Open-Dorchester – Heritage Open Day Is A Great SuccessThursday, September 26th, 2019
Thousands of visitors attended Open-Dorchester for the second annual heritage open day to take place in the county town.
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.
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.
Visitors could explore Roman Durnovaria with special tours led by Roman soldiers, including a visit to the Roman Town House.
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.
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.
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.
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.
St Peter’s Church bell-ringing chamber tours
The tours of St Peter’s Church included trips up to the bell-chamber.
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.
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.
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.
Images courtesy: Dorset Bays Photography