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DorsetLife The Dorset Magazine

in

PURBECK 2018


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DorsetLife gazine The Dorset Ma et in words and

The best of Dors

pictures for 50

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LEFT the October issue will be in the shops until 24 October 2018

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No. 475 Octo

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Photograph Hamworthy's shoreline

The Dorset Ma ga

The best of Dors

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wildlife West ll's autumn Society Colin Varnde Tolpuddle's Friendly ling Dyke \ 185 years of the Gussages & Ack Dorset walk:

pictures for 50

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No. 476 Nove

PURBECK 2018 IN THIS ISSUE

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Dorset Life in

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Look North! Some of curiosities to be found in the north of Wareham.......5

SQUIRREL

10/09/2018

Creech Barrow Seven

12:32

Purbeck's last line of defence against Nazi invasion...............9

dd 1

Right The November issue is on sale from 25 October 2018 to 28 November 2018

Achmed the camel

PLUS

Smuggling Dorset lives:in Dorset Dorset walk: Will Bond Christchurc Longburton h Harbour pho tos

The bactrian beast based in an inn.................................................13 FISHING BOATS

AT ARNE

This copy of Dorset Life in Purbeck is presented to you with the compliments of Dorset Life – The Dorset Magazine: Dorset's longest-established county magazine. To get 20% off a year's UK subscription (£28 instead of £35) mention Dorset Life in Purbeck when calling 01929 551264 or complete and return the form below. To take out a subscription for yourself or as a gift, call on 01929 551264, or complete the form below and return it to: Dorset Life – The Dorset Magazine, 7 The Leanne, Sandford Lane, Wareham, Dorset BH20 4DY

The Caldecott Community The Hyde House-based innovative care group........................15

Return of the Swanage bandstand The campaign to restore the Swanage bandstand.................21

Where to go and what to see Upcoming events and attractions in Purbeck..........................26

Uvedale's House Inside the Corfe Castle time capsule ........................................29

Purbeck Besom 'It is more gracious to give than to receive'..............................33

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The above image (see pages 18/19) of starling murmuration is by Andy Farrer The cover shot of Old Harry rocks (right) is also by Andy Farrer

Dorset Life in Purbeck is published by The Dorset Magazine Ltd 7 The Leanne, Sandford Lane, Wareham BH20 4DY. Tel 01929 551264 www.dorsetlife.co.uk @dorsetlifemag www.fb.me/DorsetLifeMagazine To download a copy of this and other Dorset Life town-based and other special magazines, visit www.dorsetlife.co.uk/other-publications/ Publisher: Lisa Richards (office@dorsetlife.co.uk) Editor: Joël Lacey (editor@dorsetlife.co.uk) Writer: Nick Churchill (www.nickchurchill.org.uk) Editorial design: Mark Fudge (www.fudgiedesign.co.uk) Advertisement Sales Director: David Silk (01305 836440, dave@dorsetlife.co.uk) Business Development Manager: Julie Cullen (01258 459090, julie@dorsetlife.co.uk) Printing: Pensord, Blackwell (www.pensord.co.uk) All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part prohibited without permission.

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Look North! A stroll round the northern end of Wareham

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any visitors to Wareham content themselves with wandering round the Quay and the Frome riverside walk, but the North of the town by the Piddle is just as interesting. Take a walk up North

Street or go for a wander along the North Walls and there are wide-open vistas as well as a plethora of items of curiosity to contemplate, although some are tucked away, perched above or just out of eyeline.

Top The town seal just beyond the North Bridge coming south into Wareham. It shows the inverted Fleur-de-Lys insisted upon by King John after he thought an inadequate welcoming party had come to greet him as he travelled through the town to Corfe Castle. Above Wareham has many bricked-up windows dating back to the days of window tax. This central windowless North Street window has rather enterprisingly been painted as a tromp l'oeil window. Below This unusual rooftop ventilation is on the North Bridge sewage pumping station Left Three different colour renditions of the Rempstone Estate mark on houses on North Street. The most common is the deep red.

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Top Looking west and looking east across Bowling Green on the North Walls Above A World War 2 pill box installed just below St Martin's Church to cover any approach from the north over the Piddle Below This sign warns of the dire consequences of damaging that bridge. Nazi invaders take note Left A somewhat startled-looking owl greets the sun's first rays of mornings from atop the Kings Arms in North Street

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The Creech Barrow Seven The fascinating story of Purbeck’s resistance force

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he quiet heroism of a group of Purbeck men during Britain’s lowest ebb should be commemorated with a permanent public display dedicated to the clandestine work of the area’s Home Guard Auxiliary Unit Patrols during World War 2. That’s according to Ken Williams, brother-inlaw of Sgt Fred Simpson who led the Patrol that has become known as the Creech Barrow Seven. Their story, told in Ken’s book, Purbeck’s Best Kept Secret, has attracted growing public interest in recent years and in 2010 a memorial stone was unveiled at East Creech not far from the Patrol’s operational base in Norden Woods. But now Ken and his editor John Wareham are keen to create a focal point for those who want to find out more about the Auxiliary Units and the double lives of the men who served in them. ‘It’s early days but we have quite a collection of artefacts and documents; there is such a lot of interest in these stories,’ says John Wareham. ‘Whenever I take a display to a show or fete I end up talking so much I go home with a sore throat. In one of the most touching incidents I had a man tell me his grandfather was in the Home Guard so I looked him up and was able to tell him his granddad was an Auxilier, an unsung hero.’ In 1940 with enemy invasion seemingly inevitable Winston Churchill secretly created a resistance army to carry on the fight. Should the worst happen these patrols were to stay behind the retreat and wreak havoc with enemy communications and supply channels. Although their life expectancy was just twelve days they were also instructed to assassinate local civilians, including police and Home Guard officers, whose knowledge might prove useful to an advancing enemy. ‘It chills me to think of the things they would have been expected to do,’ says John. ‘They had sniping rifles and would have known who their targets were. Thankfully they never had to act on the plan.’ Fred Simpson and his friend Doug Green were identified from the ranks of Church Knowle Home Guard by MI5 agent Howard Stevens of nearby Barnstone Farm and sent to Westport House in Wareham where they were interviewed by Capt Victor Goss, a Secret Service Intelligence Officer, and sworn to secrecy. Ken Williams says he felt it was his duty to write the story after Fred shared the secret wartime mission with him: ‘We did a lot of things together, but before he died in 2007 Fred told me he thought they deserved to be remembered, so that meant it was up to me.’

Fred’s youngest sister Joy, Ken’s wife, says it was all news to the rest of the family. ‘We never knew anything about it, not at the time or for years after. None of his brothers and sisters had any idea, nor did our mother. He just used to disappear from time to time and nobody knew where he’d gone. If anyone needed to get him at home in the middle of the night he used to keep a few stones in an old Huntley and Palmer biscuit tin by his bed and had a string tied to it lowered down from the window – they used to pull on the string to wake him up.’ The Creech Patrol was formed with clay miner Bunny Wise as sergeant and Fred as corporal, but when Bunny was called up to work in the mines as a Bevin Boy, Fred was promoted and Doug Green made corporal. They were sent for training with the Special Operations Executive (SOE) in Wiltshire then on subsequent courses at Duntish Court near Buckland Newton. Fred, who worked for farmer Jack Baggs at Wareham, and Doug, also a farmworker, then

Above Church Knowle Home Guard. Back (l-r): Charlie Boston, Bill Payne, Wilf Stockley, Archie Everet, Don Cooper, Joe Dando, Bill White, Frank Green, Arthur Chaffey. Front (l-r): Ron Cranton, Sgt Bob Wellman, Lt Bond, Major Hall, Curly Shelton, Jack Langford, Roger Horlock.

Below Replica of the first kit box issued to each Auxilier

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trained their fellow Auxiliers. Doug’s cousin Les Green, the youngest member, was a clay worker as was Wilf Stockley and Eli Kitkat used to drive the clay train. Harold and Jack Hatchard, from Furzebrook, completed the unit and given the eighteen-year difference in their ages may have been father and son. They were controlled by the SOE and MI5 and all had to sign the Official Secrets Act. It was made clear to them on pain of a traitor’s death that nobody must know about their mission and many had to put up with local gossip, false accusations and in the case of Maurice Dallenger, the Harman’s Cross shopkeeper who served in the Langton Patrol, a white feather for cowardice slammed down on the shop counter in front of him. However, given the secrecy that surrounded the operation some things are difficult to explain – such as the photographs of Fred (and indeed Jack Baggs’s daughter, Mary) posing with a Tommy gun. Equally, the quartermaster for the Purbeck Auxiliary Units was Cyril Quick, auctioneer at Cottees in Wareham, who would phone Jack Baggs to get a message to Fred. Surely his boss must have known Fred was no ordinary member of the Home Guard; and why Mary posing with Fred’s gun? ‘I’m at a loss to explain that, but I think Mary was considered as a replacement member of the Patrol,’ Ken shrugs. ‘Fred was my brother-in-law and after the war I worked on the clay with a lot of these boys and knew them well, but not one of them ever spoke about any of it. I think Eli used to keep his weapons and kit under his bed. Fred took his guns home with him and told me his old man went mad when he shouldered arms one day and put a rifle through the ceiling – there was a filled in hole in the ceiling of the front room at number eighteen Church Knowle for years afterwards.’ At the end of the war the Creech Barrow Seven and the other patrols simply returned to civilian life and, to a man, kept their counsel. In recent years the British Resistance Archive has started to piece together a national picture of what has become ‘Swanage Railway is very interested in helping tell part of the story of the Auxiliary Units from the point of view of the railway and clay mining workers who were involved. The idea of having a display of artefacts as part of the Purbeck Mineral and Mining Museum fits well with the charitable objectives of Swanage Railway Trust and we would support wholeheartedly the efforts to make the story of the Auxiliaries more widely known. On a personal note as an eleven- or twelve-year-old boy I used to come down to watch the two-foot narrow gauge railway in operation and knew Eli Kitkat – he was a lovely chap, but of course never spoke about what he’d done in the war.’ Peter Sills, Trustee and director Swanage Railway Trust

Left Fred Simpson with his much-prized Thompson ‘Tommy’ submachine gun. In the corner of his mouth is a cigarette in a holder, even though Ken Williams says Fred never smoked in his life – could it be that despite the deadly secrets of the Patrol’s mission, Fred still succumbed to a young man’s urge to show off?

known as Churchill’s Secret Army and the story of the Creech Barrow Seven is an integral part of that narrative. ‘These blokes were from a different time and were probably quite scared of the consequences of talking about their past,’ says John Wareham. ‘To this day many of their families have little or no idea of what their fathers and grandfathers did. The commitment they showed, their willingness to do what they had to do and not breathe a word of it – I admire them greatly, how could you not?’ John is keen to receive further information on Dorset Auxiliers (via email at thecreechbarrowseven@gmail.com); those interested can find the names of the members of Auxiliary units at Bere Regis, Langton Matravers, Morden (Charborough Park), Moreton, Stoborough, Wareham/East Stoke, Winfrith Newburgh and Wool can be found at www.thecreechbarrowseven.simdif.com

Six of the Creech Barrow Seven with Peggy Wise, sister of Bunny Wise, the patrol’s original sergeant. ‘Fred told me years later that she shouldn’t have been there and if he’d been in charge that day she wouldn’t have been,’ says Ken Williams.

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Purbeck Detail

Achmed The Camel Every public house should have one

A

rich man may go to heaven and a camel might pass through the eye of a needle, but fifty years ago a Bactrian lying down in Swanage High Street was the Devil’s own job to move. The only way to tempt him back on his feet was to present him with an old shoe to eat – the smellier the better. It’s just one of several stories about Achmed, house camel in the mid-1960s at the Tilly Whim Inn, the cliff top pub that stood on Belle Vue Road close to the entrance to Durlston Country Park. In another adventure he was kidnapped for nine months by a travelling circus only to be tracked down by a newspaper to a farm in Berkshire then ridden along Fleet Street by his grateful owner before being packed into a horsebox and driven back to Swanage. Achmed arrived in 1964 after licensee Ruth Burridge returned from a winter holiday in North Africa with her daughter Meryl during which they had to be rescued by Berbers after their Ford Capri sustained a double puncture. ‘It was decided that my mother would ride with one of the camel drivers to the nearest oasis which was quite some distance away with the two tyres strung round the camel’s neck,’ recalls Meryl. ‘I remember wondering if I would ever see my mother again, but I was looked after well, though my long legs and mini skirt caused some raised eyebrows.’ The escapade made the newspapers and on returning to Swanage Ruth decided to capitalise on the interest by buying a young Bactrian from Afghanistan for £500. Some 18 months later, after a period of quarantine, Achmed arrived. ‘My mother, now familiar with camels, jumped up between his two humps and road him up the hill to the pub.’ It was just the beginning of a local legend and Achmed, or Chuck Chuck as Ruth, Meryl and many locals knew him, became a familiar sight around town. ‘My mother would ride him down the hill to do her shopping and would tie him to a lamppost. As he was a beast of burden the police were at a loss what to do. They could not put a parking ticket round his neck so he became an ideal method of transport. He would often escape and we would get furious calls from people who found him in their gardens eating their prize roses. In the woods below the pub he had an enclosed area where he would sleep often with the little donkey my mother had at the same time.’ When the donkey, Sweety, was found to be in foal Ruth was concerned the boisterous Achmed might cause trouble so rented him to a travelling

Malcolm at a Radio Wimborne roadshow in the Square

circus for ten weeks, after which her efforts to get him back failed. She contacted the Daily Express ‘Action Line’ investigations team and they secured his return, prompting the media-savvy Ruth to ride him along Fleet Street. Ruth sold the pub in 1972 and three months later it was destroyed in a fire. Achmed was sold to a safari park in Margate where Ruth, who passed away in 2012, and Meryl visited him for the rest of his life. The Purbeck Heights flats now stand on the site of the pub. ‘My mother was a huge character and her funeral in Swanage was very well attended,’ adds Meryl. ‘She will always be known as the woman who had a camel. He was a gentle animal much loved by us all.’

Ruth Burridge with her home from home on wheels

Ruth Burridge oversees Achmed refuelling on the day he arrived in Swanage. The petrol station is now the post office on Kings Road East opposite the station

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The Caldecott Community Hyde House’s centre for a pioneering wartime care organisation

T

for twenty-five girls. On the ground floor were two dining rooms and large play rooms, the kitchen and pantry. Outside was a boiler room (the ‘stoke hole’), music room, cycle shed, boys’ showers and a chapel. After a spell during which some commuted to digs in Wareham the teaching staff were billeted on-site in the main house, dower house, lodges and former estate workers cottages while the coach houses were pressed into service as senior and junior study rooms. Discipline was strict but not harsh – there was no corporal punishment – relying on routine, rewarding honesty and understanding failure. Talking after lights out, for instance, could earn a detention to include standing in a corridor, being confined to a bathroom or running up and down the two-mile gravel drive supervised by a senior boy on a bike. Miss Leila oversaw operations with her codirector Ethel Davies, Miss Dave, supported by a small staff of teachers and carers. Hyde was home to fifty senior children and fifty younger ones as well as a changing population of child offenders and other young people in Home Office care, many with mental health and behavioural issues. Elizabeth Lloyd worked for the community from 1936 until 1971 and wrote an unpublished history of the organisation that is now sold to raise funds for its continuing work. In it she notes Hyde’s seclusion: ‘The whole countryside always gave the feeling of remoteness and something absolutely primeval: nightingales sang day and night in the woods and there were badger’s setts.’ She writes of a secure and stable refuge from the war where life, while not without its

Dinah Brandon Collection

ucked away to the south of Bere Heath, between the Puddletown and Bere Roads, the former estate of Hyde has been a place of splendid isolation since earliest times. It was once the property of Tarrant Abbey and after the Reformation passed through the hands of Dorset grandees such as Sir Thomas Trenchard, the Ryves family and William Gaisford Peach before 1837 when it was bought by Charles James Radclyffe. He built a large mansion on the site of the original house that had been partially destroyed by fire. His grandson Major Charles Robert Eustace Radclyffe, High Sheriff of Dorset in 1925, established the South Dorset Hunt to make the most of the hunting, shooting and fishing opportunities afforded by Hyde’s water courses, heath, marshlands and woods. During World War 2 the house, outbuildings and much of the 150-acre estate were requisitioned by the Home Office for evacuees and given to the Caldecott Community, the pioneering care organisation founded by the suffragette Leila Rendel in 1911 to help disturbed and disadvantaged children. The community was geographically mobile and had created a therapeutic environment in a series of locations to nurture emotionally damaged young people. After its Maidstone base was deemed unsafe in July 1940 it was eventually rehomed at Hyde where it remained for six years, from January 1941 until Easter 1947. The 47-room, three-storey house was home to boys on the top floor and girls on the first with day and night nurseries for the youngest children and just one indoor bathroom and toilet

A previously unpublished photo of Hyde House in 1947 from the rear.

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The Caldecott Community

Ann Cooper Collectiona

hardships, could generally be enjoyed. The view is compounded in the memories of former residents published on the caledcott.org.uk website where Sonia Jackson recalls arriving at Hyde by coach and being issued with a candle and told not to drink water from the taps as the well was polluted. The rumour was there were dead frogs in it. In a comprehensive account, John Hansen mentions boys and girls who had passed the eleven-plus were sent to the appropriate single-sex grammar schools in Dorchester and those who had not to the elementary school in Wareham. All were up at 7.00, the boys sent out to run and shower before breakfast at 7.45 and then to school by coach driven by ‘Rubber Fag’ who always had a cigarette attached to his lower lip, except on Saturdays when grammar school boys got up earlier and had to walk or cycle to Wool to catch a train to Dorchester. Robin Spock remembers Friday evenings were often dedicated to mending punctures. During school holidays many children remained at Hyde where the river and 12-acre deer park became the backdrop for swimming and lifesaving lessons, pony riding, football, cricket and rounders. There was croquet on the lawn and a Scout troop was established on-site with older boys obliged to enrol in the Junior Training Corps in Dorchester. Robert Lawton remembers watching tanks on manoeuvres near Bovington, as well as the sweets and chocolates doled out by their crews.

Girls and ponies at Hyde House, 1947, the girls are Wynny, Val Hansen and Isobel, the lighter pony was called Muffin.

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Elizabeth Lloyd recalls: ‘… a little flea-house of a cinema in Wareham to which all and any went when possible. It cost 4d to sit in the front rows. The one and only café, The Rainbow, so called from its faded striped rainbow-coloured curtains in the windows, provided dry little cakes made with dried egg powder and packets of potato crisps.’ She once transported nine girls to the cinema in her little car – five in the back seat, two in the front and ‘… disgraceful as it was, two standing one on each side on the running-boards, holding on to the open windows.’ Long before risk assessment became a science she continues: ‘… the car did not break up, the springs held and no one fell off the runningboards: everyone went satisfactorily to the cinema and we came back in the same manner.’ Petrol being rationed, it was more usual to catch a bus, ride a bicycle or simply walk, to Wareham, Wool or Bere Regis. At weekends and during school holidays there were regular expeditions to the Purbeck hills, Lulworth Cove or Corfe Castle, frequently on foot, although the children devised a bike-share scheme – one would cycle some of the way then continue on foot leaving the bike to be picked up by a walker behind. More spasmodic distractions were provided by work parties of Italian prisoners-of-war or passing British and American Soldiery and when the heath caught fire troops and fire fighters from Bovington Camp called on the older boys to help beat down the flames. In 1947 the estate was returned to the Radclyffes and in 1949 sold to the Elliott family from Bournemouth who remained until the mid1970s. From 1987 the estate was a privately owned activity centre with five lakes, two miles of river and two 18-hole golf courses until its parent company went into receivership in 1996. It closed in 1998 and was demolished the following year. A handsome single storey modern mansion now occupies the site and the cottages are home to Hyde and Seek Retreats holiday lets. The lodges are in private hands as is Trent Vale Farm on the estate. Leila Rendel’s work is continued by the Caldecott Foundation, www.thecaldecottfoundation.co.uk Dorset Life acknowledges the help of Dr Craig Fees at the Planned Environment Trust Archive and Gill Cook and Jean Costello from Caldecott Foundation in securing archive images for this article. www.pettrust.org.uk


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Remaking Swanage Bandstand A labour of love for a much-loved local landmark

An American GI is thought to have taken this snap of Swanage bandstand shortly before the D-Day landings in 1944

F

or 95 years it has been a focal point of the town, a meeting place, somewhere that locals and visitors can come together in the open air. Now, following an energetic and widely supported campaign, Swanage Bandstand is on the verge of a new lease of life that should stand it in good stead for another century or more. That’s according to Alan Houghton, the Swanage-born chair of the Friends of Swanage Bandstand, who by a combination of gentle persuasion, arm twisting, sound reasoning and no small degree of native charm, has secured in not much more than a year some £57,000 in donations towards the cost of restoring the distinctive structure. To that sum can be added £50,000 promised by Swanage Town Council towards the estimated £160,000 total cost. ‘We shall get it, don’t you worry about that,’ says Alan. ‘We can add another four thousand or more through Gift Aid and we have applications pending with the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Coastal Revival Scheme, plus the tins have been out in force again this summer – cash donations like that automatically attract Gift Aid now. ‘This bandstand is so important to Swanage, it means such a lot to people, there’s no way we were ever going to let them tear it down, no way.’ The cast iron bandstand was manufactured by Walter Macfarlane & Co at the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow and installed in the summer of 1923. It is one of the few remaining examples of the Macfarlane 224 model and the sunken amphitheatre in which it sits at the recreation ground is thought to be the only one of its kind. ‘It produces a natural acoustic and makes the bandstand a wonderful place to play in,’ says Liz

Roberts, who performs with Swanage Town Band, the principal users of the bandstand, and also sits on the Friends committee to represent the band. ‘Bandstands bring people together and Swanage needs this bandstand. If people think we sound good with no roof we are going to sound amazing when we get the roof back on.’ Although the roof was removed in 2012 after sustaining storm damage the bandstand remained in use, primarily by Swanage Town Band, which kept up a summer season of appearances. Last year though the suggestion was made that the area might be filled in and future performances moved to Prince Albert Gardens if no proposals were made for the bandstand’s restoration or replacement. Alan Houghton took that as his cue. ‘I said to my sister who was Carnival Queen in 1958 that I wasn’t going to let them get away

The roof has gone but the crowds have returned as Swanage Town Band’s summer season concerts have been drawing sizable audiences in recent years. Next year they hope to be back under a roof.

21


The original design drawing for the Macfarlane 224 bandstand

Right Swanage Town Band perform in the bandstand in 2009. The roof was removed due to storm damage in 2012 and the old blue paint scheme was subsequently replaced with a protective coat of grey primer.

22

with that so I started canvassing people and organising a letter-writing campaign. The council soon realised there was a lot of interest and called a public meeting. I got there early and set up outside to ask people if they were in favour of keeping the bandstand so that when I got a chance to speak I asked people to raise their hands if they wanted the bandstand to remain. ‘There must have been a good two hundred people in that room and nearly every one of them put a hand in the air. I’m not shy so then I asked the councillors to put their hands up if they supported keeping the bandstand and I must have overstepped the mark because I was asked to leave, but that was the turning point and the campaign has gone on from there.’ Alan secured pledges of money from local businesses, residents and holidaymakers and when he heard it was going to cost almost as much to fill in the site as save the bandstand he suggested the council could throw its money behind saving the landmark. ‘They saw it the same way I’m pleased to say,’ he says. ‘They gave us six months then extended it to Christmas and a few people reminded me I had only got pledges at that stage, turning them into cash might be difficult. Of the hundreds of pledges I received I’m only waiting on four of them, one hundred and thirty quid in all, and I’ve got them in my sights.’ The plan is for the bandstand columns to be extended again to their full height and the roof and finials restored. A new gate will be made for the existing gateway and a second entrance created on the opposite side for the convenience of performers, along with new storage seating so they no longer have to bring their own. A new electricity supply will be installed and the existing ironwork sandblasted before the bandstand is repainted in its original green, cream and white colour scheme.

The amphitheatre’s Purbeck stonework will be cleaned and repointed, the bench seating replaced in hard wood and all surfaces remade. ‘The end is in sight now,’ says Alan. ‘I’m saying it will be up and ready for use by March next year and we’ve got sixteen groups that have said they’d use it when it reopens. If any funds are left over the Friends of Swanage Bandstand will help the council run it and they want us to work with them on bookings.’ The campaign recently received an original programme from the official opening on Thursday 2 August 1923. The notes reveal the project cost £1280 as part of the planned laying out of the Recreation Ground with the work having gone a long way to alleviating unemployment in the town. The first performance was an evening concert under the musical directorship of Edwin Farrell that included pieces by Schubert, Spencer and Holst. Arrangements had been made with Swanage Music Society and the Town Band to play on certain evenings during the season. “…the performances should prove a great asset not only to the enjoyment of the Visitors but also to the Residents who have felt the lack of this pleasant addition to their evening walks when the rush of the day is over.” The campaign to save the bandstand has united Swanage residents and visitors regardless of age or interests, as Alan and Liz attest. They and their committee colleagues have heard countless anecdotes about the bandstand and the apparent success of the campaign has been universally well received. ‘We’re all on the same side,’ says Alan. ‘We just want what’s best for Swanage and the bandstand is something special. The way people have stuck together on this and the support we have enjoyed has been tremendous. It makes me very proud of the town.’ Any and all offers of support and donations of all size are very welcome at www.friendsofswanagebandstand.co.uk


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Where to go, what to see What's going on in & around Purbeck Monkey World

Cider Festival

Monkey World has always been a rescue centre rather than a zoo, so the habitats reflected the animals' needs. The centre grew into a refuge for rescued primates from around the world and Monkey World established partnerships with organisations around the world to educate governments and others about primate exploitation and conservation. Since founder Jim Cronin’s death in 2007, Alison and Jeremy have run Monkey World and the collection now includes the largest group of chimpanzees outside of Africa living in four different social groups, three groups of orangutans with Europe’s only orang-utan crèche, five species of gibbon and eleven species of monkeys and prosimians. Daily, 10.00 Longthorns, near Wool, 01929 462537, www.monkeyworld.org

One of Purbeck’s most fabled pubs, the Square and Compass at Worth Matravers holds its annual cider festival and surrenders to the joys of the apple on the first weekend of November. In previous years guest ciders (and some perries as well) have travelled from as far afield as Wales, West Yorkshire, Herefordshire and even Somerset and although they remain tight-lipped about exactly where this year’s guests originate organisers promise the selection of bottled and draught, still and sparkling libations will be no less exotic. With live music as well as cider pressing demonstrations, apple identifications and plenty of juice to try – both fresh and fermented – there’s every reason to be shaken to the core. 3 November, 11.00 Square & Compass, Worth Matravers, 01929 439229, www.squareandcompasspub.co.uk

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Purbeck Film Festival

Corfe Castle A year-round magnet for visitors, day-trippers and those with a little time on their hands, as well as the unerringly impressive ruins, the castle’s custodians the National Trust run a busy programme of events. During half term week that includes daily launches of the trebuchet replica siege machine, the ‘Warwolf II’, as well as the All Hallows Quest to find missing pumpkins. There’s also ‘The Great Escape’ in which a knight tries to flee the clutches of wicked King John, and visiting teddy bears are invited to help him escape down the zip wire from the Castle Keep. Open daily, 10.00 Corfe Castle, 01929 481294, www.nationaltrust.org.uk/corfe-castle

Jethro – The Count of Cornwall Jethro returns with his latest stand up show, a peek into the circus lurking deep in the mind of the man whose fans hail him as the greatest comic storyteller ever to grace the stage. 19 October, 7.30 Mowlem Theatre, Swanage, 01929 422239, www.mowlemtheatre.co.uk

At the heart of the Purbeck Film Festival are the 26 screenings at the Rex Cinema in Wareham, but they account for barely a third of the programme. There are films showing at Durlston Castle in Swanage and Lighthouse in Poole as well as in some thirty village halls, community centres, pubs, hotels and churches across the area in a reminder of the simple joy of good times shared with friends and neighbours. As ever there are many diverse highlights to chose from among them In Between, Maysaloun Hamoud’s acclaimed story of three Arab women who rebel against their roles, last year’s Oscar winner from Chile A Fantastic Woman and Sorcerer, William Friedkin’s blistering 1977 remake of Clouzot’s 1953 classic The Wages of Fear. Other classic titles include All the President’s Men, Ingmar Bergman’s Smiles of a Summer Night and a rare chance to see Verneuil’s I As In Icarus, starring Yves Montand with a score by Ennio Morricone. 12 – 27 October, daily Various venues, www.purbeckfilm.com

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Uvedale’s House A fascinating trip back in time without moving an inch

F

rom a Tudor mayor’s town house to Georgian public house to Bankes Estate poorhouse to National Trust lettings house, Uvedale’s in Corfe Castle has enjoyed a chequered history. Now, following extensive renovation, the building in East Street is settling into a new lease of life as two long-term rented homes (a two-bedroom and a three-bedroom) and a one-bedroom holiday let. It marks the culmination of a long-term plan that took shape not long after the National Trust took over the Bankes Estate in 1982. ‘Back then it was being used as six dwellings,’ says Pam White, Senior Visitor Experience Officer at Corfe Castle. ‘They were reconfigured into four dwellings and over time as each one became vacant preliminary surveys were carried out so we could try to understand the building.’ It wasn’t until the final tenant, the late Joy Day, moved out about four years ago that the investigation could be completed. ‘Joy kept her cottage beautifully and I often used to pop in and share a cup of tea with her. She had lived at Uvedale’s for most of her life – she was brought up by her granny in one part of the building then she got married and moved to her home at the front. When she accepted another place just across the road we were able to survey the front for the first time ever.’ Finally Uvedale’s revealed its original Tudor lay out and features had survived the attentions of Georgian and Victorian builders as well as various layers of mid-20th century home improvements. Later, further evidence emerged of an earlier, possibly medieval, curved oak-framed cruck house that had been replaced by the current house, built in 1574 of Purbeck stone for John Uvedale of the landowning Dorset family whose seat was at Moor

Crichel. Three years earlier the manor of Corfe Castle had been ‘gifted’ by Elizabeth I to her Lord Chancellor and favourite Sir Christopher Hatton. He found the castle in a ruinous state and there’s evidence to support the long-held local belief that John Uvedale removed stone, stained glass and lead from the castle to use in his new home. Hatton’s influence at court saw Corfe Castle enfranchised and in 1572 it returned its first MPs – Charles Mathew and Edmund Uvedale, whose father Henry* was High Sheriff of Dorset and former constable of Corfe Castle, a position that passed to Hatton. ‘The Uvedales were one of the great Dorset families and the house in Corfe Castle would most likely have been granted to the second son with an income from farm rents and other tenants,’ explains Pam. John was mayor of Corfe Castle in 1582 and another Uvedale, George, was churchwarden in 1607 and 1608. The house remained in the family for 200 years and the names of Henry and John with the date 1575 and their initials can be seen on the roadside frontage. Although many Tudor features have survived to be incorporated in the renovation, the roof timbers have been dated by dendrochronology to 1658 and it’s thought the building, in common with many in the village, was damaged during the Civil War. ‘The front seems too short for a Tudor hall building and it could be the extension that is stepped down is rebuilding as the result of slippage or possibly war damage,’ says Pam. By 1732 part of the building was a pub, the Kings Arms, and by the time John Bankes bought the property in 1774 it was established as a tenement. He had it further divided into mostly

Uvedale’s House frontage, photographed from East Street. The higher part of the frontage is the original Tudor building, the lower part is thought to have been rebuilt during the 1650s, possibly as a result of damage sustained during the Civil War

Far left Joy Day’s former front room after being stripped back to reveal the splendid carved Tudor fireplace with the original rustic inglenook behind. The oak staircase was a surprise find as was the stonelined storage space. Left After the room was refurbished

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single room dwellings and ‘put as many poor in it as could comfortably be lodged’. ‘It’s no coincidence around the same time he had new skin pits dug at the tannery just below the house, the smell would have been revolting,’ notes Pam. The Census shows ‘Old Workhouse Yard’ was home to eight households (36 inhabitants) in 1851. A decade later ‘Poor House Yard’ had thirteen households (37 inhabitants) and in 1891 five households (27 inhabitants). By 1901 it had been converted to seven dwellings and in the 1960s there were six homes. As renovation work progressed Uvedale’s gave up more secrets. In Joy Day’s old home the brick fireplace her husband built gave way to a refined Tudor fireplace that had been built over the more rustic original inglenook. After much discussion it was decided to record the original feature and restore the room with the better quality fireplace. To the side of the fireplace beneath layers of wallpaper and lime wash a small storage cupboard was found and to the side of that a Tudor door frame and solid oak staircase that had been buried, probably since the building was partitioned as a poorhouse in 1797. ‘It is such an exciting find,’ says Pam. ‘The doorframe has been conserved and left as it is and the stairs have had minimal repair.’ Under the floorboards in an upstairs room was a child’s painting, possibly 19th century, and a cat skeleton was also found, but a dwarf doorway no higher than four feet right at the top of the house revealed one of its most intriguing mysteries – a ‘lost’ room. ‘It was a single room accessed through a really awkwardly placed tiny door on a staircase and judging from the old papers we found in the mess up there it hadn’t been opened since the 19th century,’ explains Pam. ‘I felt a strange atmosphere up there. Who could have lived in

Left Joy Day’s former front room after being stripped Below left Joy Day’s former front room after having been refurbished

there? What things had that room seen? ‘It’s completely different now though, all beautifully light and airy with a wonderful en-suite.’ Pam estimates she guided tours of the building for more than two hundred inquisitive visitors, from building archaeologists and interested architects, to National Trust members and any number of local residents. ‘The reaction has been very positive and rightly so as it is a first-rate job, but I was amazed when we solved one of our more persistent puzzles.’ In the corner of the fireplace in the original Tudor kitchen is a small arch, the purpose of which had stumped every expert. ‘On one of our final tours I asked if anyone knew and a woman said her daughter had one in her house. It is a clotted cream maker. On the other side of the wall there is an alcove with a hole in the bottom directly above the arch. They would move some embers from the fire beneath the arch and the hole would draw up the heat to warm the tray of cream placed in the alcove. ‘There has been such a good feeling every step of the way with this project, but that was a particularly lovely moment.’ The National Trust acknowledges the invaluable work of Louise Haywood, chairman of Corfe Castle Town Trust, in researching the story of Uvedale’s House. *Henry Uvedale’s nephew Sir Edmund Uvedale was elected senior knight for Dorset and made MP for the shire in 1601, succeeding Sir Walter Raleigh. Sir Edmund was a professional soldier who is thought to have killed the poet George Whetstone in a duel in 1587. He died in 1606 and is commemorated by a lavish memorial in Wimborne Minster 31


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Besom In Purbeck ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’ their clients – for one thing everything we give is free.’ It’s one of the central tenets of the Besom philosophy that if someone is being given something it should be worth having – those with no choice deserve the best. Andy Farrer

T

he best ideas are often the simplest and perhaps that is why the Besom ethos appears to work so well – it’s simply a way of connecting people who would like to give time, money, skills and things to those in need. Set up in 1987 by lawyer James Odgers, the network has spread all over the world and Besom In Purbeck, the only Dorset group, began 15 years ago. There are some 30 such groups nationwide, all of them run by Christians, but each of them organised slightly differently. ‘We’re here to help people who need it, that’s all,’ says Nick Viney, one of the Purbeck group’s founder members. ‘We don’t tend to make a song and dance of the Christian message, but everyone we help receives a card with our phone number and email address and a blessing on the back – the blessing is free, as is the help, goods and services we provide.’ Founded in the principle of giving, the group takes unwanted good quality white goods, furniture, electrical appliances and other household goods, including bedding and blankets, and distributes them to people who cannot afford to buy them. The service is not advertised, but local churches have been instrumental in identifying need and for the last few years the group has received regular referrals from social services, caring agencies, housing organisations, Citizens Advice Bureaux and other support groups. ‘It took a few years for us to be accepted by the professionals because we’re amateur, untrained and maybe because we’re Christian. However, now we are seen as a valuable source of support for

There is a huge variety of goods in the Besom group's stores

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Andy Farrer

Besom In Purbeck Swanage, the group hopes to attract young people who will enable it to offer more gardening and decorating services to those in need. ‘This is a relatively affluent area, although there is real need as well, but people are always updating and getting rid of goods – we usually have far more things than we have people to receive them. The greatest thing people can donate is time and if we had people that knew what they were doing and could supervise working parties we would be able to provide more practical help where needed.’

Right The group wants to encourage more young people to join to expand the gardening services it offers

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‘Well, of course they do,’ says Nick. ‘If you choose to put up with a broken chest of drawers for years or a fridge that doesn’t work properly, that is probably your privilege, but when the time comes to replace it, is it fair to expect someone else to put up with it just because they’re not paying for it? ‘We don’t think it is. That would be disrespectful. The fact is nobody likes asking for help so why make anyone feel worse by giving them something rubbish when they already feel bad? Giving them something good shows someone cares about them and at that moment that could be a terrific confidence booster and might make all the difference in their lives.’ For many years Besom In Purbeck got by with little or no money, storing goods first in an old damp milking parlour on Nick’s farm, then in a series of spare spaces from an old science lab at Swanage Grammar School to a disused chapel in Harmans Cross. More recently however the group has received some significant donations that mean it now has a secure warehouse and its own van. ‘They say that God moves in mysterious ways, but eight years ago I had a mini stroke that meant I couldn’t drive or continue to run the group in my haphazard, disorganised way. My health is fine now but the group rallied round and we are properly administered, well organised and selffunding. ‘It means we can accept and store soft furnishings and fabric-covered furniture and everything is properly cleaned and checked before it goes out. What amazes me is the number of times we get requests to match something we’ve only just taken in – an exercise bike for instance. Who absolutely needs an exercise bike? Well, perhaps it’s a single mum who wants to be healthier but can’t afford gym fees and can’t leave the children to go running. ‘Having met people from other Besom groups at conferences it’s surprising how often you hear stories like that.’ It’s no surprise that all of the ten-strong Purbeck’s group are retired or semi-retired and that new blood is always welcome. In supporting The Wave Youth, a Christian engagement project in

Andy Farrer

Above Taking delivery of a washing machine

Besom in Purbeck 07519 977732 besominpurbeck@gmail.com

JESSICA’S STORY “When I came to Purbeck in August last year with my little boy we had absolutely nothing. I was just out of a very messy relationship and had to get away from my area. I was lucky to get private rented accommodation, but I had nothing in it. I got the number for Besom In Purbeck and they gave me everything – and I mean everything. They brought me a sofa, a bed, a little bed for my boy, a fridge, a television, something to hang our clothes on; the lot. It must have been three times they came round with things; it was amazing. The only thing they didn’t have was a cooker and with that they put me in touch with a church group that was able to help me out. They’re lovely people and they all do it voluntary. I never realised there were so many lovely people in the world until I came here. They’re beautiful people. Now I want to stay and make a go of things here with my boy. I don’t know how many times I’ve said thank you but it’ll never be enough. It has made such a difference to our lives and when you get helped like that it makes you want to go out and help other people if you can – that’s what I’m going to do.”


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Profile for Dorset Life – The Dorset Magazine Ltd

Dorset Life In Purbeck 2018  

2018's edition of high-quality glossy magazine made in Dorset for residents of Purbeck

Dorset Life In Purbeck 2018  

2018's edition of high-quality glossy magazine made in Dorset for residents of Purbeck