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What’s On At The Picture Palace in 1920?

Shaftesbury’s cinema The Picture Palace opened in the High Street in 1913. The neo-Classical frontage was adjacent to the cycle shop on the site of what is now Bargains. After five grim years of war and a devastating flu pandemic in 1918-19, the cinema offered an escape – to a world of adventure, glamour and […]

Thomas Cromwell Visits Shaftesbury Abbey (Perhaps)

In the instalment of Hilary Mantel’s new novel ‘The Mirror and the Light’, read by Anton Lesser on Radio Four on Tuesday 24 March, Thomas Cromwell arrives incognito at Shaftesbury Abbey. (Episode 7: Rejection. Available for one month at https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000gl8v ) It is the autumn of 1536 and Cromwell is the second most powerful man […]

Gold Hill Museum Will Remain Closed Until Further Notice

Gold Hill Museum will not open to the public for the new season at the beginning of April. On Monday 16 March the Secretary of The Shaftesbury & District Historical Society emailed members to say that the Trustees had decided to cancel (or perhaps postpone) the ‘Edwardian Shaftesbury’ Tea and Talks event scheduled for 07 […]

Great Chalfield Manor and its People

Great Chalfield Manor, near Bradford-on-Avon, has been the setting for film and television dramas, including Wolf Hall and Poldark. In 2008’s The Other Boleyn Girl it masqueraded as the Boleyns’ family home, in place of the real Hever Castle in Kent. Perhaps this is because it exudes authenticity, architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner describing it as […]

On The Parish: Life in Dorset’s Workhouses

The question of how society should address the problem of poverty is still with us. In 1834 the Victorians attempted to resolve it by creating a system of workhouses in which the living conditions for inmates were made deliberately unattractive. The New Poor Law principle of Less Eligibility was intended to deter the able-bodied poor […]

Cancan and the Invention of Gay Paree 1867-1914

Dr Jonathan Conlin of Southampton University ushers in the New Year at Gold Hill Museum at 2.30pm on Tuesday 07 January with an illustrated talk subtitled “Fancy liquors and sky-high kickers.” Dr Conlin will consider “how an unlikely cross-Channel coalition of skirt-dancers, purity campaigners, magistrates, music hall starlets, and visual artists conspired together in the […]

Dorset Museums Volunteer of the Year Award

Long-serving Gold Hill Museum steward and gardener Jill Sumner received a well-deserved accolade at the AGM of the Dorset Museums Association, held at Poole Museum on Thursday 21 November. Along with several other volunteers who form the indispensable staffing backbone of most of Dorset’s museums, Jill received her Volunteer of the Year Award from Dr […]