Skip to main content


Showing posts from May, 2021

Blandford Pubs, Inns & Hostelries

At one time there were around 20 pubs in Blandford including the Star , East Street - right next to Charlie Collier, the butcher's shop. Some of the town’s pubs, inns & hostelries were/are the: Badger – at the junction of Park Road and Salisbury Road, built in 1899. Bell – in the Market Place. In the early 1800s, horse drawn carriages left here regularly for London, Exeter & Bristol. Black Bear – in Salisbury Street. A local clergyman bought this pub and converted it into Coffee Rooms. Blue Boar – in East Street. This once belonged to Marston’s Dolphin Brewery in Poole. Castle - in Bryanston Street. Formerly the Black Dog , It was owned in turn by Durweston brewer, Godwins, then Hall & Woodhouse and finally by Blandford brewer, John Lewis Marsh. Crown & Anchor – in West Street. Previously known as the Cock & George when it was famous for its cockerel fighting. Name was changed in the 1840s when cockerel fighting became illegal. Crown – Has bee

'Only Here for the Beer!'

Blandford has always been associated with brewing beer. With iconic brands, both ancient and modern such as Tanglefoot and Stingo, Badger Beers come immediately to mind.  Yet, there have been local brewers other than Hall & Woodhouse. John Lewis Marsh was not an upmarket department store but the owner of a brewery based in Bryanston Street. Marsh was a Londoner, born in Clerkenwell and the landlord of the Kings Arms in White Cliff Mill Street, who diversified into brewing. The business traded successfully for half a century until it closed in 1938. Marsh was keen on advertising. However, he was aware not everyone in the town was an admirer of his products. There were those Blandford folk who believed in alcoholic abstinence and that its excesses undermined and damaged family life. So Marsh produced an advertisement claiming that excessive tea drinking was ‘more harmful than malt and hop beers in moderation.’ The publicity also quoted former Prime Minister, William Ewart Gladstone

'Pants & Corsets!'

Wilts & Dorset double-decker buses were red and Hants & Dorset double-decker buses were green and both companies operated in Blandford. This was during an era when there was a proper bus network in Dorset. Bus timetables rarely changed from year to year and apart from Summer Saturdays there were few problems of traffic congestion in the county. With their open platforms at the rear, each double-decker had both a driver and a conductor. Between Salisbury and Weymouth via Dorchester there was a daily (no.34) hourly service operated jointly by Wilts & Dorset and Weymouth based, Southern National. Blandford’s bus station could be found just south of the Salisbury Road railway bridge and right next to a fish & chips shop. Hants & Dorset ran two routes to Bournemouth. One from Blandford was via Corfe Mullen ( 10) while the other (24 ), originating from Shaftesbury, journeyed via Blandford and Wimborne to Bournemouth. However, the latter took an interminably long time to

‘Bere Regis & Risket’

                                                                          Bere Re gis & District Motor Services was a privately owned company that operated between 1929 and 1995. Its brown coloured coaches, known as the ‘ Brown Bombers’ were a familiar sight around Blandford for many years. From its depot in East Street, the company offered its bargain basement-priced coach trips. Mystery tours were a popular Bere Regis speciality when customers would be taken to an unknown destination by a route that was designed to confuse. The aim was to leave the passenger’s discovery of the journey’s end to as late in the trip as possible. A lady from Blandford, who worked as a glove maker, decided to take a well-earned week’s holiday in Bournemouth. As a treat, she booked herself on a Bere Regis mystery tour. After a circuitous journey along Dorset’s highways and byways she finally realised her day’s treat involved a trip back to her home town of Blandford. So, she returned to her home in

Tom Cox - Handsome Highwayman

Tom Cox, the son of a Blandford gentleman, was known as the ‘ handsome highwayman. ’ With a colourful life, his story had all the ingredients for a Hollywood adventure film. When his father died he was left some money which he soon squandered. So to fund his high living lifestyle, he took up highway robbery. Near Shepton Mallet, he met Killigrew who was the court jester to King Charles II. Killigrew had been given licence by the King to mock and revile even the most prominent in the land without penalty. Nevertheless, Tom ordered Killigrew to ‘ stand and deliver. ’ ‘ You must be joking’ was the jester’s reply to which Tom retorted: ‘Nay, I am in earnest for though you live by jesting, I cannot. So deliver your money before a brace of balls makes the sun shine through your body!’ Three times in Gloucester, Winchester and Worcester, Tom Cox was tried for highway robbery. Thanks to his charm and silver tongue, he was acquitted. A moneyed lady in Worcester was so besotted that she

Blandford Throwback Facts I

  In 1603 , it cost sixpence (2p) to send a message from Blandford to Tarrant Gunville, eight pence (3p) to Shroton and one shilling (5p) to Poole or Wareham.   A hogshead (66 gallons) of best beer together with two barrels of ‘other’ cost one pound five shillings and sixpence (£1.27p). In 1605 , King James I granted Blandford a Charter of Incorporation. In 1614 , Blandford paid one shilling and four pence (6p) for a bottle of claret to be presented to His Majesty’s judges. In 1615 , King James lodged in Blandford on his way to Corfe Castle. In 1617 , the town paid nine shillings and four pence (46p) to purchase wood to set up a gallows in the Marsh. In 1638 , headmaster Mr Gardner claimed that Blandford School was the most eminent academy for the education of gentleman in the entire West of England. In 1640 , future antiquarian, John Aubrey became a boarder at Blandford School. In 1643 , parliamentarian Sir William Waller and his soldiers visited the town and fined it