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High Street To Get New Visitor Centre?

Thursday, June 21st, 2012 dorchester shire hall

It’s all happening in Dorchester at the moment! With the West Dorset District Council moving out of the High Street to their new premises soon, there are plans to turn the historic Shire Hall into a multi million pound visitor centre, possibly operated under the wing of Dorset Museum.

Turning the venue into a major tourist attraction has long been an ambition of the Council, who are hoping for a significant contribution for the Heritage Lottery Fund in order to make the project a reality.

The Tourist Information Centre is already slated to move to Shire Hall from its present location in Antelope Walk, so it seems like there’s a real opportunity to transform it into a fully fledged tourist hub for both Dorchester and the wider Dorset area.

Shire Hall of course includes the Old Crown Court and cells, which have tremendous historical significance as the location where the Tolpuddle Martyrs were tried in 1834 for the crime of forming a trade union. It is hoped that these important sites will be included in the project, thus ensuring their preservation for many years to come.

It’s all very exciting stuff, but obviously it’s still in the early stages at moment, and funding will need to be secured before it can go ahead, so we’ll all have to sit tight for the time being and see what happens.

Meanwhile, if you have an interest in history, don’t miss the Armour and Embarkation event taking over the town this weekend. It’s the largest gathering of WWII tanks and vehicles in Dorset since the war, and they’ll all be parading down the High Street on Saturday afternoon after 5pm.

If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s our preview of the event. We’re expecting it to be quite a sight!

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