Open-Dorchester – Heritage Open Day Is A Great Success

Thursday, September 26th, 2019

Thousands of visitors attended Open-Dorchester for the second annual heritage open day to take place in the county town.

visitors enjoyed dorchester's rich heritage at open-dorchester

High West Street and High East Street were both closed to traffic for Open-Dorchester to improve accessibility for people to explore historic attractions, and learn more about the town’s rich heritage.

Here’s a selection of photos of the main highlights from the day…

Dorchester Prison Tours

If the sizeable queues were anything to go by, it’d be fair to say that the rare opportunity to look around the old town jail was one of the most popular activities of the day. The high level of interest exceeded expectations from the owners who are now considering future plans to repeat the experience.

tour of Dorchester Prison at heritage open day

Giant Hokey Cokey

Approximately 500 people gathered outside Tom Browns pub for a giant hokey cokey which stretched along High East Street. The town have taken to the participation dance for no other reason than just the pure fun of it! Join the 2020 Giant Hokey Cokey Event page.

giant hokey at open-dorchester

Roman Tours

Visitors could explore Roman Durnovaria with special tours led by Roman soldiers, including a visit to the Roman Town House.

roman tours at open-dorchester heritage open day

Kings Arms Project

The restoration of Kings’s Arms Hotel is the subject of great interest for people in Dorchester. Rob Acton from Stepnell was on hand during Open-Dorchester providing fascinating talks and answering questions from the public.

kings arms project at heritage open day

Pavement Art

Sarah Hough led the creation of a ‘People Power’ pavement banner, which encouraged contributions from families and children to help depict the chalk street display.

pavement art on high west street in dorchester

Shire Hall – free opening

The heritage open day included free admission to Shire Hall historic courthouse and museum – a fantastic opportunity to explore the 18th century building.

shire hall open day as part of open-dorchester

Corn Exchange

The Council Chamber in the Corn Exchange made for a great display of civic regalia and costumes. There were also talks by David Taylor and Steve Wallis uncovering little known features of Dorchester through time.

dorchester corn exchange council chamber at open-dorchester on heritage open day

St Peter’s Church bell-ringing chamber tours

The tours of St Peter’s Church included trips up to the bell-chamber.

bell ringing at st Peters church in Dorchester

The Keep Military Museum

This attraction was your chance to see a unique rooftop view of Dorchester as well as the beautiful countryside views that surround the town.

view from keep military museum on open-dorchester

Brewery Square tours

Len Watts displayed his original Eldridge Pope Dray as part of a tour around Brewery Square. Which told the story of the Eldridge Pope Brewery and ended at Copper Street Brewery with a brewing demonstration.

tours of brewery square on heritage open day in dorchester

Town tours

The Town Tours were an opportunity to reflect on a street that holds so much historic relevance, but is normally bustling with traffic. Knowledgeable volunteers provided the guided tours, with descriptions and stories about the ancient buildings.

town tours at open dorchester heritage open day

Images courtesy: Dorset Bays Photography

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