24 & 25 High Street

25 High Street

Yeovil's largest Department Store


25 High Street had originally been built in 1830 for a draper's business, Edwards & Deane, who were listed as being in the Borough in Pigot's Directory of 1830, as well as the Somerset Gazette Directory of 1840. Following the bankruptcy and dissolution of the partnership of  Peter Edwards and George Deane in 1835, by 1841 it was occupied by draper Peter Edwards trading on his own. Following his death in 1842, his son George Edwards took on the business and was recorded there in the 1861 census.

It was then occupied by Philip Hurrell and his partner Alfred G Berryman who were listed in the Post Office Directory of 1866 as silk mercers and were the owners immediately prior to Lindsay Denner. Denner was born in Honiton in 1844 and came to Yeovil in 1875 and bought the premises at 25 High Street, styling himself a "Silk Mercer, Family Draper, Hosier & Haberdasher".

In the 1881 census Denner was living above his shop premises at 25 High Street with his family, a live-in domestic cook, housemaid and nursemaid. Denner described his occupation as "Draper, master, employing 12 hands" and it appears that most of these lived on the premises as well including five young lady draper's assistants, a draper's milliner and three young men who were draper's apprentices.

By 1891 living on the premises with the Denners were nine employees including six young ladies described as draper's shopwomen, three young men who were draper's apprentices and a fourth described as a draper's shopman.

In the 1901 census Denner was still living above the shop premises with his family, a cook and a housemaid. By now daughter Florence was aged 22 and was employed by her father as a draper's clerk while son Charles, now 18, was employed as a draper's assistant. There were also eight live-in shop workers, the oldest of which was 26. These included another draper's clerk, four draper's assistants, a draper's milliner, an outfitter and a draper's apprentice.

By the time of the 1911 census the premises over the shop were occupied by Lindsay junior and his family, a cook and two housemaids. As ever live-in shop staff included eight draper's assistants, a dressmaker and a milliner. 

Around this time it is believed that Denner acquired the two-storey neighbouring property, 24 High Street, included in this page. A late eighteenth century building, it was incorporated into the store and remained as just two storeys until after 1983, when an additional floor was added and the roof of both premises converted to a fourth floor.

Lindsay Denner senior died on 14 June 1917 aged 72. The store was called 'L Denner' until 1926 when the Chapel family bought it and renamed the store as 'Denners'. Hedley Chapman and his sister Vera ran the business. Vera married Norman Lock, of Locks Seeds, and they had three children; their daughter Penny married Tim Chappell and together they took over the running of Denners after Vera retired. Hedley died of cancer in the late 60's. Beales acquired the store in 1999 but kept the name Denners until 2011 when it was restyled as 'Beales'.

The following edited description is from the Somerset Historic Environment Record and, although the record was last updated in 2003, they clearly missed the third floor on No 24 -

Shop premises. No 24 a 2 storey (sic) building of plain brick with stone cornice and rusticated quoins and a plain clay tile roof behind a brick parapet. Modern shopfront to ground floor and 4-sash windows of 16-panes in simple architraves to first floor. No 25 of brick with slim pilasters and band courses (? plaster or stone) all now colourwashed, with a Welsh slated roof between coped gables (sic). Of 3-storeys with 5-bays divided by the pilasters into a 1-3-1 pattern. Modern shopfront occupies the whole of the ground floor. The windows to both levels of 12-pane sashes in plain openings. The facade surmounted by a simple balustrade with pediment with incised ornament in a Soanian manner.




From my collection

This hand-tinted stone lithograph by Henry Burn (1807-1884) entitled 'Market Place - Yeovil' was published by William Porter and Henry Marsh Custard in January 1839.

The lithograph looks down High Street from its junction with Hendford / Princes Street. On the left the Mermaid with its familiar archway and large overhanging sign is clearly seen. On the opposite side of the road, at extreme right, just two bays are shown of the new (built 1830) shop premises of Edwards & Dean - today's Beales' store.


From my collection

An enlargement of the previous image.


This photograph features in my book "Yeovil In 50 Buildings"

This view of Lindsay Denner's premises at 25 High Street was taken between 1887 (when the Sugg lamp was erected in the street outside to celebrate the Jubilee of Queen Victoria) but before 1897 when the Capital and Counties Bank replaced the building on the corner of High Street seen at extreme left.


High Street photographed in 1898. At this time Denner only owned 25 High Street. The two-storey shop to its left, 24 High Street, would later be acquired by Denner and remodelled during the late 1980s as a three storey extension to his premises. It had earlier been the premises of Edward Granger, chemist and druggist.


Denners in December 2008 before the name change to Beales.


.... and as Beales, photographed in 2013.


This photograph features in my book "Yeovil In 50 Buildings"

25 High Street. Photographed in 2017.