there with his wife Beatrice and their three young children. It was around this time that George founded the Yeovil Cycle Company, and claiming to be the oldest cycle dealership in Yeovil.

By 1901, George, Beatrice and their four children had moved around the corner to 19 South Street, one of the cottages behind Holy Trinity church, although George's business was still located in Tabernacle Lane. In the 1901 census, George gave his occupation as an engineer and cycle agent and his 16-year-old son Reginald gave his as an engineer. Certainly by 1905, Reginald was helping his father in the business.

George had two entries in the 1900 edition of Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser; as an engineering smith and as a cycle agent. The listings were repeated in Whitby's edition of 1903. Additionally George placed many advertisements in the Western Gazette over the years. George was recorded in Kelly's Directory of 1923.

George Brown died in Yeovil in the spring of 1929, aged 78. Beatrice died in Yeovil during the spring of 1946. She was aged 85.




This map is based on the 1886 Ordnance Survey, but rotated 90° with the Borough at extreme left and South Street at extreme right. The smithy is located towards the northern end of Tabernacle Lane.




The record of George's baptism of 5 June 1859, from the Trent parish register.


This photograph of Park Street dates to 1956, shortly before demolition. In the 1880s, Job, Elizabeth and George Brown lived next door to the Rifleman's Arms in the two-storey building at the right.


The demolition of the cottages behind Holy Trinity church around 1960. This had earlier been the site of the Black Cock and George Brown and his family had lived in one of the cottages (No 19) in the 1890s.


George's advertisement in the 11 March 1892 edition of the Western Gazette - one of many such advertisements.


From my collection

A receipt from George Brown dated 30 September 1893.


George's advertisement in Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser of 1900.