Thursday, 31 July 2014

The Shire Hall Project

Yesterday I visited the old Crown Court and cells at Shire Hall in High West Street, Dorchester.  The Shire Hall Project, with prospective support from the Heritage Lottery Fund is being developed as a historical visitor attraction. 
The former offices of the West Dorset District Council was used as a courthouse until 1955, and the courtroom and cells remain as they were originally designed for use in Georgian times. 
The project hopes to be fully open by summer 2017 following a second bid to the HLF. 
I can recommend a visit during August, and the dates of the guided family tours can be found at the Tourist Information Centre in Trinity Street. 
I visited with my 16 year old daughter, and she found it very interesting and informative, and she was very shocked to see the conditions that prisoners such as the Tolpuddle Martyrs faced in 1834. 

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Charles Street phase 2 development

I went along to the former 'Bryter Latte' shop on Friday to have a look at the plans for the continued planned development of Dorchester. 'Bryter Latte' was a small cafe, which closed at the beginning of summer 2013. This shop is currently empty and un-let, but was used during the winter as a Christmas Shop by volunteers I believe from the Dorchester United Church opposite. They were offering to wrap your Christmas gifts and were advertising a walk in Nativity play. It was very popular with those unskilled with the wrapping paper and sticky tape!

I chatted with Alistair Calder a senior project Manager of Simons.

The public have a 2 week opportunity to submit comments about the new project. If you have shopped in Marks & Spencer in the town you will know that it is bursting at the seams, and their relocation to a bigger store in the new development will be very welcome to both customers and staff.

Along with a new larger Waitrose and increased parking our town looks like it will continue undergo regeneration.

Our historical town is moving forward. The past and the future hopefully will blend harmoniously together.

Change is inevitable, and can bring opportunities. It can also bring fear amongst those who have become comfortable with their surroundings.

I would encourage residents to speak up now, while they have the opportunity.

The residents that were moved from their former homes in Charles Street many years ago must consider this just another event in the chronicle.

Monday, 7 July 2014

A farewell concert

A concert was held in St Peters Church Dorchester last  Saturday Evening. The Thomas Hardye Singers are a  combination of pupils who are currently studying in the school's sixth form and members of the community.  

It was organised to say farewell to the Director of Music at Thomas Hardye School. Mr James Baker is leaving to start a new job in another part of the country. 
The concert was organised by Mr Peter Oakes who is also a  music teacher at the school. Past pupils had been contacted to join the current choir if they could. 

 St Peters Church was full. The talented musicians that these two teachers have supported have an excellent reputation, and the association with the school and the church continues to give many young students in Dorchester musical opportunities of a very high standard.

As my daughter was previously supported by these two teachers I was very keen to attend. She was able to join the choir as she is back in Dorchester after recently becoming a Bachelor of Music herself.

The concert was sublime,  the sound in my ears brought complete pleasure to my whole body and I felt as though I was made of warm candle wax, softly melting on to the pew, which normally feels  hard.
The music was chosen carefully to show the many varied talents of the young musicians. Peter Oakes was very proud to be performing the Funeral Music that was written for Queen Mary by Henry Purcell in 1695. He said he had wanted to be able to perform this piece for some time.
Looking around the audience, I could see many former pupils who were transfixed by this very emotional piece of music.

We were treated to a glass of Pimms in the interval as the church had applied for a licence for the event which was very welcome.

There is no doubt that young people in Dorchester have some very special music opportunities and the respect and friendship that has developed with staff in the Thomas Hardye Music department is extremely genuine.