yeovil people

Arthur Newton

Chemist and Druggist of Hendford


Arthur Newton was born in 1863 at his father's dairy farm at High Legh, Cheshire, the son of farmer Edward Newton (b 1828) and Margaret née Percival (b 1828). Sadly his mother died the following year and in 1868 his father married Martha Burman. In the 1871 census Arthur was living with his father and step-mother, one older sibling, two younger siblings and seven servants (mostly farm servants) at Dairy Farm, High Legh. By the time of the 1881 census 18-year old Alfred had left home and was lodging with, and working as a chemist's apprentice for, Charles M Blades a chemist and druggist of Winnington, Cheshire.

During the next ten years Alfred moved to Yeovil and the 1891 census recorded him living in the accommodation above the Medical Hall in the Borough with the families of Alfred Wright and Oswald Gatward. Arthur was listed as a chemist & druggist and was clearly working at the firm of Gatward & Wright. Although the census listed 28-year old Arthur as married, in fact he was still single. He was to marry in Yeovil, in the winter of 1895, Mary Patch (1867-1938), the Merriott-born daughter of William and Jane Patch.

By the time of the 1901 census Arthur and Mary had moved to 75 Hendford (premises that had previously been the shop of hairdresser Frank Gaylard) where Arthur set up his own chemist and druggist business, opening his chemist shop on 8 August 1892. The census listed him and Mary, by now aged 38 and 34 respectively, living above the shop premises with their 4-year old daughter Margaret Irene and one-year old son Hugh Arthur. Also living with them was Arthur's 19-year old nephew Edward Owen, who worked as Arthur's apprentice, and two domestic servants - altogether most likely something of a tight squeeze in such a small building.

By the time of the 1911 census Arthur and Mary had moved to a large, nine-roomed house called Holly Bank on Hendford Hill with their two children, a servant and a boarder.

Arthur Newton died in Yeovil in the winter of 1950. He was aged 88. The business remained in the family until 1968 when Arthur's niece, Miss Bridge, sold to Jack Bond of the Somerton based Bond Group. At this time Alan Wilson took over as managing director of the pharmacy, until his retirement in 1992.




Arthur Newton (1863-1950)


This photograph is of Middle Street seen from the Borough and dates to about 1895. At left is London House, at this time being run by George Wadman. At right is the side of the Medical Hall which, at this time was occupied by wholesale and retail chemists Gatward & Wright. At the time of this photograph Alfred Newton was working as a chemist and druggist for Gatward & Wright at the Medical Hall as well as living in the upstairs accommodation.


This photograph was taken in the 1890's and shows Middle Street at extreme left with the old Medical Hall on the corner. Right of centre is the entrance to Wine Street and at extreme right is William Maynard's shop in the Borough.


Looking along the along the 'top' of Hendford, a horse-drawn omnibus, used to transport guests to and from the railway stations, waits outside the Three Choughs Hotel in this sepia-toned photograph of about 1895. In the background the fine three-storey building to the left of the driver still stands today with the upper two storeys occupied by the High Street Dental Practice while the two-storey building behind the driver (the furniture shop of Henry White) has been replaced by the building now occupied by the Britannia Building Society, seen in the photograph below. At left, the shop with the awning was Arthur Newton's premises and his sign "Newton Chemist" is seen above the awning. In 1891 Arthur's shop had been the premises of hairdresser Frank Gaylard who, by the time of this photograph had moved to the impressive three-storey building in Princes Street at centre of this photograph.


From my collection

Arthur Newton's advertisement in the 1906 edition of the Homeland Handbook.


From my collection

A postcard of Hendford dating to about 1908. At extreme left is the ironmonger's shop belonging to Henry James Sercombe who was listed as a 'tinman' in trade directories between 1903 and 1923. Next were the premises of saddler Thomas Barber and then the dispensary of Alfred Newton.


Ammoniated tincture of quinine, as sold by Arthur Newton.


An enlargement of part of the previous photograph Henry Sercombe's ironmongery shop, Thomas Barber's saddlery and Newton & Co's chemist's shop - photographed around 1908.


From my collection

Newton & Co's 'Year Book and Medical Guide' of 1933. Issued by the UCAL (United Chemists Association Limited) chemist's supply company, the book contained (apart from a myriad of UCAL advertisements) notes for the treatment of everyday medical complaints, poisons and antidotes, a retrospect of sport and a section on famous British film stars. 


Courtesy of Nathaniel Buckley

A pair of spectacles and case sold by Newton & Co "Pharmacists & Opticians", probably dating to the first half of the twentieth-century.


Courtesy of Tony Rendall

A pair of pince-nez and case sold by Newton & Co "Pharmacists & Opticians" of Hendford,


From my collection

Newton & Co's advertisement in the 1958 Yeovil Guide.


Newton's chemist premises photographed in the 1960s.


From my collection

Newton & Co's advertisement in Foord's Directory of 1964-5.


The former Newton's chemist premises, now a hairdresser's, photographed in 2015.


.... and photographed from the other direction.