Hilary's Diaries - Hilary Townsend President of Stalbridge History Society
Titles by Hilary Townsend
Hilary Townsend President of Stalbridge History Society
In recent diaries I described how dressmakers, shirt makers and glove makers lived here. There were also tailors in Stalbridge, the skill being handed down from father to son and sometimes in the same premises.
Leslie Hobbs took on the business from his father George in a stout, rambling Victorian house in the High Street that housed the Blackmore Vale Magazine until it moved to Yeovil a few years ago. Leslie served his apprenticeship, became a highly regarded tailor and after service in the First World War also established a good quality gents outfitters shop on the premises. This shop sold high-class tweed jackets in quiet colours and subdued checks, trilby hats, caps, dear stalkers and good quality shirts, mostly white.
The shop also sold plain, expensive Tootal ties. The indefinable smell of good tweed lingered there for many years and as a child I would run down the High Street saying to myself `Tootal ties, Tootal ties`. It was such a lovely name.
Elihu Parsons, from Stalbridge Weston, was a tailor and one of his eight sons Dick was apprenticed. Dick lived on Barrow Hill where his two sisters were dressmakers. After service in the Grenadier Guards in World War I he was employed by Cox and Son’s drapery business at Manchester house, (now Viv Evans), as one of a number of live-in employees.
Dick became the uncle of Danny Hine, our former town clerk, who lives in Grosvenor Road and Danny remembers him sitting cross legged on the table to do his work.
In 1959 our long serving rector Mr Merriman was succeeded by the Rev FAO Sanders. Mr. Sanders discovered the tailoring business of Leslie Hobbs in the High Street and asked him to make a grey and white tweed suit. The Rector was delighted with it and it is said that he wore it for the rest of his life.
© Hilary Townsend