yeovil people

Henry Stacey Raymond

China & Glassware Dealer of High Street


Henry Stacey Raymond was born in Bloomsbury, Middlesex, in 1850. His mother, Sarah, had been born in Poole, Dorset, in 1823. His father is unknown - could he have been the older Henry Raymond of Yeovil? (see below). Very little is known of his early life simply because of the large number of men with the same name.

It is not known when Henry first came to Yeovil, but certainly by 1871 he was operating a china and glassware shop at 21 High Street, immediately next door to the Town Hall. In the 1871 census the shop was occupied by 65-year old bachelor, also called Henry Raymond - presumably a close relation - possibly even Henry's father? The older Henry described his occupation as a china merchant and had been trading in the High Street premises from at least 1851 when Henry Snr was noted as an investor in the South Western Railway Company. It appears that young Henry succeeded to the business in this year. What happened to the older Henry is unclear, but he presumably retired, moved away or died.

Henry was listed in the 1881 census as a 31-year old china dealer.  With him, and listed as a visitor, was 26-year old Matilda Martha Johnson, of Holt, Dorset, who gave her occupation as a milliner. From the 1891 census, we know that Matilda was a cousin of Henry's.

In the 1891 census, still at 21 High Street, Henry gave his occupation as a master china dealer. Living with him in addition to Matilda and two more cousins, Alfred Johnson and Elsie Bond, was his widowed mother 68-year old Sarah Raymond and a domestic servant. In the summer of 1897, Henry and Matilda (1856-1939) were married at Yeovil.


In the 1891 edition of 'Where to Buy' Henry Raymond's business was given the following description -

Mr H Raymond,
Wholesale and Retail China, Glass, and Staffordshire Warehouse
High Street.

In describing the commercial character and resources of the Borough one is likely to feel occasionally in a rather peculiar mental difficulty. Looking at it as it stands one would undoubtedly say it was a very handsome modern town, with attractive shops and spacious warehouses, but it presents the appearance of having been in that condition for a considerable period. There is none of that incongruity and imperfectness about it that is generally associated with places that have recently wakened up to an ambitious modern career. And yet when we read the history of the town we find that a comparatively short while ago it presented a very different spectacle. As a matter of fact the Borough rose up from the dust and ashes, or lath and plaster, in which it was contented to repose, and, having determined to adopt modern attire, completely laid aside its old vesture, and hence at the present day the tout ensemble is consistent and harmonious.

Mr Vickery, in his sketch, says - "The Post Office was kept for many years by Mr Gabriel Baker, who was postmaster, and lived on the premises now occupied by Mr Raymond, as a china shop - then a low pent house, with a thatched roof. [actually it was tile and stone slates]" It seems an extraordinary transformation from the "low pent house with a thatched roof" to the present handsome modern establishment, with commanding frontage and spacious, well-lighted ware-rooms, but the change is characteristic. The Mr Raymond referred to in the above quotation was the father of the present proprietor, succeeding Mr Glyde, in the year 1846. Doubtless the "china shop," referred to by Vickery, was at the beginning carried on on a less extensive scale than it is to-day, for the tastes of the public were not so well developed as they are at present, and Mr Raymond's patrons were not so numerous. However, by patient energy and untiring industry, Mr Raymond created a wonderful improvement in the popular taste in respect to this one branch, and by supplying artistic wares at a moderate price, established a valuable connection.

In 1871, Mr H Raymond, the present proprietor, succeeded to the business, and his intimate knowledge of every branch of the business, coupled with courtesy and constant application to its requirements, have extended the connection and secured a leading position in the trade of the district. Internally, the showrooms are admirably arranged, and every facility is afforded for inspecting the stock, which comprises the goods of most of the leading manufacturers. Breakfast, dinner, tea, and toilet sets, ornamental vases, flower stands, mantel ornaments, and similar choice goods form a very handsome display. Glass ware, globes, chimneys, butter coolers, dishes, decanters, tumblers, etc. Such is the trade now carried on where the old post-office once represented the public service of the Crown in a " low pent house with a thatched roof." It fittingly represents the strides which Yeovil has recently made.



By the time of the 1901 census, Henry had retired. He and Matilda had moved to Preston House, Preston Plucknett (later the Plucknett Hotel).

Henry Raymond died in Yeovil during the autumn of 1903. He was 52 years old. Matilda died in Bridport, Dorset, in 1939, aged 84.




A celebratory sketch dated 1850 of the Town Hall and Market House opened the previous year.
The shop at extreme right would become the shop premises of Henry Raymond.


Henry Raymond's shop photographed in 1897, as crowds gather in High Street to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.


From my collection

AA hand-coloured postcard of High Street, this one postmarked 1910. The three-storey white building, just right of centre, had been the china and glassware shop of Henry Raymond.


Courtesy of Chris Rendell  -  This photograph features in my book 'Yeovil From Old Photographs'

The Plucknett, formerly Preston House and the home of Henry Raymond. Photographed in 1989.