This Civic day held a few points of interest for me, there was history and radio! I’ve been going to Dorchester for many years for one reason or another, so it’s always nice to learn something new about towns you’re familiar with. Seeing different things, learning new facts.
We started in buildings based in the old military barracks, headed up by the ‘Keep’. The old barracks split up some time ago into various organisations all based around what was the old parade square, these include the Dorset History Centre, the Dorset Archives Trust and the local community radio station!
I was surprised at the Dorset History Centre, I really had no idea what sort of information they stored there. It’s not a museum, it’s a centre to store, catalogue and conserve important documents that relate to the whole of Dorset. They have temperature and moisture controlled storage rooms for preservation of very old documents on all sorts of ‘paper’. They even have some relating back to when Queen Elizabeth 1 came to the thrown – I saw the original! Anyone can request historic documents be stored there – if they think it’s of historic value, they will take it from you and protect it for the future. And if you take photo ID with you, anyone is able to go along and make requests to inspect documents. The sort of place people go to do research, including family trees.
The Keep itself is now a Military Museum which although relatively small, has a very impressive selection of artifacts, including one of Adolf Hitler’s old desks and a replica war trench.
A Map of Dorset in the museum showed the location and type of bombs that fell during the war. Some areas would clearly be ‘accidental’, whilst others would have been strategic. I took a photo of the ones over Wimborne – scary stuff!
The Trench was a very good exhibit, it included an ‘office’ and a bunk room, complete with a periscope to see over the top.
I was lucky enough to grab a few minutes with Rob from the radio station on our tour to get some insider info’ on going FM from online. Rob and his team have kindly offered to support Radio Wimborne with our future attempts at getting on to FM!
The Dorchester Town Crier did a very amusing ‘Cry’ to the Chain Gang after we finished our tour of the radio (captured of course on mic by the station for later play out I’m sure)!
Lunch was served in the Rifles Army Reserves Centre where we had a ‘sales’ talk from their Recruitment officer. I was the only one young enough to actually sign up but I have to say, I declined their kind offer on the spot! The food served there was pretty special and I was well looked after with the vege gluten free option and fruit salad to keep me away from the glorious looking deserts that were on offer! Another brilliant day!