Skip to main content

Documenting Homes Collection

A Documenting Homes collection from John Wills about the Christmas decorations (470/2012 to 476/2012) and his memories of Christmases spent in childhood homes in Yeovil, Somerset, and Nottingham in the 1950s and 1960s. The collection comprises four electronic documents and 12 colour transparencies. John’s mother was a housewife and his father was a store manager for F.W. Woolworth & Co Ltd. This material was acquired as part of the Documenting Homes project in 2011-2012.
Object type: Documenting Homes Collection
Object number: 477/2012

More Information:

Detailed Description: +/-

Physical Description:
This collection comprises four digital documents (PDF files) and twelve colour transparencies (Kodachrome 40mm transparencies).

History: +/-

Date: 1950-2012
Production Note:
This material was acquired as part of the Documenting Homes project in 2011-2012 and as research into the Christmas decorations (470/2012 to 476/2012).
Associated Names John Wills
Object History:
This is a Documenting Homes collection (477/2012) from John Wills about the Christmas decorations (470/2012 to 476/2012) and his memories of Christmases spent in childhood homes in Yeovil, Somerset, and Nottingham in the 1950s and 1960s.

Mr Wills approached the Museum in 2011 offering to donate Christmas ornaments including silver foil decorations (470/2012 to 474/2012) and Hinoki garlands (475/2012 and 476/2012) purchased in the interwar period probably from F.W. Woolworth & Co Ltd in Yeovil, Somerset. He later offered 12 colour transparencies from the 1950s and 1960s of his childhood homes in Yeovil and Nottingham, some of which showed the decorations in use at Christmastime (477/2012-5 to -16). The Museum sent him several questionnaires, to which he responded in 2012 by way of writing documents relating to his memories of the Christmas decorations, childhood Christmases and his childhood homes in Yeovil and Nottingham.

Two of John Wills’ childhood homes are described in this collection. The first is his grandparents’ home at Mill House, No 34 Woodland Terrace, Yeovil, Somerset. The house is described in the document (477/2012-3) as a three-bedroomed house, probably built towards the end of the nineteenth century. It is described as having three bedrooms (plus an attic space with the potential for two additional bedrooms). The bathroom and toilet were housed in a later addition lean-to, and were reached through ‘the room going through’, which could be used as a fourth bedroom. There was another room in the lean-to known as ‘Parson James’ room’. On the main floor of the house was a room called the ‘dining room’ was actually used more as a lounge, an entrance hall, a sitting room, a dining room (which they called ‘the kitchen’) and a conservatory. The house was rented by Mills’ grandparents, who moved there in 1927. John, his parents and sister also lived there until 1953. Family members, particularly his aunt, continued to live there until around 1992.

The second home described in this collection was at 143 Davies Road, West Bridgford, Nottingham. The Wills family purchased the three-bedroom detached house in 1953 and lived there until 1964. In the document (477/2012-4) the house is described as having a front room that was used as a dining room, a lounge, and a kitchen on the main floor. The upstairs had three bedrooms, a separate toilet and bathroom, and a small box room used for storage. John lived here with his parents and sister.

John Wills’ grandparents had three children: a son (Mr Wills’ father) who worked for Woolworths, a daughter who went on to marry a tea plantation manager in Darjeeling and a daughter who never married and remained with her parents. John’s father was a store manager for F.W. Woolworth & Co Ltd and his mother was a housewife.

More information about the two houses described in this collection is available in the documents (477/2012-1 to -4) and in notes on the history file from a conversation with Mr Wills on 30/11/2011.
Related Objects: view related objects

Subject/Content: +/-

Noticed a mistake? Have some extra information? Please contact us at curatorial@geffrye-museum.org.uk