A Unique View of Gold Hill, Shaftesbury, Dorset

Elaine Barratt captured this view of one of the most photographed streets in the world on her way to open up Gold Hill Museum on Friday 21 July. It’s not a view that is likely to grace any future calendars showing Dorset beauty spots. It does, however, serve to remind us that Gold Hill is a public highway, passing houses where real people live, rather than a film set. The obstruction was temporary and did not prevent over 900 people from entering the museum during the three days of the Shaftesbury Fringe. As ever, entrance was free, as were many of the 14 Fringe performances in the Anna McDowell Garden Room. Though she is Chair of the Trustees of The Shaftesbury & District Historical Society, Elaine is an unpaid volunteer, like everyone else at the museum. We are profoundly grateful to her for holding the fort over three long, 12-hour days.

Potential visitors to Gold Hill may be reassured that normal service has been resumed, with full restoration of one of the most iconic views in Dorset. Full access also applies inside the museum, where two new bespoke display cabinets have been installed in Room 8. We were having great difficulty opening the old cases, and therefore in checking the condition of the artefacts inside and updating exhibits.

Two new bespoke display cases have been installed in Room 8 during July 2023

Also now available to view in Room 8 is this atmospheric oil painting of slaveowner William Beckford’s moonlit Fonthill Abbey, generously donated by Bridport artist Jules Cross. The story which inspired Jules’s creation is told in the News Blog Who Let The Bloodhounds Out? William Beckford Apparently – Gold Hill Museum

Jules Cross’s striking oil painting entitled “An Intruder at Fonthill – Evading Mr Beckford’s Bloodhounds”

This welcome acquisition means that another of our innovations this season, a 32 page, full colour, souvenir Museum Guide, is already slightly out-of-date. A number of our talented volunteers made significant contributions to this impressive publication, but the creative mastermind was local artist, ceramicist, graphic designer and photographer Alan Booth – also a volunteer.

Alan Booth photographing our Flat Iron Heater. This features on p16, in close-up

The Guide was printed locally by a nationally-known commercial printer and is selling steadily. We are grateful to the Dorset Museums Association for a small grant towards the cost of publication.

This 32 page, all-colour, souvenir Guide to Gold Hill Museum is keenly priced at £3.50