DorsetLife The Dorset Magazine
The best of Dorset in words and pictures
No.406 January 2013 ÂŁ2.60
Will it be saved or shut?
Blandford's Crown Meadows
Chettle A photo essay
The Great Gale Dorset's 1824 storm
PLUS: The games maker Hardy crossword The Dorset drive Richard Drax MP Wool memories
Winter images of Dorset's wildlife
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in this issue
contents County comment & Letters
Dorset lives: Richard Drax
Winter wildlife photo essay
A life in four parts: from soldier to MP
How plants and animals cope with winter
Hardy Codeword Crossword 47
Living in Dorset
Dorset Life's unique test of knowledge
News from around the county
Focus on Christchurch
The town's historical society
Focus on Dorchester
Beaminster's missing chime
The Dorset drive
Dorchester ARTS: involving and inspiring
Flora and fauna ﬁght for life
A trip around some of Dorset's best views
The Great Gale of 1824
Fifty years of Rossgarth Youth FC
Swanage Hospital Is it right to close it?
Disaster and devastation on the coast
The Swanage Hospital debate 22 The future of the beloved cottage hospital
The games maker
Dorset Village: Chettle
Trouble with French at the Paralympics
This month in Dorset
A photo essay by Ken Ayres
A life in Wool: 1920s-40s
What happened to the church's other tune?
Focus on Verwood
Upcoming events in Dorset
George Brown's early life in pre-war Wool
With this ring…
Dorset from the air
Getting married in and around Dorset
The Canford Bottom 'Hamburger' junction
Renovation: plain sailing?
The battle of Blandford
Two Olympic sailors do up a Dorset home
The Dorset Directory
Colin Varndell's wildlife year
Jess of the Dairyfields
A rather chilly-looking starling
A photo essay by Ken Ayres
The proposed Crown Meadows development
28 Dorset village: Chettle
32 A life in Wool
Pre-war village life
Will the new year come in with a bang?
A map showing Dorset places mentioned in this issue
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53 The missing chime
The lost tune of Beaminster
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January's cover image of Portland Bill lighthouse was taken by Andy Farrer
PORT RTLA LAND
January’s centre-spread image of Kimmeridge (see p50-51) was taken by Guy Edwardes
61 Dorset's Great Gale
The devastating 1824 storm
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editor's letter So what are the Olympic legacies? A year ago this month, we looked at what we thought the Olympic legacy would be for Dorset. Our focus was geographically on Portland, and looked at improvements there in terms of housing and the National Sailing Academy (WPNSA), charitable tie-ins, the economic activity of the port and marina, and improvements in road links through the county. In the cold light of January, the issue of the vital transport links west of Portland are still unresolved, but perhaps the real legacies are less to do with the laying of bricks, mortar, concrete and asphalt, but in laying foundations of a more humanscale and indeed more human kind. The principal legacy, which is a national one, rather than a Dorsetspecific one, and which might be said to be a 2012 legacy, rather than a purely Olympic one, is a renewed sense that it is perfectly fine to feel proud of one's country, without feeling tainted by jingoistic, or worse, flat-out racist, associations. The second is that the 2012 games proved that in Paralympic sport, the triumph is an athletic one over determined competitors (not over adversity in the manner of the 19th-century 'Guild of the Brave Poor Things' motto: 'happy with my lot'). The third legacy is one of increased interest in sport amongst the young, not simply for those who are good enough to go to Rio in 2016, but who were excited by the Games and who now associate sport with enjoyment, rather than it being seen as a form of punishment. WPNSA hosted an event in November at which '100 budding volunteers all keen to show their support and get involved in 2013 turned up'. A legacy indeed.
DorsetLife The Dorset Magazine
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letters to the editor Return of the Mummers In Roger Guttridge's December column, he erroneously stated that 'Mumming has died out since Hardy's day...'. It is obvious he neither moves in the right circles nor keeps abreast of the local folk scene, because mumming has not died out at all; it is very much alive and kicking/ﬁghting. I am a member of the Stourvale Mummers (www.knapmang. demon.co.uk/svm/index.htm) and we use a script from Sixpenny Handley as the basis for our performances. The Purbeck Mummers are still active in Wareham as are the Poole Mummers and www.mastermummers.org/articles/ Mummers-Plays-of-England-2009.htm shows details of other mummers. So, please do not say that 'Mumming has died...', it hasn't; come and see next Christmas to ﬁnd out for yourself. PAUL MILES via email Roger Guttridge replies: 'It's good to learn of the revival of this ancient tradition. As a self-imposed penance, I replaced the Christmas turkey with a seasonal slice of humble pie.'
If you wish to comment on anything which whhich has appeared in Dorset Life - The Dorset Magazine, Maagazine, or share your views on any aspect of living livin ing in Dorset,, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org o.uk or write to to email@example.com The Editor, Dorset Life - The Dorset Magazine, Magazine, 7 The Th Leanne, Sandford Lane, Wareham, Dorset Dorset BH20 4DY. 4DY.
outside the Chedington parish boundary. I enjoyed my stay at BNGS, making Head Boy, cricket captain, UnderOfﬁcer in the CCF, Chairman of the Young Farmers (although I knew little of farming) and, under Miss Laws and Mr Hepburn, took part in many of the school plays. I loved acting and, although I never professed to be a good actor, I joined Harrods Drama Group and for the past ﬁfty years have acted, written, painted, back-staged and done front of house. My little efforts at BNGS seem insigniﬁcant compared to my offspring's efforts (son Edward was in Howard's Way and grandson Freddie – Charlie in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Peter in Finding Neverland and 30-odd other pieces), but theirs cannot be more pleasurable than were those school productions. Your piece also mentioned Mr Graveson; he taught me horticulture and was a generous teacher, I think the best I ever met. D HIGHMORE Maidenhead
Save the Weymouth Pavilion
The Stourvale Mummers in Christchurch, not in Hardy's day, but in 2009
The first act I was particularly delighted with October's Dorset Life, with its article on Beaminster and Netherbury Grammar School. I attended BNGS on a county scholarship as a weekly boarder from the middle of the war until just after. I was a 'Hood' and rose to Hood Captain. It was a very exciting time of life; quite an experience as I hardly ventured Publisher Lisa Richards.................................. firstname.lastname@example.org Editor Joël Lacey ..................................... email@example.com Advertisement Sales Director Dave Silk 01305 836440 ....................firstname.lastname@example.org Business Development Manager Julie Cullen 01258 459090 ................. email@example.com Advertising copy/website administration Eve Baker ........................................firstname.lastname@example.org Accounts/subscriptions administration Bryony O’Hara ................................email@example.com Editorial Consultant John Newth Editorial Designer Mark Fudge .........www.fudgiedesign.co.uk
As you may be aware Weymouth & Portland Council want to close the Weymouth Pavilion. There is a move afoot from local residents to stop this. I have written a protest song about this vexed issue. Please could you tell your readers about it, and tell them they can download* it for free and raise consciousness about the intended removal of a building that many of us have affection for. *The song is available to download from https://soundcloud.com/denise_ whittle/save-the-weymouth-pavilion 'BIG' AL WHITTLE Crossways Directors: JFA Newth (Chairman); LF Richards (Managing); MG Newth; JD Kennard; DE Silk; DM Slocock; PMG Stopford-Adams DL; Editorial Associates David Burnett; Lady Digby DBE, DL; David Eccles; Mrs Barbara Fulford-Dobson DL; Peter Harvey DL; John Langham CBE; Mrs Pamela Seaton MBE, JP, DL; Mrs Terry Slocock; Mrs Amanda Streatfeild; Giles Sturdy MBE, JP, DL; Hon. Charlotte Townshend DL Subscriptions: inland £32, overseas £43 (surface mail) for twelve issues. Call 01929 551264 to subscribe, for airmail rates or for 24- and 36-issue subscription rates. Printed by Pensord, Blackwood........www.pensord.co.uk
Rabbits will scratch away snow or frost to get at grass shoots
Dorset's winter wildlife Colin Varndell captures the animals and birds hardy enough and desperate enough to be out and about in winter
Pheasants are common in Dorset now due to the increase in organised shoots
Dorset's winter wildlife
Above Frost crystals pick out the fern fronds on a cold, frosty morning Right A blue tit perches on a frozen teasel seedhead in its frantic search for food Below Fieldfares (shown) and redwings, which have arrived in Dorset for the winter, will come into gardens searching for fruit when harsh weather bites
As winter bites, so Dorsetâ€™s wildlife faces the darkest months of the year. Cold weather can be fatal for small mammals and birds. With long, cold, dark nights to endure, many species need to consume almost their own bodyweight each day, in order to have any chance of survival. The biggest threat to wildlife is snow, as even a relatively light covering of snow can lock away essential food supplies.
Above Hoarfrost on Lewesdon Hill with every tree and branch covered in white frost crystals
Below The water rail can be found throughout Dorset, but much of the time remains hidden in reedbeds. However, in frosty conditions the water rail comes out into the open more.
Dorset's winter wildlife Left It is not only truly wild animals that can suffer in cold winters; farm animals are not wholly immune to the cold, but sheep are generally hardy when it comes to winter weather Below Although robins are year-round residents of Dorset, they are most visible, like this one robin on a snowy morning, against the white winter backdrop Bottom Hoarfrosts occur when overnight mist or fog is frozen to hedgerows and trees forming wafer thin blades of white ice
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Living in Dorset Swanage’s heritage project gets national award Durlston Castle in Swanage begins its second year of operation with a higher national profile having been voted the Best Heritage Project in the National Lottery Awards at the end of last year. This May will see the completion of its refurbished learning centre and an art and science studio workshop. ‘We have a number of exciting plans in the pipeline, including another major funding bid relating to George Burt’s Victorian landscape,’ says Dorset County Council countryside ranger manager, Hamish Murray, who adds that more exhibitions, concerts, displays and films are also all planned for 2013. ‘Durlston has always been famous for its superb wildlife and stunning views but we now have a nationally important heritage project and visitor facility which will continue to develop as an important part of the local tourism economy.’ More than 100 projects entered for the award and Durlston, which is run by the county council’s ranger service and volunteers, beat off nine other projects in the final public vote.
Durlston Castle, voted the Best Heritage Project in the National Lottery Awards by the public
Woodland volunteers wanted The Forestry Commission is calling on more volunteers to join its highly successful wood wardens conservation group, which has just celebrated its tenth anniversary. Typical tasks carried out by the volunteer wardens in Dorset’s woodlands include clearing the edges of woodland tracks to improve habitats for species such as butterflies, pond making and removing seedling pine regeneration from heathland. Bill Haddrell, aged 70, one of the original wardens recruited in 2002 after he retired, says he’s at his happiest when working in the forest. ‘The level of commitment only amounts to about one day of volunteering every month,’ he says. ‘One project I’m particularly proud of is the work we’ve undertaken to plant and maintain barberry hedges near Blandford to encourage the successful breeding of the rare Bill Haddrell, who has been a barberry carpet moth.’ volunteer wood warden for ten years
Josie’s winning image of an iris garden
Horticultural sharp-shooters A Sherborne-based photographer has won the prestigious title of Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Photographer of the Year while a Dorset under-11 has won recognition for her work in the same competition. Josie Elias won the award for her image of the Iris Garden at Plantas Distintas in Marnes, Spain, while Jasmine Fry of Poole’s close-up of a plant was commended in the under-11 category. Professional photographer Josie moved to the county last year and commented: ‘I do travel a lot but it is always good to be back home in Dorset. A few weeks ago I went to Sherborne Castle gardens at daybreak. There was a heavy frost and swirling mist, with the sun breaking through. It was a fantastic photo opportunity.’ Jasmine, meanwhile, showed that she is a budding talent of tomorrow. ‘It is incredible that the photographs in this category were produced by children under 11,’ says James Arnold, the competition organiser. ‘Jasmine’s image shows simplicity and beauty from a fresh perspective.
Fossil museum makes progress The Kimmeridge Trust has received initial support for a £2.8 million Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) bid to realise its ambition to create a fossil museum in Kimmeridge. A first-round pass is an endorsement of outline proposals so the Trust has two Steve Etches holding the jaw of a large crocodile called Dacosaurus from his unique collection years to submit fully developed proposals to compete for a firm award. The planned site for the museum is in the field opposite Clavells Cafe and Farm Shop in the village and it will be home to the Steve Etches Collection of around 2000 fossils. Collected by Steve over a period of more than 30 years, it is considered the most complete and unique collection of late Jurassic age fossils ever assembled in Britain and many of the specimens are new to science. The museum plans to open in 2016. 11
A traditional Bidjar rug in depicting an all over floral design around a central medallion with borders and stoppers at one end only. Colours are muted reds, pinks and blues on a creamy yellow background. Traditionally hand woven in Persia using silk and wool. Length 83 x Width 49 in. £4,900
Intricate detail with muted shades
This angle shows the silk and wool pile
The back of the rug illustrates the hand weaving.
A Talk on Persian and European Decorative Rugs on the evening of Wednesday, 27th February We are hosting a talk by our resident expert in decorative antique rugs and tapestries, Arash Karimzadeh. Arash has delivered lectures in the history of Persian rugs for the British museum, the rug society and the third age trust. His passion for rugs has been passed through three generations of his family, giving him an expert knowledge and a superb eye for detail. His extensive expertise covers pre Islamic rugs, European and Oriental rugs and tapestries, art deco and modern contemporary designs. He feels privileged to share his passion with clients, helping them to incorporate the beauty and artistry of antique rugs into their lives and is currently writing a book on this colourful subject. We ask for a minimum donation of £5 per seat - For your reservation, please call Robert Fisher on 01202 884613 All proceeds will be donated to Wholechild UK, a charity devoted to improving the lives of orphaned, abused, abandoned, and neglected children worldwide.
WIMBORNE SHOWROOM York House . 61-63 Leigh Road . Wimborne . BH21 1AE Tel. 01202 884613 . Open Tuesday to Saturday 9am - 5:30pm
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Living in Dorset Dorset’s food heroes
Memorial to Jersey evacuees
Bangers and cheese may not roll off the tongue like bangers and mash but both foodstuffs have recently brought fame to the county. The Udder Farm Shop in East Stour, Gillingham, was crowned South West British Banger winner in British Sausage Weeks national competition with butcher Kevin Hooper’s pork, red wine, garlic and herb Juston Tunstall with some of his many cheeses sausage, while the Town Mill Cheesemonger in Lyme Regis was named specialist retailer of the year in the South West Flavour Awards. Udder Farm’s butchers also won two specialist categories in the awards: Kevin’s banger won the Stand Up for British Sausages category while butchery apprentice Joe Willoughby’s Dorset Gold (a pork and plum chutney creation) won in the Iconic Sausage category. R J Balson & Son of Bridport also made it to the Iconic shortlist. The Town Mill Cheesemonger’s gong is the latest in a long line of awards; it was hailed as one of the 50 best foodie addresses by the Sunday Telegraph. Owner, Justin Tunstall, a former publisher who also worked in the record business, says the shop always tries to offer customers something different to stimulate the tastebuds: ‘It’s a bit like running a record shop, people know what they like but you also need to play them something different.’
A corner of Weymouth Harbour will be forever Jersey after the unveiling of a plaque, marking where 6000 evacuees came ashore at the start of the occupation of the Channel Islands during the Second World War. Among those who made the emotional journey for the plaque and wreath laying ceremony was Jean McLaughlin, founder and chairman of the Jersey From left: Weymouth & Portland Evacuees Association, who was Mayor Margaret Leicester, Jean McLaughlin and Simon Crowcroft, evacuated when she was a little girl. the Constable of St Helier, unveil the Speaking on BBC television at the event, she said leaving home and such memorial plaque to the evacuees a tight community was ‘hard to accept’. She was among those who returned to Jersey but many others went to war and never made it home.
Left The butchers at work at the Udder Farm Shop including (centre) Kevin Hooper, whose winning pork, red wine, garlic & herb sausage was inspired by trips to France
Public input for public art The people of Weymouth & Portland are being invited to provide input into a public art scheme that is being created for the Weymouth Gateway regeneration site in Mercery Road. The Weymouth and Portland Partnership will shortly announce the name of the artist appointed to engage the community, businesses, educational establishments, councillors and individuals with the project and who will create the final piece based on ideas put forward. The project is planned for completion at the end of this year or early 2014. Public art is an emotive subject,’ says Hilary Jordan, spatial and community planning manager at Weymouth & Portland Borough Council. ‘And we will be organising community engagement sessions where the artist can present their initial designs and hear the views of the public before the final design and artwork is completed.’
Support group reaches out in Wareham A national charity that helps those affected by a brain tumour is beginning its new programme of bi-monthly support sessions in Wareham. Meetings will be held on alternate Tuesdays starting on 8th January at the Springfield Hotel in Grange Road, Stoborough, just outside the town. ‘Being diagnosed with a brain tumour is shocking and bewildering for patient, family and friends. We take our brains for granted until they go wrong,’ says Anne Coles, the Hammer Out support worker for the group. ‘We work closely with medical professionals in the region to provide the psychological and emotional support the patient needs to complement medical treatment. Those interested in finding out more can call Anne on 0845 450 1039 or visit the website at www.hammerout.co.uk
Joyful move for school The new Mountjoy School in Beaminster brought cheers from both pupils and staff when it opened at the end of last year. The school, built for 48 pupils with physical and learning disabilities, also features a sensory hydrotherapy Smiling faces at the newly opened Mountjoy School pool, sensory and media studios and soft play room. Mountjoy School was rated as outstanding by Ofsted but it was always let down by its old building in Flood Lane, Bridport so in 2010 Dorset County Council agreed to relocate it onto the Beaminster School site in a £9 million project. The latter has also benefited from the project with enhancements including improved sporting facilities such as a floodlit synthetic turf pitch. James Franzen, headteacher at Mountjoy, says the opening marked ‘a special moment’ in the school’s history: ‘Our new school will allow children, pupils and students to access a fantastic learning environment which reflects the high aspirations we have for all at Mountjoy.’ 13
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A year of celebration
ow! — that’s the only way to describe 2012 at Nazareth Lodge — a delightful privately owned purpose built residential care home in Sturminster Newton. Camilla Trimble is the proprietor and recently celebrated 21 years at the helm by hosting a sumptuous Champagne garden party for residents, relatives, friends and business associates, and with the sun shining it made for a very happy and memorable day.
Earlier in the year the home was thrilled to learn that it had been awarded ‘Beacon’ status (the highest of 3 awards) for their End of Life care programme. Following almost 18 months work on this detailed and emotive project it was hugely satisfying for Camilla and her team to have the formal recognition that this award provided - acknowledging the very Employer of the Year’. This involved an high standard of care in the home. extensive interview process. The award There was further cause for celebration ceremony was held in Bristol where she when, in October, Camilla was short- was joined by 6 other nominees in her listed from approximately 150 entries for category, and was overjoyed when she the Great South West Care Awards ‘Care was announced as the winner.
01258 455221 On meeting with one of the interviewers following her award she was told that it was her passion that shone through, along with her commitment to provide opportunities to young people through apprenticeship schemes and other incentives such as work experience. She firmly believes that through investing in her staff she ensures the continuity of care which is so essential to the wellbeing of her residents. She will now go forward to the national awards held in the Spring – so fingers crossed! Nazareth Lodge, Residential Care Home, Sturminster Newton For further information and a brochure please ring: 01258 472511 and ask for Ann or Gini.
Living in Dorset Forever families needed A recent increase in the number of children in need of adoption across Dorset has led to a call for more ‘forever families’ in the county by adoption experts. Fifteen children were adopted in Dorset last year and Dorset County Council wants to double that over the next 12 months. It has one of the best records of placing children, with the average time of 97 days taken to place a child following court permission, half the national average of 195. Single children aged up to eight, disabled children and sibling pairs are among the children waiting to be adopted in the county and enquiries will be considered from single people and couples, including samesex couples. Other than being over the age of 21, there is no age criterion for adoption as long as the person/people is/are fit and healthy enough to care for a child throughout their childhood.
Enterprising teacher gets recognition A former teacher at Avonbourne School in Bournemouth has been awarded the Queens Award for Enterprise Promotion after he inspired students to think in a more business-like way to better prepare them for employment. Chris Hunt from Colehill in Wimborne, who now runs his own business specialising in providing online emotional help for all ages, also raised the bar in mathematics and led the school through the process of achieving ‘excellence in enterprise’ education. ‘Enterprise is a subject I have been passionate about for many years,’ says Chris. ‘It’s been so rewarding to help young people embrace the entrepreneurial spirit and help forge their way into the world of work.’ Chris was nominated for the award by executive head teacher of Avonbourne Trust, Debbie Godfrey-Phaure Business secretary Vince Cable (left) congratulates Chris Hunt on his Queens Award for Enterprise Promotion at a reception held at Buckingham Palace
Superfast broadband on its way Most of Dorset will have access to superfast broadband by December 2015. Dorset County Council is currently assessing which areas will not be covered by a commercial provider by that date and will be seeking a supplier to fill the gaps. It is estimated that 90-95 per cent of the county will be covered and receive up to 24 Megabits per second (Mbps). The unlucky 5-10 per cent will get a guaranteed 2 Mbps and these are likely to be homes and businesses located in the more isolated rural locations spread across the county. The council is still building a picture of Dorset’s needs and wants to hear from those running businesses or who are heavily reliant on the broadband network.
ArtsFest organisers Karol Kulik (left), Christine Allison (right) and David Tucker, curator of the Lyme Regis Museum
Renewing the past The public can see the first fruits from Lyme Regis ArtsFest and the town museum’s Re:collection project in which artists take inspiration from artefacts in the museum to create an original work. Five of the artists taking part will be holding exhibitions at the museum’s Rotunda Gallery that will include a preview of their Re:collection work. Running until 27th January is Annie Ward’s exhibition entitled Looking at the Overlooked, which features a series of paintings and paper objects highlighting people, places and items easily forgotten in the rush of modern life. It includes a glimpse of her Re:collection project Papertrace, which features a collection of paper-cast objects. Inspiration for this comes from what is thought to be the earliest official document in England to be written on paper and it happens to about Lyme (it is now in the British Museum). More than 20 artists are taking part in Re:collection, which is supported by National Lottery funding through the Arts Council England.
Celebrities go wild at art As we all know, Prime Minister David Cameron is a busy man but he found time to sketch a simple drawing of a sheep during one of his quieter moments (probably not during PM’s Questions) for Dorset Wildlife Trust’s celebrity Wild Art Auction. Famous people were asked to make a sketch of an animal or plant of Britain, starting with their finger, foot, toe, nose or ear print. DWT plans to auction more than 50 works over winter, with a new batch being unveiled each week. A drawing from Purbeck-based actor Edward Fox is among those to have already been auctioned and all proceeds will go to help fund DWT’s vital conservation work. When Dorset Life dropped by the virtual auction on ebay, actress Emma Thompson’s signed drawing of a pig and poet Pam Ayres’s pony picture were pulling in the money with days still to go. Actor Edward Fox’s artistic contribution to DWT’s cause 15
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Focus on Christchurch
Something old, something new Christchurch's History Society has an eye to the future One of
the secrets of running a successful local history society is keeping things fresh. At Christchurch History Society, thereâ€™s a website that is regularly updated with articles, a shop to run, new talks to write, walks to design and last year the society launched Dorset History Bus Tours. Designed by programme secretary Sally Bowers, these stretch beyond the town and across the county. â€˜Weâ€™re always looking for new ways to interest members,â€™ says Mike Andrews, the societyâ€™s journal editor. Christchurch has had some form of historical society since the 1900s, but the current one came into being in 1989 after the local library was left a collection by Herbert Druitt, local collector and antiquarian. Mike explains that librarian Bernard Green formed a group of people to record and catalogue the collection. â€˜We were given a room at the library and it grew from there,â€™ he says. A Christchurch native, Mike is, with chairman Ian Messer, one of the societyâ€™s long-standing members. He had his interest in history stimulated by â€˜one of those inspirationalâ€™ teachers at school and part of his role is to field local and family history enquiries from the public. â€˜Iâ€™m currently working on an enquiry regarding an Admiral Ogle who was Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire and am investigating his links to the town,â€™ he says. Although principally focusing on Christchurch past, the society is also keen to keep a watchful eye on its present and
future, as demonstrated by a local news feed on its website alongside its historical articles and â€˜news from the pastâ€™ section. It is also currently involved in a digital imaging and indexing project with Dorset History Centre in Dorchester. While membership is extremely healthy at around 400, Mike says it is keen to attract new and younger members and hopes to appoint two local sixth-formers as volunteers. â€˜We hope this will help get us into the local schools,â€™ he says. â€˜And then I hope we can do for future generations what my history teacher did for me.â€™ s #HRISTCHURCH (ISTORY 3OCIETY MEETS ON THE FIRST 4UESDAY IN the month at the Clarendon Road junior school from September through to June. Details at www.historychristchurch.org
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Focus on Dorchester
After three decades, Dorchester ARTS remit is still evolving Delivering diversity has always been part of Dorchester ARTSâ€™ remit. This yearâ€™s spring season spans the songs of Edith Piaf to Michael Morpurgoâ€™s sequel to War Horse, plus a lecture on the search for extra-terrestrial life in a CafĂŠ Scientifique evening with the Thomas Hardye School. Its aim is simply summed up by Mark Tattersall, the artistic director, who arrived last year. â€˜Dorchester ARTS exists to involve, inspire and entertain both local residents and visitors to the county with our performances and community activities,â€™ he says. Dorchester ARTS began as a youth theatre more than 30 years ago but evolved into a much broader arts organisation to serve the artistic and cultural demands of the town. Recently it underwent a change in focus shifting from Dorchester Arts Centre to Dorchester ARTS. The subtle name change reflects the fact that it puts on performances in a variety of venues around the town, ranging from the Corn Exchange to the outdoor amphitheatre Maumbury Rings. Its base at the former Victorian school at The Grove also provides an intimate setting for music ranging from blues to up-and-coming contemporary pop and folk groups, as well as drama from local touring theatre companies. Then, of course, there is its hugely popular biannual festival in the Borough Gardens, which next takes place in 2014.
Community activities are an important part of the package it offers. It is increasingly involved in a range of socially engaged Michael Morpurgo's Farm Boy, his sequel to War Horse projects which bring benefits to young people and disadvantaged groups in Dorchester and the surrounding area. A recent two-year Youth Music project involved hundreds of youngsters in workshops and performances with international musicians while in the lead up to the 2012 Olympics, a team of artists from Dorchester ARTS worked with children in three Weymouth schools to create animated films with Olympic themes. â€˜Since I started here last March, Iâ€™ve been overwhelmed by the support we receive from the community, the local authorities, arts organisations and the business community,â€™ says Mark. â€˜Dorchester ARTS is clearly a valued part of the local cultural landscape and we are looking forward to bringing a rich and diverse programme of activities in the coming year. For full details of the seasonâ€™s programme, go to www.dorchesterarts.org.uk
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Focus on Verwood
A game of one half-century Verwood's community football club, Rossgarth Youth FC, is firmly rooted in its locality Almost fifty years ago, a group of young people started playing football in the back garden of a house in Verwood. The players were under the leadership of Mr Reg Day who lived there. Interest spread and, with the adult football team having been established back in 1920, the kickabouts quickly met a need for more organised football for the youth of the village. Reg made his field available and Rossgarth Rangers was formed, named after his house. Now called Rossgarth Youth FC and playing at Potterne Park, the club boasts well over 200 registered players and has expanded to nearly 20 teams from under sixes up to under 18s. The ethos behind the team has remained the same though, explains club chairman Martin Gilham. It does not wish to be thought of as an elitist club where only the best are invited to sign up. â€˜Weâ€™re a community club and encourage boys and girls who want to play football and to learn and develop. We donâ€™t promote the club to those outside of the area who want to cherry-pick who they play for,â€™ he says. â€˜Verwood as a community has grown significantly over the years from a village to a town and the club has grown with it.â€™ While run entirely by volunteers, Rossgarth strives for the The Under 10 team, triumphant Bournemouth Under 10 League Champions 2011-12 highest standards of professionalism. In 2003, it attained the Football Associationâ€™s (FA) Charter Standard Development Club It charges match subs and a small registration fee but one of status which means the manager and coaches of each of its the ways it seeks to subsidise day-to-day running is via its teams are trained to the Level 1 FA coaching standard. They annual weekend-long six-a-side tournament. Run by Martin must also be trained in emergency first aid, attend the FAâ€™s Johnson, it is in its eleventh year and the 2012 event attracted Safeguarding Children course and pass a Criminal Records 160 teams from all corners of Dorset, Hampshire, Surrey and Bureau (CRB) check. Everyone involved with the club, including Buckinghamshire. Local businesses are also supportive of the parents and spectators, must also adhere to the FAâ€™s Respect tournament as indeed they are throughout the year via activities code of conduct. such as shirt sponsorship. Last year the club also became one of only a few in the The club is extremely well-supported in every way and county to be chosen to take part in the FA Tesco Skills Rossgarth repays this by playing its part in the community at Programme which sees some of the younger players attend a events such as Verwood carnival and the Rustic Fayre. Other key monthly training session run by FA coaches. â€˜So highly qualified events on the calendar include its own presentation in which all coaches help them to develop their skills and itâ€™s also a great players receive a medal. Its founder is also remembered with the opportunity for our coaches to learn some new techniques,â€™ says Reg Day Award given to those who have played at the club from Martin. Like the chairman, who now coaches an under 18s team, the age of six to 16 years. Last year around a dozen players most coaches and team mangers join the club when their child/ were rewarded for their loyalty. children start playing football and then move forward with the With new facilities including the latest artificial pitch team. technology all part of the improvement works that have taken Rossgarthâ€™s links with the adult team Verwood Town are place at Potterne Park, there is plenty for everyone at the club very much valued. The two clubs share some facilities and one to look forward to. New members are always welcome and even of Rossgarthâ€™s aims is to further improve links and provide if a team is full, a new player can train with them. It is keen opportunities for players to progress to a higher standard in to hear from girls as it doesnâ€™t have a girls team at the moment the game. It recently introduced under 18 teams to allow a though has in the past and does have younger female members more natural progression to the adult club which is run by a playing in mixed teams (regulations means they can only do former Rossgarth manager, Adie Arnold. Indeed, beyond Verwood, this to a certain age). thereâ€™s no shortage of ex-Rossgarth role models for todayâ€™s Whatever the future holds though, the community and youth players to look up to, namely Ben Reeves who plays in family ethos will remain at the heart of the club. Off the pitch, the Premiership for Southampton, Corby Moore who is with social events such as barbecues at the annual tournament and Southampton reserves/youth team and Matt Tubbs who plays for presentation also help to foster this feeling. â€˜We try to make AFC Bournemouth. Meanwhile Ed Tierney is goalkeeper in the everyone feel part of a big family,â€™ says Martin. â€˜If you do that, AFC Bournemouth youth team and Josh Kaye won a scholarship you then get the support when you need it, whether itâ€™s picking to the League One club last year. up litter, collecting matchballs or manning the barbie. Itâ€™s all As for all amateur clubs, revenue can be a constant challenge about encouraging people to get involved.â€™ and Rossgarth aims to minimise the impact of cost on parents. s &OR DETAILS SEE WWWROSSGARTHCOUK 21
Swanage Hospital: a much-loved local institution
The Swanage Hospital debate Proposals to close the much-loved community hospital in Swanage have provoked a furious reaction. John Newth gives the background and hears both sides of the argument. The facts In May 2012 NHS Dorset published a leaflet entitled â€˜Making Purbeck Healthcare Fit for the Futureâ€™. It was sent to hospitals, surgeries and libraries in Purbeck, appeared on the NHS Dorset website and was emailed to some members of the community. In it they outlined proposals that would combine GP surgeries and some hospital services, and would mean the closure of Swanage Hospital with the loss of its fifteen in-patient beds and surgery procedures requiring a general anaesthetic. Option one was two new purpose-built polyclinics providing a wide range of services, one in Wareham and one in Swanage. Limited in-patient care would be provided by the NHS funding beds in nursing and care homes. Option two was a brand-new Purbeck Community Hospital with up-to-date facilities based in Wareham, and a modern, purpose-built polyclinic in Swanage. Reasons given for the proposals were that the 22
hospital buildings are old and expensive to run, and that there is a rare opportunity to develop a site in Swanage for a new polyclinic; the local GPs have been looking for somewhere for a long time without success because they believe that Swanage Health Centre has outgrown its present site. The leaflet described the process. During Phase 1 a number of meetings and workshops were held throughout Purbeck for the public to hear about the proposals and ask questions. A response form was provided with the leaflet and online which asked people which of the two options they preferred. This phase has been completed. NHS Dorset are currently evaluating the feedback but have stated that their preliminary findings show two main areas of concern about the proposals: the quality of care and where the in-patient beds would be located. The next phase will see the publication of a new set of proposals, leading to a formal consultation period, it is hoped during 2013.
The Swanage Hospital debate Taken within a decade of its being built in 1890, and over half a century before it came under NHS control, this image of the original building is still clearly recognisable
NHS Dorset: The case for change Currently around £4.5m is spent on healthcare for the 33,000 or so people of Purbeck, of which approximately £2.5m is spent on hospital beds in Swanage and Wareham. The proposals put forward by NHS Dorset – on the initiative of local clinicians and working with the current provider, Dorset Healthcare – are about changing how care is delivered in the locality, not about reducing services; the local healthcare community will benefit substantially from the re-investment into community-based services. No decisions have been made and no decisions will be made without giving local people the opportunity to have their say. It cannot have escaped anyone’s notice that the NHS is undergoing considerable change in how services will be commissioned (purchased) and in who will provide these services. Budgets will be under more pressure, with more emphasis on patient outcomes, experience and safety. In addition, people are living longer and are more likely to begin to experience illnesses which can now be managed, such as diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (often as a result of smoking), dementia, cancer, heart failure. The reality of future healthcare is that hospitals cannot be places where long-term conditions like these are managed. Today, people with a long-term condition who have a sudden deterioration in their health will often be admitted by ambulance to an acute hospital, where they will be admitted for a short period to be stabilised before being sent home. There is now a lot of evidence of people taking much more control of their own long-term conditions, managing themselves or with the help of partners and carers, supported in some cases by remote monitoring systems such as telehealth. The recent National Intermediate Care Audit has demonstrated that home-based services – healthcare, rehabilitation and in some cases social care received at home or in a community bed setting (hospital, nursing or residential home) to prevent unnecessary acute hospital admissions or premature admissions to long-term care – have seen better patient outcomes than bed-based services. In home-based services 82% of patients retained their level of independence, compared with 72% in the bed-based services. Only 13% of patients receiving home-based services moved to a more dependent setting, compared with 24% of patients who received bed-based services. There are significant cost differences in NHS bedbased intermediate care services compared with
community-based services. For every patient being treated in a NHS bed-based service, four patients can receive care in the community. The elderly population in Purbeck is increasing. By 2035 the number of people aged over 65 is expected to have increased by 54.8%, that is to 13,484 compared with the present number of 8711. In addition, Swanage Medical Practice has recognised that their building is not coping with present demand, and that changes will need to be made in order to cope with any additional demand. What would changes mean for local residents? Moving primary (GP) and community health services – ‘co-location’ – means that patients will benefit from improved access to services, while closer working between medical and nursing teams means communication will be more effective. Staff will be able to make better use of their time, increasing capacity to provide more services and support patients and families. GPs and local commissioners will be able to ensure that care pathways are in place that will support early intervention, diagnosis and treatment, and that there is more support and prompt intervention for the management of longterm conditions.
The Friends of Swanage Hospital, pictured in resolute mood, in front of the hospital which is threatened with closure
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The Swanage Hospital debate
The Friends' case against closure (Jan Turnbull, Chair, Friends of Swanage Hospital) Swanage Hospital provides a high-quality service that is trusted and valued and has always been very generously supported by the community. The Friends have donated over a million pounds in the last ten years to make sure it remains a centre of excellence. A new wing for out-patient clinics was opened in 2004 and building a new polyclinic when there are excellent facilities at the hospital seems a senseless waste of money. The Friends suggested that, if it was really needed, a new health centre could be built on the available land next to the hospital, or the hospital could house the district nurses, freeing up space in the current health centre. Ways of providing healthcare services can be re-designed and budgets pooled without ‘co-location’, as has been done in other parts of the country. The local MP, Richard Drax, gave an impassioned speech in favour of Swanage Hospital in a debate about the role of community hospitals in the House of Commons. In that debate the Under Secretary of State for Health said: ‘We [the Government] know that community hospitals make it easier for people to get care and treatment closer to where they live.... They can also help to save the local NHS money by moving services out of acute hospitals and closer to the people who use them.’ Swanage Town Council’s response was also vehement opposition to the proposals, listing twelve major concerns and stating: ‘The very fact that Swanage’s hospital – as both an iconic building and a successfully functioning in-patient hospital – enjoys such a high level of confidence, trust and affection is itself a most important reason for its retention.’ Throughout the summer Swanage people expressed their opposition to the proposals. At all the consultation meetings in the town there was a sense of outrage and disbelief, and at a public meeting in July, the Mowlem Theatre was filled to capacity, leaving hundreds of people outside chanting ‘Save Swanage Hospital!’ A petition rejecting the NHS Dorset proposals was signed by over 3000 people. The Friends appointed an expert consultant in healthcare to help them respond to the proposals. Helen Tucker’s report (a 45-page document) concludes that the process itself does not meet many of the key
Government and NHS requirements necessary when a hospital closure is proposed. Fifteen limitations within the process are identified: in particular a lack of engagement, inadequate supporting information and failure to make a case for change. The response from NHS Dorset to the Tucker Report said they were confident that their ‘engagement’ process had followed correct procedures. Once again, local people have not been part of the planning of the new proposals to be published in the New Year, which the Friends regard as a missed opportunity. ‘No decision about me without me’ is supposed to be the new mantra; the Government pledge that all service change must be led by clinicians and patients, not driven from the top down, seems to have been ignored in Purbeck. Swanage’s demographics and geographical isolation make it special and make its inhabitants fearful of any change that would mean a loss of services. So the fight to save Swanage Hospital continues and the Friends aim to show there are ways to provide care closer to home which have the community hospital at the heart of the provision of quality, integrated care.
A counter proposal for the site of a new Swanage GP's surgery, on the site next to the hospital
Anti-closure protesters on the beach at Swanage
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Chettle: a photo essay Ken Ayres takes his camera to one of Dorset's prettiest villages
The exterior of Chettle House, with its pleasing and unusual round edges
Derived from the Old English ceotel (kettle) owing to its position in a bowl at the foot of Cranborne Chase, Chettle is a compact village with a suitably compact main home: Chettle House. The house was designed by Thomas Archer (a student of Vanbrugh) and built between 1710 and 1720 by the Bastard brothers of Blandford; two rounded ends in perfectly matching brick and stone were added 101 years ago. The house was originally commissioned by George Chafin â€“ who was then the Ranger of Cranborne Chase. The last of the Chafins was Rev. William Chafin (d1818), who wrote Anecdotes and History of
Cranbourn Chase and while in the process of doing so one evening, was struck by lightning under the cupola of his house â€“ the cupola was removed a couple of decades later. He describes a pitched battle between those whom he describes as 'keepers and deer-stealers' on the night of 16 December 1780. A gang headed by a Sergeant of Dragoons (named Blandford) and including several employees of the then Ranger, Peter Beckford, and armed with swindgels (long flays used to dress flax), they attacked the keepers, who were armed with sticks and short, cutlass-like swords. It
Chettle: a photo essay
The entrance hall at Chettle House, one of the smallest and most perfectly formed 'grand' houses in the county, if not the country
was a bloody battle: 'the first blow was struck by the leader of the gang, which broke the kneecap of the stoutest man on the Chase,' who was lame ever-after. Another keeper had three ribs broken with a swindgel and later died of his wounds. The bloodshed was far from one-way, though. The gang's leader, Blandford, had one of his hands severed; it was later buried at Pimperne 'with the honours of war'. All members of the gang were arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced to be transported for seven years. The judge at the Dorchester assizes, mindful
There are buildings of a wide variety of styles within Chettle, but the varied styles all seem complementary
The church of St Marys was extensively restored in 1850, from when this memorial window dates
Chettle: a photo essay
Left The village pond at Chettle is small, but has been spruced-up having become quite overgrown in the last decade Above The Castleman Hotel was formerly known as Chettle Lodge before it was converted into an inn Left middle The once-ubiquitous village shop and single fuel pump is still a reality in Chettle
of their suffering from their wounds, 'commuted' this sentence to one of 'confinement in gaol for an indefinite term'. Another Chettle rector, this time from the 19th century, was John West, who went on to become the chaplain to the Hudson's Bay company, founded a church (which is now Winnepeg Cathedral), was the first Englishman to preach to the Inuit and, when he returned to Dorset, founded a school for Gypsies at Farnham whose building was later used by Pitt-Rivers as his original museum, and which is now a public house of that name. The village was described by the idiosyncratic Sir Frederick Treves as having 'great trees, charming cottages and noisy rooks'. Below The church at Chettle is St Mary's, which was once supposedly the home of a font designed by Vanbrugh and described by Roland Gant as being 'up against the greensward, romantically dark and solemn and primly enclosed by iron railings'
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A life less ordinary George Brown, a Wool resident of nearly nine decades, talks about his life and work up to the end of World War 2 In those days, you’d have all these visitors come from all over the place, and it was a big thrill when these charabancs used to come in. My auntie, who was almost blind, would have a big cardboard thing that was a plan of the Abbey, and she used to take all these people round even though everything was a blur to her. She used to sell postcard pictures to visitors with tuppeny bars of chocolate and raspberryade; Granny Brown was a great cook and used to have all these scones and cream and everything for sale. I started serving on the altar at Bindon when I was six years old; at midnight mass I fell asleep standing up once. Near the ruins of the Cistercian abbey, the tombs of the monks and whatever, there was a tunnel and, when we were kids, we used to go in there and it was pitch black and always damp; you went in there and went underground and it supposedly went under the Frome and came up inside the main gate at Woolbridge house. My dad, Eddie, reckoned that when he was young, they used to light a candle, and when they got so far under the meadows, the candle would go out meaning there was no air left, then they’d turn around and run out. Dad told me that when people like King George V used to come down he (my dad), who was chauffeur to the Weld sisters, would have to drive them over to the castle when there was a big to do. After the meal was over – say 2.00, 3.00 or 4.00 in the morning, the workers were allowed to take the scrap food and the big used tea and coffee bags, to use at their own homes. Top George as a twoyear-old outside the Gate Lodge Above (Second from right) at school at around the age of twelve Right George in 1946 on being de-mobbed
I was born on 25 October 1923 at 44 Spring Street, Wool. Just through Tap Alley next to the Black Bear; it was called Tap Alley as you went through there to the Tap room, where when the labourers would go in for a drink at the beginning of the week, what they drank would be marked up on a board and they would settle at the end of the week when they got paid. In the 1920s, my granny used to look after the chapel at Bindon Abbey, and also look to the priest’s vestments before the service. There were two Miss Welds living there, and they had a cook, a couple of servants and a lady’s companion. When there were 'do's' on, I’d go with her – she was only a little woman – and we'd go off up to the woods, and she’d have this twelve bore with her; the rooks would fall from the trees, I’d have to run and put them in a basket and then she used to make these individual rook pies for the Weld family.
A life less ordinary From when I was eight years old (along with Tony Cooper) we’d go over to Bindon Abbey at 8.00 to serve on the altar at morning mass and then tear home and then run off to school. The priest, who'd been at the abbey, would have a bite with the ladies and then turn up at school to do the catechism at 9.00, so we had to rush home and get a cup of tea and porridge and we’d get in trouble if we were late for catechism. I served on the altar until I left home at 16. Wool was pretty much Roman Catholic; in those days, everything from almost Corfe Castle to Ringstead was owned by the Welds, who are a Catholic family, and so we were. The Post Office was run by old Mrs Talbot and she would wind down the window when I'd come out of school and say 'George Brown, come here!' So George Brown (from about eight years old) would run across the road, and she’d say 'Here you are,' and give me a telegraph, and it would be for East Lulworth, perhaps, and so I’d take it, running, mind – or to Longthorne’s Farm up where Monkey World is – I’d run all the way there and back and say if there was any answer or not, and get threepence. My mum's parents were in an awful accident and, at fourteen, she'd been sent as a junior nanny to Sir Alfred Fripp – surgeon to Edward VII and George V. Fripp, he used to live down at the old cove in Lulworth. Sir Alfred often used to come down on the train from London and we’d hear a 'Bang. Bang. Bang' from a big walking stick on the door; then a big voice saying 'Come along then Dubbin (mum's nickname) – get that teapot out', and Dubbin would make a cup of tea and then Sir Alfred would walk all the way to West Lulworth. He could have walked to the post office to call the house to get a chauffeur to come and pick him up, but he preferred to walk. In the 1930s after Sir Alfred died, Lady Fripp would come down in their Packard American Motor cars and they always used to call in with Nanny Fripp (the head Nanny when my Mum joined) and locals would ask 'Who the bloody 'ell’s that up at Eddie Brown’s now?' At fourteen, I was apprenticed to J J Furneux as a carpenter. We worked 7.30-5.00 every weekday (7.30-12.30 on Saturdays) and I got 4s 6d a week; I'd cycle 2½ miles there and back each day. There was an undertaker called Herbert Runyard, and Harry Stephens was his foreman. I heard this knock on the door one evening, and Mr Stephens said to my dad: 'I ‘ear your boy started 'is apprenticeship. I wunner if er’d like to know ‘ow to make the coffins then?' 'That’s alright Harry,' my dad said, 'he’ll be down about six o’clock tomorrow then.' The next day, a mate of mine, Johnny Short, who I was apprenticed with, said: ‘Stephens came to see our dad and asked to see if I wanted to make coffins.' So there we were, the two of us, in this dirt-floor barn with rats and bats, you’d get the planks cut from the tree and then jack-plane the wood. They were all 9” flaring out to 18” and back, and 6’ long – Runyard actually used to break the arms and legs to get a body in the coffins in if they didn't fit. We worked knee-deep in wood shavings in this freezing
Four postcards which used to be sold by Granny Brown, who is pictured in the centre of the top shot, in front of the Gate Lodge at Bindon Abbey. The Abbey House (with an exterior staircase long-since gone) and its chapel, where George served as an altar boy, are also shown
A life less ordinary
Above The two ends of the reported Bindon to Wool tunnel: the Bindon entrance was behind the mount, and came up in the building second right at Wool Manor
Below From left to right: George's father, mother, Granny Brown and sister, and his aunt, who led the Bindon charabanc tours
barn from 6.00 to 10.00 at night for a shilling, which wasn't bad for fourteen years of age. Next door to us was an old railway carriage where Polly Briton used to sell sweets to the kids. Just on the right was a galvanised shed where Freelan Wilcox lived; he was the man who went up to the woods and made all the spars from hazel for the roofs. On the left there was, after World War 1, railway carriages and up to Chalk Pit Lane it was all tin shacks and, although it might be all posh houses now, after the war all the lads were coming back and of course there was no council houses back then so there was just nowhere else to go, so that's where people lived.
I left home with my firm in 1940 and we went down to Lyneham in Devon, where we were building this hospital for the Royal Navy. I shot off one day and volunteered to join the Royal Navy. I could have stayed out, as I was a bound apprentice, until I had finished my apprenticeship. After basic training I got recommended for two things and I was offered torpedoes or ASDIC (sonar) and HMS Osprey, where they taught ASDIC, was at Portland, so I said ASDIC. Little did I know that they were in the process of moving HMS Osprey from Portland to Scotland, so I landed up being based in Dunnoon, north of the Clyde, across the ferry to Gourock and Greenock. I went on the first ship and we did North Atlantic convoys. In the middle of 1942, we went down to Middlesborough and we had some extra guns fitted. We were there for about six weeks and I met a young lady – Dorothy – who I married in 1946 and we were married for sixty-five years until she died in 2011. I spent the last fifteen months of the war U-boat hunting in and around North Africa. I came back on my own in December 1945; I hadn’t been home since May 1942. You only got five days’ leave, and back then it took three days to get down from Scotland and three days to get back up; it only used to take five hours to get down to Middlesborough, though. When Dorothy came down here, Wool was full of proper old village people, speaking 'Darset', and I’d come home from work and Dorothy would say: 'Oh Brownie, I was hanging the clothes out and that one next door, Ron, came home from work for lunch and he was talking to me and I didn’t want to be rude so I was saying "Yes" and "No", but I didn’t understand what he was saying.' It worked both ways, though. Dorothy was born in West Hartlepool, County Durham, and then moved to North Yorkshire, so the neighbours, they couldn’t understand what she said either and thought she wasn't English! I went for a pint down the Black Bear and one of my best friends said to me: 'Here! What’s this I 'ear about you then? My daughter been and told I you been and married a ****ing German!’
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What's the beef? Canford Bottom's controversial 'Hamburger' roundabout is captured by Grahame Austin of Kitchenham Photography Normally, the answer to the question: 'What do you get when you cross a roundabout with a road?' is, 'a flyover'. At Canford Bottom, two miles due east of Wimborne Minster, however, the answer is a 'Hamburger' roundabout. It is so called because of the resemblance of the west-east main road (which, confusingly runs southwest to northeast across the junction) to the 'burger' in the 'burger bun' of the roundabout. To go straight on along the A31, one continues, well, straight on. To go left or right from the main road, one goes left, and then uses the roundabout as usual… as usual, that is, apart from the inordinate number of traffic lights on this roundabout. The principle is a simple one: in order to permit the relatively uninterrupted flow of traffic along the arterial road, the traffic's flow is only occasionally stopped by a red light in the east-west and west-east
carriageway in order to permit traffic to/or from any of the four entrance roads. Lest this not appear complicated enough, there are fourteen lanes coming onto the roundabout and nine coming off it, not including the 'toucan' crossing – where two (cyclists and pedestrians) can cross to/from the Longham/Colehill roads without having to circumnavigate the roundabout, and there are also around seventy sets of traffic lights on the roundabout; even the Highways Agency website is a little vague on the actual number. The roundabout, which was budgeted to cost £5.7million, but ended up costing closer to £9million, was created as it was a cheaper alternative to a flyover and to reduce congestion on the A31 for the 2012 games and afterwards. Anecdotally, this has been successful… in that local residents are seeking alternative routes rather than face using the roundabout. 37
A view of the Crown Meadows running down to the River Stour
The battle of Blandford Plans to build up to 200 homes on the Blandford Deer Park, have the town in uproar, reports Nicci Brown A battle is raging in a North Dorset town between the local population, the local planning authority, and the Crown, which owns a vast acreage of land in and around the town. Two petitions have already been signed by thousands of people against proposals in the North Dorset New Plan or core strategy for fields next to the river Stour near the centre of Blandford to be developed for housing in what could be less than five years time. Now the proposal remains in the draft strategy which was the subject of local public consultation district-wide until the middle of December, and will this month be published in a revised form by North Dorset District Council. The strategy now envisages that the total number of homes needed across the district has dropped from 7000 over 20 years from 2006 to 2026 to 4200 over 15 years from 2011 to 2026, based on the numbers built in the last five years, and reduced demand for 280 instead of 350 a year. Hundreds of people attended a presentation on the strategy as a whole in Blandford Parish Centre at the beginning of November after a concerted campaign by the Bryanston Park Preservation Group against the scheme for the Crown Meadows, part of the former deer park of the Bryanston estate, family seat of the Portmans. The majority of the estate, more than 2000 hectares, has been owned by the Crown Estates since the Portman family suffered the burden of death duties when the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Viscounts Portman died within ten years of each other in the early 20th century. The deer park is an area rich in wildlife which for centuries has formed part of the iconic view from the 38
main bridge carrying traffic into the town from the south, and only last year, the World War 2 defences built on the site were accorded Grade II listed status by English Heritage. It also, for the most part, lies in the flood plain of the river Stour, which has twice this summer been underwater and has remained waterlogged for most of the year. But when the arrival of the first flood coincided with a glossy marketing leaflet promoting the scheme and delivered to every household in the town, the Crown Estate were quick to respond that the land on which it is hoped to build, described in the strategy as the ‘land west of Blandford’, is considerably higher than the flood level. They said the extent of flooding was still, at its nearest point, in excess of 100m from the area of land being considered for development. Steve Melligan, Strategic Land Manager at the Crown Estate, said: ‘Even with the ground saturated and flooding on a scale that is comparable with the worst events seen in living memory, the West Blandford site has not been affected and it remains an excellent choice to help meet the town’s future housing needs.’ Many of the key objectors live in Bryanston Street, which predates the Blandford fire of 1731, and Parklands, built in the last century, all with homes and gardens overlooking the meadows, including chairman John Cook of the Bryanston Park Preservation Group (BPPG). He said: ‘The height of the river at over 30 metres above sea level in a summer flood was too close to allow the building of up to 200 houses nearby.’ However, the main objections of the group, which when the site was first proposed in the draft core strategy two years ago canvassed for a petition
signed by more than 4500 local people against the proposal and more recently presented a second petition signed by over 6000 to North Dorset District Council, are, in the words of that petition, its ‘failure to respect Blandford’s iconic setting’ and ‘exacerbation of the already severe traffic congestion in the one way system.’ The mass of objectors, including the town council, local parish, district and county councillors, the three main political parties, local civic society and the CPRE say the introduction of hundreds of vehicles, whose only access to the planned estate will be via the town centre, will cause severe congestion. All traffic heading for the west of the town, even coming from the west, has to enter the one-way system in Park Road, travel down Damory Street, along East Street, up Salisbury Street and into Whitecliff Mill Street, from where the access to the new development is proposed. It is a journey which can take, on busy market days or when large articulated trucks are making deliveries in the town centre, more than half an hour, and which frequently delays anyone trying to get to one of the town’s only two surgeries, also in Whitecliff Mill Street. Objectors have challenged the Crown Estate’s assertion that 150 or 200 homes will result in any less than the same number of traffic movements a day, on the grounds that the majority of the occupiers of the new homes will travel into town on foot. The response has been: ‘How will they get to work?’ or how will they get to and back from anywhere outside the town centre. Crown Estate maintain that the development is likely to generate at least 15-20 per cent less additional peak hour traffic than a typical development elsewhere because of the good access to both a primary and secondary school, hospital, surgeries and shops. ‘At worst 55 to 70 additional vehicles could be expected along any part of Whitecliff Mill Street in the am and pm peak hours.’ Since the proposal was first mooted, the Crown Estate has offered to reduce the number of homes
from 200 to 150, and the latest consultation asked the public to choose between the two figures – prompting anger that consultees were not being given the option to choose no development at all. They have also now made the offer to make over the rest of the Crown Meadows, 17 hectares of the total 23 hectares, to a body for maintenance as community open space in perpetuity. North Dorset D C has also introduced a further option, to build on a site opposite the Tesco roundabout between the A350 and A354 which at the time of the first consultation remained earmarked for a potential Charlton Marshall/Spetisbury bypass. That scheme has now been pushed back so far into never-never land that the planning authority considers the land could be made available for housing. But the Crown Meadows remains North Dorset D C's ‘preferred’ strategy, largely because it is so close to the town John Cook of the BPPG said: ‘I understand that around 300 people visited the exhibition in Blandford and that the overwhelming majority of residents/ visitors rejected the proposal to build any housing on the Crown Meadows. ‘A vast number of people said that they would prefer the houses to be built on the site opposite the Tesco Roundabout between the A350/A354. ‘But when we sought clarity on why the same
A widely held concern about the proposed development is the impact it will have on an already congested town centre. Off-peak traffic, even when light, can be stop:start. Objectors to the scheme fear gridlock at peak times.
Far left An aerial photograph of the Crown Meadows onto which have been superimposed the 200-house scheme Left On this flood map the coloured lines are the percentage Annual Exceedence Probability (AEP) lines. The green line is a 20-year flood, the orange line is the projected extent of flood likely once in 100 years, the red a 1000-year flood. Whether this takes account of the extra run-off of water from either of the proposed developments is not specified.
The battle of Blandford A tranquil scene of winter falling over the Crown Meadows site
An artist's rendering of the proposed 200-house scheme
criteria did not appear to have been used in the sustainability assessment for that site as for the Crown Meadows, we did not really get an answer.’ North Dorset District Council's senior planning policy officer Trevor Warrick said the drop in the number of homes from 200 to 150 would mean the development was even less visible from the road bridge into Blandford, and was in response to a key concern being the impact on the iconic view of the town. ‘The main reasons we feel it is a good site, and therefore the preferred option, is that both the Crown Meadows and the site at Lower Bryanston Farm in Blandford St Mary are within walking distance of town facilities. ‘And while the Crown Meadows may be beautiful, they are not a national protected landscape as is the area surrounding Blandford which falls into either the Dorset or Cranborne Chase area of outstanding natural beauty.’
Another 220 homes are proposed to be built on the farmland site west of Blandford St Mary which is also owned by the Crown Estates. The alternative option for greenfield expansion of the town opposite Tesco has the benefit of good accessibility from the bypass, but raises issues of severance through being outside the Blandford bypass, further potential impacts on the landscape and wildlife, loss of agricultural land; and the need for any housing scheme on the site not to prejudice the long term implementation of the bypass. The petition signatories and letters of objection have come from across the town and neighbourhood and in some cases from people living elsewhere and far afield. Blandford Town and neighbouring parish councils, including Blandford St Mary, Bryanston and Pimperne, all of whom have land put forward as other potential options for development, are working together to draw up a neighbourhood plan. Bryanston has opposed the other potential housing site at Lower Bryanston Farm on grounds of an inadequate road system and lack of infrastructure. But they are unanimous in agreeing that all are opposed to the Crown Meadows scheme, and Blandford Mayor, Councillor Sara Loch, in October, when the consultation was launched, urged residents who had signed the petition to write individually to the planning authority to register their protest. Following this latest ‘targeted’ consultation on the key issues, the council will prepare the revised Core Strategy for submission to the Secretary of State, taking into account the responses received. It will be subject to further consultation and go forward to examination in the spring of 2013 by a Planning Inspector, who will produce a report setting out a number of recommendations for consideration by the council prior to its adoption by the end of this year (2013).
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Not your usual MP Paul Burbidge meets the soldier, turned farmer, turned journalist, turned Dorset MP, Richard Drax
Explaining his position: Richard Drax at St Francis of Assisi Church in Littlemoor, Weymouth, in the run-up to the last election
When most men have a mid-life crisis, they get a motorbike or take up a new hobby. Richard Drax, however, decided to become the Member of Parliament for South Dorset. His mid-life crisis wasn’t of the traditional variety – niggling doubts brought on by personal or career issues; he was still very much enjoying life as a journalist with BBC South, as well as running the family estate from Charborough Park. Rather, his was a crisis over the direction of the United Kingdom as it plunged deeper into recession. ‘I was,' he says, 'becoming a bit of a Victor Meldrew – a grumpy middle-aged gentleman yelling at TV screens and throwing newspapers in the bin. I just thought that everything I love in this country was under threat. I’m not for one minute arrogant enough to think that one person can change the world. They can’t, but unless you do something, then you don’t have a right to complain. So I felt that if I try and do something, at least when I go to my grave, I can say to my children "I tried".’ He resigned from his rôle with the BBC to become the Conservative candidate for the South Dorset seat in the 2010 election – a contest that saw him take on the Labour incumbent, Jim Knight MP. The 54-year-old admits he faced an uphill struggle to unseat the then Work and Pensions Minister, but he 44
did so, and with a 7443 majority. Richard Drax, or rather Richard Grosvenor PlunkettErnle-Erle-Drax to give him his full name, has had some unconventional, but nonetheless extremely valuable, training for life as an MP. He served for nine years with the Coldstream Guards after leaving school, before spending three years studying at the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester. He was used to fighting as a soldier and he certainly faced a hard battle to get into journalism at the age of 31. It is unusual for anyone to join the industry at such a late stage, but he wasn’t going to take ‘no’ for an answer as he tried desperately to get his foot in the door. ‘I wrote to hundreds of local papers right across the country,’ he explains…, ‘I got two interviews, but I was determined to stick with it. I met the financial director of the Financial Times. He came in and said rather nonchalantly "What do you want to do?" I said ‘I want your job and I want it tomorrow.’ At that point, I was so frustrated and it was bordering on impudence. ‘He said: "Okay, well maybe I’d better help you. I know someone in Yorkshire. Go see him and see what happens." The editor of the Yorkshire Evening Press trialled me for two weeks, at the end of which, he
asked: "Do you think I should take you on?" I said "I think you’d be mad if you didn’t." To which he replied with a smile "Okay, you’re in".’ His five years with the Evening Press helped him to land brief spells with Calendar (Yorkshire's ITV local TV programme), Tyne Tees TV, the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Express. A short-term contract with BBC Television didn’t last, but it was the catalyst to him landing a job on BBC Radio Solent a year later in 1999 as the station’s Bournemouth reporter. ‘I went into that world for 17 years and had the time of my life,’ he says. ‘I don’t regret one minute, one week or one day of that career. It was absolutely fantastic.’ Many MPs earn their political stripes by serving as a local councillor, before graduating through the party ranks and being voted into the Commons, but Richard Drax feels his past careers gave him a very different kind of education: ‘It doesn’t matter if you’ve worked down a coal mine, served in the armed forces or been a banker, as long as you bring some life experience to the table. I think that’s of huge benefit when you go into politics, because the things expected and asked of you require a certain level of life experience for you to be able to deal with them. If you’re terribly young and go into politics, you are at a disadvantage in that you haven’t seen and done enough to be an MP. In some cases, this has become a problem and politics has become too professional. People are joining far too young in my humble opinion.’ Richard is the first to admit he is in a privileged position; he is fortunate enough to live on the beautiful Charborough estate, which boasts land and property throughout Dorset. Its influence even stretches as far as Barbados, where his father still runs the Drax Hall Sugar Plantation. With all this under his belt, the man who represents constituents from Swanage to Portland Bill is not in politics seeking to climb the career ladder: ‘I said I’d speak up and speak my mind,’ he says. ‘That’s what I’ve done and that’s what I shall continue to do. I’m lucky in the sense that I may be slightly older than a lot of
Richard Drax in Action Man mode in 2009
my colleagues, I’ve been around a bit and I’ve seen a bit of life. I’m very fortunate to have a place like Charborough behind me. So I feel it is my duty to stand up and speak what I believe my constituents want me to say and, of course, what I have to say from my own life experience and the principals I follow.’ His commitments in Westminster and South Dorset mean he is forced to delegate much of the running of the estate to his experienced team, many of whom have served the family for decades, but he has found the time over the past six years to share Charborough with the county’s schoolchildren through his 'Kids to Farm' scheme. Around 200 of them visit every June to learn about everything from farming and forestry to the environment and bee keeping. It’s often claimed that children know very little about where their food comes from in modern Britain. That’s a view Drax takes issue with, but he still believes the visits have opened plenty of young eyes. ‘There’s a surprising number who know a lot,’ he says, ‘I think the press has slightly exaggerated things like "no-one knows where their milk comes from". It’s very easy to say, and the press likes writing it, but these children are not stupid. They know that milk comes from a cow. What they don’t necessarily know is that a cow has to have a calf to give milk. Some just think it’s a machine – you plug it in and milk comes out. It’s things like that which fill in the holes in their education.’ It is clear that Richard Drax’s entire life has been quite an education. He will hope to have learnt enough to survive the ballot box and earn a second term at the next election, which will not happen until 2015, but given that he has 'form' when it comes to fighting battles, whether as a soldier, journalist or politician, he’ll be up for the challenge.
Richard Drax supporting local business with Juliet Porter of Clealls, whom he presented with a 'My Shop is Your Shop' Gold Award for community retailing
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The Hardy codeword crossword Half of the answers to the clues in this crossword are Dorset place names or a part of them; these clues are shown in italics. The letters in the shaded squares can be rearranged to create the name of a Thomas Hardy novel. Compiled by Riddlehinton. Please send a completed copy of your crossword to: Hardy Codeword Crossword, Dorset Life, 7, The Leanne, Sandford Lane, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 4DY. The ďŹ rst completely correct entry (including the name of the hidden Thomas Hardy novel) to be drawn out of the hat on 28 February 2013 will receive a cheque for ÂŁ25.
Octoberâ€™s solution and prize-winner: The hidden Thomas Hardy novel was Desperate Remedies. The first correct solution out of the hat was from Mr R Chaldecott of Bournemouth, who receives a cheque for ÂŁ25
ACROSS 1. 6. 9. 10. 12. 13. 14. 18. 21&23. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27.
Next to Holes Bay; what toast has on a croque monsieur? (10) Before Moigne wore mixed-up place in near Goathorn (4) What a cowboy makes with rope from confused grass lions (5,5) J Meade Falknerâ€™s Fleet is 238,000 miles from Dorset (4) Ionian copper coin 1/6 Drachma is in hobo loserâ€™s trousers (5) Disease of overuse of the mortice? (9) Navvies are this when they mistakenly mount a nettle (4,2,6) Correct ďŹ‚aws in place of ship repair (5,3,4) Northern ladâ€™s local title of machismo, or a chicken in oneâ€™s passage, perhaps (4,2,3,5) (see 21 across) An idea that spreads from person to person in a given culture, in a home meeting, for example (4) Arranged in layers, geologically (10) Always shot in north-west Dorset? (4) Welsh and Norse victims of threefold death; characters in the formerâ€™s TV show (6,4)
DOWN 1. 2.
Heath to the north-east of Wareham (6) Farm in Piddlehinton within which one must, on second thoughts, have Winterborne as a preďŹ x (6) 3. Once a mile of ďŹ‚owers through Puddletown Forest (12) 4,15&11. The full name of Beaminsterâ€™s parish church (5,4,2,3,12) 5. Where kidneys cross the river in Lytchett Minster (9) 7. Glanville and Fitzpaine? (8) 8. Rearranged award-winning Swanage castle is the sale of the smallest of the litter (4,4) 11&15. (see 4 down) 16. Woodlands overlooking Hilton (8) 17. Cliff in Worth Matravers, should really be overlooking Harry and his songs of praise? (8) 19. Not the axis forces (6) 20. Ancient broad river near Lydlinch (6) 22. Hill where rye is grown in Whitchurch Canonicorum (5) 47
Dorset nature note There is something almost magical about the first signs of approaching spring, as the natural world comes to life again after the rigours of winter. The ringing song of the great tit, the first butterfly emerging from hibernation or an adder basking in the watery sun. On the woodland floor, even in the depths of January, the delicate white flowers of snowdrops push through the cold earth to herald the turning year. Although these tiny members of the lily family are so familiar to us, there is still some doubt as to whether the snowdrop is a truly native British species. There are no records of the snowdrop growing wild in this country until the 1770s, but seeing the carpets of ‘living snow’ in parts of Dorset, it is difficult to doubt the plant's indigenous origin. Not surprisingly for such an eye-catching flower, there are several alternative names: snow piercer, February fairmaids and Candlemas bells to mention a few. Traditionally the snowdrop has been considered a symbol of purity and virginity, but others have connected the plant with death: ‘for all the world like a corpse in its shroud’. Whatever the associations, I know that seeing the drooping white head of the first snowdrop will be a welcome reminder of nature’s incredible powers of rejuvenation. Hamish Murray
Dorset DVD choice Dorset Towns and Villages The latest in the Dorset Towns and Villages series, from RMG Wildlife, is the fourth to be released. The three previous discs cover: Wareham, Milton Abbas, Kingston, Worth Matravers, Tolpuddle, Corfe Castle, East and West Lulworth (disc 1), Dorchester, Abbotsbury, Lyme Regis, Burton Bradstock, Bridport and West Bay (disc 2), Poole, Brownsea Island, Studland and Swanage (disc 3). The fourth disc focuses on Weymouth and Portland, appropriately enough as it was released in late 2012. We have reviewed DVDs focusing on towns and villages before, but this series takes a slightly different tack. Where others are
more like history books in the way they approach their subjects, this is much more of an audio-visual feast, with soaring classical music and some stunning cinematography. Each chapter (town or village) opens with a 90-120 second segment of music played over lovely imagery from the subject of the chapter. This is then followed by a straightforward narration over specific elements within the town or village in question. Locals may not learn an enormous amount with which they are not already familiar, but it is certainly a quick and visually engaging way in which to get one's knowledge level from 'Grockle' to 'resident' in just over an hour. All in all, it is the disc-based equivalent of what broadcasters call 'perfect Sunday evening telly.' s Dorset Towns and Villages Volumes 1-4 are available from local TICs, bookshops or via Amazon.co.uk at £12.95
Dorset place name Durweston This name has its origin in the Anglo-Saxon period but is first on record as Derwinestone or Dervinestone, in the Domesday Book of 1086. Other medieval spellings include Direwinestun in the mid-12th century, Durwinestona in 1166, and Derewineston in 1204. All these spellings point consistently to an original meaning 'farmstead or estate of a man called Deorwine', from Old English tun and the Old English personal name Deorwine (itself meaning 'bold friend' and the origin of the surname 48
Durran or Durren). Spellings such as Durwyston and the current Durweston with loss of original -n- do not occur until the early 15th century. The 1086 Domesday entry for Durweston is notable as being one of only two Dorset places recorded as having a vineyard at that date, leading the Dorset historian Hutchins to misinterpret the -wine- of early spellings! A D Mills
Dorset Call my bluff 1) hile a) to cry with a shrill voice b) to thaw by artificial means c) of sheaves, ten: 4 against 4 in a ridge, and 1 at each end 2) dunch a) to shake liquid in an enclosed vessel b) dull of hearing or mind c) an urchin
From the Dorset County Chronicle, 2 January 1913
Interesting Geological Speculation Beyond a certain point on the coast below Little Kimmeridge the coast has not been prospected eastwards. A series of faults in the strata and a dip in that direction carries it to down below sea level. To speculate on its development as it passes eastwards is a question of some local geological interest, apart
Deduce the correct definition for each of the following three Dorset words from the three options given. Answers at foot of the page.
3) taffle a) to tangle, as grass or corn beaten down by storms b) to eat or drink especially noisily or greedily c) a game where one person hits another softly, then the other player hits back with a little more force, and each subsequent blow in turn is harder, until it becomes a real fight Adam Jacot de Boinod is author of The Meaning of Tingo and The Wonder of Whiffling.
from any commercial outlook. A few miles westwards of the workings the coal seams thin out to only a few inches thick. Eastwards, in the county of Sussex, the Kimmeridge clay has been proved by borings to contain thick seams of bituminous shales and natural gas and petroleum have been stuck at relatively shallow depths (less than 400 feet). At Heathfield, natural gas has been found in the Wealden Purbeck strata, and has been utilised without need of any refining. Its original source is believed to be from the Kimmeridge clay, which occurs at some depth below. These data are rather suggestive that the bituminous shales of the Kimmeridge coast increase in volume as they pass eastwards and that there is the possibility of a storage of natural gas and petroleum in the Isle of Purbeck. From Mr A H Bloomfield, Grange-road, Wareham
Dorset's Open Spaces St Catherine’s Hill Christchurch To the north of Christchurch rise the flat-topped, pine-clad summits of St Catherine’s Hill. Although only around 140 feet high, it commands some of the finest views in the east of Dorset. It is a remnant of high-level river terraces that were laid down by the River Avon; traces of equivalent terraces on the eastern side of the Avon form a staircase that rises steadily towards the western plateaux of the New Forest. The gravels overlie the Branksome Sand outcrops that form the hill. To the west the vista takes in all of urban Bournemouth, as far as the multi-storey blocks of apartments on the cliff top overlooking Poole Bay. Beyond, the long surging curved heights of the Purbeck Hills fill the horizon. To the south, Christchurch occupies the immediate foreground. Overlooking the estuaries of the Stour and Avon, Christchurch Priory leads the eye to Hengistbury Head and Mudeford Spit. In the distance, beyond the waters of the Solent is the western part of the Chalk ridge of The Isle of Wight, culminating in the white cliffs of Scratchell’s Bay and The Needles. Eastwards the panorama includes the wide flood plain of the River Avon, with Sopley and Winkton lying on the lowest terrace levels east of the river, with the forested heights darkening the skyline beyond Bransgore. John Chaffey Overleaf: Kimmeridge by Guy Edwardes
CALL MY BLUFF ANSWERS 1c) hile - of sheaves, ten: 4 against 4 in a ridge, and 1 at each end 2b) dunch - dull of hearing or mind 3a) taffle - to tangle, as grass or corn beaten down by storms
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The bells of St Mary's JoĂŤl Lacey looks at the strange tale of the missing chime of Beaminster's parish church One of the glories of Beaminster is its church, St Mary of the Annunciation. As well as being an imposing piece of architecture that it easy on the eye, it is also rather easy on the ear, playing the hymn tune, Hanover, every three hours during the day between 9.00 in the morning and 9.00 in the evening, as well as sounding the quarter hours. There was a time, however, when there was a second chime tune. The clock was electrified and the bells (now ten of them) re-hung in two lots â€“ at right-angles to one another to prevent possible structural effects on the 16th-century tower â€“ in the 1970s. The original chimes and clock, though, enjoyed anything but an untroubled existence. Correspondence from the parish archives reveals that sixty years before the chimes were re-hung and the clock electrified, there was an increasing problem with the system, and one that split opinions amongst the local church worthies as to how it might be resolved. Then, as now, money was tight, and the letters between the craftsman engaged, the churchwarden, vicar and the gentleman who had offered to finance the latest set of repairs, is really quite revealing.
The bell tower of St Mary of the Annunciation
Even laying to one side the cost of any major repairs for a moment, the clock and chimes had not been an inexpensive business right from the outset. Parish records reveal that, even in 1844, Thomas Farnham, church clock maker, would undertake to 'wind and time and keep in proper repair, the parish church clock and chimes for the sum of three pounds and ten
The barrel of the chime mechanism. The dark blobs standing proud trip the levers on the right, which pull cables to hammers attached next to the bells. The indentations where the slits are wider are the location of the pegs which played the second, lost, chime.
The bells of St Mary's
Right A closer look at the levers and cables of the chime mechanism Top Right The cables enter the bell loft and spread out before rising to connect to the hammers which ring out the tune. The thicker ropes are those with which the bells are rung manually
shillings; for every service chimes for one pound ten shillings extra.' A quarter of a century later, the Hanover tune chimes were added, and seventeen years later, in 1887, the bells were re-hung and George Power was charging the church one pound and ten shillings per quarter (six pounds a year) to 'attend to the clock and chimes'. But around January 1903, things started to go really quite wrong. O M Bennett was brought in to repair damage caused by the fall of a clock weight and to make a new frame for the clapper of the bell. In 1905, W B Newman, about whom we shall read much more, made three visits – in May, July and September – to take out, readjust and re-fix the
The hammers that strike the bells are very close to the bell
chime rope, to take out the old and put in a new chime rope and then, finally, to replace the chime wires and take up the slack in the chime rope. In all he charged a very reasonable eleven shillings and ninepence. The parish accounts show entries for three more visits by Mr Newman in May, August and October 1910, and a five-day repair job in 1913. These two minimalist entries mask a rather greater story. M B Newman, in a letter entitled 'Chiming apparatus at Mary's Church' to the Beaminster Churchwarden, Mr Kitson, wrote in July 1910: 'Having examined the above apparatus I feel a difficulty in knowing what to advise; naturally after having been in use for 144 [sic] years, everything is much worn, especially the pins in barrel that lift the hammers, a great number of which require removing. Some of the hammers are very shaky and connecting wires, cranks etc require repair. The wood strips forming barrel are also worn away where pins fit between them which makes it difficult to keep pins in their proper positions. With all old apparatus of this description, it is very uncertain how long it will continue right after repair. I expect if you were to get a report from a firm of Carillon makers they would condemn the whole as worn out and useless, but I think if the above repairs were carried out, they would go on for some years.' A A Leonard, Vicar of Beaminster between 1890 and 1912, wrote to Mr Kitson, on 28 July 1910, stating: 'I send you a letter from Captain Codd. If you approve of accepting his offer to bear the cost of repairing, I think you and I should inform Newman formally and bind him down to time etc.' Mr Kitson, wrote a letter – entitled 'Chimes' – to Captain Codd, to apprise him of the latest situation, on 9 August 1910: 'My dear Codd, Leonard asked me on Sunday, if I could write to you and explain the above. The principal sense of the present irregularities of time appears to be that the inner pins, which are secured by nails between the wooden strips forming the face of the barrel, and strike the levers which operate the wires attached to the hammers, skip off them too quickly. On our visit to the chime loft last week, we came to the conclusion that the whole of the pins might [need to be] removed and Newman is to find out what he could. On Sunday evening he showed me a letter from Gillett and Johnson (a makers firm for clocks and bells) that they could not actually quote a price without knowing more, other
The bells of St Mary's than pins had been 1s6d apiece. Newman says there are 234 pins, and it is obvious that now they would cost much more and over what we contemplated paying for the whole job. He further tells us each one would take him at least two hours to make so it is pretty unlikely that he could make them for himself for much less, even supposing he can find time to make so many at all! 'But of the 234, not quite half are used for old Hanover, the remainder being for the Sunday chiming for services. The latter are of much less importance than the former, and Newman is of [the] opinion that it would suffice to renew some fifty or sixty of the Hanover pins and readjust the new with the levers, wires, hammers etc. The work, he thinks, might easily be kept within £10 and finished within a reasonable period. He believes that £10 spent in this way would make the chimes keep much better time for many years to come, but he will not promise, alas, it would make a thoroughly good job; that, except taking out all the machinery and substituting a new barrel, etc of a modern description which, he expects, would cost £150. We would like, providing we have your approval, to adopt Newman's proposal and authorise him to spend £10 on it.… A month later, Kitson once again wrote to Captain Codd: 'Dear Codd, I have been rather expecting a line from you about the chimes. Newman now tells me that he has heard again about the cost of the pins and it will not be as much as previously stated. They say they can now do them for 1s instead of 1s6d and that will of course make a great difference. Poor old Newman (William's father) had a fit of epilepsy on Tuesday night just after going up to bed and was found on the floor by his bedside. They managed to get him into bed but he died half an hour after. This has given William a little more to do for a while, but I hope we shall get him to get to work with the chimes before very long if you say we should proceed.' The perils, not so much of the postal system, but of the benefactor's movement around the country are revealed by his next correspondence: 'Dear Mr Kitson, Your letters of 9 & 26 August have just reached me at Princetown, where I am passing the "summer" on Dartmoor. Codd.' Codd, writing again to Kitson, but this time from Bath in mid-October, informs the churchwarden: 'I find, on my return here, a copy of the Beaminster Parish Magazine for September which contains a reference to my relations with the church chimes. In the interest of editorial accuracy, since an account is given in this trifling matter, I venture to point out … that I made no definite statement that the work was to be done at a cost not exceeding £10.' Almost a year passes by and, in July 1911, Mr Kitson writes once again to the good Captain: 'My Dear Codd, I am happy to say that I now fully understand your feeings with respect to the Beaminster chimes and that they are in perfect accord with my own: I believe it would be more or less a mistake to "tinker".' Two and a quarter years pass by before that previously mentioned brief entry in the Beaminster
The bell loft at St Mary's church. The tower originally had five parish accounts of 16-20 October 1913: 'Repairing bells, which were recast – in the winding apparatus of chimes and fitting new main churchyard – into a ring of eight spindle with turned bearings.' This pause is not bells. Two more were added later because of indecision, but rather other calls on the to give the current complement parish finances. Rather poignantly, according to of ten bells parish records, in 1913 a new screen was erected in memory of Rev. A A Leonard M A, vicar 1890-1912. And the second 'Sunday call to service' chime? Well, when the work was finally done in 1913, the hundred and twenty or so pins – which related to that second chime – do not appear to have been replaced. Certainly there is no such tune available now, and the round of bells call to service is now hand-pulled, as it were, on ropes by the church's bell-ringers; they have to disconnect the clock-chiming mechanism first, though, as it would otherwise destroy the mechanism. s Dorset Life would like to extend its thanks to Tower Captain Stevie Longridge of the Beaminster Bell Ringers, and to the Steeple Keeper, Chris Vye, for arranging access to the chime loft and to the bell loft for the purposes of illustrating this piece.
The clock mechanism, now electrically powered, which drives the chimes
The Dorset drive
From Delcombe looking towards Hilton
Valleys, hills and views Matt Wilkinson takes to the roads for a drive through some of Dorsetâ€™s prettiest countryside This drive is defined rather less by the area it physically covers, but more the area which can be seen from some of the viewpoints along the route, views which are among the finest in Dorset. It takes in or approaches some very fine former stately homes, a model village, a sculpture park, the burial place of one and a bit great English poets, two unusual churches, four Winterbornes, two Piddles and a Tincle. It is a drive best planned for a clear day when the views will unfold and, for best value from the distant views, after the mist has burnt off. It is also worth saying that some of the unclassified roads in the middle section of the route are best not driven when snow and ice prevail. It's a compact route compared to our normal drives â€“ about three-quarters of the length of last year's, for example, but there is some enjoyable driving, (in Spring) green tunnels, and with some very interesting up and down sections. Special care should be taken to follow the instructions between the portion of the route between Ibberton
and Delcombe. This is proper rural Dorset: narrow wooded valleys â€“ with villages and hamlets whose houses are strung along roads and rivers like washing on the line, then up to the hills and views off to the Mendips one way and (almost) to the coast within a few miles of driving. Our starting point is not especially relevant in the context of the drive, so you can join it anywhere, but it is, for the sake of ease of following the instructions and to maximise the number of left turns and minimise the number of right turns, best to use the same generally anti-clockwise direction of travel as our route. 1. Head towards Wimborne on the A31, fork onto the first turning on the left [0.6] and continue into Winterborne Kingston. In front of the village hall and war memorial, turn left into West Street [1.7]. Continue to Winterborne Whitechurch, where turn
The view from Ibberton
right onto the A354 [4.4] and in 100 yards left into Whatcombe Lane to head up the Winterborne valley. A winterborne is a stream that only flows in the winter, and there are legends of people who have kept watch over such a river to see when it starts to run; yet somehow, they are always called away or distracted at the vital moment. Pass Whatcombe House, formerly the base for a religious community, now a family home again. Next is Winterborne Clenston with its church spire – unusual in Dorset – and graves of the Mansel-Pleydell family. Related to the Mansels of Smedmore on Purbeck, they were the landowning family hereabouts and one of their number endowed an annual prize for the best essay about Dorset's local, cultural or natural history. Distance: A little under 50 miles Start: The roundabout to the north-east of Bere Regis, where the A31 and A35 meet. OS reference SY852953. Postcode BH20 7JZ. Maps: OS Explorer 117 (Cerne Abbas & Bere Regis) and 129 (Yeovil & Sherborne). Landranger 194 (Dorchester & Weymouth). Refreshments: On the route at Winterborne Whitechurch, Winterborne Stickland, Milton Abbas, Ansty, Piddletrenthide and Piddlehinton. Just off the route at Winterborne Kingston, Ibberton, Dorchester and Bere Regis. [Milometer readings are given in square brackets. They should be generally reliable, but milometers do vary slightly.]
Here also, the road passes an ancient barn with an unusual chequerboard roof and enters Winterborne Stickland, whose carved wooden village sign (on the green on the left) vividly depicts the history and activities of the village. At Turnworth, the decoration on the pillars in St Mary’s Church was designed by Thomas Hardy when he was a young architect. 2. The road breasts Okeford Hill [10.8] and reveals a breathtaking view over the whole of North Dorset and into Somerset. Hambledon and Duncliffe Hills and King Alfred’s Tower above Stourhead are just some of the easily identifiable landmarks. Continue down the hill to a T-junction [11.8], where turn left. Ignore all turnings and follow the main road into Ibberton. In the centre of the village there is an optional diversion to the left to the village pub and church, which has a beautiful outlook and the unusual dedication to St Eustachius, but the main route bends right then left before forking left, signed to Bulbarrow, on the next right-hand bend [14.1]. Climb to a T-junction [14.6], where turn right and head up the flank of what is technically Ibberton Hill, followed by Woolland Hill, then Bulbarrow Hill but is usually lumped together under the last name. Again there are stunning views to the right, looking rather more north-west than the northerly view from Okeford Hill. 3. At the top of the hill [15.9] double back to the left, then take the first fork on the right [16.2] and drive through Delcombe Woods, which in the spring offer one of Dorset’s best displays of bluebells. Lovely 18th-century Delcombe Manor is hidden by the woods 57
Valleys, hills and views Peter Booton
The model village at Milton Abbas
The rare (for Dorset) steepled church at Winterborne Clenston
and slope to the right. At the next T-junction [18.4] turn right and admire the view that unfolds to the south, down to the Purbeck Hills. Thus in the space of only three miles, you have gone from looking at the Mendip Hills to being able to see almost to the Channel coast. In a dip, a turning to the right has a brown sign to Milton Abbey [19.1]. Turn here and drive down the picturesque main street of Milton Abbas. The model village was created in the 1780s by Joseph Damer, who demolished the town of Middleton because it spoiled the view from his grand new house, Milton Abbey, and moved the inhabitants round the corner to this valley. At the bottom of the street [19.7] turn right and follow the road through the woods to emerge with the house and the abbey magnificently sited beyond the trim playing fields of the school whose home this now is. Continue through Hilton and to a T-junction [22.1], where turn right. 4. Take the next turn on the left [22.3] and continue through Ansty, Melcombe Bingham (not to be confused with nearby Bingham’s Melcombe). Reaching Cheselbourne, turn right immediately after the village school [25.2] and cross the watershed to descend to the B3143 Piddle Valley road at Piddletrenthide [29.0]. The odd name comes from the fact that a hide was an ancient unit for measuring area and at the time of the Domesday Book the village on the River Piddle covered thirty (‘trente’ in French) hides. Stay on the B3143 as it runs down to Dorchester, latterly with a panoramic view of the county town. At a
T-junction on the edge of Dorchester [35.6], turn left, then at the roundabout [36.0] take the second exit, signed to Kingston Maurward inter alia. Immediately off this road is Stinsford, in whose churchyard the heart of Thomas Hardy lies buried (the rest of his remains are in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey). It is often forgotten that also buried in the churchyard is another poet – and a great admirer of Hardy, hence his request to be buried as close as possible to him) who, unlike Hardy, achieved the post of Poet Laureate: Cecil Day-Lewis. About a mile further on, a
Valleys, hills and views
diversion to the left leads up to the tiny picturesque cottage in a part of Stinsford Parish known as Upper Bockhampton, where Hardy was born and wrote his first novel. Before that and on a rather different scale is Kingston Maurward, to be seen on the right. This impressive mansion was built in 1720 by George Pitt, a cousin of William Pitt. It was built in red brick but after a visit by George III and his tersely derogatory question – ‘Brick, Pitt? Brick?’ – Pitt re-faced the whole thing in Portland stone. Such toadyism surely improved the look of the house but was not rewarded: the monarch never visited again. Today the house and grounds are home to a college specialising in landbased subjects.
Kingston Maurward, now an agricultural college
Ibberton Turnworth Bulbarrow Hill
3 Delcombe Woods
Hilton Winterborne Clenston
5. Continue through Tincleton with its attractive Milton Abbey bell-coted church. The pretty name Milton comes from ‘tin la ton’, which Abbas meant ‘farm in a valley’. At Cheselbourne Pallington, anglers have given Piddletrenthide way to art-lovers: the fishery has closed and the new owner, sculptor Simon Gudgeon, has set up Piddlehinton a sculpture park which is open to N the public but only by pre-booking. unclassified roads At Waddock Cross [42.3], famous for B roads its watercress beds, go straight across the A roads B3390. Pass a turning on the right that to leads to T E Lawrence’s cottage at Clouds 1 reference route description 2 miles Hill, Bovington Camp and the Tank Museum. Cross a tank driving training area and reach a T-junction where turn 5 left [45.1]. Follow this road up to Waddock A35 Cross Bere Regis and a roundabout, where Tincleton take the first exit. This leads Kingston Maurward Pallington Stinsford to the roundabout that was A35 the starting point for the Dorchester drive [48.3].
1 Bere Regis
DANMOR LODGE CARE HOME
The Malthouse Residential Care Home The Malthouse is ideally situated in the rural, peaceful outskirts of the Dorset town of Gillingham in Bay Road.
t Situated near to the beautiful Weymouth coastline t Comfortable rooms, most with en-suite facilities t Two lounges t Spacious new conservatory t Two 8-person passenger lifts giving level access to all rooms t Hydrotherapy baths t Qualiﬁed massage, aromatherapy & reﬂexology t 24-hour care for long-term or respite requirements t Day-care facilities with free transport for the elderly at home t Complimentary use of our own mobility scooter tFull and varied programme of events for residents including day trips, visits to shows and Keep Fit to Music held in the home
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The historic building has a long and colourful history dating back to the 16th century and has a very beautiful, secluded rear garden which offers a tranquil area of harmony with nature including water features. Areas with ample seating and level walkways are provided to give both visitors and residents the opportunity to enjoy this area of seclusion. A courtesy car is provided for local journeys and trips to the shops, day trips, afternoons out for a cream tea and trips to local places of interest. We also offer, on a regular basis, gentle exercise and mental stimulation such as armchair keep ﬁt sessions, quizzes, and musical afternoons. The independent living units are either apartments within the house or purpose-built lodges in the grounds. They all offer one- or two-bedroom accommodation, ﬁnished to a very high standard and all are ﬁtted with the nurse call system should help be required. Why not pop in for a chat and an informal tour? The Malthouse Residential Care & Respite Home Bay Road, Gillingham, Dorset, SP8 4EW Tel: 01747 822667 Fax: 01747 821270 www.themalthouse-gillingham.co.uk
A much milder storm than the Great Gale of 1824 photographed at Portland in November 2009 nonetheless brought a police presence to monitor the waves' effect on the coastal defences
The Great Gale of 1824 Luke Mouland recounts the tragic events of one early morning of nature's fury ‘We have rarely had a more melancholy duty to perform than the recital of the tremendous effects of the gale of Monday night last’, recorded the Western Flying Post, on 29 November 1824. ‘A tempest teeming with more frightful terrors is scarcely within the memory of man.’ Such began the account of the great storm that had unleashed its untold fury upon the Dorset coastline some days previously, striking fear into the hearts of the local inhabitants and leaving a scene of destruction and misery in its wake. Stretching from Lyme Regis to Christchurch, and in many other towns and villages throughout the rest of the county, the tempest left its brutal mark upon the landscape. However, nowhere felt the immense strength of the storm more severely than the settlements in and around Weymouth and Portland. It was on the evening of 22 November that the wind began to blow with considerable violence, the force of which was likened to a West Indian hurricane by one naval officer stationed in Portland at the time. Many remarked that the sheer noise of the gale alone was remarkable, and in great roars and gusts it occasioned significant damage to countless properties and structures across the county. At Dorchester, the winds proved particularly dreadful, toppling chimneys and lifting the tiles from roofs with considerable ease. Indeed, it was here that the highly respected
Rev. Henry Richman and his wife were instantaneously killed in their bed by the falling of a heavy chimney stack. Their deaths were deeply lamented throughout the town for some time afterwards. As the evening wore on and the gales showed no sign of abating, anomalies in the tidal level were noticed by the customs officer at Lyme Regis. Here, the waters appeared to be rapidly rising when they should have in fact been remaining low. By 3.00 the following morning – some five hours before the usual high tide – the sea level had risen approximately a metre or so higher than was expected and it soon became apparent that this was set to continue. Similar irregularities were recorded at various places along the south coast, producing a worrying omen of what was to come. By about 4.00, the increasingly turbulent waves had completely overcome the quays at Weymouth, whilst the majority of the properties lining the seafront and much of the lower part of the town had already been flooded by the deluge. The pier at the entrance of the harbour also sustained considerable damage, whilst boats and vessels were carried into the streets by the waves, where they drifted helplessly. An account written five years later is not lacking in drama: 'The morning of the 23rd of November, 1824, Melcombe was nearly swept from the face of 61
The Great Gale of 1824 the earth by a tremendous and terrific hurricane, the wind howled in yelling gusts, the sea roared in a most horrible and frightful manner, the elements of strife mingled in appalling collision, and nature seemed determined to stamp upon the scene, the fiat [command] of an invisible and omnipotent power… The sea broke over the narrows in a strong and dreadful current, two individuals who were at that moment crossing the spot were swept away “and the end of anguish knew,” whole rows of houses that fronted the foaming, raging, billows, were completely inundated; the pride of Melcombe, its beautiful esplanade, was nearly all demolished, the stone posts and chains, (which amount now  to 336 stone posts, and 4620 feet of iron chain,) were rent up and entirely broken, the piers (over which the surges rolled in an awful and sublime manner) also were demolished, vessels, boats, and small craft, were either driven into the centre of the town, sunk, destroyed, or carried out to sea. The danger in which the front of the town stood, was appalling, the whole of the roads and streets were covered with the rolling billows, driving impetuously masses of sand and stone, boats were observed floating in close approximation with vehicles of various descriptions, such a scene of devastation and ruin were never remembered to have been observed before; orders were speedily issued for the reparation of the town, the walls were erected in a more secure manner, and soon the scene of destruction was followed by one of perfect security.'
The damage to the esplanade is now recorded by a plaque on the seaward wall of the Tourist Information Centre, which reads: 'ESPLANADE DESTROYED BY A TEMPEST NOVEMBER 23RD 1824. REBUILT BY R. VINING BUILDER APRIL 23RD 1825'. By about 5.00 or 6.00 of 23 November 1824, the waves had breached the shingle defences of Chesil Beach and had thundered in a rapid surge into the cove beyond. An account by the parish clerk of Fleet describes how the inhabitants of that village looked on – in a state of some amazement, as the waves rushed up the valley 'as quick as a horse could gallop' – before fleeing for their lives to the nearby village of Chickerell. On returning in safety some time later, they found that several properties had been carried away by the deluge and that the nave of their parish church had been completely demolished. A new church was later built to serve the local inhabitants, with the stark remains of the former building standing as a solemn and somewhat chilling reminder, even to this day. Meanwhile, the sea had also breached the bank at Chiswell, where violent torrents rushed into the small fishing community beyond and untold fury was unleashed. One resident wrote that ‘such a scene of desolation and misery as is now before my eyes, no tongue nor pen can do justice to.’ In all, some eighty houses at Chiswell were completely destroyed by the waves in less than half an hour, whilst countless other buildings sustained considerable damage and
22-23 November 1824 – hurricane and storm surge
West Bay, Bridport Harbour: surge ﬂoods harbour, quays and up valley; three dead
Parkstone: ship washed onto farmland East Fleet: ‘tidal wave’ breaks over Chesil Beach and destroys village
LYME REGIS West Bay
Weymouth: esplanade destroyed, town ﬂooded, sea washes through to Backwater, drowning people. Lodmoor ﬂooded
Christchurch: town ﬂooded
Poole: ﬂooded to 1.5m; town isolated
Lyme Regis: storm surge ﬂoods and breaches the Cobb; serious damage
WEYMOUTH Wyke Regis
Abbotsbury: Seven-metre sea ﬂood
Wyke Regis: ferry house destroyed; two dead
Storm from southsoutheast, veering to south-west, becoming very severe with a storm surge and high waves hitting the Dorset coast. Flood in places of two metres or more above high tide. Peak at 5.00-6.00 in the morning. Shipping losses: three on Chesil Beach, four in Weymouth Bay, five at Lyme Regis; other losses with many dead
Chiswell, Portland: sea comes over Chesil Beach, smashing eighty houses, between fifty and sixty people dead
Swanage: some ﬂooding Worbarrow Bay: high sea level
Map based on an original by Dr Ian West of Southampton University
Lyme Regis Museum
The Great Gale of 1824
The London trader Unity being driven ashore at Lyme Regis during the Great Gale. The Cobb is visible about threequarters of the way up the image in the centre; the blobs in the rigging of the ship are an exhausted second seaman and the cabin boy, who both had to be cut from the rigging
almost thirty of the inhabitants perished amidst the turmoil. Many residents remained trapped under the ruins of their former homes, as others were dangerously wounded in their courageous endeavours to rescue friends and relatives from death. The torrent here was so great that the Ebenezer, a 90-ton sloop, was carried straight over the bank and washed into the street. This was later relaunched into Portland Harbour through the admirable efforts of the islanders. It was also at Chiswell that the Colville, a West Indiaman of approximately 400 tons burden, was wrecked in the bay on its outward journey. The crew, which totalled sixteen men, under the command of Captain Wilson, all perished aboard the vessel. On recognising his fate, one of the crew members (Thomas Gosling, of London) set about tearing off a piece of his shirt, on which he wrote his name and address. This he tied around his neck, as a means of assisting with the identification of his body. These men were eventually picked up and buried at Portland. Meanwhile, disaster also occurred at Ferrybridge, which proved particularly vulnerable to the ravages of the storm. Until 1839, this was a notoriously treacherous crossing between Portland and the mainland, where people and animals alike were ferried across the gap in small boats. Here, the ferry house was ripped apart by the fury of the waves, whilst Richard Best, the ferryman with over thirty years’ experience, was drowned in his struggles to rescue a stranded horse. It was noted by Rev. Chamberlaine, the rector of Wyke Regis, that the storm eroded the banks of the crossing to at least four times their former width and the sand bar used as an alternative crossing over to Wyke Regis had all but disappeared. By midday, the storm had thankfully abated. Local inhabitants could finally begin to come to terms with the terrible events they had witnessed, though the bodies of those who had fallen victim to the storm continued to wash up on the shores of Weymouth and Portland for weeks afterwards. The burial registers of Portland serve as a poignant testament to this and several entries record the interments of these unfortunate souls. In one instance, a Portland man,
his wife and several children were all buried together; they were all killed in the storm. A meeting was held at Portland on 27 November, at which the impact of the storm was considered and the full cost of the damage determined. It was estimated that the loss of the distressed inhabitants amounted to roughly £15,000 in total (about £2.8 million in today's money). The local fishermen, who accounted for the majority of the island’s population, had lost their boats, the tools of their trade, and in many cases, their homes and furniture, too. Many had been left in a state of destitution, and to make the situation worse still, it was some time before relief supplies could be brought from the mainland, due to the destruction of the crossing at Ferrybridge. To assist those in need, a subscription aid was opened at the Weymouth post office and great attempts were made by the Benevolent Society of Weymouth to alleviate the distressed of Portland and Fleet, as they gradually attempted to rebuilt their homes and communities. Whilst those who lived along Dorset’s coastline were well acquainted with the perils of the sea and most were used to the severe storms, which could arise from it, it might be said that nothing has equalled the events of November 1824, either before or since. It is not surprising then that its horrors have continued to live on in Dorset folklore, having been dubbed 'The Great Gale'.
Two of the seven elements to the history of the Old Church at Fleet are to do with the Great Gale of 1824
From left to right: Christine, Jean-Yves and Paul
Lingua franca Paul Costello recalls his experiences as a Games maker at the Paralympic Games in Weymouth and Portland ‘The last skill you’ll need is speaking French,’ a colleague, Jetty Jones, had assured me, having worked with the French-speaking Monaco team in the Olympic sailing a few weeks earlier. ‘They all want to practise their English.’ Except, that is, Jean-Yves, the Chef de Mission of the French Paralympic sailing team, who it seems doesn’t have much of it to practise. ‘Vous parlez Français?’ Jean-Yves had asked, after a hearty handshake. ‘Un peu,’ I say with the wide-eyed smile we were taught to use at our training in Hackney. ‘Vous, Anglais?’ I respond. ‘U-u-r-r …’ he says with raised shoulders and a palm-down swivel of the right hand. Jean-Yves cuts a grandfatherly figure and is utterly charming. And he is the man I shall be working for while the rest of the squad focuses on its real concern – sailing. I’d spent three months revisiting the subject for which I got a Grade ‘2’ at CSE half a century earlier. A Games Maker role with the French delegation in Weymouth and Portland was a privilege, but could I cope with their mother tongue? In Living French – Complete with CD, which I'd borrowed from my local library, the lingo felt familiar despite the time lapse: ‘Monsieur Dupont prend le petit déjeuner à sept heures, et part pour la gare 64
où il achète un journal et une pomme.’ If JeanYves wanted to report on a friend's breakfast-time purchases from the station, I was in good order. I'd also learnt some other useful phrases: ‘Pierre était assis sur les rochers avec Madame Leblanc.’ Sitting on rocks – that might be useful, what with being by the sea. ‘Il a vu un homme dans un bateau de pêche.’ He saw a man in a fishing boat… oh yes, this would be a doddle! Armed with Jetty’s assurance and, thanks to some pretty effective boning-up, knowing I could make a real contribution when it came to men buying apples and women meeting friends in the park for coffee and cake while they watched pretty, green ducks, I was ready for action. Until, that is, Jean-Yves did the palm-down swivel, in a gesture I now knew meant: 'comme ci comme ça'. Enter my French colleague, Christine, who had lived in England for years and, like Jetty, had carried out the role of NPC (National Paralympics Committee) Assistant the month before, but in Christine's case, with the French Olympic sailors. To ensure Jean-Yves got the right support, we agreed that Christine would be his main contact. For the next two weeks she translated at meetings, made transport arrangements and dealt with unexpected
visits from French schoolchildren, while I stood by, not contributing, to conversations about sail measurement, registration of radios and the likely impact of a deep cyclone tracking through the Channel. On the second day, at coffee outside the team’s storage container, I decided more was required of me. I slipped a banana onto the makeshift table, silently rehearsing what I’d practised to perfection the previous evening: ‘J’ai acheté cette banane dans l’épicerie à côté de la gare à sept heures trente ce matin.’ In spite of moving the banana from side to side and repeatedly throwing significant glances at Jean-Yves and then the banana, he didn’t take the bait; my banana-buying habits remained secret. Jean-Yves seemed every bit the family man so the next day I casually left my wallet open while he and Christine were (possibly) discussing the ballasting differentials of the 2.4 yacht being raced by Damien. The moment Jean-Yves noticed the photo of my daughter, I was ready to say: ‘C’est ma fille Lily. Elle a seize ans. Elle vit dans un joli village où ils ont un boulanger, un boucher et un petit lac. Elle prend son petit déjeuner à huit heures avant d’aller à l’école, et prend toujours une pomme à manger plus tard.’ Sadly, details of my sixteen-year-old daughter, her home village's baker, butcher and lake, and her school-day breakfast and apple-eating activities went equally unsaid. Despite freezing like rabbits in headlights when the other asked a question in his native language, Jean-Yves and I always managed a friendly smile, but our longest exchange was him pointing skywards and saying ‘vent’, which led to a mutual chuckle and nod of the head, but leaving me no wiser as to whether there was too much or too little wind. After a few days I realised I was missing the point. And it was the Games Maker uniform that did it. From the first day I dressed up I’d felt proud to be one of seventy thousand volunteers chosen to represent Great Britain. The camaraderie and mutual respect between Games Makers reinforced this, as did drivers on the workforce shuttle buses who always offered a cheery: ‘Morning, how are you today?’ But I soon saw what the uniform also meant to those we were supporting. Each team had different needs: Singapore sought physical help preparing their boat, the Spanish wanted escorting to Weymouth to look around, the Danish liked domestic support at their house, while Jean-Yves looked for language and organising skills. But a common demand of athletes and officials across the twenty or so teams was simply for us to be there, in our conspicuous purple and scarlet, as a point of reference. I soon forgot about contributing in the narrow way I’d expected to do, and helped however I could, displaying my uniform and wide-eyed smile with pride. I detected the joy in the loud ‘Good morning!’ as the Japanese man and his wheelchair tore past down the slope like a seventeen year old in an M-reg Peugeot; I felt the appreciation of an Argentinian, whose boat trailer I helped to push to the measuring sheds. In
return I enjoyed the privilege of seeing dedicated athletes tend their boats, jumped at Jean-Yves’s invitation to follow races on a tracking screen in the athletes’ lounge, and basked in the joy of watching with the public from the ruins of Sandsfoot Castle. The sailing finished, and with no medals for the French, but with an evident pride amongst them in having taken part, the nine-man team lined up for the coach that would unite them with their colleagues in London for the closing ceremony. As they boarded, there were air kisses and prolonged French farewells with Christine and a genuine handshake and ‘au revoir’ for me. Last in the queue was Jean-Yves. He took me quietly to one side and, with measured diction, said: ‘This morning I got up at seven o’clock and walked to the beach. On the way I went to the shop with the little yellow door and bought a small bag of red apples. This one is for you. I shall eat two on the coach, and the rest I shall feed to the pretty, green ducks in London when I go to the park for coffee and cake. Goodbye Paul.’ I was moved by his effort to speak in English, but the tragedy was, I'd have understood him if he'd said it in French.
Sailors getting ready to compete
A French paralympic sailor signs an autograph for a party of French schoolchildren
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This month in Dorset The Woman In White
Beauty and the Beast on Ice The Russian Ice Stars return to Dorset to star in Beauty and the Beast on Ice this month. The time-honoured tale of the Beauty, Belle, who learns to love the Beast for who he is, not how he looks, thereby breaking the evil curse on the handsome Prince, the show also promises first class ice dance and spectacular ballet. The company includes former Russian National Champion skater and 2010 Winter Olympian Maria Mukhortova, World Champion figure skater Ekateria Murugova and three times Estonian champion Denis Skrjabin. 10-13 January, 2.30 (daily), 7.30 (not Sun) Pavilion Theatre, Bournemouth, 0844 576 3000, www.bic.co.uk
A new adaptation of Wilkie Collins’ Victorian detective novel, The Woman In White opens a new theatre season at Lighthouse in January. The story follows Walter Hartright, an art teacher, who is assailed by the titular female on a London road at midnight where she pleads with him for his help to prevent her from being taken to an asylum. She vanishes as suddenly as she had appeared, but not before she has set in train a sequence of
events that take Walter to his darkest corners. The cast is headed by former Doctor Who, Colin Baker who appears alongside Peter Amory from Emmerdale, Neil Stacy from Duty Free and Grange Hill’s Karen Ford. Wilkie Collins was a contemporary and friend of Charles Dickens, but outsold him in London and New York in 1860 with The Woman in White. 22-26 January, 7.30 (Wed, Sat mat 2.30) Lighthouse, Poole, 0844 406 8666, www.lighthousepoole.co.uk
Demeter Dykes Having previously worked in adult education and family learning in Dorset, Demeter Dykes is now a visiting tutor at the Arts University College at Bournemouth for the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, specialising in printmaking. She is also a member of The Art Works where she has her studio and exhibits regularly both regionally and nationally. Pictured here is her work Those Things You Said. 19-27 January, 2.00 The Art Works, Poole Quay, 07799 493236, www.theartworksstudio.com
The Devil’s Violin
Milton Jones Milton Jones missed being on the road so much he decided to take his latest show on tour before it’s even ready. Thus, his Work In Progress On the Road tour hits Bridport this month as the Radio 4 regular and Mock the Week star tries to make his mind up about what’s funny and what’s not ahead of his proper tour (due to go ahead later in the year). Fear not though, Milton is a professional comedian who’s won awards and everything! 19 January, 8.00 Bridport Arts Centre, 01308 424204, www.bridport-arts.com
The Animals & Friends Having joined The Animals for a UK tour in late 2011 that included the Tivoli in Wimborne, legendary American R&B guitarist Steve Cropper has returned to the fold to once again grace the stages of Britain’s more intimate theatres. He co-wrote Dock of the Bay with Otis Redding, recording the song just a few days before the singer’s untimely death in 1967 and it’s Cropper’s distinctive and restrained guitar licks that can be heard on classic soul hits by Booker T & the MG’s, Sam & Dave and Carla Thomas. In the 1970s and 1980s he played with and produced a host of big names including John Lennon, Rod Stewart, Jeff Beck and Ringo Starr, as well as the famed Blues Brothers Band. Named the Greatest Living Guitar Player by Mojo magazine in 1996, Cropper was inducted into the Songwriters' Hall of Fame in 2005 and first played with The Animals three years later. He continues to write and produce in and around his home in Nashville. 30 January, 8.00 Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne, 01202 885566, www.tivoliwimborne.co.uk
Boing! With the memories of Christmas still fresh in the mind, Travelling Light Theatre Company and Bristol Old Vic bring the charming children’s show Boing! to Bournemouth. It’s the night before Christmas, but who wants to sleep on Christmas Eve? Two boys, Joel and Wilkie, are far too excited to sleep as they wait for Father Christmas to arrive so they turn their bed into a trampoline. It quickly becomes the perfect arena for their games, which get wilder and wilder. Directed by children’s theatre specialist Sally Cookson, the show also features acrobatics, breakdance
Rediscovering the folk tales that inspired literary works from King Lear to Franklin’s Tale and Wife of Bath’s Tale, The Devil’s Violin feature raconteur Daniel Morden accompanied by a strings and accordion trio. The show, A Love Like Salt, is part folk music concert and part storytelling session as the four performers set out to weave a tapestry of word and music. 24 January, 7.30 Wootton Fitzpaine Village Hall, 01305 269512; 25 January, 7.30 Sandford Orcas Village Hall, 01963 220208; 26 January, 7.30 Child Okeford Village Hall, 01258 861391, www.artsreach.co.uk
and comedy by one of the UK’s leading b-boy companies, Champloo Dance Company. 3, 4 January, 10.30, 3.00 Pavilion Dance, Bournemouth, 01202 203630, www.paviliondance.org.uk 67
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ENCOUNTERS: Wessex Contemporary artists meet Dorset County Museum
16 February to 7 June 2013 Open Monday to Saturday 10am to 4pm (5pm from April)
High West Street Dorchester Dorset DT1 1XA Tel: 01305 262735
West Borough Wimborne Box OfďŹ ce 01202 885566 12 January 7.30pm NICK ROSS ORCHESTRA "Sounds of the Glenn Miller Era" Tickets ÂŁ16.50 1 in 10 free (via Box OfďŹ ce only) 17 January 7.30pm AN EVENING OF THREE HALVES BEN LAKE AND JASON JAY Tickets ÂŁ15
25 January 8.00pm GERRY McAVOY'S BAND OF FRIENDS Tickets ÂŁ15 26 January 8.00pm SUPERSONIC 70'S SHOW (Formerly "THE JACKIE GENERATION") Tickets ÂŁ14.50 1 in 10 free (via Box OfďŹ ce only) 30 January 8.00pm
18 January 7.30 pm THE TROGGS "WILD IN CONCERT" TOUR Tickets ÂŁ16.50 19 January 7.30pm MOTOWN'S GREATEST HITS HOW SWEET IT IS Tickets ÂŁ18.50
ANIMALS & FRIENDS Tickets ÂŁ20 2 February 8.00pm THE MODS Tickets ÂŁ15.50
Programme subject to change â€“ please conďŹ rm dates with the Box OfďŹ ce
Support YOUR local Theatre www.tivoliwimborne.co.uk at Canford Magna, Wimborne BOX OFFICE: 01202 847525 www.layardtheatre.com email: firstname.lastname@example.org
SCIENCE deserves top billing in the academic curriculum at Yarrells Prep School. Taught by specialists, pupils enjoy practical science in a well-equipped lab and the Schoolâ€™s woodland and gardens. Yarrellsâ€™ keen science fans achieve 06545"/%*/(3&46-54
Friday 8th FEBRUARY 7.30pm Tickets: ÂŁ21, ÂŁ19 & ÂŁ16 Concessions: ÂŁ19, ÂŁ17 & ÂŁ14 | BOOKING OPEN
This month in Dorset Tom Kliphuis Trio Widely touted as the ‘new Grappelli’, Dutch violinist Tim Kliphuis would seem to be a more than worthy successor to the French swing maestro having first made his name playing with the fiery European gypsy jazz guitarists. In the concert programme Grappelli
Meets Vivaldi, Tim’s trio takes the Grappelli style forward several masterful steps with an effervescent mix of gypsy jazz, classical and folk music. 17 January, 7.30 Melbury Osmond Village Hall, 01935 83410, www.artsreach.co.uk 19 January, 7.30 West Knighton Church, 01305 269512, www.artsreach.co.uk 20 January, 7.30 Studland Village Hall, 01929 450204 (Studland Stores), www.artsreach.co.uk
Poole Printmakers Founded in 1991 by well-known printmaker and teacher John Liddell, Poole Printmakers operates as an artist-led co-operative and provides a workshop and forum for printmakers through the Wessex region. The workshop in Bowling Green Alley, Poole contains presses and facilities for safe and solar etching, other intaglio processes, lithography, lino and wood printing, letterpress and silkscreen printing. It also hosts programmes for those with special needs as will as open sessions for members and non-members. Poole Printmakers has a regular programme of exhibitions, including the annual selling exhibition at the Russell-Cotes. Until 27 January, 10.00 Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, Bournemouth, 01202 451858, www.russell-cotes.bournemouth.gov.uk
Cinderella The award-winning Highcliffe Charity Players return to the Regent Centre with their much loved, family pantomime, Cinderella. The classic rags-to-riches fairy tale is presented with all the right ingredients – sparkling costumes, stunning sets, plenty of sing-along songs, dazzling dance routines, stacks of audience participation and lots of knockabout humour. The story, of course, concerns poor Cinderella
Ronan Keating Having released Fires, his ninth solo studio album and enjoyed a wellreceived reunion with his former band Boyzone last year, Irish singer Ronan Keating gets 2013 underway with a tour in his own right. His new album was co-written with long-time collaborator, former New Radicals singer-producer Gregg Alexander and is Keating’s first original material since 2006’s Bring You Home. The tour will find him joined by fellow former Irish boy band member, Brian McFadden, lately of Westlife, who’s promoting a new album of classic songs called The Irish Connection. 27 January, 7.30 Windsor Hall, BIC 0844 576 3000, www.bic.co.uk
who has been condemned to a life of drudgery by the evil Ugly Sisters. Just as she thinks she can’t take any more, help arrives in the form of her wonderful Fairy Godmother who sets out to save Cinderella with a touch of magic and a special pumpkin. Will Cinders swap the pantry for the party and win Prince Charming’s heart? 19-26 January, times vary Regent Centre, Christchurch, 01202 499199, www.regentcentre.co.uk
Michael Hemming Dorset artist Michael Hemming shows a selection of paintings, such as Bournemouth Bay At Night (pictured), at the Peacock Gallery this month. Although it’s a selling exhibition, Michael is inviting local organisations to register their interest in paintings they would like to display should they remain unsold. ‘I have a variety of paintings featuring different subjects and styles,’ he says. ‘Among these are four large paintings which take up a fair bit of studio space when not being shown. If these paintings don’t sell during the exhibition I shall be donating them to organisations of my choosing. ‘At the end of the exhibition I will review the requests and choose who to donate to.’ Owned by the Borough of Poole and run voluntarily by Poole & East Dorset Art Society, the Peacock Gallery shows work by local professional and non-professional artists including art societies, local education classes and community groups. Michael Hemming’s exhibition is followed by a show by fellow Poole artist, Martin Budden, which runs until 28 January. 10-21 January, 10.30 Peacock Gallery, Upton Country Park, 07906 759620, www. peacockgallery.org.uk
Midnight is a Place A classic tale by much-loved children’s author Joan Aiken, Midnight is a Place is staged by the Forest Forge theatre company and features original live music. Inside the gloomy Midnight Court, Lucas Bell and Anna-Marie Murgatroyd live under the stewardship of Sir Randolph, owner of Blastburn’s dangerous carpet factory. When a mysterious fire forces them onto the icy streets they face danger at every turn. Surviving in the snow can be a tricky business, but Lucas and Anna-Marie’s friendship helps them discover what is needed to build a happy home and how a pie can change family history. 12 January, 7.30 Winfrith Village Hall, 01305 852117, www.artsreach.co.uk 18 January, 7.30 Litton Cheney Village Hall, 01308 482532, www.artsreach.co.uk 23 January, 7.30 Fontmell Magna Village Hall, 01305 269512, www.artsreach.co.uk 24 January, 7.30 Hazelbury Bryan Village Hall, 01305 269512, www.artsreach.co.uk
This month in Dorset Frankenstein
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra Popular Viennese conductor Günther Bauer-Schenk returns to helm Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s traditional New Year’s Day celebration of the music of Johann Strauss and his contemporaries. The programme includes Strauss’ 1868 waltz Tales from the Vienna Woods, his jaunty Tritsch-Tratsch Polka, the classic Emperor Waltz and the Thunder & Lightning Polka, as well as music from Strauss’ operettas The Gypsy Baron and Die Fledermaus. A selection from Otto Nicolai’s opera inspired by Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor completes the bill. Guest soloist is versatile young zither artist Stephan Ander, who has been widely credited with presenting the zither as a modern concert instrument for serious music from baroque to classical, as well as contemporary pieces. 12 January, 7.30 Weymouth Pavilion, 01305 783225, www.weymouthpavilion.purchase-tickets-online.co.uk/public/
Vin Garbutt The 42nd year on the road of entertaining folk singer, Vin Garbutt, has been marked by the release of Teeside Troubadour, a film biography of his life and musical times. A winner of a BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Best Live Act, Garbutt is much in demand for clubs and theatre dates, as well as festivals. He spurned major record companies and the music industry treadmill, in favour of playing his music for people who ask him to. It’s a career philosophy that has seen him perform his protest songs, satire and social commentary all over the world. 20 January, 7.15 Centre Stage, Westbourne, 01202 540065, www.bournemouthfolkclub.com
Further events for your diary Winter Wildlife Survival Trail, Until 6 January, 11.00 Avon Heath Country Park, St Leonards, 01425 478082, www.dorsetforyou.com/avonheath Exhibition: Durlston and the Sea Until 23 January, 11.00 Durlston Country Park, 01929 424443, www.durlston.co.uk Exhibition: Light, Space & Time, Until 26 January, 10.00 (not Sun, Mon) Red House Museum, Christchurch, 01202 482860, www3.hants.gov.uk/museum/ redhouse Total Harmony Choir, 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 January, 7.00 Absolute Music Studios, Knighton Heath, 01202 572948, www.absolutemusic.co.uk Heathland Bash, 8 January, 10.00 RSPB Nature Reserve, Arne, 01929 553360, www.rspb.org.uk
Circus of Horrors, 12 January, 8.00 Lighthouse, Poole, 0844 406 8666, www.lighthousepoole.co.uk Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra: American Dream, 16 January, 8.00 Lighthouse, Poole, 0844 406 8666, www.lighthousepoole.co.uk
A silly but tender update of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein from the popular touring company Miracle Theatre, this new production was written by Bill Scott with lyrics and music by Tom Adams. When power is cut off from the Eternalife cryonics facility, Frank must race against time to construct a superhuman being of epic proportions that can carry the precious genes of the rich and famous into the future. But his cut and paste creation is a hideous mistake. Feared by its creator, shunned by the world, the monster takes revenge as it craves the one thing it can never have... love. 16 January, 7.30 Gillingham School, 01747 833844, www.artsreach.co.uk 17 January, 7.30 The Exchange, Sturminster Newton, 01258 475137, www.artsreach.co.uk 18 January, 7.30 Halstock Village Hall, 01935 83347, www.artsreach.co.uk 19 January, 7.30 Puddletown Middle School, 01305 269512, www.artsreach.co.uk
Tom Thumb, 23 January – 2 February, 7.30 (2.30 mats) Shaftesbury Arts Centre, 01747 854321, www.shaftesburyartscentre.org.uk Sunray Folk Club: O’Hooley & Tidow + Big Al Whittle, 24 January, 7.30 Broadmayne Village Hall, 07786 654074, www.sunrayfolkclub.co.uk
BBC Stargazing Live, 19 January, 6.30 Moors Valley Country Park, Ashley Heath, 01425 470721, www.moors-valley.co.uk
Art Lecture: John Everett – The Slade School, Sailing Ships and the Open Sea, 24 January, 7.30 Dorset County Museum, Dorchester, 01305 262735, www.dorsetcountymsueum.org
Charity Acoustic Night: Frankie Rudd + Hamish Murray + Steve Gunn, 20 January, 8.00 Fine Foundation Gallery, Durlston Country Park, 01929 424443, www.durlston.co.uk
Ferndown Comedy Club: Paul Sinha + Luke Graves, 2 February, 7.30 Barrington Centre, Ferndown, 01202 894858, www.barringtoncentre.co.uk
Bournemouth Model Aircraft Society: Indoor Flying, 22 January, 7.00 Allendale Centre, Wimborne, 01202 511502, www.theallendale.org
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 5, 6 February, 7.45 (Wed mat 2.30) Lighthouse, Poole, 0844 406 8666, www.lighthousepoole.co.uk
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Eat, Drink, Stay
Our visit to the Coventry Arms was on a night that made the large, double-sided open fire even more welcoming than it must usually be. The fire is a relatively recent change to the pub, as is the new, more British food-focused menu, which aims to put the word ‘local’ at the heart of the menu, Some of the menu’s Italian-style food has been making way for British equivalent food (Tournedos Rossini yielding to the Coventry’s take on a Beef Wellington fillet beef, an Antipasto platter morphing into a Ploughman’s-style plate). We therefore decided to select items reflective of the new British focus. For the starters, this meant going for the ‘Dorset Smokery’ pâté and the smoked salmon. The latter came with pickled cucumber and a horseradish cream with a blini (interestingly, with a potato, rather than just a flour and yeast base) and the various flavours combined wonderfully on the fork, both in terms of the complementary taste tones of the salmon, horseradish, pickle and blini, but equally in terms of the crunch of the cucumber, velvety feel of the blini and the smoothness of the cream. The pâté was equally accomplished – neither whizzed to a mush, not suffering from the too-hard unyielding ‘bits’ which some coarse versions of pâté include. The leaves were not simply a garnish, but added fresh, herby flavours echoed in the perfectly executed herb toast. For our mains, we chose to forgo the rump steak, the three vegetarian options, two fish options and fillet steak option, but opted for the forty-something-man’s favourite – the steak burger, – and the tenderloin of pork. The former has the burger topped with melted Cheddar cheese, and is served with chips, dressed leaves, sliced tomato and a little pot of sauce. Where many chefs may add just one ingredient too many, chef Gary Pavitt and his small team choose instead to make sure that what is on the plate is as fresh and well-made as can be. The chips – the size of a man’s finger – are crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside; the steak burger was cooked quickly to remain moist and its subtle flavour well-matched to the sweet/rich sauce, sharp tomato, fresh leaves and crisp on the surface toasted bun. The tenderloin of pork comes stuffed with black pudding (which should not put off those for whom the words ‘black pudding’ bring string vests and greasy spoons to mind), which acts more as an internal basting medium to the pork, than as an ingredient in its own right. The bacon and sage with which the pork is cooked added flavour without over-salting the meat, and worked well with the crushed coriander potatoes and Port-flavoured pan juices. The
pork itself was cooked to melt-in-the-mouth perfection. The puddings were an indulgence in terms of what remaining room we had, and also to the palate. The pear and almond tart and the warm chocolate brownie – both with vanilla ice-cream, were very pleasing versions of their type. The tart, served cold, was not in any way soggy, but its pastry remained crunchy and crumbly in the mouth, while the pear and almond flavours came alive in the warmth of one’s mouth. The brownie and chocolate sauce were – pleasingly, if unsurprisingly – very chocolatey; each mouthful causing a brief but audible ‘Mmmmm’ to be heard at table. Driving regulations precluded a dessert wine, but the wine list gives a selection for varietal-wine lovers to pick their favourites (and with 125ml glass servings available in the by-the glass category) with each course. The list also gives unfussy recommendations for those who aren’t quite sure what could go with which dish on the menu. This is a nice touch and its unpretentious style is matched by the service, which is unforced and carefree, but in no way careless. Like the Coventry Arms itself, the menu and wine list are a pleasant series of elements waiting to be discovered. Julian Powell 73
Marine Parade Lyme Regis
Al fresco dining
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Winter opening times vary, please call for details t: 01297 442059 e: firstname.lastname@example.org www.lymebayleaf.co.uk
THE OLIVE BRANCH 6 East Borough, Wimborne BH21 1PF Tel: 01202 884686
ELEGANT PUB-RESTAURANT IN THE HEART OF WIMBORNE Pub open: 9am-11pm Mon-Thurs, 9am-12am Fri & Sat, 11am-10.30pm Sun. Food Served: 10am-3pm 6pm-9.30pm Mon-Thurs 6pm-10pm Fri & Sat, 12pm-9pm Sun.
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Eat, Drink, Stay ANSTY The Fox Inn. 01258 880328. www.anstyfoxinn.co.uk. Serving good food, seven days a week, including our famous Sunday carvery. You are warmly invited to experience the Fox welcome. BEAMINSTER Beaminster Brasserie at the BridgeHouse. 01308 862200. AA 3-star, country town hotel with stylish al fresco brasserie and elegant 2 Rosette hotel restaurant. Modern Dorset cuisine. BLANDFORD Crown Hotel. 8 West Street. 01258 456626. Elegant hotel nestling in the heart of Dorset offering luxury accommodation, function rooms, award winning beers and freshly prepared food. BOURNEMOUTH The Gallery Bar & Brasserie, The Chine Hotel, 25 Boscombe Spa Road, Boscombe, BH5 1AX. 01202 396 234.www.fjbcollection.co.uk. With an AA Rosette for innovative menus combining contemporary and traditional flair, dine in style with magnificent views overlooking the treetops and out to sea. BRIDPORT Avenue Restaurant, 33 West Street. 01308 456686. www.theavenuebridport.co.uk. Elegant Georgian Town House serving modern English cuisine. Many interesting eating rooms. Located in town centre. Open Tuesday to Saturday. BURLEY (HANTS) The Moorhill House Hotel. 01425 403285. www.newforesthotels. co.uk. One AA Rosette. Fine local food, fantastically served in a beautiful restaurant overlooking the gardens. Open for Sunday lunch, cream teas and during evenings. CHILD OKEFORD The Saxon Inn, Gold Hill. 01258 860310. www.saxoninn.co.uk. Hidden in the village of Child Okeford, we are well worth finding. Nestling under Hambledon Hill, ideally situated for walkers in need of sustenance. 4 en-suite bed & breakfast rooms. CHRISTCHURCH The Ship in Distress. 66 Stanpit, Mudeford. 01202 485123. www.ship-in-distress.co.uk. Traditional 300-year-old smugglers’ pub, award-winning restaurant and two bars offering a full à la carte menu with vegetarian options, snacks and traditional pub grub. CRANBORNE Cranborne Tea Room, Cranborne Manor Garden Centre. 01725 517546. www.cranborne.co.uk. From morning coffee to afternoon tea with a light bite in between. Ideal for walkers and gardeners, or just somewhere to rest. EAST BURTON, WOOL (NR WAREHAM) The Seven Stars. 01929 462292. www.sevenstars.co.uk. A wide range of homemade meals and steaks, fresh fish, vegetarian and daily specials. Fine wines, real ales, lagers and ciders, Large beer garden, children's play area and plenty of free parking. HORTON (NR WIMBORNE) Drusilla's Inn. 01258 840297. www.drusillasinn.co.uk.Traditional Wessex freehouse with stunning view of the Horton Folly Tower. Fresh, local food, real ales and fine wines at affordable prices. Open daily 10.00 in the morning - 11.00 at night.
LYME REGIS By The Bay Restaurant and Wine Bar, Marine Parade. 01297 442668. www.bythebay.co.uk. Delicious fresh food at affordable prices. Fantastic seafront location. Stunning views of Lyme Bay and the Cobb. Open daily. the bay leaf, Marine Parade. 01297 442059 www.lymebayhotel.co.uk Fresh locally sourced fish and produce reasonably priced. Perfect unrivalled views across Lyme Bay and Cobb. Open Daily and Accommodation available. Harbour Inn, Marine Parade. 01297 442299. A fantastic location with beautiful views, right by the sea. All home-cooked food, with lots of seafood. Real coffee, local ales and extensive wine list. LYMINGTON (HANTS) Beach House Pub Restaurant, Park Lane, Milford-on-Sea SO41 0PT. 01590 643044. www.beachhousemilfordonsea.co.uk. Grade II-listed Victorian mansion with stunning sea views, situated 200 yards from the beach. Award-winning cask ales and fresh seasonal dishes. Ensuite rooms available LYNDHURST (HANTS) The Glasshouse Restaurant, Pikes HIll. 02380 286129. www.theglasshousedining.co.uk. 2 AA Rosettes - Fine English food, fresh local ingredients, and exceptional service in a contemporary setting. Open evenings and Sunday lunch, lunchtimes by prior arrangement. LYTCHETT MATRAVERS The Chequers Inn, 75 High Street. 01202 622215. Family-run business offering quality home-cooked dishes from locally sourced produce at affordable prices. Real ales and fine wines. MORDEN (NR WAREHAM) The Cock & Bottle. 01929 459238. www.cockandbottlemorden.co.uk. Our head chef is renowned for his cuisine. We offer light lunches, bar meals, Sunday roasts and a full à la carte menu. POOLE Corkers Café & Bar (Lower deck), Restaurant (Upper deck), Guest rooms (Top deck), The Quay. BH15 1AB. 01202 681393. www.corkers.co.uk. Not only the freshest fish and shellfish . Open seven days, for lunch and dinner. Heights Bistro, Harbour Heights Hotel, Haven Road, Sandbanks, BH13 7QL. 01202 707272. www.fjbcollection.co.uk. Few restaurants can offer the splendour of our two AA Rosette bistro, where the standard of food and quality of service match such outstanding views. La Roche, The Haven Hotel, Banks Road, Sandbanks, BH13 7LW. 01202 707333. www.fjbcollection.co.uk. On the water’s edge; with spectacular views, an exquisite choice of menu and two AA Rosettes for the quality, standards and consistency of our cooking. Sevens Boat Shed & Crow’s Nest Restaurant, Poole Park, Poole. 01202 742842. www.sevensboatshed.co.uk. The Boat Shed along with its new addition, The Crow’s Nest, offers a unique blend of exceptional food and incredible views. 75
Eat, Drink, Stay 'Upstairs @ the Custom House' Restaurant, The Quay. 01202 676767/677737. www.customhouse.co.uk. Relaxed sophistication in our fabulous à la carte restaurant. Modern English/ French cuisine. Outstanding views over Poole Harbour. SWANAGE Seventhwave, Durlston. 01929 421111. www.durlston.co.uk. Exciting and contemporary British cuisine, located in a stunning cliffside setting above the waves. TARRANT KEYNESTON (NR BLANDFORD) True Lovers Knot. 01258 452209. www.trueloversknot.co.uk. Romantic, traditional country pub. Fresh seasonal produce, luxury en-suite accommodation, campsite, ample parking, large garden and play area, private functions and weddings. TARRANT MONKTON (NR BLANDFORD) The Langton Arms. 01258 830225. www.thelangtonarms.co.uk. Pub/restaurant. Guest rooms, civil ceremony licence, open seven days a week, food served all day on Saturday and Sunday. WAREHAM The Old Granary. The Quay. 01929 552010. Beautiful pub-restaurant on the river Frome with views of the Purbeck Hills; fine wines, awardwinning beers and freshly prepared food. Springfield Country Hotel. Grange Road. 01929 552177. www.thespringfield.co.uk. Set in six acres at the foot of the Purbeck Hills. Bar lunches, afternoon teas and full à la carte dinner. Private function rooms available.
The February issue of Dorset Life will be on sale on 31 January
DorsetLife The Dorset Magazine
The best of Dorset in words and pictures
John Thornton Five years of a wonderful legacy
Dorset habitats The life in our rivers
No.407 February 2013
Workhouse assault 'He gave me a black eye with a besom'
The Stones age Photos from 1963
Photo essay: essay Dorset's unique thatched buildings
THE COBB AT LYME REGIS
Make sure of your copy of
Dorset Life every month
Subscriptions start at just £32, so do please call us on 01929 551264 or visit us at www.dorsetlife.co.uk either to take out a subscripion or for more information If you take out a subscription as a gift, we will send you a FREE gift card to give to the recipient. Inside, a printed message tells him/her that the subscription has been taken out, and there is a space for your personal greeting.
WEST BAY (NR BRIDPORT) The Bridport Arms. 01308 422994. www.bridportarms.co.uk. Stunning thatched hotel right on the beach. Local fresh fish specials with friendly, efficient service, real local ales, fine wines and roaring log fires for those chilly nights! Quality en-suite accommodation. WIMBORNE Angels Coffee Shop, Quarterjack Mews. 01202 849922. The place to visit whether you want a hearty breakfast, morning coffee, a great value lunch with wine or a cream tea by the river. Mon-Sat 8.00 to 4.00. The Millstream Café at Walford Mill Crafts. Stone Lane, Wimborne, BH21 1NL 01202 842258 or 079123 48584. Delicious, fresh, wholesome homemade food. Available for all your special occasions. Opening hours: Mon – Sat 10.00 – 4.00, Sunday 11.00 -4.00. The Olive Branch, 6 East Borough. 01202 884686. A stunning and elegant pub-restaurant a minute's walk from Wimborne centre, secluded riverside garden, award-winning beers, ﬁne wines and freshly prepared food. WINTERBORNE ZELSTON The Botany Bay Inne. 01929 459227. Picturesque countryside inne, serving à la carte meals and bar snacks, real Dorset ales. Well-behaved children and dogs welcome.
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breakfast from head chef, Nick Holt. The Grange is a small, privately owned, family-run business; they will meet with you as little or as much as you like in the run up to your wedding, to create a day designed for and around you. âžŁ Sun-dappled woods, breath-taking views and bespoke wedding feasts â€“a wedding with New Forest Hotels is a truly memorable day. Each of the groupâ€™s 3 star hotels offers a different romantic setting so that couples can be sure there is one to suit them. Choose from Bartley Lodge Hotel, the classic country house hotel with its oak panelled walls set in 8 acres of land; Best Western Forest Lodge Hotel, the contemporary town hotel with its stylish bar and Georgian features; Moorhill House Hotel, the romantic village hideaway tucked deep in the woods; and the Beaulieu Hotel, the forest retreat set in the middle of vast heathland. There are a range of set wedding packages on offer, including the new â€˜Burley Winterâ€™ package, including everything you need for the perfect festive wedding, exclusive to Moorhill House Hotel. Alternatively, work with the dedicated team to plan something different and extra special. âžŁ With stunning views overlooking pretty gardens and Lyme Regis Cobb, the historic Alexandra Hotel and Restaurant offers the highest standards of accommodation and dining for a wedding venue. Inside, beautifully styled rooms lend themselves to a relaxed and welcoming ambience, overlooking the wide sweep of Lyme Bay and the Jurassic Coast. All boasting sea views there are four beautiful venues. Choose between an elegant ballroom affair, a light romantic space, an intimate wedding by the sitting room fire or even a fairy-tale garden tower. âžŁ Beautifully refurbished, Pennsylvania Castle offers a fairytale setting for your wedding with magnificent views of the world heritage Jurassic coast from its clifftop position on the Isle of Portland. Ceremonies may take place in the garden, overlooking the sea, with grounds designed to provide secluded
Dorset and the surrounding area has some fantastic wedding locations
retreats, providing extensive photo opportunities. Offering nine luxurious en-suite bedrooms, along with impressive entertaining areas, the Castle can be hired exclusively making a fabulous weekend of your wedding. Call 01305 820659 or visit www.thepenn.co.uk âžŁ The Springfield Country Hotel is licensed to hold civil weddings and civil partnerships in the atmosphere of a country house, but with all the facilities of a modern hotel. Family-owned and professionally run, they provide the highest standards expected by a discerning clientele: from wedding packages to professional bridal make up in the brideâ€™s room. The banqueting suites can accommodate up to 170 guests, while for the evening party there is a bar and dance floor for up to 250 guests. âžŁ With prices from ÂŁ40 John Halifax Hatters stock a range of his and hers formal hats for weddings, race days and special occasions. Many of the ladies hats are adjustable, and the silk organza hats are even crushable, making them ideal for packing. âžŁ You may have been dreaming of this special day for yearsâ€Ś the exquisite dress, the beautiful flowers, the stylish cars, your
We understand that planning a wedding or function can seem daunting. Here at Bulbury Woods and Crane Valley you will find friendly experienced teams eager to make your day truly memorable.
Bridal & Ball
Hoburne Golf Clubs
family and friends around you – and stunning surroundings for photographs you will treasure forever. Hoburne Golf Clubs appreciate the importance of every tiny detail and their wedding co-ordinators will be by your side every step of the way. Bulbury Woods is licensed for civil ceremonies has a fantastic function room with private bar, dance floor and an outside area overlooking the 18th hole. The cake knife engraved with your names and the date and a complimentary round of golf for the groom and a guest are the perfect finishing touches. Crane Valley has stunning views of the course from the clubhouse, private upstairs function room with licensed bar and the staff will help to make your day run as smooth as possible. All-inclusive wedding packages start from £39.50 per head. ➣ Take over the whole of the BridgeHouse Hotel and make your wedding truly unique. This intimate country house hotel is perfect for inviting up to 100 friends and family to an exclusive wedding party. You and your closest guests can stay overnight, relax and enjoy a welcoming cocktail party, then barbeque or dine in our alfresco brasserie or restaurant. And when you book ‘BridgeHouse Exclusive’ we will provide the bride and groom with a complimentary four-poster bedroom of their choice on their wedding night. ➣ Bridal and Ball realise the importance to the bride of choosing her wedding dress. They offer a warm, friendly atmosphere so that you are relaxed and comfortable and enjoy the occasion. Their extensive range now includes bridal gowns by Sincerity. ➣ For exclusive and original presents at very reasonable prices, go to Kate Good Pottery in Tisbury. For weddings, anniversaries, etc, special items can be personalised to order. Also beautiful evening jackets, shawls, bags, Tisbury coral jewellery and original cards. Closed Mondays. ➣ Minterne House, one of the great Edwardian houses of
Finding a location that suits your both your desires and your budget takes time and effort
England, is a magical place to hold a wedding and is licensed for civil marriage ceremonies. The Trafalgar Hall seats up to 160 guests, Lady Digby's Garden Room 60; The Churchill Tapestry Dining Room 100 and the Drawing Room up to 100. ➣ Minster Hairstylists usually give two trial runs for the bride, as well the day itself, to allow brides to try alternatives of style with headdress and veil. Bridesmaids can also be booked in at the same time or for a trial. ➣ Horrocks & Webb of Blandford are proud to offer a vast range of wedding ring styles and currently have over 200 designs in stock. The selection ranges from the traditional to the more unusual and includes both yellow and white gold as well as platinum, palladium, titanium and zirconium. They also offer a bespoke in-house design service to cater for individual one-off styles, designed on-site by Tony Horrocks. If you want an unusual shape or contour, a specialist resin impression is taken from your engagement ring (a process which takes less than half an hour) so your unique ring can be made as an exact
Kate Good Pottery Unique wedding presents and gifts for all occasions Maker of ﬁne household and decorative stoneware pottery Commissions and original designs undertaken
Exclusive Dresses Wedding, Evening and Prom Dresses Stunning bridal and evening wear, shoes and accessories. Affordable - quality Large range in stock Sizes 8-30 9 Abbotsbury Road, Weymouth DT4 0AD 01305773940 | www.bridalandball.co.uk
A wonderful venue for your marriage ceremony and wedding breakfast. 0 More intimate receptions catered for in the house. 0 Lawn available for marquees. 0 Unique gardens for your photographs. 0 Exquisitely decorated accommodation. 0 Licenced for Civil Marriage Ceremonies. Situated on the A352 within easy driving distance of Sherborne, Dorchester and Yeovil. Photograph: Bill Norris
t: 01300 341370 w: www.minterne.co.uk
SHOWROOM OPEN ALL VISITORS WELCOME
High Street, Tisbury, Salisbury, Wiltshire Tel: 01747 870367
Specialists in formal and wedding hair 2 East Borough, Wimborne, BH21 1PF
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Horrocks & Webb 35 Salisbury Street Blandford Dorset Tel: 01258 452618 www.horrocksandwebb.co.uk
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When it just has to be perfect. Every detail is so important for your wedding day. You will want a beautiful and romantic venue, an award winning restaurant, and perhaps a luxurious four poster bridal suite. You may need some or all of our other delightful bedrooms, a civil ceremony in the 13th Century listed hotel, or perhaps in summer, alfresco dining for the reception. Come and talk to us, together we can help make your own unique wedding day come alive.
BridgeHouse Spoilt for choice, so come and be spoilt 531 Wimborne Road, Winton, Bournemouth BH9 2AP Tel: 01202 530942 Mon-Sat 9.45 â€“ 5pm www.labelle-ladiesfashions.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org
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Call Joanna Donovan on 01308 862200 or email email@example.com www.bridge-house.co.uk 3 Prout Bridge, Beaminster, Dorset DT8 3AY
fit and you do not have to be without your own ring. There is also a vast selection of gifts suitable for bridesmaids, ushers and the best man. Ideas include lockets, pendants, cufflinks, tankards and hip flasks. Donâ€™t forget the future in-laws! A nice brooch, or perhaps his and hers matching wristwatches, would complete the day. Photo frames are also popular as the happy couple will have so many photographs that they will wish to proudly display. For all your wedding and engagement ring needs, visit Horrocks & Webbâ€™s Blandford showroom, where they will be glad to help you. âžŁ Spring/summer 2013 welcomes beautiful colours to the rails at La Belle: from pale pastels to rich jewel through to sharp monochrome. Whether you are choosing an outfit for a special occasion, going casual, shopping for cruisewear or for weddings the choice is yours. A warm welcome awaits you at La Belle where Sue Slade and her team endeavour to make the shopping experience a pleasure. As Sue says: 'You will be spoilt for choice at La Belle..., so come and be spoilt.' âžŁ Black Label Events at AFC Bournemouthâ€™s Goldsands Stadium is simply the most versatile and unique venue to hold your wedding ceremony or reception. We have a number of elegant, stylish suites available, with fantastic views overlooking the stadium and Kings Park. Whether youâ€™re looking for a small intimate wedding or a large gathering we will make sure the most important day of your life is one to remember forever. Black Label Events boasts award-winning hospitality, with highly experienced chefs using the finest, local produce, as well as a team dedicated to providing a first class service. We will tailor a package to suit your individual needs and desires for a day never to forget. âžŁ Lord Bute is a stylish and intimate boutique hotel offering 5* luxury guest accommodation, AA rosette award-winning food and impeccable service. Situated in the original historic grounds of the Highcliffe Castle, a stoneâ€™s throw from sandy
Picking a mode of transport to atch you wedding venue adds a special something to your day
beaches and dramatic cliff tops. There is a selection of wedding packages starting from under ÂŁ4000. Or there is â€˜exclusive useâ€™ â€“ allowing you and your guestsâ€™ private use of the stunning conservatory, restaurant and all rooms â€“ from as little as ÂŁ4945. âžŁ Hold your wedding at Langtry Manor â€“ a historic royal retreat that combines Edwardian romance with contemporary design. Choice of 3 stunning venues for your ceremony including a beautiful gazebo. Catering for between 20 and 150 guests. While dining in a magnificent hall, your guests will be enchanted by their delicious food and friendly and attentive staff. Finish off your day, in a luxurious bubbling Jacuzzi before falling back into your loved one's arms, in a beautiful fourposter bed. âžŁ Winner of Best Restaurant in this year's Taste of the West Awards, and runner up in Small South West Hotel of the year 2012, the Eastbury Hotel is the perfect venue for your special day. Located in the centre of Sherborne with close to an acre
A stylish and intimate boutique hotel offering 5* luxury guest accommodation, award-winning food and impeccable service, the Lord Bute has over 20 years experience of making fairytale weddings come true.
Wedding packages from under ÂŁ4,000* AA Rosette for Culinary Excellence No pre-ordering of food required Exclusive use of the entire Hotel available from ÂŁ5,000* 13 beautiful individual rooms and suites A stoneâ€™s throw from Dorsetâ€™s sandy beaches
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Â‡ www.lordbute.co.uk Â‡ 01425 278884 179 â€“ 185 Lymington Road, Highcliffe, Dorset BH23 4JS *Prices correct at time of print.12.2012
MILTON ABBEY The perfect venue for weddings Exclusive use of the State Rooms with up to 120 guests for the Wedding Breakfast Licensed for Civil Weddings for 100 in the Kings’ and 35 in the Queen’s Room. The Abbey is available for Church Weddings. Find us on Facebook at Milton Abbey Weddings
email@example.com | 01258 881876 Milton Abbey, Blandford Forum, Dorset, DT11 0BZ
of walled gardens, private car parking, its award winning chef and 23 beautiful and individual rooms for you and your guests this unique venue will provide you with all the ingredients for a unforgetable ocassion. ➣ If you are looking for practical wedding gifts, Harts Of Stur is the place to visit. One of their experienced wedding gift co-ordinators can assist in creating your very own personalised wedding list. They have a superb selection of top brand cookware and kitchenware in their dedicated cook shop, together with a host of other items to make your house a home from stockists including KitchenAid, Le Creuset, Stellar, Judge, Joseph Joseph, Meyer and Arthur Price cutlery. Visit www. hartsofstur.com ➣ Milton Abbey offers a well-presented venue for weddings, conferences and residential courses. This elegant Georgian house was built around the medieval Abbot’s Hall in 1775, by William Chambers, the State Rooms were designed by James Wyatt and the grounds landscaped by Capability Brown. The décor is unspoilt and couples are offered exclusive use of the State Rooms. There are excellent opportunities for photographs in the grounds and garden furniture is available if your drinks reception is outside. Manager Andrew Kennedy and his team will go through the wedding arrangements with you to ensure that your special day will be perfect in every way. He will design a menu to suit your individual requirements, based on the finest locally-sourced ingredients. The house is licensed for civil weddings in the Kings Room and Queens Room or you can have a church wedding in the abbey. Visit them on Facebook at Milton Abbey Weddings. ➣ If you are planning your wedding or civil partnership, then choosing the perfect venue for ceremony and celebrations is probably one of the most important decisions you’ll be making. The Hotel Miramar, on Bournemouth’s East Cliff, offers a stunning country-house-by-the-sea setting, suited to both small
Ensure that, after all is done, that the memories of your perfect day are just that
intimate ceremonies and larger weddings. At Hotel Miramar it is all about quality and service. From start to finish they will assist you in planning your day with attention to every small, but vitally important, detail. You can choose to host your ceremony indoors, or outdoors on the lawns against the stunning backdrop of sea and sky. Many couples also opt to take a short stroll to the beach, where stunning photographs can be taken before returning for their wonderful wedding breakfast. Each couple is unique, and a Hotel Miramar wedding can reflect your own sense of flair and style. To make your wedding day as special and unique as you are, contact Hotel Miramar’s wedding team.
Unique, Spectacular, Romantic... the lovely vited to visit in y ll ia rd co ar You are , Hotel Miram is splendid country house here of th ns and nique atmosp lar views across the law u e th p -u k a cu ta to so beyond, rself the spec to see for you rdens to the glittering sea fulfil your highest ga could el Miramar occasions in your life ot H ow h e and to imagin one of the most romantic y. on edding Da expectations the perfect W Hotel Miramar East Overcliff Drive, Bournemouth BH1 3AL Telephone: (01202) 556581 Fax: (01202) 291242 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.miramar-bournemouth.com
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Home renovation, plain sailing? Just over two years ago, Sarah Ayton and husband Nick Dempsey (who memorably awarded his 2012 Olympic RS-X Windsurfing silver medal to his son on live TV) decided that their little terraced house down by the sea wanted for a bit of living space and a garden. They were also looking for a house with a bit more character and with what Sarah described as ‘lovely big rooms’. The house that they bought in Weymouth – which they are now selling having been bitten by the ‘project’ bug – was, in Sarah’s words: ‘pretty bad when we moved in. It had probably not been touched for about twenty years and, to be honest, it needed quite a lot of work.’ Whilst they didn't buy with their eyes entirely closed, they made the mistake of becoming excited about the property, almost to the exclusion of all else. As Sarah admits: ‘We didn’t look into it properly enough before buying. It turned out that the whole house needed re-wiring, a new boiler and central heating, it needed to be completely re-plumbed and required all new windows, as the exiting ones were all pretty rotten.’ Other than the above major works, ‘The most of it, after all that, was decoration,’ recalls Sarah, ‘but, as part of that decoration, we wanted to keep as many original features as possible, including the floorboards which we stripped back to reveal their natural beauty.’
Double-Olympic sailing gold medallist Sarah Ayton talks to Katie Carpenter about the challenges of refurbishing a home
Nick Dempsey and Sarah Ayton's home needed new windows and plumbing throughout
This ‘decoration’ did include, however, the removal of a wall and the complete replacement and redesign of the kitchen. As Sarah puts it: ‘I don’t know what it is with houses of that age, but the kitchen had pretty narrow cupboards and we really needed a brand new kitchen… and we ended up knocking down the wall between the dining room and the kitchen to make that possible. Luckily, we have a really good builder friend who dealt with all the surveying and structural stuff.’ The drive and desire to get involved with all aspects of the
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build meant that the couple did as much as they were able to, but they did not delude themselves about the need to have professionals involved at relevant points. ‘We had a lot of trades on site,’ Sarah explains, ‘There was an electrician, a plumber, carpenter, a plasterer, a tiler and so on. However, we were driving the project ourselves, and we were involved in all of it; we got stuck in with most if it, although whether our friends would say we were much of a help, is a difficult one to answer.’ Despite the gargantuan effort, and like all home-improvement projects, the whole process was not without its difficulties. Sarah, perhaps surprisingly, does not cite husband Nick’s preparations for the Olympics as one of them. Her recollections as to the problems were altogether of a more everyday nature: ‘I found that it was quite hard to have the builders in and to have children in the same house at the same time,’ she says with characteristic understatement. One of the real low-points in the renovation was, Sarah recalls with some feeling: ‘going to other people’s houses for showers. We were,’ she adds, ‘only a week without a kitchen and only a few days without washing facilities, but I still think we might decide not live on a building site the next time we do this.’ On an equally universal theme is the issue of money. ‘We did have a rough budget in mind going into this,’ she remembers, ‘but the windows and the rewiring pretty much took care of most of that.’ This meant that not all of the couple’s plans for the home could be fully realised: ‘We had an architect round to draw up plans for an extension, but I think that one will have to wait for the house’s new owners.’ The couple did, however, allow themselves one treat and that was in the form of, literally, a housewarming present to
Knocking down a partition wall opened up the downstairs and delivered a spacious kitchen and a light and airy family dining room
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themselves: ‘The log-burner was the big treat; luckily the chimney was already lined, so we only had to bear the cost of the burner and its installation.’ Like all renovation projects, this one did throw up the occasional amusing element. Sarah explains: ‘One of the funniest things was in the downstairs utility room; it was a shower, but it was like something out of Doctor Who, more specifically it was like having a tin and glass TARDIS just off the kitchen.’ The project probably took about a year from the beginning to what they have now decided is now the end. The look they have gone for is not so much a compromise as a deliberate design statement, as Nick and Sarah's housewarming present to themselves was the purchase and installation of a woodburning stove in the living room Sarah explains: ‘We wanted the house to be cosy and welcoming project,’ explains Sarah and, with the commitment and focus and also to be up to date, but we didn’t want to lose any of the which two Olympic athletes can bring to a project, there is little period features if we could help it.’ doubt that they will succeed in their dreams, although they may Apart from the extension, re-doing the garden to its full go into the next one with a bit more fore-checking, a larger potential is probably going to be a little bit too much to take contingency budget and a plan for accommodation during the on for the mum of two as an in-house project, but this has shower and kitchen renovation phase. not diminished Sarah and Nick’s enthusiasm for the property s .ICK AND 3ARAH $EMPSEYS HOME IS ON THE MARKET WITH $OMVS renovation game; ‘We’re now looking for another property estate agents
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By Jessica Miller. The illustration is by Becky Blake Christmas is always special, but this one had been especially so. Having turned three in August, Lily was old enough to appreciate the unique magic of the occasion, and her excitement was infectious. The icing on the cake was my sister and her husband joining us for the festivities with Francesca, their three-month-old daughter, whom Lily had idolised since she saw a photo of her as a new-born baby. We went to Wincanton Races on Boxing day. I lost all my money and Jasper won over £200. He’s inherited his Mother’s admirable knack for choosing winners. Socially, it was an unprecedentedly busy run up to New Year, and we spent little time at home. By the time New Year's Eve arrived, we were all feeling rather done in, including Lily who astonished us both by putting herself to bed at six in the evening. Having relaxed in a hot scented bath, I put on my beautiful dove-grey silk nightie (my Christmas present from Jasper), and dished up two mugs of turkey soup, which we ate in the candlelit snug watching Downton Abbey, lulled by the cosy sound of crackling logs and soporific heat from the wood burner. We were consequently fast asleep when the phone rang. ‘Hello! Is that Mrs Miller?’ barked a man’s voice. ‘Yes.’ I yawned, groping for the light switch. ‘Your ruddy cows have escaped. They’re in our rose garden!’ I rubbed my eyes and looked at the clock. It was 11.59pm. ‘Who is this?’ I asked, suspecting a practical joke. ‘It’s Colonel Farqhuar from The Manor. You’d better get here sharpish or I’ll blow them all to smithereens!’ I went cold. The Colonel was a lovely gentleman, but encroaching senility had triggered, as it were, a worrying preoccupation with guns and fire. He was no longer safe on the shooting field. Only the week before, Lady Farqhuar had been summoned to take him home as he started to mistake a hapless beater for game. ‘I’m so sorry, we’ll be there in five minutes. Please don’t shoot them.’ I gabbled, as I pulled on a pair of damp wellies onto my bare legs. His reply was drowned out by the opening bars of Auld Lang Syne. A volley of deafening bangs went off in the background. In my state of somnolence, panic and confusion, it was impossible to tell over the phone whether it was fireworks or a shotgun I was hearing. I started imagining headlines : 'Cowabanga', 'Beef and death from Colonel Blimp', ‘Never say Heifer again', 'War hero makes 98
mincemeat of cows', 'Crazy Farqhuar on rampage’, 'Cowdunnit? Keen-as-mustard Colonel roasts beef in firefight'. Snapping out of it, I shook Jasper awake and then made an SOS call next door to his mother for emergency baby-sitting. She hurried over in her dressing gown to await our return. ‘There’s no time to waste,’ Jasper said grimly, 'Let’s go. We jumped in the Land Rover and shot off down the lane to the Manor. As we screeched to a halt at the end of the drive, the Colonel appeared from behind a gate post, swigging worryingly enthusiastically from a hip flask: ‘You can’t drive in. We’ve got guests. The swines are causing havoc behind on our bowling green.’ ‘Where are the heifers?’ asked Jasper. ‘I meant the wretched heifers you ruddy buffoon!’ screamed the Colonel. I hitched up my night dress and set off towards the house. As I panted across the lawn, clutching a length of blue poly pipe (for aanimal herding not fashion purposes), I was acutely aware of a sea of faces peering at me through the drawing room windows. I skidded wildly on the slippery grass and a muffled cheer arose from within the house. The heifers were waiting by a gate onto the lane. Within five minutes they were back in their paddock and we were trudging wearily back to The Manor. Lady Farqhuar intercepted us as we skulked past. She insisted on our coming in 'to toast the New Year'. Our horrified protests fell on deaf ears. ‘Don’t worry,' Jasper whispered soothingly as I buttoned up my old mucking out cardigan,' it’ll just be a quick glass with the oldies’. We were ushered into the house, then thrust into the drawing room to be greeted by the sight of at least 30 guests… who all did a doubletake, then turned properly to stare at us, as we walked in. I felt as though we had blundered onto the set of an Armani advertising video shoot; they were all impossibly glamorous and none of them was a day over 25. ‘We thought we’d let Tarquin invite some friends for a party at home this year,’ tinkled Lady Farqhuar, gesturing towards a devastatingly handsome young man who promptly offered us champagne. ‘How lovely.’ I croaked, taking a mortified swig. ‘Is that,' asked a stunning blonde girl in a Little Black Dress, 'a nightie that you’re wearing?’. She seemed genuinely fascinated. ‘They’re a different breed, farmers and their wives!’ barked the Colonel, offering Jasper a celebratory cigar. 'It's just like an episode of that TV show,' said one of the beautiful things. 'Oh yes,' piped up a Kate Moss lookalike: ‘Farmers in pyjamas!’ 'Oh God,' I thought to myself as the laughter echoed endlessly round the room. 'Happy New Year.'
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In this issue: Winter wildlife photo essay The Swanage Hospital debate Dorset village: Chettle Life in Wool, 1920s-1940s: George Brown's ear...
Published on Dec 27, 2012
In this issue: Winter wildlife photo essay The Swanage Hospital debate Dorset village: Chettle Life in Wool, 1920s-1940s: George Brown's ear...