Most Shaftesbury residents know of the existence of the town’s Blue Plaques, but like other familiar street furniture they tend not to be noticed as we scurry about our everyday business. The most recent was unveiled by the Lord Lieutenant of Dorset in August 2021, outside the HSBC Bank in The Commons. Eleven were installed as the result of a 2003-2004 community project. And two others represent individual enterprise. Now, thanks to the initiative of walking enthusiast Rachel Diment, there is a pedestrian trail which connects all of the Blue Plaques in a logical and accessible route. Rachel describes the trail on ThisisAlfred:
The trail begins outside Gold Hill Museum and the first Blue Plaque, before the steps up to the High Street, refers to one of the cottages in which the museum is located. It is also one of six Plaques to identify one or more Shaftesbury hostelries, indicating that pub names tend to live on after the original Inn has ceased to exist – and perhaps the importance of these watering-holes in a hilltop town with an irregular water supply. (The trail does provide for a version which avoids steps and gates.) Schools are next in popularity in the texts, with one listing three educational institutions on the same site, now an architects’ practice, 1723 – 1983.
Please click here to find The History of Shaftesbury’s Blue Plaques, a list of their locations, and a link to Rachel’s trail.