Category Archives: Retail

CWG: Private Augustus Dodge

Private Augustus Dodge

Augustus Kenneth Dodge was born in September 1898 to shoe and furniture dealer Augustus William Dodge and his wife Mildred. The elder of two children, Augustus and his family lived on Cheap Street, the main retails thoroughfare of his home town, Sherborne.

Augustus William had been plying his trade for a number of years, having been apprenticed to his father – another Augustus – in Frome and Devizes.

Augustus Kenneth joined the 7th Battalion of the Dorsetshire Regiment, a territorial reserve, which was trained in North Wales and based on a camp in Wool, near Bovington, Dorset. Sadly, I have been able to find little else of his military life, but it is unlikely that he was involved on the front line.

Private Dodge died on 31st March 1917, aged just 18. Nothing in the newspapers of the time suggest an unusual or violent passing, so it can only be assumed that he died from an illness, possibly influenza or pneumonia.

Private Augustus Kenneth Dodge lies at peace in the cemetery of his home town, Sherborne.


I was intrigued that Augustus Kenneth’s gravestone also commemorates his father – Augustus William Dodge – and so I did a bit more research. I found that the 1910s were not a good time for the Dodge family.

Augustus Dodge Sr (Augustus William’s father) died in 1912, at the age of 88. He left his estate – totalling more than £500,000 in today’s money – to his widow, Mary Ann, and two of his sons, including Augustus William.

Mary Ann Dodge passed away in April 1916, as the local newspaper reported:

Mrs Dodge, widow of the late Mr Augustus Dodge [Sr] died unexpectedly at her residence at Butts-hill on Thursday last. Mrs Dodge, who was in her 82nd year, walked down to St John’s Church in the morning and attended a service, and then walked up the hill to her home. She was taken ill at noon and passed away two hours later. On Saturday morning, the family received the news that Mr Hubert Dodge, bootmaker, or Warminster (brother of the late Me Augustus Dodge) had died.

Somerset Standard: Friday 28th April 1916

By this point, and within six years, Augustus William Dodge had lost both of his parents and his uncle Hubert. He had also lost his daughter, Ethel, who had died in 1910.

Another of Augustus William’s uncles, Albion Dodge, died in 1917, as did Private Augustus Kenneth Dodge, his son, and the protagonist of this post.

The effect of these losses – particularly that of his eldest son – cannot be underestimated and may well have contributed to his own passing, a year later.

Augustus William Dodge died on 17th June 1918, aged 51.

The Somerset Standard show how much of a businessman he had been, however, with an announcement of the sale of his estate, which included:

LARGE SHOP AND DWELLING-HOUSE, with extensive Premises in the rear, No 3 Stony-street, Frome, in the occupation of Mr Arthur Dodge, at £40 per annum.

SHOP AND PREMISES, No 4 Stony-street, Frome, in the occupation of the Argentine Meat Co. Ltd’, t £25 per annum.

SHOP AND PREMISES, No 13 Market-place, Frome, in the occupation of the National Party, at £18 per annum.

Substantially-built and Commodious TWO-STOREY WAREHOUSE, with Accommodation for Motor Car or Van, situate in the Blue Boar Yard, Frome. The top story is in the occupation of the Frome Town Band, at £12 per annum. The bottom storey is void.

DWELLING-HOUSE AND PREMISES, No 25 King-street, Frome, in the occupation of Mrs Thomas at £13 8s 8d per annum.

DWELLING-HOUSE AND PREMISES, No 1 Willow Vale, Frome, lately occupied by Mr Clarke, a £15 12s per annum.

TWO Substantially-built RESIDENCES with large Gardens, Nos 1 and 2 Hythe House, Rodden Lake, Frome, together with PADDOCK adjoining, in the occupation of Messrs Webb, Golden and Haddrell, at the net annual rental of £37.

FIVE COTTAGES AND GARDENS, Nos 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Rodden Lake, Frome.

A commodious 3-storey WAREHOUSE, with double-door entrance for vans and side entrance, situate and being No 22 Vicarage-street Frome, in the occupation of Mr E Glass at £8 per annum.

SHOP, with DWELLING-HOUSE AND GARDEN, in Cheap-street, Sherborne, Dorset, in the occupation of Miss Beedell, at £20 per annum.

Somerset Standard: Friday 25 October 1918.

For the stories of more of the fallen from the Great War, take a look at my Commonwealth War Graves page.

A-Z of Somerset: Othery

O is for Othery

As history moves on, it seems there were two main routes for villages to take. As we have seen, the first is to thrive, then to settle quietly into the background and become a quintessential English village, as with Haselbury Plucknett and Milverton (see previous posts).

The second option is not as positive, and this has been the route taken by the next village on our Somerset journey, Othery.

Sitting on the crossroads of the main roads between Bridgewater and Langport, Glastonbury/Street and Taunton, Othery once thrived as a stopping off point on the long journeys across sometimes threatening terrain.

The Other Island sits 82ft (20m) above the surrounding moorland of the River Parrett, and so proved a good resting point for horses, carriages and passengers alike. For a population of around 500 people, this was once a bustling place, boasting three pubs, a post office, village store and bakery.

Sadly, the village has not thrived, and is nowadays more of a cut through, one of those places you see the road sign for, before slowing to 30mph and impatiently waiting for the national speed limit sign to come into view.


The buildings on the main road seem a little tired, once white frontages sullied by the dirt and grime of passing juggernauts. The signs outside the one remaining public house – the London Inn – almost beg you to stop, whether for a Sunday carvery or to watch weekend football matches on the huge TV screens.

(I admit the scaffolding does little to show the pub in its best light.)

But the fact of the matter is that, where once it would have had regular bookings, you can’t help feeling that this is very much a locals’ pub, whose inhabitants have set places at the bar and engraved tankards.

One glimmer of hope is that the the bakery seems to attract a lot of support. Again, it was closed when I stopped off here late one afternoon, but whenever I have driven through Othery before, there has tended to be a queue of people outside, and this gives a hint at a sense of community that the commuter doesn’t get to see.

The community sense continues with the school sign too; a typical redbrick Victorian building enticing children in. Another sign of things changing is that, where this was once Othery Village School, it has now merged with neighbouring Middlezoy; families move out of the smaller villages, school numbers drop, changes take place to help support struggling services.


Move away from the main road, though, and you can see tantalising hints of what Othery once was, and probably still would be, had its position on the crossroads not been the main function of its existence.

North Lane is a much quieter affair than the main road. In between the mid-20th Century houses sit more stately structures, hidden behind high walls to shelter them from passing traffic.

St Michael’s Church stands proud above the village, helping direct the wayward and lost to a better life. You get the feeling, however, that locals stay behind their high walls more than they used to, something sadly echoed across rural Britain more than one might care to admit.


I am painting a pretty bleak picture, I know, but, while not deliberately doing the village down, this is the sense you get when exploring a place like Othery.

Where villages like North Curry once had glory, they were fortunate in their locale. Those villages that lie too short a distance from neighbouring towns have struggled in recent years, and Othery is not an exception.

Using the same stretch of road between Street and Taunton as an example, places like Walton, Greinton, Greylake, East Lyng, West Lyng and Durston have also struggled over the years.

Villages with a distinct pull, a unique selling point, like Burrowbridge on the same stretch of road, do survive, but for others it has been a struggle.

Additional housing projects have tried to rejuvenate them, but without the infrastructure to support them, the villages still die or get swallowed up by those neighbouring towns.



A-Z of Somerset: North Curry

N is for North Curry

The unusual Somerset names continue as we head to the village of North Curry. Nothing to do with spicy food, the name is thought to derive from the Saxon or Celtic word for ‘stream’. There are a number of similarly named villages along this ridge to the east of Taunton – Curry Rivel, Curry Mallet and East Curry – but it is the North Curry that I found myself visiting.

Like Milverton, North Curry is a place that seems to have pretentions above its station. With a population of more than 1600 people, it is almost a town, but most of its wealth derives from its historic location – a dry ridge above water-logged marshes proved an ideal location for settlement from Roman times onwards.

The wealth is reflected in the number of large houses, particularly around the central green – Queen Square – and North Curry appears gentrified by Georgians and Victorians alike.


This sense of self importance is continued towards the north of the village, where the church – St Peter and St Paul’s – appears far larger than a place of North Curry’s size should accommodate. This is particularly the case, given that it is built on a ridge overlooking Haymoor and the River Tone – this is a building that was meant to be seen from afar and admired.


The central square is where the hub of life was focused. Sadly, the village’s post office/store and pub are all that remain of the old hustle and bustle. North Curry’s former wealth still remains on show, however, with a large memorial to Queen Victoria, an ornate War Memorial and a walled village garden being the focal points for today’s visitors.


While the wealth brought by through travellers may have long since departed, this is by no means a washed-up place. North Curry may be slightly off the beaten track, but it is still worth a wander around and there is plenty of opportunity to admire views and contemplate the wonder of the architecture.



The Signs Were There


The signs were all there, no doubt about it. There was not escape and, even though he couldn’t read the language, the intent was still pretty blindingly obvious.

But how to go about it? Which was his best way out? He didn’t know who was after him, or when they would catch up, but he knew he would give escape a bloody good try, and this was where his fight back began…


Colour is also on the cards for the new Mass Observation Project, so get snapping!

Take a photograph based that sums up the theme COLOUR to you, however you want to interpret it.

  • Email the image to adayinphotographs@outlook.com by Thursday 30th April 2020.
  • Images should be a maximum of 650 pixels wide.
  • Include your name, website/blog address and a short note about the image, including where it was taken.
  • Come back and see the results on Sunday 3rd May!

Glastonbury Colour

(The first in a series of posts about my new home town!)

Elestial

Forgive me if, over the coming weeks, you get a little inundated by photographs from my new home town of Glastonbury in Somerset!

As mentioned previously, it’s only direct connection with the music festival is its name, and it was never this that drew me to Somerset.

The town is very open to people of different faiths, beliefs, and lifestyles, and the residents – myself included – are often drawn to live here by way of some unknown, unfathomable force.

For the uninitiated, the small market town is extremely Bohemian and accepting of most things. You can happily wander down the High Street and pass people wearing steampunk clothing, or fairy wings, or flowery headbands, or kaftans, or tie dye, or Hunter boots and wax jackets, or all of the above. Tourists are often a little stunned by this diversity; you can tell the locals by the fact they are totally nonplussed by this.

The shops in the town are just as diverse as the people who frequent them (and this, in fact, has helped Glastonbury retail stay afloat while other High Streets have suffered a downturn over the last decade or so).

My first post dedicated to the town, therefore, highlights these retail establishments, in all their diversity and colour.

(Click on an image to see a larger version.)