YEOVIL NEWS: Celebrating Yeovil’s history takes a step closer
EXCITING plans are in the pipeline to create a cultural and heritage centre in the heart of Yeovil which will help to bring the town’s history back to the present day.
A working group was formed in May 2021 to look at ways to create designated facilities and activities in Yeovil to allow the local community and visitors to experience the rich and vibrant history of the town and to enjoy the arts.
The aim is to celebrate Yeovil’s culture and heritage in the heart of the community “with everyone – for everyone.”
A spokesman for the Yeovil Art and Heritage Working Group said: “We are looking at providing space and opportunities in the centre of Yeovil where everyone can experience creative arts and to explore stories of Yeovil’s past, present and future.
“The working group meets regularly and is currently putting together an action plan to develop an arts and heritage programme for the public, as well as exploring options to create a designated space in the town centre.”
The group has secured funding from the Architectural Heritage Fund to allow a 12-month project viability study based on the Vicarage Street Methodist Church in the centre of Yeovil at the bottom of the Quedam Shopping Centre.
Architects BoonBrown and You&Me have been commissioned to provide possible options for the use of the building, along with detailed structure and quantity surveyor reports.
“We want to bring the functions and services of Yeovil Art Space, Eastville Project Space and a Yeovil Museum together in a single accessible building in the town centre,” added the spokesman.
Members of the working group are as follows: Bob Osborn, A to Z of Yeovil History website; Cllr Mike Best, South Somerset District Council; Ian Timms, Yeovil Refresh; Katy Menday, South Somerset District Council; Steve Sowden, Yeovil Press; Sally Freemantle, Yeovil Town Council; Rachel Bellamy, South West Heritage Trust; Stephen Ives, Eastville Project Space; Natasha Rand, Yeovil Art Space; and Zoe Li, Yeovil Art Space. Rev Kate Konrad, of Yeovil Methodist Church, is an observer with the group.
Further updates will be posted on the project page: yeovilartspace.uk/heritage .
PHOTOS – ABOVE: The Vicarage Street Methodist Church (above left) in its present day format and (right) the same church photographed back in 1897.
YEOVIL Press editor Steve Sowden is delighted to see that plans for a museum-style facility could be opened in the town centre.
Although it is still early days in the project, things are beginning to move in the right direction with the new Yeovil Art and Heritage Working Group.
A Yeovil Museum Campaign was launched in the February edition of the Yeovil Press and was run in conjunction with an online petition started by local historian Bob Osborn who curates the hugely popular A to Z of Yeovil’s History website.
Both Steve and Bob are members of the working group and have been attending regular meetings.
“It’s all very exciting,” said Steve. “Although there is a lot of work to be done there is a great deal of support out there for Yeovil to celebrate its heritage and linking this up with the creative arts is a wonderful opportunity to do something really positive for the town.”