Great Western Terrace

Great Western Terrace

An early part of Yeovil's Victorian housing boom


Goar Knap is that area of high ground containing Great Western Terrace. The name comes from the Old English gara, a gore, or triangular-shaped piece of land, and hnaep, for rising ground or the crest of a hill - both of which conditions are met here.

Great Western Terrace was built in the early 1860s (certainly by 1866) and named in commemoration of the Great Western railway coming to Yeovil. It comprised thirty-one houses of the Victorian 'two up, two down' type along its northern side only. They were built in a continuous terrace from St Michael's Avenue as far as the Royal Marine Inn. The houses were built in the northern half of Goar Knap Field (Parcel 983), with their rear gardens occupying Parcel 982.

To the immediate north was a row of pre-Victorian slum buildings, New Prospect Place, also known as Jennings' Buildings named for the person who built them, Robert Jennings and his son William Jennings who owned them after the death of his father in 1848. New Prospect Place was demolished around 1911.

Apart from a couple of the Victorian houses at the St Michael's Avenue end of Great Western Terrace, the remainder were demolished in the 1970s and a sheltered housing scheme (designed by me) was built. As a sidenote, during construction we discovered a basement under the houses that I instructed to be filled in with concrete. After about four lorry-loads of ready-mix was poured in, it was discovered that a previously unknown underground stream was washing all the concrete away, so we had to cap it with pre-cast concrete beams. Apparently, some of the concrete caused problems recently when contractors were digging for drainage in Lyde Road when the new junction was formed in 2017. Oops!

MAPs & Aerial photograph

The 1842 Tithe Map with London Road (Sherborne Road) running along the bottom, meeting Lyde Lane (Lyde Road) just right of bottom centre, and Brickyard Lane (St Michael's Avenue) at left. Great Western Terrace was built in Parcel 983, with the gardens extending into Parcel 982. At this time, the long line of red buildings between 981 and 982 was New Prospect Place, also known as Jenning's Buildings or the Colony. Parcels 983 and 984 were Goar Knap Field. The red building to the left of Parcel 982 was the original White Horse Inn, before it was rebuilt.


This a map based on the 1886 Ordnance Survey showing Great Western Terrace and its gardens filling the former Parcels 982 and 983.


The modern aerial photograph ('borrowed' from Google earth) showing the present buildings of Great Western Terrace and the former Parcels 981 and 982 now being used as allotments.




Courtesy of Stephen Spurle 

Demolition of the Victorian houses in Great Western Terrace were demolished in the late 1970s. Only two, adjoining St Michael's Avenue, were not demolished.


Courtesy of Stephen Spurle

All that remained was a pile of rubble. On the skyline is St Michael's church tower and, to the right, St Michael's church hall.


Great Western Terrace photographed in 2016 from St Michael's Avenue. At left are the remaining original Victorian houses. At right is the sheltered accommodation built in the late 1970s.


The sheltered housing scheme (designed by me), with warden's accommodation, built in the late 1970s. Photographed in 2016.


Great Western Terrace photographed from the eastern end, outside the Royal Marine, in 2016.