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DorsetLife WIMBORNE The Dorset Magazine


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Dorset Life in

This copy of Dorset Life in Wimborne is presented to you with the compliments of Dorset Life – The Dorset Magazine: Dorset's longest-established county magazine. Dorset Life – The Dorset Magazine celebrates the best of Dorset in words and pictures every month. Within the pages of each issue is the history, landscape, villages, people, presentday activities, wildlife, historic buildings and

WIMBORNE 2012 contents

Stour Valley Way photo essay..............................5 Why I love Wimborne What makes the town a great place to live and work...11 Not bigger, but better Wimborne's regeneration plans and successes .....….15

gardens of Dorset.

Wimborne's property scene How is Wimborne Minster's property market faring?..19

Presented to the highest standards of quality,

The next 500 years What's next for the newly rebuilt QE School?........….23

both editorial and photographic,Dorset Life – The Dorset Magazine is essential reading for everyone with an interest in Dorset.

The Allendale Aiming to be the county's best community centre....33

Dorset Life – The Dorset Magazine is available

What's new in Wimborne News from local businesses..................................34

from most supermarkets and all good newsagents in Wimborne and throughout

Wimborne lives: Brian Dryden Wimborne's 'wizard of the washing machine'..........41


e f i L t e s r o D

Wimborne’s historic heart Deans Court: past, present and future.....................45 From the Dorset Life archive A view of entertainment in 1890s Wimborne.............49

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Wimborne attractions and events Where to go and what to see in and around the town.29



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Dorset Life in Wimborne is published by The Dorset Magazine Ltd, 7 The Leanne, Sandford Lane, Wareham BH20 4DY (01929 551264) 

For enquiries and subscriptions (a subscription to the magazine makes an easy and most welcome gift):

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Publisher: Lisa Richards Editor: Joël Lacey Advertisement Sales Director: David Silk (01305 836440) Business Development Manager: Julie Cullen (01258 459090) Editorial design: Mark Fudge ( Cover image: The view up East Street towards Wimborne Minster Centre-spread image: Riverside dawn, Guy Edwardes ( Advertisement design: Hierographics ( Advertisement administration: Julie Staniland Printing: Blackmore, Shaftesbury. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part prohibited without permission.




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Looking from the riverside beyond the football fields towards Pamphill

The Stour Valley Way Stephen Baker captures the landscapes, details and some of the wildlife on a stroll circumnavigating Wimborne along the River Stour The town centre of Wimborne Minster has a number of very pleasant river walks; one is never terribly far from water in the town. It is along the River Stour, however, that one gets a strong sense of the town’s ancient links with the sea to the south and Blandford to the north. In terms of accessible walks from the town itself, whether heading south-east to Canford or north-west to Pamphill, the river’s banks, bridges and greenery are full of interest and detail.

This little gull was quartering and skimming the Stour's waters for insects in a manner more reminiscent of a swallow than a stereotypical gull



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The Stour Valley Way

Top Poole looms on the left as the Stour's destination meanders from a southern to an eastern direction Above Holding station against the river's current, this swan seemed determined to stay out of the sun Left Looking south from Julian's bridge, the heavy rains in April and early May have left a verdant scene Left bottom Ironically less common than threats of deportation, this plaque to commemorate the Wimborne-Canford bridge's completion is one of few in the county to thank the builders


The Stour Valley Way

Above One of the most ornate railway bridges in the country, the Lady Wimborne bridge used to straddle the main entrance route to Canford House Above right The new Canford footbridge – for pedestrians and cyclists, makes the process of crossing the stour into Wimborne a rather less hairy affair than at Julian's bridge Right Before reaching the Lady Wimborne bridge, a 19th-century turnstile sternly proclaims that the path is for foot passengers only and that cycling is strictly prohibited Below A heron receives a salute from a member of the Dreamboats team as it lazily flaps its way upstream


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My Wimborne

Why I love Wimborne Changes are afoot in the town, but it seems that for a lot of the people who live and work in Wimborne, as well as those who keep coming back to visit, it is as much what remains the same which attracts them Were one to attempt to stop a dozen people in London to ask their opinion, one might very well receive a response, but it more likely would be a brief opinion of the person asking the question. In Wimborne Minster, however, all were happy to share their opinions of why they like to live in, work in and visit the town. Maria Leese, retailer We chose to put the business in Wimborne because we thought it was a lovely place; it’s certainly not your stereotypical high street. I think people who live here forget just how spectacularly different Wimborne is and that difference is why we have people coming from Bournemouth and Poole

Joanna Refoy, resident I’ve lived locally all my life, my university years excepted, and the only way to describe Wimborne is that it’s just really friendly. Apart from the town itself, you’ve got the beach one way and rural country life the other.

Neil and Mary Harkness, retailers Wimborne is a lovely traditional town that has a blend of one-off and high street names. It’s retained its small-town feel where other places have all started to look the same. The people here have come from all over the place, but they’re all really friendly. From a retailer’s point of view, there is a very nice quality to the people who shop in Wimborne, not just those who live here, but those who travel to Wimborne to use the independent stores.

Irene Hitchcock, retailer I think people are fed-up with homogeneous town centres and when they come here it is different. Wimborne has a lovely feel to it and it has a lot of independent shops. I came here really because it’s just such a nice town.

Paul, Madison and Zoë Fry We’ve lived in Wimborne for over ten years and it has a great community feel and is ever so friendly. As an example I (Zoë) was struggling to carry both my shopping and Madison and a man just stopped to help me to load the car. Looking forward, the schools are fantastic round here, which is really encouraging for Madison. There are also a lot of nice shops and boutiques and it is just a really relaxing place to walk around.


Why I love Wimborne Kirsty Martin-Edwards (left) and Sarah Greatrex, work in Wimborne The buildings are beautiful and looking back at how the town used to be, it’s striking that so little has changed. Wimborne has a lovely feel about it and the people here are very friendly; I really wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

Denise Comber, visitor Wimborne is just so lovely and unspoilt; there’s lots of things to visit and look at and everything in the town is in keeping. The enhancement of the Square lifts the town centre somehow and it always seems to be sunny when we come here.

Julie Lodge, resident We live down a lane and it’s like living in the middle of nowhere, but you have all the amenities within five minutes. The town itself is getting better and it’s now getting a few more restaurants as well as pubs.

Mellvin John Gudger (and Max the Akita), residents I’ve lived in Wimborne for about a dozen years and am the Deputy Town Crier and Sergeant of Musket of the Militia. I first came here about 15 years ago to go to Gulliver’s bookshop which someone had recommended for a particular book. I went to the pub afterwards, bumped into the Town Crier who, when he found out about my re-enactment experience, suggested I set up the Militia. I did so and eventually was spending so much time here that I inevitably moved here. There’s a lightness about Wimborne: it has wonderful character, is steeped in history and the people here are really, really nice; it’s a town you feel comfortable walking around day or night.


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For news and events in Wimborne Minster please go to Join us for some amazing events through the summer: • 23rd

& 24th June Wimborne Through the Ages A fun and entertaining look at the history of Wimborne Minster, including Europe’s pre-eminent Roman re-enactment group, LEGIO SECUNDA AUGUSTA, plus historical entertainment and fascination at key venues in the town for all the family

• 30th • 7th

July Youth in Music on Willow Walk

• 20th • 4th

June Skate Competition at Redcotts Park to 22nd July Dreamboats Rowing Challenge & Race Day

August The President's Summer Fete, Priest's House Museum

This advertisement is published by Wimborne BID Ltd., a Business Improvement District making Wimborne great

Towards the Minster from The Square

Not bigger, but better Joël Lacey takes a snapshot of Wimborne and looks at the changes, both physical and organisation, being made to help to keep the town both vibrant and vital It is

normally a truism that if you ask someone about something that they know well, they will respond with a short list of little things that are wrong with it. Wimborne Minster is unusual in that most of those who live in and around the town are more likely to respond with a list of the town’s virtues than its failings. Nonetheless, a number of organisations are not content with resting on their laurels, but looking to the future to see how Wimborne can improve what it offers to three overlapping groups: the town’s residents, tourists and shoppers. Most visible amongst the changes being made is the improvements in The Square, which culminated in the joint opening/Jubilee celebrations on 2 June this year, but whilst this is the most recent sizeable change in the town, it is neither the first nor the last change. Whether from voluntary or statutory organisations involved with Wimborne, there is a joined-up view of what can be done to help keep Wimborne a lovely place to live, an ‘all-that-youcould-want’ shopping centre and an interesting place for tourists for a day out. On a simplistic level, the Town Council (TC) is there to look after the interests of the town’s residents on a personal level, the District and County Councils take care of more major infrastructure work, education and transport, while the newly formed Wimborne Business Improvement District (BID) is there to help to promote the town and its businesses to the outside

world. Add in local organisations – like the tireless Wimborne in Bloom, the Chamber of Trade, the myriad voluntary organisations, trusts and clubs in and around the town, and there is an invisible army looking after the current and future interests of the town. Liz Guilmant-Cush, the newly minted Operations Manager (and only paid employee) of the Wimborne BID, is only too well aware of the collaborative requirements of working in a town like Wimborne after fourteen years here: ‘the BID is a conduit to getting things done, it cannot be a top-down way of improving things.’ Her office, in the eaves of Allendale House, has a wide view over the whole town, and this broad vista is a metaphor for the BID’s – and her – role in the continuing regeneration and rebirth of the town. ‘The greatest asset, and in some ways the

The artist’s impression of how the enhancements to The Square would look


Not bigger, but better

Liz Guilmant-Cush

The tireless Wimborne in Bloom volunteers


biggest potential problem, is the enormous enthusiasm and creativity of the people and businesses in Wimborne. There are so many ideas and so much passion about the town, but we cannot instantly implement all of them.’ The BID’s fiveyear mandate, which is financially supported by a mandatory levy on the nondomestic rate payers, means she is trying to temper the enthusiasm (which created the flip chart full of Post-It notes at a recent meeting – each bearing an idea for an event or an improvement in the town) with the art of what is possible with the funds available. Although it may not have unlimited financial resources, the town is certainly rich in terms of what is, in marketing parlance, its offering to tourists. The ‘Treasures of Wimborne’ – The Minster, Priest’s House Museum, Model Town and Walford Mill – form a key plank of the town’s external marketing strategy. Added to this, though, is Wimborne’s unique blend of independent stores with desirable high street names; few towns can boast such a balance of retail offering. Despite the tricky trading conditions in the broader economic marketplace, fewer than five retail units are currently vacant and not spoken for. There are plans afoot to mark ‘Independent’s Day’ on 4 July, to celebrate the contribution of the town’s independent retailers. Visiting shoppers – and those coming for the increasing number of events in and around the town – anecdotally have a very positive experience of their visits, but the key to the town’s future viability is to try to change the mindset of those who see wandering around a picturesque, compact town as a less attractive proposition than wandering round a soulless mall complex.

As well as encouraging people to come to Wimborne, though, there is some work on continually improving what they will find once they get here, the most obvious evidence of which is the improvements to The Square. As far as EDDC is concerned, the changes date back quite a lot further than the BID scheme. Kevin Poulton, Economic Generation manager of East Dorset District Council explains: ‘I suppose the catalyst was about 2009, and it was when one of the bridges coming into Wimborne was closed owing to repair work. That was of concern as it inhibited those from Merley, Broadstone and Poole from coming into Wimborne. At that time the Chamber of Trade and Town Council and District Council thought that when the bridge reopened, they could do something to promote the town. Out of that came the discussion of “What is the future of market towns,… the future of Wimborne?”. In some ways a town which was losing its service functions (the Magistrates Court, JobCentre Plus office moving out, bank rationalisation) could have been quite negative. So the question “What is the role of a place like Wimborne?” was asked. 'In a quite forward-thinking way, the three partners asked for an outside view on this. We pooled what money we had (with a contribution from the County Council) and went to advisers (Halcrow) who could work with us to help our thinking going forward.’ The Halcrow report was based around the town’s current and future assets and, Kevin remembers, ‘That was the context, the question was then “Who is going to take on the 20 or so recommendations?” That was when the business community stepped up and the BID was formed. Regeneration is often about enhancing a town’s existing assets. In Wimborne, there was a central square – which had effectively become a car park and circulation space for cars; as a space, though, it also linked in very well with the idea of festivals and events, plus giving the opportunity for some alfresco dining on the south side of the square. ‘In terms of infrastructure investment, though,’ Kevin explains, ‘another example is the Canford Bottom Roundabout; it’s not the 30-year solution that people hoped for but, before it was changed, the roundabout was a barrier to some people coming to Wimborne. Having said that, in the grip of a recession, and with the Canford Bottom roundabout works, car parking usage in Wimborne has actually gone up, which is a positive sign. As far as [EDDC’s role in managing] parking is concerned, the real issue is what is the strategic purpose of providing carparking? Is it to make money or to enable the town to function? The answer to that question is perhaps best illustrated by a good example of innovative thinking, where Wimborne’s retailers decided to refund parking charges to encourage people to shop in the town.’ Probably the last word on the desired end of the improvements, both in progress and in planning, can be found in how Liz Guilmant-Cush describes Wimborne: ‘You can live here and never have to go anywhere else.’


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Wimborne Minster’s property scene How is the property market in Wimborne faring and how does it compare to elsewhere? Eric Black asks local agents, developers and builders for their views. This year’s budget, the ongoing squeeze on incomes

The selling prospects of houses like this in East Borough, priced at £897,500, have not been affected by stamp duty changes on more expensive properties


and other factors have clearly had an impact on the property market, but just how is easy is it to buy, let, build or sell property in Wimborne? We asked four experts to interpret the current situation. ‘There are such good local amenities, with wonderful countryside on your doorstep and the coast within easy reach,’ says Peter Lane of Savills, ‘not to mention the significant draw of the wonderful schools (both independent and state schools) around Wimborne, that if properties are sensibly priced, they will sell.’ He added that ‘most of our properties are between £400,000 and £1.5 million and, as long as the price is right at the outset, there is demand out there and what one wants from the vendor’s point of view is a little competition. We have an index that the Savills London office talks about – the WandsworthWimborne index. In 2005 the ratio between equivalent properties was 1:1.3 (you could buy 1.3 Wimborne properties for the price of an equivalent Wandsworth one). That ratio is now over the 2.0 mark. We expect that this will encourage people to come to Wimborne. Following the budget, properties over £2 million have

slowed; seven per cent stamp duty is quite painful to pay. There is still activity going on and there are still properties selling at this price, but I think that stamp duty has had an influence.’ May Palmer, Managing Director of Wimborne-based house builders Harry J Palmer Ltd, defines what is happening in the development world as follows: ‘In today’s economic climate the acquisition of land suitable for development is becoming very hard; highend property is certainly a product that developers are interested in building, but there’s a real scarcity of suitable development land in East Dorset in general and Wimborne in particular. Linked with that general scarcity is the fact that owing to the diversity of our environment in East Dorset much land, quite rightly, is restricted in terms of development by its environmental status – for instance our protected heathland. I consider that proposed changes in planning policy will further restrict development. East Dorset has a low number of brownfield sites (previously developed land), when compared to the neighbouring districts of Poole and Bournemouth; brownfield sites offer unique redevelopment opportunities and present a far more favourable



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The Wimborne property scene The new-build market is moving away from four-bedroomed luxury properties to smaller, affordable houses developed in greater density

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development option to local authorities than encroachment into the green belt, where development is severely restricted. The other shift in new-build development terms is that, with new regulations, planners are looking for an ever-greater density of development – more, smaller houses per plot – in order to permit more affordable homes to be built. We are consequently building much more affordable homes and individual home developments now than was once the case.’ Glyn Bagley of Glyn Bagley Building Contractors Ltd reports a trend of a different kind. ‘We’re quite busy at the moment and I think that this is because people with money are spending it on renovations and extensions. These will ultimately add value to their homes and make them more suitable to stay in, rather than having to move. It’s much more attractive now as clients with savings are getting little interest on their investments. Although we’re finding the renovation and extension market quite buoyant, the new-build sector is pretty stagnant. The reason for this is the availability of land and the fact that planning is taking quite a bit longer – although there seem to be a few relaxations in planning restrictions and policy, which will hopefully make planning easier. There is a high demand for starter homes, but there is insufficient land available – unless you go into the green belt – to service these needs. Furthermore a large development (the old Cobham site) has been granted planning approval, but as it is a riverside industrial site, there is an awful lot of clean-up work that has to be done – which is complicated by the fact that it is by the river – before any actual building work can be started. Barrie George, Managing Director of Dorset Lettings, says ‘I think that, despite the general economic conditions, the demand for properties in the lettings market is buoyant. People are finding it harder to get a mortgage or to find the deposit required and interest

rate rises have increased mortgage costs. The long term-trend is moving away from buying property in favour of rental. The main issue in Wimborne at present is a shortage of quality properties to meet this demand, particularly for one- and two-bedroom properties. Therein lies an investment opportunity for buy-to-let investors. There is a lot of property available and it is a buyers' market so prices can be negotiated. The other good news for prospective investors is that the buy-to-let mortgage market is easing with more products becoming available from lenders, interest rates coming down and equity-to-loan ratios improving. Although the changed financial conditions have benefitted the rental market, they have also had a negative impact. The stricter mortgage conditions compared to two year ago have resulted in some landlords selling their properties, in particular amateur buy-to-let landlords who entered the market as a short-term investment on the back of cheap 100% mortgages. This has taken capacity out of the market exacerbating the imbalance in supply and demand.’

Property owners are turning to renovation and extension, rather than moving


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The next 500 years

The exterior of some of the buildings forming the new-look QE school

Nick Churchill visits Queen Elizabeth’s School and finds a mix of proud heritage and forward thinking Behind the

brand-new façade and modern design flourishes of the new school that opened last November lies a proud history of education and community involvement. For more than 500 years Queen Elizabeth’s, QE, has provided free schooling to the young people of Wimborne and its heritage remains a cornerstone of the school’s thinking. Founded in 1497 by the will of Lady Margaret Beaufort, the mother of King Henry VII, teaching began at the school in 1511 two years after her death. ‘That was pretty handy really,’ says head teacher Andy Puttock, ‘as it meant we were able to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the first lessons by opening the rebuilt school – two years after it was initially due to open.’ The school’s history is there for all to see incorporated in a timeline in the spacious foyer, which plots notable events in the school’s evolution – it was re-endowed by the first Queen Elizabeth in 1563, hence its name – alongside key dates in local and national history. The link with the past is also maintained by the rolls of honour in the school hall including the Roll of Service, unearthed in a damp store at Wimborne Royal British Legion in 2009,

listing the 297 pupils from Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School that served in the Great War. ‘The history is important to us, but as important is the idea of legacy that we try to instil in staff and students alike,’ explains Andy Puttock. ‘We talk a lot about the QE Family and it’s an idea the students buy into as well. Among the most memorable things said to me when the new school opened was that it was like coming home. One of the words school inspectors love is triangulation, cross referencing in effect, so they hear me talk about the school’s ethos and then the students offer up similar ideas, which shows how good they feel about their school. When we have open days and ask for students to act as ambassadors for the school we’ll get 250, 300 volunteers – they want to show their school off.’ The head is the first to admit he finds it hard to disguise his absolute joy at how well the £52-million school has turned out. Originally ear-marked for rebuilding under the last government’s Building Schools for the Future (BSF) investment programme, QE was allocated funds and work was due to have been completed before the Coalition came to power in 2010. Among its first actions was to halt the Building Schools for the Future programme. 23

Light, airy, modern, functional but aesthetically pleasing. As much thought has gone into the looks of the interior as the exterior.

Headmaster Andy Puttock: ‘we’re dedicated to the pursuit of excellence and the highest standards of care and respect’


‘We were in the fortunate position that it would have cost more to stop the work than complete it,’ says Andy, reflecting on the fate of building works planned at other schools in Dorset. ‘I considered us lucky enough to have been given the green light in the first place. When BSF was launched the first beneficiaries – necessarily – were all schools in urban areas, mainly inner cities. There was a sense of unfairness that regional schools were missing out so funds were released to build a national demonstration school for sustainability and 13 local authorities were invited to bid. Dorset’s bid for QE was successful. So, yes, I’d say we were incredibly lucky on both counts and we’ve been able to build a school that’s as close as possible to being carbon neutral.’ Disruption has been minimal as the new school was built beside the old and work will continue on the landscaping of the site until September with the new rugby pitch, the final phase, due to be completed in 2013. ‘Students have been involved with the design of the school at every stage even though that meant the first students that were consulted in 2006 had left by the time the new school opened. We worked hard to make sure their educational experience wasn’t diminished in any way by the plans for the new school or the work being carried out – if the school is owned by anyone it’s owned by the students.’

As a voluntary controlled Church of England secondary school for 13-18-year-olds, QE is also subject to Church inspection and is supported by the Minster Foundation. However, it does not select students on faith criteria. ‘First and foremost we are the community’s school, just as we have been for 500 years, and we are committed to being a comprehensive school,’ says Andy. ‘I have colleagues and students of Christian and other faiths and of no faith and set out to create a learning environment in which they can all feel comfortable. The talent is there to be nurtured in all students, the difference is those of a Christian faith believe it is God-given talent.’ QE enjoys a long-standing reputation in the performing and creative arts with several major concerts, productions and exhibitions throughout the school year. It has also carried specialist school status in sports since 2003 and promotes ideas central to sporting excellence throughout the whole school. ‘We have wonderful sporting facilities and superb mentoring schemes for elite athletes, but the Specialist Sports College status doesn’t mean students are all dashing around in tracksuits. Very often the best school someone who doesn’t like sports can go to is one with specialist status in sports because we’re able to offer a whole range of outdoor activities other than the range of team sports that put some students off in the first place. ‘Beyond that there are major benefits in applying sports standards across the whole school. There’s an emphasis on problem solving and team working that starts in sports but extends much further, there’s work on self-esteem, as well as learning to win and learning to lose and the health message is a very high priority.’ With an active School Council and a StudentVoice PE Change Team, Andy Puttock takes a thoroughly inclusive approach to the running of the school. ‘I believe the collegiate approach to learning will inevitably raise standards at every level and we’re dedicated to the pursuit of excellence and the highest standards of care and respect. That ethos travels beyond the school boundaries. We don’t want to be seen as an aloof organisation on the outskirts of town, we’re a part of the wider community. That’s why our foyer is available to groups to hold outreach exhibitions and, of course, the leisure centre, which is very well run by the district council. ‘We stand between Kingston Lacy House and Waitrose which I think serves as a pretty good metaphor for what QE is. Kingston Lacy is all about our heritage and tradition, whereas Waitrose – for all the controversy – has been responsible for a certain amount of regeneration in the town centre. When the building work was being started I went over the plans with the National Trust and pointed out the new building development would be shielded from sight by trees and they said: “Instead of shielding it why not make a beautiful new building.” And that’s what we did.’


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Discover our stunning Roman wall paintings, the fascinating childhood gallery and a unique Victorian Valentine card collection. Explore period rooms from a 17th century hall to the working Victorian kitchen. Wander through a beautiful and peaceful walled garden. Our gift shop and tearoom complete any visit. Open 2 April to 3 November (closed 31 July) Monday to Saturday, 10am to 4.30pm

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Where to go and what to see Events and attractions in and around Wimborne Deans Court Set in thirteen acres of splendid grounds, Deans Court was originally the Deanery to the Minster and dates from the early 14th century. The house has been under the ownership of the same family – the Hanhams – since 1548. Although a private residence, there are many public events held there. See full article on page 45. 01202 880515,

1944 We Were Here Following on from research carried out by Louisa Adjoan Parker and the Development Education in Dorset (DEED) charity for the Black History In Dorset project, 1944 We Were Here is a new exhibition investigating the links of African American GIs in Dorset. In 1944 some 8000 African American GIs passed through Dorset to take part in rehearsals for the Normandy Landings. 1944 We Were Here tells some of those stories through historical artefacts and newly commissioned textiles from artists Jenni Dutton (whose work is pictured here), Brigitte Stockton, Anne Hitchcock and Sue Hiley Harris. The exhibition has been created by Walford Mill Crafts in collaboration with the Priest’s House Museum and DEED. 16 June – 22 July 10.00 (11.00 Sun) Walford Mill Crafts, Wimborne, 01202 841400,

Dreamboats There can be few things more relaxing than lazing around on the river on a balmy summer’s day and Dreamboats have been allowing local residents and visitors to do just that on the River Stour for the past 10 years. Dreamboats can be found by following the signs from Wimborne Market. 07794 507001,

Let’s Celebrate Marking HM The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and its own 50th anniversary, the Priest’s House Museum has reopened with two new exhibitions. Let’s Celebrate looks at the way the people of East Dorset have marked high days and holidays down the years. From the royal visit of 1867, to coronations and declarations of peace and the Festival of Britain in 1951, Wimborne and the surrounding area has partied along with the rest of the nation. The coat of arms pictured here was used as a decoration on the Priest’s House for the coronations of Edward VII (1902), George V (1911) and Elizabeth II (1953). The exhibition also shows the more modest celebrations of village fetes, carnivals and fairs. A second exhibition, 60 Years of Fashion, looks at how high street fashion has changed since HM The Queen came to the throne. It runs until 3 November. Until 31 July, 10.00 (not Sun) Priest’s House Museum, Wimborne, 01202 882533,

Tractor & Trailer Rides The home of the Bankes family for more than 300 years, Kingston Lacy House is a beautiful example of a 17th-century English stately home at the heart of an 8,500-acre estate dominated by the Iron Age fort at Badbury Rings. The house itself is home to an important art collection with paintings by Titian, Van Dyck, Reubens, Tintoretto and Brueghel, as well as the UK’s largest private collections of Egyptian artefacts. Outside are beautiful lawns, a restored Japanese tea garden and a new Winter Garden in the Shelter Belt. Now managed by the National Trust, there is a full programme of outside events all year round. The tractor/trailer rides for disabled and less mobile people include the 100 Acre Tour to the undisturbed Jubilee and Target Woods on the far side of the estate and the Estate Tour which include a stop for ice cream at Barford Farm. 19 June, 10.30, 1.30 (100 Acre Tour) 21 June, 2.30 (Estate Tour), 9 July, 10.30, 1.30 (100 Acre Tour) Kingston Lacy House & Gardens, 01202 883402, 29

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22 June 8.00pm An evening of supreme acoustic guitar with Gordon Giltrap + Woody Mann Tickets ÂŁ14

14 July 8.00pm Cregan & Co with special guest vocalist, Ben Mills Celebrating Rod Stewartâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hits Tickets ÂŁ16.50

26-30 June 7.30pm Matinee Sat 30 June 2.30pm WMTS presents: The Sound of Music Tickets ÂŁ14 (matinee ÂŁ12 concs)

20 July 8.00pm Derek Acorah - The True Vision Tour Tickets ÂŁ18

6 July 8.00pm Chas Hodges Rabbit & SkifďŹ&#x201A;e Tour including all the Chas & Dave hits plus special guest Lonnie Donegan Jnr Tickets ÂŁ16

27 July 7.30pm Wessex Actors Company presents: Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor Tickets ÂŁ12 (ÂŁ10 Under 16's) 1 in 10 Free

12 July 7.30pm Roger Dean: The Johnny Cash Story Tickets ÂŁ16 13 July 8.00pm A night of Rockabilly: Big Boy Bloater & The Limits +The Houndogs (last here with Albert Lee) Tickets ÂŁ12.50 â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;One of the great blues men of our time' Jools Holland

16-18 August 7.30 Matinee Sat 18 Aug 2.30pm Dramatic Productions presents: Alan Ayckbourn's Absurd Person Singular Tickets ÂŁ12 (matinee ÂŁ10 concs) 24 August 7.30 A Night of Queen with The Bohemians Tickets ÂŁ15

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Support YOUR local Theatre

Where to go and what to see Wimborne Market The largest undercover market in the south of England has a general market and flea market on Fridays and Sundays (with a farmers' market on the Friday) and a huge car boot sale on Saturdays.

Twelfth Night

Luca Massaglia

Wimborne Drama’s open air summer production at Deans Court finds the players tackling Shakespeare’s riotous comedy Twelfth Night. Written as an entertainment for the close of the Christmas season, the play charts the progress of a castaway, Viola, who is washed up on the shore of Illyria. Fearing the worst when she can’t find her twin brother Sebastian, Viola disguises herself as a man and enters the service of the love-sick duke, Orsino who dispatches her to woo on his behalf the countess Olivia, mourning the loss of her own brother. A chaos of mistaken identities and confused desires duly follows. The Deans Court grounds will be open for picnics an hour before performances start. 28-20 June, 7.30, 1 July 5.00 Deans Court, Wimborne, 01202 886116 (Wimborne TIC),

Renowned organist Luca Massaglia, who has been organist at Madonna degli Angeli Sanctuary in his native Turin since 2001 presents a recital at Wimborne Minster in July. The programme includes Wagner’s Pilgerchor from Tannhäuser and Messiaen’s Adoro Te and La Présence Multipliée from Livre du Saint Sacrement. Luca was artistic director of the Note per la Sindone (Notes for the Shroud) Organ Festival in Turin in 2010 held as part of the celebrations for the Solemn Ostension of the Holy Shroud and has played concerts throughout Europe and the United States. 25 July, 1.00 Wimborne Minster, 01202 884753,

The Johnny Cash Story Nine years after his death, musical memories of the original Man In Black are on the bill as Roger Dean returns The Johnny Cash Show to Wimborne. Dean, whose West End debut was in the musical Rent opposite Sir Ian McKellen and Tom Bell, wanted to pay tribute to his boyhood musical hero but not by pretending to be him: ‘There was only one Johnny Cash,’ he says. With on-stage band The Lazy Boys faithfully recreating hits like I Walk The Line, Hurt, Ring Of Fire and Big River, Dean tells the story of Johnny Cash from his humble birth in 1932 to his death in 2003, covering his hits, his marriage to June Carter, amphetamine addiction, TV stardom and the critically acclaimed music of his later years made with producer Rick Rubin. 12 July, 7.30 Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne, 01202 885566,

Priest’s House Museum & Garden Featuring ten galleries and regularly changing exhibitions and events, it is housed in a delightful townhouse with its own period features and a walled garden with topiary, fruits tree and flowering plants. 01202 882533,

Walford Mill The Dorset Craft Guild took on the lease of Walford Mill in 1986. In the 26 years since then, Walford Mill Crafts has established itself as a gallery and an educational centre promoting contemporary arts. 01202 541400,

Anonymous Travelling Market Set up in Dorset three years ago to beat the credit crunch and take the best of the south west on the road, the Anonymous Travelling Market provides a home for food producers, craft makers, artists and entertainers. As stallholders lay out wares from oysters to pressed oils, hand crafted wood and stone to homemade soaps and vintage clothing, musicians from the ATM’s pool of talent perform throughout the day. 29 July 10.00 Deans Court, Wimborne, 01202 849314, 31

Where to go and what to see Kingston Lacy In 1634, Sir John Bankes bought the Kingston Lacy estate. It became the family home after he lost Corfe Castle in the English Civil War and remained so for 330 years. It was bequeathed to National Trust in 1981 by Ralph Bankes and Kingston Lacy remains one of National Trust’s most important estates. 01202 883402,

Jimmy Tarbuck In a career spanning nearly 50 years, Jimmy Tarbuck has become one of the best known faces in British light entertainment. The host of numerous quiz shows from Winner Takes All to Tarby’s Frame Game, he also compered a series of variety shows including Live from the Palladium and Live from Her Majesty’s and was the last host of the original Sunday Night at the London Palladium. A former schoolmate of John Lennon, he has worked with Frank Sinatra, Maurice Chevalier and Bob Hope, he baked a cake for Margaret Thatcher’s 60th birthday and is a passionate golfer. He started his professional life as a Butlin’s redcoat before breaking into television and continues to tour his stand up comedy show. 27 September, 7.30 Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne, 01202 885566,

Open Garden Opening in August as part of the NGS scheme, the public will be able to see the 110-foot tall Mexican Swamp Cypress and the 90-foot Tulip tree planted at Deans Court by Thomas Hanham in 1607 on his return from New England. Other trees include mulberries, ginkos, catalpas, walnuts, handkerchief, Turkey oak, two large wellingtonias and a 40ft magnolia grandiflora planted around 1870. The kitchen garden is surrounded by a fine example of a crinkle-crankle or Serpentine wall and was the first in the country to be accredited to the Soil Association. 5, 6 August 11.00 Deans Court, Wimborne, 01202 849314,

Wimborne Minster Its foundations date back to circa 705AD when Cuthburga, sister to Ina, King of the West Saxons, founded a nunnery on the site. The present building dates from around 1120 and its various additions span centuries. Every corner tells a story and the Chained Library, the Astronomical Clock and the Quarter Jack, which strikes every fifteen minutes, are a few of the features that have made it famous. 01202 884753 ,

Wimborne Food Festival Nature’s Calendar Business lecturer turned wildlife photographer, John Combes visits East Dorset Heritage Trust to present Nature’s Calendar, an illustrated talk on all aspects of the landscape including flowers, trees, insects, birds and other wildlife through the natural cycle of spring, summer, autumn and winter. His photograph of a kingfisher is shown here. 15 August, 2.00 Allendale House, Wimborne, 01202 888992,

Wimborne Minster Model Town Everyone associated with Wimborne should be grateful that four gentlemen from the town decided to visit Bourton-on-the-Water in Gloucestershire on a summer’s day 1948, where they were so inspired by a 1:10 scale model village of the area that they decided to build one of their own town. A lot has happened to the Model Town since then (including escaping being bulldozed down) and it was re-built and re-opened to the public in 1991. It is widely admired the world over as one of the best examples of the genre. 01202 881924,


Bringing together independent food producers, brewers, winemakers and chefs from all over Dorset, Wimborne Food Festival is an opportunity to celebrate all that’s great about local food and drink. The free event on the Minster Green features many highlights including a food market tent, demonstrations and tastings, a country craft area, vintage funfair, a kids’ food factory zone, cookery theatre, music, street performers and mobile farm. There’s also a literary fringe festival in Church House with guided tours of the famous chained library, writers Lucas Hollweg and Josceline Dimbleby in conversation and a guided ghost walk with Malcolm Angel. 27, 28 October, 10.00 Wimborne Minster Green, 07989 018114,






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Where will you go in yours? 35



Stepping Towards a Greener Dorset When Andy King of A & A King Building Contractors fitted his first Ground Source Heat Pump 18 years ago little did he know that it was to be the start of something much bigger, he had taken the first step in to the world of renewable energy. A & A King was established in Wimborne in 1978 by Andy and his wife Angie King, the business was set up as a partnership with Andy’s own property being one of their first projects. The business quickly established itself conserving Listed Buildings. Projects have included Priests House Museum, West Borough House (The Tivoli) and Allendale House, all key in the history of Wimborne. The traditional skills of lime plastering, wattle and daub, repairing and building cob walls and using traditional paint systems are often not seen in today’s building practices and this makes A & A King unique. As well as taking on commercial clients the company has established a firm private client base over their 34 years of trading incorporating traditional and contemporary building practices across the board. In 1994 interest in green technologies started to take hold and thoughts were moving towards the future with energy efficiency becoming intrinsic to building design. With an increase in enquiries the partnership decided in 2008 to open a showroom and with this Low Carbon Energy Centre (LCEC) was born. 3 years on business is good; with energy prices rising and awareness of green

LCEC Low Carbon Energy Centre

technology improving, more and more people are turning to alternative heating methods. The showroom at 13D Riverside Park has recently undergone extensive changes enabling it to offer a wide range

of products and services. The increase in the size of the sales floor has resulted in additional contemporary wood burning stoves and boasts a live working combination heating system and Solar PV panels. Being able to deliver the whole package with a wide range of services is fundamental to the company’s success. Not only can their HETAS registered installers fit a wood burning stove but they can also build you a fireplace and even provide you with a house to go round it! Low Carbon are MCS accredited enabling clients to claim a range of grants and incentives offered by the Government in conjunction with solar and ground & air source heat pumps. To date Low Carbon can add to their portfolio the wood burners installed at Longleat Centre Parcs new Tree house accommodation, a full renewable installation to complete the first Code 4 Sustainable house in Wiltshire and the first green roof in Wimborne. All of the 20-strong staff including Andy & Angie’s daughter Sarah and son Richard have undergone extensive training and are always on hand to guide and advise. With much of the partnership’s business coming from recommendation, the company prides itself in providing a top quality product with reliable customer and after sales service. With the partnership’s experience they can provide a bespoke design service combining conventional methods of heating with alternative technologies.

If you would like to know more, call us on 01202 888561 or drop in and see our new enlarged showroom. Low Carbon Energy Centre 13D Riverside Park, Wimborne BH21 1QU

Tel: 01202 888561

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The centre of Wimborne

The Allendale as seen from behind Allendale House

The Allendale is the heart of the Wimborne community, offering a venue for a plethora of local groups and organisations, as Katie Carpenter discovers There is absolutely no risk of the trustees and executive committee of the Allendale being accused of lacking vision; their stated collective view is that Wimborne’s community centre has, by 2015, the potential to be ‘one of the best community centres in the country’ and ‘the best in our region’. This might seem a little like over-reaching, when one considers that the national economy is struggling to keep out of recession, that funding streams are drying up all over the place and that the local economy has been coping with various road closures. However, there are two reasons to be confident in this aim being turned from a belief into a reality: the people behind the organisation and the people of Wimborne itself. The Wimborne and District Community Association – the formal organisation behind The Allendale – elected a new board of trustees in 2010, which in turn formed a new Executive Committee to put into practice the aims of the board. An indication of the seriousness with which the new organisation took the challenge that face them was that they issued a

report on the progress that had been made after 100 days of their starting work; this is an activity more normally associated with the first flush of activity of newly minted American presidents than with community centres. Before we look at the plans, and indeed the challenges, which lie in store for The Allendale, and at what has been achieved so far in the grand threeyear plan, it is worth laying out precisely what The Allendale is. First and foremost it is a place where the community comes together; like most towns and indeed villages, actually ‘the community’ is a little bit of a misnomer. Wimborne is not one great bloc of people; rather it is a series of individual, but sometimes overlapping and interlinking groups. The centre provides space and facilities for these groups to meet and evidence as to its success with this regard is the incredibly busy events calendar, where public, social, charitable and private functions of all flavours are listed. These take place in the main Minster Hall (a large space with sprung floor and 37

The centre of Wimborne The centre as seen from the bridge to the adjacent car park

The new logos of The Allendale and the Waterside Café


proscenium arch stage, which is used for conferences, exhibitions, fashion shows, book fairs, antiques and craft fairs, music and art festivals, civic events, corporate hospitality, parties, dances and wedding receptions), the Quarterjack Suite (which has a maple wooden dance floor and suits smaller events, smaller exhibitions and fairs, meetings, wedding receptions and parties) and three meeting rooms – the Canford, Walford and Julian (which are suited to workshops meetings and seminars). Allied to what might be called the ‘spaces’ there are the facilities, primary amongst which is the Waterside Café, which in 2012, along with the first phase of changes to the riverside garden and patio, are all being refurbished. As the centre’s aims are (amongst others) to ‘advance education, social inclusion and welfare, and to support recreational and leisure-time activities,’ while ensuring that the ‘community centre is accessible to all’, it is clear that the Executive Committee’s aims are not merely to open up the hall for use by some, but for the possible use of all. To this end, a hearing loop is fitted in the Minster Hall, rooms are wheelchair accessible and a rolling programme of IT infrastructure upgrades is in place to ensure that there is internet access throughout the centre – including in the Waterside Café. The emerging use of IT in organisations of all stripes is recognised, amongst other ways, in the introduction of an online booking system, the acquisition and installation of digital presentation equipment and the upgrading of the centre’s computing resource generally. Whilst these changes, along with the re-branding from the Allendale Centre to The Allendale, may seem rather corporate in their outlook, the simple fact of the matter is that, in order to inculcate a new sense of belonging and to provide the backbone of technology that will keep the Allendale relevant to a broad range of users, these are significant changes. They are not the only improvement work that is being conducted, however. Both the main kitchen and the café kitchen have

been upgraded and, along with the redecoration of the reception and main corridors, the idea is that the new-look Allendale will not only be transformed in outlook, but also in usefulness and in how pleasant an experience it is to use. Another sign that this is no mere cosmetic re-branding is firstly that the last item on the committee’s timeline is to upgrade the external signage and lighting; in other words, they are not trumpeting the changes until they have actually happened. A more fundamental revision has been the appointment of Andy Bryant as Facilities and Bars Manager and James Waterfield as Catering Manager and Chef. By placing the food and drink facilities on a clearly professional footing, the Allendale should be able to offer its users much more than merely a room in which to meet. All of the above is made possible, in part, by money… and now is clearly a tricky time to be seeking funding. However, what marks out a community centre from a conference facility is the call it can make on volunteers, and these are clearly a trump card in the Allendale’s pack. Quite apart from the thousands of man hours which volunteers devote to the groups which meet at the Allendale, volunteers give generously both of their time and their money in order to allow the Allendale’s grand vision for itself to be completed. This generosity of spirit, so necessary for the Allendale’s desired thriving future, and so characteristic of the people of Wimborne in general, and in particular of those associated with the Allendale, is what augurs so well for the future of Wimborne’s community centre, its communities and groups and for the future of the town.

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We sell newspapers, fresh baked bread, greetings cards, general groceries, plus some speciality goods. We have a butchery selling our own “Rare Breeds Meat” raised on Cranborne Estate of which we are a part. We also sell “homemade” cakes and savouries both of which can be ordered for your special occasion.

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Dorset Lives

The personal touch John Newth has been discovering the history of Brian Dryden and what makes it such a successful Wimborne business It is appropriate that perhaps the most prestigious trading address in Wimborne, No. 1, The Square, is occupied by a business belonging to two born and bred Winburnians. Pat and Brian Dryden have known each other since they were 15, have been married for 46 years and have run their electrical business from the corner of the Square and West Borough since 1993. The business had rather more modest beginnings. On leaving school, Brian worked for Wimborne Radio in the High Street, where he learned electrical repairs and servicing, particularly of cleaners and washing machines; one local magazine referred to him as ‘Wimborne’s wizard of the washing machine’! Emboldened by such remarks about his reputation, and by Pat’s support, in 1975 he set up a workshop in what had been an outside privy at the family home in Lonnen Road, Colehill. It was a brave decision, as Pat and he had three small daughters at the time and they had to get a bank loan of £750 to pay for a van, toolbox, answerphone and stock of spares. ‘My Dad thought we were mad,’ remembers Pat now. As every small businessman discovers, skill, reputation and wifely support are all important, but the vital ingredient for success is many hours of hard work. So effectively did Brian put in those hours that he was able to expand cautiously into sales, his unlikely first showroom being a back room at Holt Post Office and Stores! The move was partly because manufacturers were at that time starting to give longer guarantees on their products, which affected the amount of servicing and repairs work. It proved a wise decision and in the early 1980s, the Drydens converted the double garage of their home in Lonnen Road into a showroom and took on their first employee to run it. Next came a shop in a new parade of retail premises opposite the library in West Moors as the business began to take off. It was Pat who first spotted that No. 1, The Square, was available because the then tenants, Portman Building Society, were moving to the other side of

the Square. In those days building societies looked like offices rather than shops, so the premises had small windows. East Dorset planners took a dim view of the Drydens’ wish to instal large shop windows but

Pat and Brian Dryden pictured in May 2012

The Drydens’ store has the iconic location of No. 1, The Square


Bryan and Pat photographed in their first year in the store at No. 1 The Square during a Wimborne Town Chamber of Trade ‘Victorian Christmas’ event twenty years ago


changed their mind for two reasons: first, the Drydens’ architect pointed out that this would limit potential tenants to bookies or sex shops; and second, the Priest’s House Museum found an early 20th-century photo of the building, showing it with enormous shop windows. Planning permission was granted without any more fuss! Briefly, the business had three shops, but the one in Colehill reverted to being a garage and the West Moors showroom was closed when the manager retired. At No. 1 The Square, the shop consisted initially of only what is now the front part; about five years after the Drydens arrived, it was extended back up West Borough when Saville Travel moved across to the High Street. When Pat and Brian’s generation was growing up, towns like Wimborne had many shops, often family-run, which were based on personal service and a wide range of stock. The retail landscape has changed radically, but the Drydens make no apologies for maintaining values which today might seem old-fashioned. Brian sums up the key ones: ‘Level of service, product knowledge, reliability, genuine courtesy and dealing with the boss – people like to

know that the man down on his knees installing their appliance is also the one with ultimate responsibility for the whole business.’ This philosophy extends to the way they treat their staff, most of whom stay for an impressively long time. As Pat puts it, ‘We’re a family business, we’re all equal, we all get on and we all help each other.’ Such an approach may be morally commendable, but it does not necessarily help a business to make the profit that is essential for its survival. A key to the Brian Dryden operation is its membership of Euronics, a buying organisation which ensures that small electrical businesses can look for prices from manufacturers that enable them to compete on level terms with the chains in their massive sheds on retail parks and business estates. The retailer deals direct with the manufacturer but pays Euronics, to whom an annual membership fee is also payable. ‘We couldn’t survive without it,’ says Brian. By virtue of their time working in the town, the Drydens have become senior members of Wimborne’s business community, and Brian has been closely involved with the Chamber of Trade. He is a committed member of Rotary and has taken the lead in the raising of funds in Wimborne for shelter boxes. Each of these contains a tent, a source of heat for warmth and cooking, and other essentials for survival. After any natural disaster anywhere in the world, Rotary sends out boxes, which play a major part in lessening the after-effects of, for example, an earthquake or tsunami. The initiative was started to mark the millennium and, thanks to the generous support of local people and organisations, Wimborne has provided over a hundred of the boxes, which now cost almost £600 each. The Drydens are also well-placed to judge the economic health of Wimborne and are bullish about its prospects, despite the recent blows of the High Street fire, the Canford Bridge closure, the works at Canford Bottom and the upheaval caused right outside their front door by the pedestrianisation of the Square, which they think will be a major improvement when it is finished. They were in favour of the coming of Waitrose and are convinced that ‘it has brought a new level of business to the town.’ Even if their support for some of the decisions taken in connection with the Wimborne BID is qualified at best, they believe that it must be given a fair chance to succeed. Brian Dryden, although he has no formal qualifications and is severely dyslexic, is a natural businessman and living proof that the most important qualities needed for success are commonsense and a willingness to work all hours. Pat’s role, as well as bringing up the family, has been to look after the business’s finances, but she has done much more than that, acting as both a support and a source of wise advice as the business has grown. Together, they make a partnership which is even stronger than the sum of its parts, and which continues to enjoy deserved success.






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Wimborne’s historic heart Deans Court has been a part of Wimborne for 1000 years. Lorraine Gibson visited it to see what its current guardians have planned For many historic houses, the secret to their survival often lies in embracing the unique characteristics of their past and melding them with 21st-century activities. Deans Court, one of Dorset’s most idyllic private homes situated a stone’s throw from Wimborne Minster, is a fine example of this brand of adapting to the present by recognising the powerful allure of the past. Take for example its recently-launched veg basket Scheme. A variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, all grown from scratch in the house’s original old walled gardens, are now used to stock baskets for a growing bunch of regular customers who collect them (by appointment) straight from the estate on Friday afternoons. These are proving popular, not just because the contents tick the fresh and organic boxes, but because they can also lay claim to having that all-important, eco-friendly, zero-carbon footprint, so desired by today’s conscientious consumer. Going a step further, couples can pledge their troth in Dean Court’s enchanting surroundings through bespoke marriage ceremonies that hark back to more genteel times and a pair of old 18th-century gardeners’ cottages have now been sympatheticallyrestored to offer holiday rentals with oodles of period detail combined with a load of mod cons. The latest old-meets-new venture is the restoration of their 1930s squash court into a home and garden shop selling furniture made using oak from the estate plus antiques, vintage items, recreated pieces, linens, retro and industrial furniture and chic, utilitarian homewares ranging from soaps to sofas. The elegant Georgian-fronted house, originating from the 11th century, with its ancient gardens, complete with Saxon fishpond fed by a chalk trout stream, an apiary, orchard, herb garden, mature specimen trees and an old kitchen garden with a quirky ‘crinkle-crankle’ or serpentine wall, has been owned by the same family for nearly 500 years.

The imposing house at Deans Court

As well as being an unsurprisingly popular choice of wedding venue, it also hosts courses, guided tours and a programme of cultural events. And for anyone hankering after an extended taste of the good life in an authentic period estate, as well as those newlyrefurbished cottages, there is also a selection of residential lettings available. During the house tour, which lends itself well to groups ranging from 15 to 45 people, the fascinating, 1,000-year-spanning story of a manor house right at the centre of a rural Dorset community, as it passed from the Saxon Church to the Hanhams, a family of adventurers, politicians, churchmen and soldiers, is brought to life by Sir William and Lady Hanham. Tales of the triumphs and tragedies of their ancestors and former inhabitants are recounted using the gallery of portraits to illustrate, and the architecture, taste and social history of the place are explored en route. The tour of the gardens is a delight to the eye, from the monastic fishpond, herb garden and mature specimen trees to the aforementioned serpentine walls snaking sinuously around the kitchen garden. The six-monthrestoration of the estate’s gardeners’ cottages has been the Hanham family’s most recent development. No doubt in a nod to their orchard setting, they are named Apple and

One of the hidden places in Deans Court which gives it its sense of romance


Wimborne’s historic heart

A pair of cottages for ‘casual chic’ getaway holidays

The crinkle-crankle, or serpentine, wall

Deans Court is an advocate of local fresh produce, as evidenced by its veg basket scheme

Theatre The grounds will be opened up from Thursday 28 – 30 June for the Open Air Theatre performance of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night by Wimborne Drama who return with this much-loved comedy of cross-dressing, mistaken identities, unrequited love and drunken revelry. Tickets £10. www. Veg baskets The Essential Basket: contains the interesting varieties, without the main crops i.e. potatoes, carrots and onions from £10 The Complete Basket: contains the home grown interesting varieties, plus a selection of main crops sourced from the estate’s favourite, local, chemical-free producers from £13


Plum and, while retaining their historical roots, they now represent a couple of ‘casual chic’ getaways on a country estate flanked by orchards and organic vegetable gardens, which the owners hope will prove holiday catnip to today’s discerning breed of ‘staycationers’ who can check in, take a drink – or a sketchpad – to the terrace and enjoy views of the Minster while listening to the sounds of distant cricket matches and the birds over Stour Meadows. Exposed stonework reflects the 13th-century origins of these Georgian buildings, which originally made up a medieval grain barn, and clean-lined interiors with brick walls washed in porcelain white, create a rustic yet contemporary canvas for the original oils and vintage chairs dotted about the place. Bedrooms have lovely meadow views and the modern ‘country’ kitchens lead to a private garden lined with fruit trees, a peaceful setting crying out for alfresco dining. Apple Cottage has an inglenook fireplace, Plum Cottage an elm table that seats ten, so large parties could take both cottages jointly. An extra Swallows and Amazons touch comes in the shape of a snug, two-person yurt in the adjoining orchard that is thrown in with the price. But it’s the growing of delicious food straight from Mother Earth that Deans Court is so good at. All the produce is grown in the gardens, without the use of pesticides or fertilisers, by a team of passionate horticulturalists who nurture plants from seed to basket, concentrating on interesting and often unusual vegetable varieties. For the veg baskets, everything is picked on the same day it is collected. Working in tandem with nature’s growing seasons, the team grows more than 60 types of fruit and veg, favouring certain varieties for their superior taste rather than for their yield. For those interested in new ingredients to cook with, this is the place to come, as, throughout the year, they offer unusual varieties, such as the exotic-sounding scorzonera (a sort of long, thin carroty-looking salsify once believed to be efficacious in the treatment of bubonic plague), globe artichokes and tomatillos. And if it’s provenance you crave, then you can go along and meet the team and take a look at where your vegetables are grown. Along with the garden provisions, shoppers can stock up on other estate-produced foods such as organic eggs, honey, preserves, apple juice and herbs. Being beautiful as well as bountiful, the gardens regularly end up as the focal point for Deans Court weddings, too, as English garden ceremonies, designed from scratch, with tailor-made marquees, ‘surprising’ touches, and a personally-dedicated kitchen team, are proving a big hit with couples. Throughout the year Deans Court is also the venue of choice for a selection of outdoor events, including festivals, open-air theatre productions, markets, horticultural shows, open-air dining and various charitable days for the likes of the National Garden Scheme. A nice example of reaping what you sow.

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Bagpipes, bears and bands Priest’s House Museum Trust

Keith Eldred relates an 1890s schoolboy's view of entertainment in Wimborne


n his unpublished memoir of his Wimborne childhood, Henry Joyce gives a graphic description of life at the turn of the 20th century. Henry Stanley Joyce was born of a well-to-do family in Rowlands Hill in Wimborne in 1883. He was a pupil at the Grammar School and went on to a career with the National Provincial Bank, but country life was in his blood; he wrote a number of books based on his experiences and was highly regarded as a writer. His book about growing up as a boy in Wimborne was never published, though, but fortunately the draft survived. In it he describes the various forms of entertainment which brightened up the lives of Wimborne citizens at the time. There was quite a lot of it, too: apart from the football and cricket teams, there were many casual visiting musicians, acrobats and other street entertainers. From time to time the Town Hall would be taken by a travelling theatrical party for the week. They could generally be relied on to present melodramas of the blood and thunder variety with lurid posters to match. The Joyce children were not allowed to attend any of these performances, as their mother considered them to be trash! The audiences consisted largely of those in domestic service and shop assistants, and in the circles in which the Joyce family moved it was considered not quite the thing to be seen there. One form of entertainment which the children were allowed to watch was the Myriorama. This only came to the town on rare occasions and was very popular. It consisted of a sort of travelling variety act supporting a series of scenic tableaux. It had a very good reputation and its programmes were all carefully censored so that nothing in the least offensive should appear in them. The scenery and lighting were the chief feature of the show and a lot of ingenuity was used to produce the best effects. Much of the scenery was used in many different capacities. A local scene was always sure to bring the house down – for example ‘Sunset on the Stour’, a charming effect of water with trees in silhouette against a flaming red sky, would always provoke a storm of applause. This was in spite of the fact that palm trees could clearly be seen above the willow. In towns without a river it was probably presented as ‘Sunset over the Amazon’. In those days there was quite a lot of free entertainment in the town. Travelling street musicians were a common sight. There was an old harpist and his fiddler companion who generally appeared on a Friday either in the Square or in the broad part of the High Street. Their music was of quite a high standard and they were well known by the local folk. Few would pass without contributing a copper or two. The children particularly loved the organ-grinders, not so much for the music but for the monkey which almost always accompanied them. The children were

The Wimborne cricket team of around 1900. Only one cricketer does not wear a moustache.

so eager to feed the monkeys that it is doubtful that the man ever had to spend much on food for them. Women organ-grinders usually had a cage of budgerigars. If you paid a penny, a bird would pick out from a drawer beneath the cage a printed card that would tell your fortune. It was always something pleasant and written in such a way that it could apply to almost anyone. These people were usually of the gypsy type, with rings in their ears, brightly coloured scarves and swarthy complexions; many were Italians. Sometimes they were accompanied by a dancing girl playing a tambourine, which she would also use as a tray to collect money from the audience. German bands were frequently seen – we would call them oompah bands these days. They were of quite a high standard and would stay in the town for about a week. Apart from playing in the streets of the town, they would also visit private houses in the area. There were visiting tumblers, jugglers and a fire-eating coloured gentleman who came regularly but only stayed for a day or two. In contrast, the pavement artist would remain for at least a week before moving on. The length of their stay was governed very much by the weather at the time. Sometimes a visiting potter would set up his wheel and demonstrate his skill. People were fascinated to see the clay take shape under his hands as his foot worked the treadle to power the turntable. There were street traders, or cheap-jacks as they

The Wimborne Pierrots at the Victoria Hall in 1910


Priest’s House Museum Trust

One of the visiting bands who delighted the residents of Wimborne in Henry Joyce’s childhood days. In the front rank are bandsmen with a helicon, baritone, tenor horn and euphonium. Note the old gentleman in a bath chair who has managed to get himself into the picture!

The staff of Bond the saddler outside the Wimborne premises in about 1902. The gentleman on the left was ‘Holy Joe’, who toured the town singing hymns.


were known then, offering all kinds of bits and pieces, knives, watches, mouth-organs and many other glittering items to attract the passer-by. They could be found by Eastbrook Bridge, particularly on a Saturday evening, when the town would be filled with workmen with their wives and families. The older men were difficult to persuade but the young men proved rather more gullible and spent their money more readily. Sometimes, if trade was somewhat slow, a special offer would be made. The salesman would suddenly say, ‘I’ll tell you what I’ll do, I’ll sell this watch, real silver, jewels in all its works (and here he would hold up the watch to catch the light, opening the case to show the sparkling interior) and I’ll put it with this golden half-sovereign. You can have the lot for five shillings! Anyone give five shillings for a silver watch and a gold half-sovereign?’ The watch and the coin were soon sold and then trade would generally start to pick up. Of course, it may have been that the person who bought the watch was in league with the cheap-jack – who knows? Performing bears were sometimes seen on the streets of Wimborne. They were usually accompanied by two men, one who played concertina while the other looked after the bear. The bear’s performance generally consisted of a jig while standing on its hind legs. Bears were supposed to come from Russia, so the men were always described as Russians: they had dark skin, black hair and large black moustaches. They would perform at private houses in the residential part of the town but their performances in the town itself were limited because of the danger to horses.

Horses have an instinctive fear of bears and the smell of one was enough to upset a nervous horse. A horse in panic was a very real danger in a crowded street. During the spring and autumn, a very popular entertainment was the Punch and Judy show. In the summer, most Punch and Judy shows had a pitch somewhere on the sands at a seaside resort; in Wimborne they could usually be found either in the Square or by Eastbrook Bridge. Another source of amusement and enjoyment for both adults and children was the visit of the one-man band. His outfit was a cap with bells for his head, pan-pipes or a harmonica for his mouth, a concertina to keep his hands busy, drumsticks for his elbows (the drum being carried on his back), cymbals on top of the drum played by a cord attached to one heel and a triangle also attached to a cord to the other. It wasn’t always easy to recognise the tunes which he played, but you had to admire the amount of effort and energy needed to keep the show going for even a few minutes. At the height of his performance he must have looked like a man with a ferret down his

Mr Burchell, an itinerant entertainer who was a familiar sight around Wimborne at the turn of the last century

trousers and a couple of hornets in his shirt! On other occasions a Scots piper would parade through the street playing the bagpipes. The sound of this instrument wasn’t always to everyone’s taste, but the swing of his kilt and sight of his traditional costume always attracted attention. After the harvest every year, a small fair would be set up in Sheppard’s Field, close to Walford Bridge. There would be roundabouts and various other small shows and they would be there for one or two weeks. The fair was always well patronised and all social barriers seemed to disappear. You might meet anyone there – from your neighbour’s housemaid out with her young man to the family of one of the local doctors. As the field was hardly more than half a mile from the Joyces’ house, the music of the organ could clearly be heard – a source of great pleasure to young Master Joyce as he lay in bed. • This article was first published in April 2008 in Dorset Life - The Dorset Magazine






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