May 2017

Our next talk

On Thursday 25th May, David Smith will give a talk on ‘Beatrice, a Kingston Lacy Housemaid.’ David Smith, a former warden on the estate tells the story of a servant girl in the early 1900s. Having received more than a basic education, Beatrice’s diaries tell the story of life in a big country house at that time. David is an excellent and enthusiastic speaker who gave a talk a few years ago on the history of the Estate. This time we are moving from the broad-brush history to the personal level.

2018 Programme

We are now putting together our programme of talks for next year. Most years we manage to involve a village resident to give a talk. If anybody has researched their family history and has unearthed some curious, interesting or unexpected stories from their research that others may be interested to hear, perhaps you could let us know. If you are daunted at the prospect of being the only person on the bill for an evening, we could aim for two or three shorter presentations. Don’t be shy.

Chalke Valley History Festival

I know that a number of people have previously visited this annual celebration of history which is only about an hour’s drive away this side of Salisbury. This year’s festival runs from 26th June to 2nd July and has the usual sprinkling of famous names amongst the speakers, including Chris Patten, Andrew Marr, Dan Snow, Suzannah Lipscomb, Tom Holland, Paddy Ashdown, Bettany Hughes and Michael Wood amongst many other well-known names. Look on their website at or contact the box office on 01722 781133.

Windrose Rural Media Trust

The evening in April was attended by over 100 people. The proceedings were recorded and the conversations involving Jane Stannard, Fred Horsington and Will Best sharing recollections of life and farming in the valley will become part of our archive and available for viewing again at some future time.

Visit to Wells

Round about now, you should be receiving a hard copy of the booking form for the outing to Wells on 10th July. This is being arranged jointly with Cerne Abbas Society for Horticulture. The cost for the coach and entrance fee to the Bishop’s Palace (which includes buildings and extensive gardens) is £19 for members. There is also an optional guided tour of the Cathedral at an extra £5.70. People will have the chance to explore the City, the centre of which is quite small and centred around the Cathedral. We hope this will prove to be a popular outing and places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Mike Clark, Chair


April 2017

Our Project with WINDROSE Rural Media Trust

Here is an update on this event. As previously mentioned, to give this evening a local focus, we have invited Will Best and Fred Horsington, who have long experience of farming in the valley, along with Jane Stannard, who has lived in Godmanstone for 70 years, to share some of their recollections of life in times gone by. The audience will have the opportunity to ask questions and to share their own memories. Tickets have been on sale at £7 (to include a glass of wine or soft drink) from Cerne Stores for a week and are already selling.

In more detail the films being shown are:

On the farming theme:

Winter on the Farm

A professionally made film showing winter work on a farm near Loders in West Dorset during the Second World War.

Wimborne Market in 1945

This captures a morning at a small livestock market during the dying days of the war. It also reflects the fading of tradition in rural communities.

Last Day at Sturminster Newton Market

By way of contrast, this film shows what was happening to Dorset’s markets in the 1990s. It shows the very last day of Sturminster Market and encapsulates the feelings of some of its long-term users.

The Binder

Retired farmer Jack Dimond talks about some home movies he had of an old binder that he and his father used in the 1950s. He still had the binder and so Windrose set out to film him explaining how it worked to provide some footage to go with the original films. It quickly turned out that Jack was also a natural story teller.

Village Life

Blandford Coronation Celebrations 1937

In common with many towns, Blandford staged its own celebrations around the coronation of George V1. The local cinema commissioned a film of those events.

Symondsbury Village 1930s

The result of someone taking a camera into their village and filming everyday life as it goes on. The film features local trades, school, village cricket, a shoot and a section titled ‘tea and politics.

Bridport Railway

A journey along the Bridport to Maiden Newton branch line just before it closed in the 1970s.

Compton Martin 1940s

To Somerset for another village portrait. This film has been included because it captures everyday village life in a particularly atmospheric and touching way.

Charlie Wills

Filmed in the 1960s, this features one of Dorset’s most renowned traditional singers in his 94th year.

Our Next Talk – 27th April

Jeremy Pope will talk on ‘Dorchester and it Brewery: The Life and Times of Eldridge Pope. He spent 40 years with the family firm, rising to become chief executive before his retirement. A Dorset man, Jeremy Pope has lived and worked in the county all his life, except for his time at university.

Joint Visit With CASH to Wells

The Historical and Horticultural Societies are joining forces to arrange a combined visit to Wells on 10th July. There will be the opportunity to enjoy the extensive grounds at the Bishop’s Palace, to take a tour of the Palace and the Cathedral and to explore this small city and its history. Booking forms will be available in due course so please book the date.


Mike Clark, Chair