yeovil people

Charles Dodge

Florist, Fruiterer and Seedsman


Charles Dodge was born on 10 September 1860 at France, Brunswick Street, and baptised at Holy Trinity church on 7 October 1860. He was one of the eight children of leather glove parer Dennis Dodge (1827-1892) and leather glove sewer Elizabeth née Applebee (1830-1906). Dennis and Elizabeth's children were; Mary Ann (1852-1856), Elizabeth (1853-1927), William (b1855), Mary Ann (1856-1936), Louisa (1858-1864), Charles, Fanny Alice (1862-1896), Henry L (1864-1927) and Frederick (1868-1914).

In the 1861 census, 6-month old Charles was listed with his parents and older siblings at Brunswick Street. The situation was unchanged in the 1871 census except for the addition of the younger children and Elizabeth's mother Harriet Applebee were also listed.

In the 1881 census, Charles was living in the house of his older brother William and his family at 10 Temperance Street, Worcester Blockhouse, Worcestershire. Both William and Charles gave their occupations as glove cutters. Worcester, at this time, was one of the major glove manufacturing centres out side Yeovil.

On 11 November 1884, at Holy Trinity church, Charles married Emily Hull (1861-1934) of Yeovil. Charles was working as a gardener in St Ann's Parish, Nottingham - the address of his residence he gave at the time of the marriage. Emily was the daughter of gardener John Hull and gave her occupation as dressmaker and residence as Hendford. Their only child, Evelyn, was born in Nottingham in 1886.

By 1889 Charles had moved his family to Yeovil where he opened a shop selling flowers, fruit and vegetables at Covent Garden House, 34 Middle Street. He also began selling flower and vegetable seeds. The 1895 edition of Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser listed Charles as a seedsman and florist of Middle Street, as did the 1898 edition.

In the 1891 census, Charles, Emily and Evelyn were listed living above the shop. Charles gave his occupation as a fruiterer. Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser of 1903 also listed Charles as a fruiterer of 19 Middle Street.


From the 1891 edition of 'Where to Buy at Yeovil' ...

Mr Charles Dodge
Seedsman and Florist, English and Foreign Fruiterer
Covent Garden House

At the moment we write, the fine display of flowers, fruits and vegetables, at the shop of Mr Chas. Dodge, 34, Middle Street, brings to our mind the importance of this portion of the floral and food supply of the town. Gathered from his own gardens, from the gardens of the best growers in the county, and from Covent Garden Market, the supply of flowers, fruit and vegetables is always fresh and abundant, and being arranged in a tasteful manner gives to this establishment a most inviting appearance.

Though only started about two years since it already bears an excellent name, for the freshness and fine quality of the fruit and vegetables, and the promptness and certainty with which all orders are executed. A speciality is made of wreaths of cut flowers for memorial purposes. In making real wreaths it is not only necessary to have fresh and beautiful flowers, but the happy knack of arranging them nicely, without which the choicest blooms will fail in their effect. Mr Dodge possesses both material and skill, and consequently is successful in his productions, and he is prepared to supply wreaths, crosses, or cut flowers, wholesale or retail.

In addition to the above Mr Dodge has started business as a seedsman, supplying all kinds of vegetable and flower seeds, and being an efficient and practical horticulturist, is naturally an expert judge and buyer. He will also supply every variety of seed for farm use, from sample, and from his experience in this respect, farmers and others will be able confidently to rely upon having their orders expeditiously and faithfully carried out.


By the time of the 1901 census Charles, while maintaining the Middle Street premises, had moved his family, including his widowed mother-in-law Eliza Hull, to Preston Plucknett. Charles started a nursery here, concentrating on producing seeds as well as flowers.

By 1907 Charles was advertising his move to 'The Seed Stores, Hendford (late Middle Street)' although Collin's Yeovil Directory of that year gave him five separate listings; Florist of 18 Middle Street, Nurseryman of 19 Middle Street, Nurseryman of Preston Road, Greengrocer and Fruiterer of Middle Street and Corn & General Merchant of Hendford. So, it may be that the move to Hendford was only the seed merchant's side of the business while the florist / greengrocer / fruiterer side of the business remained in Middle Street and the nursery in Preston Plucknett..

Charles, Emily and Evelyn were again listed in Preston Plucknett in the 1911 census, at which time Charles gave his occupation as 'Seedsman & Corn Factor'.

Charles Dodge died in Yeovil during the autumn of 1932, aged 71. Emily died on 5 October 1934 at the Somerset County Mental Institute, Norton Fitzwarren, Taunton, aged 73.




The entry of Charles Dodge's baptism in the Holy Trinity register.


This colourised photograph features in my book "Lost Yeovil"

A postcard dated 1906 looking along Brunswick Street with Brunswick Place and Brunswick Terrace at left. Brunswick Street was the early home of Charles Dodge. It was originally called New France, later simply France.


The record of Charles and Emily's marriage from the register of Holy Trinity church.


Charles Dodge's advertisement in the 1892 edition of Whitby's Yeovil Almanack Advertiser.


Charles' advertisement placed in the 15 May 1896 edition of the Western Chronicle.


Charles' advertisement in the 13 April 1900 edition of the Western Chronicle.


Charles' advertisement in the 30 April 1909 edition of the Western Chronicle, notes his move from Middle Street to the Seed Stores in Hendford (see next photo). He also maintained the Preston Nurseries.


This colourised photograph features in my book "Lost Yeovil"

This photograph, probably taken in the 1960's, shows how narrow South Street (with the car driving out of it) was at the time. The Three Choughs Hotel is at left. Chudleigh's Seed Merchants was demolished in the 1960's to widen South Street. It is most likely that this was Charles Dodge's premises when he was listed as 'Corn & General Merchants of Hendford' in Collins' Yeovil Directory of 1907.