Fred Karno, man of Poole

In his heyday he was one of the biggest names in showbusiness, perhaps the biggest, responsible for discovering Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel. His companies toured all over the world, British troops in the trenches of World War 1 sang about him and Hollywood comedy mogul Hal Roach proclaimed him a ‘genius… who originated slapstick Read More…

Where creativity counters cancer

From the moment the door opens there’s an unforced welcome that not only greets the newcomer but uplifts as well. The Purbeck Workshop is a small space that has seen more than its share of tears shed, but it certainly feels good to be there.  Offering a creative distraction from the exigencies of living with Read More…

Apprentices are Superior in every respect

To the untutored eye the main office at Superior looks like the future has arrived early – after a single buzz, the door pushes open to reveal a light, airy, desk-less foyer and a screen welcoming the visitor by name. In the moment it takes to grasp this a member of staff appears and the Read More…

Purbeck is quite enough

There have been Bonds in Purbeck since 1472 when Somerset farmer William Bond leased land at Lutton. His descendants acquired land at Tyneham before Nathaniel Bond bought Creech Grange in the 1680s to establish impressive seats that within thirty years were joined by East Holme, bought by his son Denis. Tyneham was requisitioned during World Read More…

Raising saddles

Imagine making shoes and clothes for someone who is unable to communicate how they fit, whether they are comfortable or how it feels to wear them. Welcome to the world of the saddler… ‘Once upon a time a time people would throw any old saddle on a horse and any old tack and expect it Read More…

The rocky horologist’s show

When it comes to time, as with so much else, accuracy is everything, but sometimes perfection is simply the point at which something just feels right. Simon Allen of the Clock Work Shop at Abbotsbury is explaining why the precision tolerances achieved by the best engineers do not necessarily make them great clockmakers. ‘If you Read More…

Friendly Society that reached around the world

This month marks the 185th anniversary of the Friendly Society of Agricultural Labourers. Today the name is all but forgotten yet it is a landmark in the development of the trades union movement. Formed to right a vindictive wrong it ended up costing its founders almost everything. Towards the end of October 1833 the men Read More…

Heritage craftsman Terry’s wheels of feel

With swallows flying overhead, a chicken scratching at the floor and the sounds of not very much passing by outside, wheelwright Terry Jenkins is immersed in the peace of his woody world. ‘It’s not always like this,’ he says. ‘I have the lathe on or what have you and it’s noisy, but there’s no need Read More…

Beasts of burden – heavy horses in Dorset

Few creatures embody both gentleness and power like the horse – a duality that is most striking in the heavy horse. For a thousand years it has been both warhorse and workhorse, faithfully doing man’s bidding, often to the point of its own demise. Long since superseded by technology, replaced by tanks on the battlefield Read More…

Shell Bay Cafe – perfect spot for tea and sea

Skirted by soft sandy beaches and marram grass-topped dunes, not even the intrusion of the road to Studland and the queue of traffic waiting for the Sandbanks chain ferry can spoil the serenity of South Haven Point. Seen through modern eyes it is an obvious spot for a place of refreshment – a function fulfilled Read More…