What if The Beatles had never formed?

The runaway success of American stars like Frank Sinatra, Johnny Ray and Elvis Presley ensured that by 1957 Britain’s teenage market for short, catchy songs delivered by handsome men was firmly established and clamouring for home grown talent. But if a 16-year-old tearaway from Liverpool called John Lennon had decided not to enlist the services Read More…

Picture perfect – Weymouth’s camera man

A dozen or so cardboard boxes, many without lids, sit on shelves at Dorset History Centre waiting to surrender their secrets. They contain some 7000 packets of negatives that effectively constitute the last 30 years of photographer Graham Herbert’s working career in and around Weymouth – an important visual record of everyday life from a Read More…

Wimborne Minster pipes up

Some of their voices have spoken for Wimborne Minster for more than 350 years, others for barely 50, but there is no doubt that the Minster’s collection of organ pipes is among the finest, most historically important of its size in the country. The earliest date from 1664 and were made by Robert Hayward of Read More…

Tyneham after 75 years of the Army

The world has changed more in the 75 years since anyone last lived in Tyneham than it had done for hundreds of years before. Even so, the village’s declining population following World War 1 had already seen the school close in 1932 and in the months before the evacuation, the introduction of tractors to Tyneham Read More…

Tony Hancock, the Lad and Dorset

‘Tony Hancock ended his life in such tragic circumstances that it seems to be forgotten he was once a young man filled with a young man’s hopes and dreams and aspirations and with his whole life before him,’ says Lyn Phillips who, writing as LM Evans, has published Tony Hancock: The Bournemouth Connection. ‘I wanted Read More…

Blandford Forum, fire town

As an accidental fire gutted Blandford’s historic Old Brewery in March this year, the townsfolk might well have contemplated the catastrophe that befell their forebears some 287 years ago. For if ever a town was shaped by fire it is Blandford Forum where, on 4 June 1731, almost 90 per cent of its buildings were Read More…

Arts for all our sakes

The National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies was founded 50 years ago. Now rebranded as the Arts Society, its membership is made up of local and regional societies formed by people who share a passion for the broad range of arts and are curious to find out more about artistic heritage. Dorset’s various Read More…

Britain’s oldest charity – ‘We’re allowed a few quirks!’

Just over St Catherine’s Hill, beyond the River Itchen traffic flashes by bound for who knows where on the noisome, noisy M3, but less than a mile away it’s barely audible. Indeed, all that motorised mayhem seems a very long way from the gently ordered serenity of the Hospital of St Cross and Almshouse of Read More…

Copper-bottomed craftsman

It is hard and mucky work but what emerges from the heat and the dirt could and, indeed does, grace the finest tables in the land. For the gently spoken alchemist who emerges from his well-ordered workshop tucked away at the back of an industrial estate in Sturminster Marshall is Nick Stevenson, Her Majesty’s tinsmith. Read More…

The heart of Mudeford

All things must change but change doesn’t always happen overnight. Just ask the members of the former Mudeford Men’s Club as it celebrates its ninetieth year – despite welcoming women since the 1950s it’s only three years since the ‘men-only’ rule in its second bar was abolished and The Mudeford Club adopted as its more Read More…