the history of yeovil's pubs





william dampier

97 Middle Street


The William Dampier is a large, cavernous Wetherspoon's Lloyds No 1 Bar with all the associated appurtenances of the chain. It opened around 2002 in what had been a furniture shop and, prior to that, a supermarket.

The building was part of the Glover's Walk redevelopment of the late 1960's and the William Dampier, on its corner site between Middle Street and Central Road, stands on the site of the second version of the Railway Inn in Middle Street.

The following is from an article in the Yeovil Express & Star of 10 December 1998 -


Pub giant to open in May

Wetherspoons are planning to open a £900,000 pub at the bottom end of Middle Street in the centre of Yeovil. Watford-based JD Wetherspoon has already got planning permission to transform the existing Haskins furniture store at 97 Middle Street - which stands on the corner of Central Road - into a public house. A spokesman for the company told the Express that it had gained a drinks license from south Somerset magistrates on Friday which had allowed the plans to move substantially forward.

The company expects to start converting the building into a pub in February of next year and be open for business in May. The development will create between 20 and 25 full- and part-time jobs. It will go hand-in-hand with the envisaged overall enhancement of that area with Wilkinson having already opened in the former Tesco premises opposite the site, and with major plans in the pipeline to redevelop the old Town Station car park into leisure facilities.

The premises have been part of the retail community in Yeovil since the early 1960's. Before that they were the headquarters of the local sea cadet unit (?). Wetherspoons pubs are popular in other towns  as they do not allow music or fruit machines (?) and also include large no-smoking areas. But the news is likely to be met with dismay by other licensed premises in the town.

The following is from the Western Gazette of 07 June 2012 -

Four years in jail for man who tried to firebomb Yeovil pub

An angry customer who tried to firebomb a Yeovil pub has been jailed for four years. Alexander Westcott, 22, was thrown out of the William Dampier pub on Middle Street at 1.45am on January 29 after an argument on the dance floor. On a taxi ride back to his home in Marl Close he told the driver he was going to “burn the place down,” Taunton Crown Court was told. He told the driver to wait and returned about 25 minutes later with a plastic bottle containing a clear liquid, said William Hunter, prosecuting.

Westcott said he was making a Molotov Cocktail and when the driver tried to get him to change his mind he became agitated and threatening. Westcott returned to the pub, lit the wick of a bottle containing white spirit and threw it at the door. “By chance, the wick fell out of the bottle”, he added. The liquid did not ignite. Mr Hunter said: “There was a possibility of causing a fire which could endanger lives. At the time, the public house had people in it and people were around in the street.”

The following day, Westcott was arrested at Bristol Airport while trying to leave the country on a flight to Geneva.

Westcott admitted arson being reckless to whether life was in danger.

Rebecca Bradberry, defending, said the device was never going to work and Westcott acted in sheer panic after the incident. She said he accepted he had to address his problem of binge drinking. Judge Graham Hume Jones said Westcott would have faced a longer sentence had the device ignited.




The building in the 1970s when it was Key Markets.


The William Dampier photographed in 2012.


Interior, photographed in 2014. Shame they got rid of the sofas.


The bar area, photographed in 2014.


Nice new signs, photographed November 2016. Shame they don't spend a few quid doing up the inside.