Town hall’s century of civic pride

As Bournemouth prepares to join its civic neighbours Christchurch and Poole in the BCP unitary council, what part its largely Victorian town hall will play in the new era is yet to be decided.

After the fire: Ferndown & Parley Commons

For years Ferndown Common will bear the marks of the fire that devastated thirteen hectares of its internationally important habitats last July. In its immediate aftermath it looked like a war zone, a wasteland, but slowly the carbonised gorse and blackened sand will be reclaimed and the first flush of bracken could be seen this summer.

Captain Grumpy & the Happy Hooker

Staring down the throat of a storm battling waves the size of houses and raging winds to match would force many to at least question the wisdom of fishing for a living, but not Ian and Annie Gilbert – perhaps that’s why their fifteen-year career as commercial fishers is as long as their marriage, almost to the day.

A monumental task in Swanage

Moves to resurrect a ‘lost’ memorial to Prince Albert could see an important part of Swanage heritage on public view once again in time for the bicentenary next year of both Queen Victoria and her beloved Consort. The Purbeck stone obelisk was built at the top of Court Hill on the High Street in December Read More…

Honour bound?

‘Perhaps the people of Dorset have no greater reserves of grit, spirit and honour than those of any other county, but if you wanted one man who embodied those qualities and more then you need look no further than Mike Lees.’ In any other circumstances a writer describing a character from his latest book would Read More…

Conquer loneliness to fight scams

‘Until we conquer loneliness we will never stop the financial scamming of vulnerable older people by criminals.’ That’s the stark message from the country’s leading expert on scamming Professor Keith Brown, Director of the National Centre for Professional Practice (NCPP) at Bournemouth University.  And as Dorset Community Foundation’s ‘Hidden Dorset II’ report reveals one in Read More…

Forged in Dorset

Little has changed about the blacksmith’s work since the second millennium BCE when ancient Hittites first discovered that iron ore could be forged and tempered to make tools. ‘That’s what I love about this,’ says two-times British champion blacksmith Simon Grant-Jones over a flagon of tea in the kitchen of his Sutton Poyntz home. ‘When Read More…

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…