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Historic Murals in Durngate Street

Friday, August 26th, 2011

Many of you have already seen them and shared some positive thoughts with us, so we wanted to talk this week about the new wall murals in Durngate Street. The large black and white photographs have brought some interest and character to a previously drab part of Dorchester town centre, and we’re delighted that this collaborative project has turned out so well.

Durngate Street Murals
Durngate Street Murals

The murals were originally the brainchild of town crier Alistair Chisolm. He wanted to improve the appearance of the top end of Durngate Street, so he approached us and the Durngate Street businesses with his proposal to erect some panels with historical photos of Dorchester on them. His idea was enthusiastically received, and we agreed that if the neighbouring businesses could raise a third of the cost, the DBID would cover the remaining two thirds.

Alistair and his partner Kate Hebditch spent time poring through collections of old photographs in the vaults of the Dorset County Museum, before selecting a few that really shone a light on Dorchester’s history as a thriving market town. They then worked with the museum to come up with the descriptive wording that accompanies the photos on the panels.

Invaluable assistance was also provided by Dorchester Heritage Committee, who gave further guidance and advice on the photos and their historical significance.

The task of creating the display itself could also not have been done without generous help from local company Lam-Art,who designed and produced the final panels, and were also a sponsor of the project.

durngate street murals project
Durngate Street Traders

We think the panels have made a great addition to the town centre, and feel tremendously enthused by the response of local traders to this collaborative effort. Our ability to work together to achieve projects like this and the new South Street cycle racks is a testament to the town and certainly bodes very well for Dorchester’s commercial future. Businesses in Durngate Street have already reported a spike in passing trade since the murals went up, which is great to hear!

If you have any thoughts on the Durngate Street murals or other ideas for projects you’d like the BID to get involved in, we’d love to hear from you. Leave your comments below or contact us directly at

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