Yeovil people

Joseph Whitby (2)

Glove Manufacturer


Joseph Whitby was born in Middle Street, Yeovil, on 23 January 1836, and his birth was recorded in the register of the South Street Baptist Chapel. He was second of the eleven children of  glove manufacturer and Mayor of Yeovil Elias Whitby Jnr (1810-1880) and Hannah née Lyndall (1808-1888). Elias and Hannah's children were; Elias Lyndall Whitby (1834-1911), Joseph, Sarah Schreiner (b1837), Agnes (b1839), Catherine (b1841), Samuel (b1842), James (b1845), Anna (b1849), Oliver Rolland (b1851) and Mary Alice (b1852).

In the 1851 census Joseph was listed with his parents and nine of his siblings at Green Quarry - although this was actually Ashgrove on the corner of Mudford Road and Sparrow Road. His father gave his occupation as a 'Gloving Master' and both his 17-year old brother Elias Lyndall and 15-year old Joseph were listed as their father's assistants.

In the autumn of 1860, 24-year old Joseph married 21-year old Eleanor Eliza Francis (1839-1869) at St Andrew's church, Northover, Ilchester. Eleanor was the daughter of William and Eleanor Francis of Ilchester. They initially lived in Ilchester, where their first child was born, but had moved to Yeovil, where the rest of their children were born, by 1861.

In the 1861 census Joseph was listed at Church House with Eleanor and a young servant girl. Joseph gave his occupation as a glove manufacturer. In its edition of 13 February 1867 the Taunton Courier noted the birth of a daughter (Josephine) to Joseph and Eleanor 'at Church House' on 29 January 1867.

Joseph and Eleanor were to have five children; George Francis (1861, Ilchester - 1867), Lionel (1863-1941), Charles Joseph (b1864), Josephine (1867-1921) and Hugh Morison (1869-1870). Four of the children were born in Church House. However, it is most likely that Eleanor died in childbirth in 1869 giving birth to her fifth child, Hugh. She was aged 30.

Following the death of Eleanor, Joseph moved his family to Grove House, Preston Road, where in 1871 he was recorded in the census as a 35-year old widower with his children Lionel, Charles and Josephine, aged 8, 6 and 4 respectively, together with a cook and a nurse. Joseph gave his occupation as "Glove Manufacturer, Master, employing 58 men, 24 women, 10 boys, 4 girls. Occupying 4 acres of land".

On 26 September 1872, at Isleworth, London, 36-year old Joseph married 19-year old Maud Mary Forster (1852, Plymouth). Joseph and Maud were to have six children, all born in Yeovil; Edith Maud (1873-1962), George (1873-1873), Edwin Forster (b1874 - see Gallery), Winifred Ada (b1876), George Roland (1878-1966) and Marjorie (1880-1965).

It appears that, after the death of their father in January 1880, Joseph and his older brother Elias took over their father's gloving business, forming the firm of Whitby Brothers. The firm continued trading into the 1940s.

The 1881 census recorded Joseph, Maud, six of the children and three servants at Grove House. Joseph gave his occupation simply as Manufacturer of Gloves.

By the time of the 1891 census, Joseph had moved his family to Frome House, Frome St Quentin, Dorset, where they lived with three servants - a cook, a housemaid and a German governess. Joseph gave his occupation as Glove Manufacturer. Joseph was still recorded as a Glove Manufacturer in the 1901 census  at Frome House, where he lived with Maud, three daughters Josephine, Winifred and Marjorie - aged 34, 24 and 21 respectively - together with a cook, parlourmaid and housemaid.

By the time of the 1911 census, Joseph had moved his family yet again. This time they were living in Preston Park House, in Preston Plucknett, where they would remain until Joseph's death. At the time of the census Joseph was aged 75 and gave his occupation as the Director of a company and glove manufacturer. Maud was now aged 58, and living with them were children Josephine, George and Margery, grandchildren George Radnore and Elizabeth Amy, together with four servants - a cook, parlourmaid, housemaid and a nurse.

Joseph Whitby died at home in Preston Park House on 11 February 1915, aged 79. His will was proved the following May and his effects were valued at £21,106 3s 10d (in excess of £11.6 million at today's value).


For the Whitby family tree - click here.




The entry of the birth of Joseph Whitby in the register of the South Street Baptist Chapel.


Ashgrove, photographed in the 1970s. This was the home of Elias Whitby Jnr and his family in the 1840s although listed as part of Green Quarry.


Joseph and Eleanor were married at St Andrew's church, Northover, Ilchester, in September 1860.


This photograph features in my book 'Yeovil From Old Photographs'.

Church House, photographed about 1960. Joseph and his first wife Eleanor lived here during the 1860s. Four of their five children were born here and it is most likely that Eleanor died here in childbirth in 1869.


From my collection

A carte de visite by John Chaffin & Sons of Hendford, dated March 1876 and featuring Edwin Forster Whitby (b1874) - the son of Joseph and his second wife Maud.


From the Cave Collection (colourised), Courtesy of South Somerset Heritage Collection

Grove House, owned by Joseph Whitby in the 1880s. This colourised photograph of the 1960s shows Grove House from Preston Road. The new road is today's Legion Road and at the time Grove House was about to be demolished.


Preston Park House In its guise as a nursing home. The extension at left is probably mid-Victorian. Joseph and his family were certainly living here from at least 1901 until his death in 1915.


Preston Park House, seen from the garden.


.... and photographed in 2015.


The brass memorial to Joseph Whitby in St James' church, Preston Plucknett. Photographed in 2015.