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Showing posts from December, 2021

Del boy, Dorset & a Chandelier

  Del boy, Rodney and Grandad, from the comedy series Only Fools & Horses, are normally associated with Peckham, South London. Yet one of their most memorable scenes was filmed at Iwerne Minster in North Dorset. The December 1982 programme ‘ A Touch of Glass’ attracted over 10 million television viewers. It is frequently regarded as Only Fools & Horses’ fans favourite scene of the show. Derek Trotter had been given the job of cleaning a valuable glass chandelier at country mansion, Ridgemore Hall. With Del and Rodney up ladders, and only an old sheet between the priceless chandelier and the floor, it was inevitable something would go wrong. Grandad detached the wrong chandelier and it smashed on the floor. As Grandad queried, ‘ Is it very valuable? ’ To which Del retorted, ‘Not really. It was bleeding priceless when it was hanging up there, though!’ Ridgemore Hall was in fact Clayesmore School at Iwerne Minster. However, as the school would not allow the floorboards to be pull

Sooty - a very local bear!

  There’s Sooty, Sweep and Soo, who make up the Sooty Show, and Harry Corbett, the Show’s creator, who lived locally for many years in Child Okeford. Sooty is, of course, a naughty little bear glove puppet who loves squirting his best pal, Sweep with his water pistol. He is also a magician and despite having no voice has his own special magic spell, ‘ Izzy wizzy, let’s get busy!’ Sweep is a little dog with a distinctively squeaky voice and a liking for sausages and Soo is a panda whose dream is to be a ballet dancer. Harry Corbett was a Yorkshire man and the nephew of Harry Ramsden who founded a chain of fish & chip shops. Corbett bought the original Sooty glove puppet at the end of a Blackpool pier for seven shillings & sixpence (37.5p). In 2019, a complete set of original Sooty Show puppets would be sold for £3,100. The original bear was yellow but so it could be seen on black and white television it was given a black nose, mouth and ears. The additions gave Sooty his nam

'Splicing the Christmas Mainbrace!'

  Blandford Camp has always been associated with the British Army. Yet at Christmas 1914, the Camp was jammed packed with sailors…and they weren’t happy! These miserable matelots had joined the Royal Navy to serve at sea in, what was at the time, the world’s largest, most powerful and prestigious maritime force. However, they now found themselves on land at wet, muddy Blandford Camp.  They were billeted in poorly heated wooden huts many of which were leaky. Furthermore on the exposed downs it was bitterly cold, it was raining continuously and there was mud everywhere. These sailors were being trained to be soldiers. They had been allocated to the Royal Naval Division which had been set up by Winston Churchill because too many volunteers had applied to join the Royal Navy. Many of this unhappy crew were naval stokers who were renowned for their resourcefulness, rowdiness and heavy drinking. Their normal role was to stoke and maintain ship boilers, a dirty, dusty, thirsty and extremely h

Blandford Throwback Facts X

  In 1817 , sculptor Alfred Stephens was born in Blandford. He created the Duke of Wellington’s monument in St Paul’s Cathedral. In 1818 , the Portsmouth mail coach overturned in a collision with a cart near the churchyard. While at the November fair, pickpockets were active and also Mr Kerley lost his crossbred dog. In 1820 , two Blandford brothers  were executed in  Dorchester for highway                      robbery. Horse drawn coaches left the Crown Hotel every day for Poole, Weymouth, London, Portsmouth, Brighton, Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth and Falmouth. In 1821 , forty members of a single family were found to be living in the same Blandford house.                Robert Wilson, innkeeper at the White Hart Inn was fined ten shillings (50p) and was deprived of his licence for three years for allowing ‘ tippling ’ in his public house during Divine Service. A Ball was held in the Greyhound Inn to celebrate the coronation of King George IV. In 1 822 , the Sheep Fair was moved fr

Henry Durden of Durden's Corner

  He has his own dedicated memorial plaque and Corner in Blandford but is now almost a forgotten man. His name is Henry Durden and he was the founder of the town’s first museum. Henry Durden was born in 1807 and in 1859 was listed as a grocer and seller of wines and spirits. The Durdens were a respected Blandford family and they played an active part in the town’s life. There is a Durden listed in a 1791 trade directory as a Blandford grocer. Henry’s father, John was Mayor in 1837. Henry held this role on three occasions while his son, another John, was Mayor in 1893. In his shop, he opened a highly regarded museum. On display were 60 urns which were over 2,000 years old and all found within eight miles of Blandford. Most exhibits in the museum were from Dorset including prehistoric items from Hod Hill and various local barrows. There were also flint arrowheads, bracelets and coins including a ten shillings piece of Elizabeth I’s reign. So respected were his acquisitions that in th