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Showing posts from September, 2022

Blandford Throwback Facts XX

In 1916 , a young boy was summonsed at a special children’s court hearing for stealing seventeen shillings & sixpence (87p). He said he was sorry and received three strokes of the birch as a punishment.  An excellent Christmas lunch was enjoyed by inmates of the Blandford Poor Institution consisting of roast beef, roast pork, plum pudding, oranges, etc. The hall was nicely decorated by the cook, Mrs Crabbe.  A crowd of more than 2,000 spectators attended the Recreation Ground to watch the first round of five football matches when teams competed for the Royal Naval Division (RND) Challenge Cup. Before the match, the RND depot band played a selection of melodies in the centre of the pitch.  Members of the Royal Engineers practised bridge building across the River Stour.  Townsfolk asked the military to stop playing the dead march as soldiers who had died were taken to the station. This had become a regular nightly experience. In 1917 , there were 1,400 German internees in the Blandfo

Jack Withrington - Blandford Highwayman

  There were five Withrington brothers, all born in Blandford, and they were all hung at the gallows for their crimes. It is known because of his notoriety that brother Jack was hung at the infamous Tyburn, near Marble Arch in London. His brothers met their fates in different parts of the country but no records remain as to where these hangings occurred. Jack Withrington was the youngest brother and he trained initially to be a tanner. However, he left his apprenticeship in Shaftesbury to become a soldier. He joined the Earl of Oxford’s Horse Regiment where he gained quite a reputation. This was as a result of being involved in two fights in which it was said he behaved with great valour. The first was with a man famous for his fighting in which Jack showed great skill and bravery. The second fight was with a man of great wealth, who was generally regarded to be a coward, when Jack behaved with much dignity. Unfortunately, having achieved minor celebrity status Jack became, as is s

Robert Young: Poet from 'Stur'

Robert Young is a now almost forgotten poet born in Sturminster Newton in 1811. He wrote in the Dorset dialect about life around his home town in the 1800s. Living until he was 97, he was able to remember back to celebrations when Napoloeon was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo. He wrote with intelligence, kindness and great humour. He had a character, called Billy Sweet who kept a pet toad called Maria. Liking a drink too much, he would delight in taking his pet to the pub. After a few pints, Billy would take the toad out of his pocket to entertain fellow imbibers. Placing it on a table, he would urge his fellow imbibers to look into the toad’s beautiful eyes. Robert Young was also amused by the local pigs who after devouring the remnants from a cider press would charge drunkenly through the streets of Sturminster Newton. In fact, he was concerned about alcohol abuse in the countryside and was a supporter of the Temperance Movement. Another of Young’s characters was the argumentative

No Longer Being Served.

Blandford businesses where you can no longer be served: A Cherry – draper, Salisbury Street. Alex J Hicks – outfitters & cafĂ©, West Street. Art Shop – art & models, Salisbury Street/White Cliff Mill Street. Ashford – draper, Market Place. Backway – draper, Salisbury Street. Blandford Radio – radio & television, Market Place. L Bunce – footwear, Salisbury Street. Chamen & Richards -  wine & spirits, the Close. Cleal - confectionary, Salisbury Street. C Collier – butcher, East Street. Durden – grocer, Durden’s Corner. Eyers & Kerridge – clocks & watches, Salisbury Street. E Jeans – tobacconist & confectionaries, Market Place. Fianders – garage, White Cliff Mill Street. Fricker – baker, Market Place. Hobbs – stationers, Salisbury Street. Lindsay & Dalryple – ironmonger, Market Place. John Lewis Marsh – brewer, Bryanston Street. L Jay – tobacconist & confectionaries, Oakfield Street. Loader - newsagent, East Street

Blandford Throwback Facts XIX

  In 1911 , Blandford Poor House had 76 inmates.  Three ladies spoke in the Market Place in favour of giving women the vote. Several drunken men in the crowd pelted them with rotten fruit. They were escorted back to the station for their safety by members of the adult school. The police, it was reported, did nothing to help. In 1912 , Mounted Cavalry of the Dorset Imperial Yeomanry held an exercise at Blandford.  The town was covered by four feet of snow.               In 1913 , sixty sheep were killed when they were struck by lightning at Thornicombe. A metallic shepherd’s crook was blamed for the accident. During the thunderstorm, two houses were struck by lightning in Queens Road and a flag pole on the Recreation Ground was destroyed. In 1914 , a military camp was built on Blandford Down, to accommodate the arrival of the Royal Naval Division. The Division consisted of sailors being trained to be soldiers. It had been set up by Winston Churchill because too many volunteers had