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Showing posts from September, 2021

Wend-al Toys of Blandford

These days most toys seem to be made in China. Yet 70 years ago, some very fine toys were made in Blandford. Wend-al was a Blandford company which was a highly regarded maker of aluminium toy figures. Edgar Kehoe was its founder. Immediately after World War II he was looking for a business opportunity. Travelling in France, he discovered his opportunity in the town of Luxeuil-les-Bains where a company named Quirala was making die cast aluminium figures. At the time, lead was more commonly used in the manufacture of toy figures. This company, located in the French region of Bourgogne-Franche-Compte, did not use lead but solid aluminium. Quirala was a combination of the company founder’s surname Quirin and the word aluminium. Edgar Kehoe realised that solid aluminium was stronger and lighter than lead and would not break. As a consequence, he struck up a deal to use French moulds and so production began in Blandford in 1946. He opened his factory in the former Blandford Isolation Hospita

Blandford Throwback Facts VI

          In 1759 , John Ayliffe, who had a house built in East Street, was executed for forgery at Tyburn in London. In 1760 , Dr Dansey was paid six pounds and six shillings (£6.30p) for cutting off Samuel Tucker’s leg. In 1 761 , the Court of Records in London threatened to fine Blandford forty shillings (£2) if the pillory, sixty shillings (£3) if the stocks and five pounds if the pound were not all immediately put into good repair. In 1762 , highwayman John Poulter, with five companions, stole items of gold and silver from the Crown Hotel which they took onto London. In 1766 , a ticket on the horse drawn ‘ Blandford Flying Machine’ cost twenty-five shillings (£1.25p) and it took two days to travel from Blandford to London. In 1769 , fines were imposed on a number of Blandford householders for throwing filth into the streets. In 1770 , a cockfighting contest was held between the gentlemen of Dorset and Wiltshire in the Red Lion Inn. In 1771 , the Sergeant at Arms and the Clerk w

Durweston's Early Aussie Teacher

Born in 1811, Frances Jeans was one of Australia’s earliest teachers. In the villages Durweston and Stourpaine there were several Jeans families. At this time, Stourpaine had a particularly unsavoury reputation for unsanitary living conditions and extreme poverty. The Hampshire Telegraph was to write in 1840 of the village: ‘The first feature which attracts the attention of a stranger entering the village is the total want of cleanliness which pervades it. A stream, composed of the matter which constantly escapes from the pigsties and other receptacles of filth, meanders down each street, being here and there collected into standing pools, which lie festering and rotting in the sun so as to create wonder the place is not the continual abode of pestilence – indeed the most malignant fevers have ravaged here at times. It may be sufficient to add for the present that the inside of the cottages in every respect corresponds with the external appearances of the place.’ In October 1836, Franc


  Blandford’s town council has been giving away free land! Sadly, this is not Blandford, Dorset but in Saint-Louis-de-Blandford which can be found just about an hour’s drive to the south-west of Quebec City, Canada. Despite being mainly French speaking, the small Saint-Louis-de-Blandford town of around 900 people was still named after Blandford in Dorset. To discourage Saint-Louis-de-Blandford’s young and not so young residents from moving away to the city the municipality acquired land which it has been giving away. Applicants have to put down a $1,000  payment and then to commit to build a house worth at least $125,000 within a year. The town then refunds the down payment. Saint-Louis-de-Blandford is well-known for growing excellent cranberries and is regarded as Canada’s capital for this fruit. The town enjoys a proper continental climate of warm summers but the winters are exceedingly cold. If there was a competition for the countries with the most Blandfords then Canada would win