A New Twist

Some months ago, some of you may recall that I had read over an 1881 Census page listing John and his family residing on Sherbourne Road, with a number “10” next to William Harris’ name which told me that John’s address had possibly been 10 Sherbourne Road.

A subsequent look on Google Streetview gave me the impression that the Aldi or the garage across the street from it was built across several lots including Number 10.  However, there just happens to be a dental clinic in Yeovil that lists its address as #10 Sherbourne Road, and it’s a building from the 1840s that is still standing, right next to the Aldi!

But then there’s another twist: Osborne House was a large Regency mansion owned by a brewery owner in 1871 and by 1916 it was still described as being a single family home.  The only way John could have lived there is if his mother was a servant on the property, since his father was fully-employed at the glove factory (now a sustainable living apartment complex).

However, on the census record there is no such mention of his wife having any profession.  If she had been a servant, it should have been noted there.

This means that it is unlikely that the number 10 on the census form from 1881 is the Harris family’s actual residence, or if it is, then the numbering system may have changed.  A glover, his stay-at-home wife, and a boarder renting one of the rooms could not have afforded a posh single-family home like Osborne House.  And although I gasped when I saw the place, it was more like seeing a familiar building from the neighborhood than seeing a place I grew up in, so my gut is just as against it as the facts.

This means that my initial impression, that we had lived further down Sherbourne Road at a terraced house near Yeovil Pen Mill, may be correct after all since that’s more along the lines of what William, Jane, and their boarder Mr. Thomas could have afforded together, and it fits nicely with my earliest memory, that we weren’t rich but we were living comfortably for a working class family.

I need to track down John’s actual address and confirm this once and for all, but the chase is on yet again, and what seemed like a cold lead just got hot again!


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