A good read this centenary year and a great social history of the time. Author royalties are being given to charities Sense and Sightsavers.
Brian’s book tells the stories of local individuals and their families, highlighting the large part the military played in the life of the town. It’s hard to imagine Dorchester as a garrison town with regimental buildings (long gone), barracks and Royal Horse Artillery. Not many people know that Dorchester had the largest German PoW camp in Britain – on Poundbury hill-fort.
Helen Hartely, writing in Dorchester Parish Magazine, says: ‘many people are feeling the need to search for local and personal connections to 1914 … The book is an excellent place to start. Brian Bates has traced all those who are commemorated on the WWI memorial in Dorchester, and the result is a fascinating book stuffed full of ordinary and extraordinary local lives.’
Various local events are taking place to commemorate the centenary year. Brian often gives talks and walks exploring this hidden side of Dorchester. Contact us if you’d like to get in touch with him. The other day he was at Puddletown First School talking about the part played by children and animals in the Great War. Brian says, ‘It was a very rewarding experience. The 7–9 year olds were the most enthusiastic bunch; I could have spent another couple of hours with them!’ Brian has also given some material to use on the cards of a geocache around Dorchester, devised by Dorchester Youth Association.
Dee Adcock, reviewing the book inBlackmore Vale Magazine, describes it as ‘... a vivid and affectionate look back at the good old bad old days of a post-war childhood ... the fun and freedom of growing up in and around Dorchester ... Sunday School, singing with St George’s Church choir, market days, mischief and memories of characters and places now gone or transformed add up to a delightful account of the county town and its unruly neighbouring parish in the 1940s and 1950s ... full of fine old photographs that will take many a reader down Memory Lane with David as the perfect companion.’
The book has featured much in the Dorset Echo; see Harry Hogger’s write-up, among others. Thanks to everyone who bought a copy, David recently presented cheques to the Rotary Foundation and Dorset ME Support Group amounting to £450 from his author royalties.
Interest in his book on Fordington has been so great that David is now working on a second book, incorporating interviews with people, recording their oral histories of the Mill Street area of Dorchester (Thomas Hardy’s Mixen Lane). See our Roving Press blog.
Anyone with memories of Mill Street should call David on 01305 250882, or to help with the project contact Mill Street Housing Society (01305 261622).
Discover Old Swanage by David Haysom
Explore Swanage through old photographs, following seven different routes around the town. The 350+ photos, old advertisements and maps depict local people, businesses and buildings, some of whom/which are still around today. It captures the story behind the photos, and the author has really done his homework researching and providing intriguing, detailed captions. It’s a real social history and a great way to explore Swanage.
Purbeck! Journal writes: ‘This qualifies as the surprise book of the decade … it’s an utterly engaging read. … As respected historian and honorary curator of the Swanage Museum, David Haysom is eminently qualified to bring us the story … open at random and you’re hooked. Anyone with even a passing interest in Swanage will find it more than useful as an historical record; it has a genuine ooh-aah factor that is difficult to convey. Time and again I’ve watched as friends pick it up and won’t put it down, delighted by what they’ve discovered – in old Swanage.’
8 Nov - The Art of Travel Writing with Paul Dodgson. A day spent investigating how to turn your travel experiences into sparkling prose. Hear examples of travel writing through the ages and undertake exercises to put what you have learned into practice. Tickets from Bridport Arts Centre: £25.
9–16 Nov – Bridport Literary Festival celebrates its tenth year with a programme of events even more varied and eclectic than before to lighten the days of November.
If you like travel writing, short stories and poetry, see Story Mundo.
South Dorset Ridgeway – join an online discussion blog following the progress of two new reading groups exploring works inspired by and written about the South Dorset Ridgeway. View session notes and discuss the themes explored with other followers online.
Literary Tourist - a big searchable directory of book stores, literary destinations, activities and events from around the world. It's filled with detailed reviews and information designed to help book-lovers plan their travel.