Operation Warhorse by Julian Richards

The Shaftesbury & District Historical Society’s January lecturer is local archaeologist and broadcaster Julian Richards. At 2.30p.m. on Tuesday 05 January 2016 at Gold Hill Museum, Julian will be telling the real story of horses during the First World War, based on his recent excavation of an equine hospital on Salisbury Plain. This lecture is free to members and non-members may pay £3 at the door.

The Horse Artillery Gunner in the photograph is Harold Edwards [1897-1985] of Street, Somerset. His story has been archived by the Society’s Heritage Lottery Funded Great War Project, and is told in more detail in the December edition of The Byzant, the S&DHS Newsletter.

Dickensians meet Alfred The Great

Visitors to Gold Hill Museum’s late-night Christmas shopping experience on Friday 04 December were welcomed by a cast of historical characters. Ken Howe could have stepped down from the traction engine steaming in The Commons, and Janet Swiss out of her Tudor mural of the Byzant ceremony. Elaine Barratt in full Victorian garb of bonnet and crinoline squeezed into the kitchen to provide excellent hot and spicy mulled wine. Even the Secretary donned a muffler and top hat.

More Christmas family fun is promised in the Garden Room on Sunday afternoon 06 December, 2.00 till 4.00p.m.

Dorset Clay Pipes

Dorset Clay Pipes

December’s lecturer, Robert Lancaster, brought an array of examples and a wealth of knowledge of his subject, Dorset clay pipes. By looking at the size and shape of the bowl, and any imprints on the bowl or stem, he could identify the period of a pipe and frequently the location and name of its maker. Pipes were often given away with the purchase of beer or tobacco, and so pipe-makers were usually poor and illiterate. In Wareham in 2011-12 Robert excavated the site of the kiln of Augustus Moore, who in 1834 was convicted of theft and sentenced to be transported for seven years. It is doubtful whether he ever returned to his five children and wife Sarah, who was listed as a pauper in 1861. The advent of cigarettes at much the same time put paid to the craft of clay pipe-making. Members of the audience, including Shaftesbury students Ella and Bethany, were intrigued by Mr Lancaster’s account of the rise and fall, and the bewildering variety, of clay pipes.