Skip to main content

Blandford Throwback Facts XVI


In 1887, combative Blandford Express newspaper man, James Bartlett was in court after claiming that school mistress, Elizabeth Cumming had damaged school property before leaving for another job in London. He lost the case and had to pay forty pounds in damages together with costs.

           Trains on the Somerset & Dorset railway line were held up by heavy snow falls and men had to go in front of the engines to clear the snow.

In 1888, the Cottage Hospital moved to its current location.

In 1890, Chamen & Richards wine merchants offered twenty one shilling (£1.05) Christmas hampers for sale consisting of two bottles of ‘good wine’ and a selection of five bottles of ‘good spirits’ namely from port, sherry, brandy, rum, gin, and Irish & Scotch whisky.

In 1891, surgeon dentist Mr C Morgan, who worked in the Market Place, charged two shillings & sixpence (12.5p) for a ‘painless’ tooth extraction and one shilling (5p) for a child’s ‘temporary tooth’. Rail fares were reimbursed for those that had travelled some distance.

           In the Great March Blizzard, the town was completely cut off and there were snow drifts up to ten feet deep. There was no post and the railway stopped.

In 1892, Blandford grocer and founder of the town’s first museum, Henry Durden died. Upon his death his collection of over 2,000 artefacts was sold to the British Museum. His son, John continued to run the family’s grocery business.

           Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, passed through Blandford station on his way to a hunting visit to Crichel. During his three day stay 3,300 head of game was shot.

In 1893, Blandford Waterworks Company was formed to supply the town with clean piped water.

In 1894, a plan was announced to build a railway line from Salisbury via Sixpenny Handley and Pimperne to Blandford. To be called the Wiltshire, Dorset & East Devon Line it would journey on to Dorchester, Bridport, Lyme Regis & Exeter. No doubt due to opposition from large companies such as the Great Western Railway, it was never built.

In 1895, controversial local land owner, politician and dog lover Henry Richard Farquarson died. He had a pack of 125 Newfoundland dogs which he had built up over 25 years. Sadly many died in a savage dog fight.

In 1898, when Durweston brewer Henry Godwin retired he sold his business to brewers, Hall & Woodhouse.


Popular posts from this blog

True Lovers Knot - a Tragic Tale

True Lovers Knot public house describes itself as a traditional  inn set in a picturesque Dorset valley in Tarrant Keynston. Yet, this historical hostelry is said to have gained its name from a particularly tragic tale and still to be haunted by a distressed former publican. This publican’s son met and fell in love with the daughter of the local squire. Because the young lad was not from the gentry they decided to keep their relationship secret from her father. Unfortunately, a stable hand saw the two young lovers together and told her father. Set firmly against this friendship the squire made plans to send his daughter away from the district. Not able to face up to life without her boyfriend, the young girl decided to commit suicide and hanged herself from a tree in the village. So upset was the publican’s son of hearing of his girlfriend’s death he too hanged himself from the same tree. The Tarrant Keynston publican had, himself lost his wife at child birth and now losing his son b

Tarrant Rushton's Nuclear Secret

Tarrant Rushton was a large RAF base used for glider operations during World War II. It was then taken over by Flight Refuelling for the conversion of aircraft for the development of aircraft in-flight refuelling. However, between 1958 & 1965, the Tarrant Rushton airfield had a much more secretive and less publicised role. This was in support of the nation’s nuclear bomber deterrent, as Tarrant Rushton airfield became a QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) dispersal unit.   During 1958, contractors Costain reinforced the main runway and carried out other work to ensure the giant bomber aircraft could be accommodated. At times just a few miles from Blandford, there would have been up to four RAF Vickers Valiant bombers at Tarrant Rushton ready to become airborne in minutes charged with nuclear weapons. The bombers were from 148 Squadron at RAF Marham in Norfolk. As there was no suitable accommodation at the airfield, an old US Air Force Hospital building at Martin was used. At the time, the

Chimney Sweep Tragedy

Crown Hotel, Blandford is reckoned to be one of Dorset’s oldest hostelries. Yet its most tragic day, during a long history, must surely be when a young chimney sweep lost his life. The chimney sweep, who was just a child, suffocated and was burnt to death in a Crown Hotel chimney which had been alight a little while before. ‘His cries were dreadful and no-one could give assistance. Part of the chimney was taken down before he was got out.’ (Salisbury & Winchester Gazette 27th March 1780) The lad had gone up one chimney and attempting to go down another had become stuck. At the time children were used to climb up chimneys to clean out soot deposits. With hands and knees, they would shimmy up narrow dark flue spaces packed thick with soot and debris. After the 1731 Great Fire of Blandford it was realised that it was important to sweep chimneys regularly while many rebuilt houses had narrower ones. Smaller chimneys and complicated flues were a potential death trap for children. The sw