Welcome to Gold Hill Museum

Shaftesbury and District’s local history museum with an award-winning cottage garden and wonderful views over Thomas Hardy’s Blackmore Vale.

Opening Hours 2022

Open Every Day From Friday 01 April

10.30a.m. to 4.30p.m. with Last Entry at 4.10p.m.

NEW:  “Fonthill Fever” – the 1822-23 Sales of William Beckford’s Fonthill Abbey

400 Years of Dorset Buttons

“Jude the Obscure” Locations in Hardy’s Shaston

Free Admission

Donations and New Volunteers Welcome

At the top of picturesque Gold Hill, well known for the Hovis “Boy on a Bike” advert, this modern museum is set in two historic buildings. One was once the priest’s house and still has a “squint” through the wall to St Peter’s church; the other provided basic lodgings for traders at the market on Gold Hill.

Eight galleries tell the story of rural and town life, starting even before Shaftesbury’s notional foundation by Alfred the Great. Highlights of the collection include the unique Byzant, carried during annual celebrations of the securing of the water supply, so vital to a hilltop town; Dorset’s oldest fire engine, dating from 1744; fine lacework and costumes; handmade Dorset buttons; and a mummified Dorset cat.

Gold Hill Museum is owned and managed by volunteers of The Shaftesbury & District Historical Society, a registered charity. You can read about the range of activities of The S&DHS in the Diary of Events, Library, and Lectures & Speakers pages, in the “About Us” and “Events” menus, and in our recent News Blogs and Newsletters.

The S&DHS

Thanks to the foresight of its founders, The Shaftesbury & District Historical Society owns Gold Hill Museum. The Society is an entirely voluntary organisation and in normal years receives no public funding towards the running costs of the Museum. Please contact us if you can help by becoming a member, a volunteer or a donor. Thank you.

News Blog Latest

In The Footsteps of Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy fan and expert Alban O'Brien (above) previews his…

Great War Researcher Chris Posts 1300th Life Story

On 07 January 2022 Shaftesbury & District Historical Society…

Thomas Hardy 01 February Talk is ON

Thomas Hardy fan and all-round literary expert Alban O'Brien…

Making Our Local History Library More Accessible

Gold Hill Museum volunteer Jeanette Hardiman in the process…

Bumper Byzant Magazine Marks 75 Years of The S&DHS

As 2021 ebbs away there is just time to note that The Shaftesbury…

Heritage Lottery Fund
ACE accredited logo (3)
Orion IT Ltd - Web Design Shaftesbury