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Showing posts from April, 2024

Rupert Brooke

  Rupert Brooke was both a soldier and a poet who wrote one of his most famous poems the Soldier when he was stationed at Blandford Camp during World War I. Then something of a celebrity, he was known for his boyish good looks and was once described as the ‘handsomest young man in England.’ He was also a friend of Winston Churchill and the then Prime Minister, Herbert Asquith. At Blandford Camp, Rupert Brooke was a member of the Hood Battalion of the Royal Naval Division. ‘The Soldier If I should die, think only this of me That there’s a corner of a foreign field That is forever England. There shall be In that rich earth a richer dust concealed, A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware, Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam, A body of England’s, breathing English air, Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.’ His poetry has frequently been criticised for its unrealistic, romanticised and idealistic view of war. Rupert Brooke died of septi

Ode to Blandford Army Camp

  There’s an isolated, desolated spot I’d like to mention, Where all you hear is ‘ Stand at Ease’, ‘Slope Arms’, ‘Quick March’, ‘Attention’ . It’s miles away from anywhere, by Gad, it’s a rum’un, A chap lived there for fifty years and never saw a woman.   There’s only two lamps in the place, so tell it to your mother, The postman carries one, the policeman has the other. And if you want a jolly night, and do not care a jot, You take a ride upon the car, the car they haven’t got.   There are lots of little huts, all dotted here and there, For those who have to live inside, I’ve offered many a prayer. Inside the huts, there’s RATS as big as any nanny goat, Last night a soldier saw one fitting on his overcoat.   For breakfast every morning, just like Mother Hubbard, You double round the bloomin’ hut and jump up at the cupboard. Sometimes you get bacon, sometimes ‘ lively’ cheese, That forms platoon upon your plate, orders arms and stands at ease.  

Bridport Branch Line

Opened in November 1857, the stations on this line were: Bridport West Bay . Opened 31-3-1884: closed to passengers 22-9-1930: closed to freight 3-12-1962. Bridport (East Street ). Opened 31-3-1884: closed to passengers 22-9-1930. Passenger station only. Bridport (from 1887-1902 was known as Bradpole Road ). Opened 12-11-1857: closed to freight 5-4-1965: closed to passengers 5-5-1975. Powerstock . Opened 12-11-1857: closed to freight 13-3-1961: closed to passengers 5-5-1975. Toller . Opened 13-3-1862: closed to freight 4-4-1960: closed to passengers 5-5-75. Maiden Newton. Opened 20-1-1857: closed to freight 5-4-1965.  (Featured: Bridport Station in August1954.)

Shroton Fair

At one time, Shroton Fair was a most important event in the Dorset calendar. It was reckoned to be one of the finest in the West of England and became well-known for its sale of horses, sheep and dairy products. It also served as something of an employment exchange for the hire of agricultural labourers, grooms and servants. There were also entertainments such as roundabouts, swings, shooting galleries, fortune tellers and jugglers.  In 1261, Shroton had received a grant from King Henry III allowing it to hold two annual fairs, one in May the other in September. While the former lapsed, the latter continued for many years. The Portman Hunt would meet regularly at Shroton and participate fully in the Fair’s entertainments. Old North Dorset men would recall bygone events by the number of months that had occurred either before or after the event. Both Thomas Hardy and William Barnes wrote of Shroton Fair as did the Reverend RW Bennett in 1926: ‘What an idyllic meeting place! The gre

Crown & Anchor, White Hart and the George

Crown & Anchor, the White Hart  and the George are just three of the almost 100 pubs, inns & hostelries that have, over the years, quenched the thirst of both locals and travellers to Blandford. As early as 1390, there is a report of twelve Blandford men and one woman being taken to court for brewing beer contrary to the regulations. Indeed, in 1882, it was reported there were 37 public houses in the Blandford district and all had had their licenses renewed. Crown & Anchor (1757) in West Street was originally called the Cock & George and was famous for hosting cockerel fights. However, when this was made illegal its name was changed to the Crown & Anchor in 1845. Three years later, James Soper was advertising that a horse-drawn ‘ omnibus ’ left the Crown & Anchor daily, except Sundays, at a half past eight for Wimborne to arrive just in time to catch both the down train to Dorchester and the up train to Southampton and London. That year also, James Soper was