Postcards of Dorchester - The High Street

All Cards unless otherwise stated from the private postcard collection of Michael Russell OPC for Dorchester & Fordington
© Copyright Mr. M Russell FIPD All Rights Reserved

Most cards can be dated approximately from image ref numbers on the front or back of the card.
If you have other postcards showing different scenes from Dorchesters' past please make contact via the email address on the front page.

11. High West Street - c1896

'The Top of Town' taken from Westgate looking down High West Street circa 1890's
The square tower of St Peters church is in the distance (Image 668)
12. High West Street - c1929

The same view taken one house further down the street 33 years later.
Much is unchanged except the building on the right has now been demolished
13. High West Street - c1896

Left: Square tower of St Peters Church & clock tower of Corn Exchange
Right: Judge Jeffreys lodgings and the spire of All Saints church
14. High West Street - c1940

Same view taken slightly further back about 44 years later
the arched window (left) is the end of Holy Trinity Church.
15. Museum, St Peters & Town Hall - 1912

Dorset County Museum (1st left) next to the entrance to  St Peters Church
then the clock tower of the Corn Exchange : & (on the right), the Spire of All Saints

Posted in Dorchester 9.30pm May 20th 1912
16. Town Hall & High East St - 1910

High East Street starts at the Corn Exchange with the 'Kings Arms' further on
Cornhill is to the right in front of Riglar's the tobacconists

Posted in Dorchester 4pm August 18th 1910
17. Holy Trinity Church - c1948

A church has stood here since before 1397 but the old church was rebuilt in 1824
Godwins today (2011) is the tea rooms 'The Horse with the Red Umbrella'
18. Holy Trinity Church - c1954

Beyond Holy Trinity Church is 'Thurman's' (white building) Handel House (red)
the Dorset County Musem :and the tower of St Peters
19. St Peters Church - 1905

Although the largest church it has been a chapel of Holy Trinity since 1303. The present church
dates from 1454. The Rev John White was buried under the South Porch in 1648

Posted in Dorchester 9.30pm Oct 7th 1905
20. St Peters Church - 1926

 St Peters Church is the burial place of many other famous people including
Densil Lord Holles (1599-1679) and Sir Francis Ashley Knight (1569-1635)

Posted in Dorchester 11.30am Apr 29th 1926
21. St Peters Church - 1929

The Rev John White was buried here on 24th July 1648
under the South Porch which was hung with black for a month
22. Corn Exchange - 1903

Clock Tower of Corn Exchange & Spire of All Saints
Published by EH Russell Dorchester
23. High East Street - c1896

Looking back past Spire of All Saints Church
with the clock tower of the Corn exchange in the distance
24. High East Street - 1914

Opposite the 'Kings Arms' is the Dorset School of Domestic Economy & Cookery
situated at 22 High East St. in 1905 it was educating 20 girls for ¾ of the year

Posted in Dorchester 9.30pm January 21st 1914
25. Judge Jeffreys Lodgings - High West St - c1890

Link to this wonderful postcard of 'Judge Jeffreys Lodgings in High West street
which is on the website

George Jeffreys (1645-1689)
Postcard 45. Judge Jeffreys Lodgings - 6 & 7 High West St - 1910

Ground Floor No. 6 High West st occupied by The County Clothing & outfitting Stores.
Ground Floor of No.7 High West st occupied by James Spicer China & Glassware Dealer
Postcard 39. Judge Jeffreys Lodgings - High West St - 1913

A Friths Real Photo Card image 65614 from 1913 showing
the clock tower of the Corn Exchange and spire of All Saints Church in the distance
26. Judge Jeffreys - c1920

Link to the Life of Judge Jeffries 1st Baron Jeffreys of Wem
The trial was held in the oak room of the Antelope Hotel
27. Judge Jeffreys - c1940

6 High West Street Lodgings of Judge Jeffreys in 1685
Henry Payne (1826-1904) was caretaker (pre 1889-1904
28. Judge Jeffreys Lodgings - c1954

Link to account of The Bloody Assizes - 292 People condemned to death in Dorchester in 1685
and 74 of those were executed the some heads were impaled on spikes outside St Peters church
29. Dorchester/Fordington Barracks - image c1942

The Barracks are in Fordington Parish which surrounds Dorchester on 3 sides
situated on the extension of High West St called Martins Rd.
Postcard 40. Depot Gateway - 1929

Card Published by L.Lock, P.O. High West Street Dorchester
Postcard 40. Back View - 1929

Posted in Dorchester 10pm 6th September 1929
Genealogical Notes:-

Card 15. MUSEUM, St PETERS & TOWN HAll 1912        [Return to Card 15]

I have already spoken about the museum above. The railway reached Dorchester in 1847 and the following year the 'Town Hall' was rebuilt this time leaving a space for the road to North square between itself and St Peters Church. Like the old, the new building was open underneath to accommodate market stalls. The distinctive clock tower that features in so many cards about Dorchester was added in 1862. Note the gas street lamp in front of the Museum and the gas lamps hanging from the shop fronts on the right. The following Card (16) is taken slightly further on where it is easier to see the turn right into 'Cornhill' in front of Riglar's the Tobacconists.

Card 23. HIGH EAST Street 1896        [Return to Card 23]

The scene on the left of the street:-
    The building on the immediate left has a sign over the top for 'WRIGHT & SON'. In 1896 this was the premises of WRIGHT Gideon & Sons who were grocers and provision merchants and listed in the street directories as being at 19 High East Street. The building can be easily seen on google earth and still (2009) has the three sash windows on the top level and the three full length windows underneath that open vertically. Gideon Wright (1821-1900) was baptised in All Saints Dorchester on 8th June 1821 the son of John & Elizabeth Wright. He trained to become a cordwainer journeyman and married Elizabeth (born circa 1814 in Weymouth) in 1841 and they had a son Gideon Denner Wright born at 16/17 Grove buildings in Fordington in 1844 (GRO Dec 1844 Ref 8/36). The family were still at Grove buildings in 1851 and 1861 but by then Gideon was being described as a master Grocer, assisted by his only child Gideon junior then aged 16. Their son married last qtr of 1869 to a Susannah Jane Riggs from Dewlish Dorset and was running his own grocers business in Trinity Street in 1871 when he was also recorded as being a local Wesleyan preacher. By 1881 Gideon and Elizabeth had moved the business to 19 High East Street where it still was when this picture was taken in 1896. By 1881 their son had moved his business from Trinity Street to number 40 South Street where he was in residence with his wife and 9 of his children. In the June qtr 1886 Gideon's wife Elizabeth Wright died at the age of 79. He remarried at the age of 68 in the Dec qtr of 1889 in Croydon to a Mary Ann Battiscombe a native of Chelsea in Middlesex (b circa 1826) before Gideon himself died on 25th June 1900 at the age of 79 leaving an estate of £975. In 1901 Mary as a widow was running the shop at 19 High East street and his son Gideon Denner Wright the shop at 40 South Street. Mary Ann died in Dorchester on 25th Jan 1913. By 1915 the business as G Wright and son was still at 19 High East street but Gideon is listed as a private residence at Heath View in Maumbury Way. Gideon died on 27th January 1919 aged 74 leaving an estate of 7,920. His wife Susannah moved to live at Heathview in Monmouth Road in Dorchester where she died on 12th December 1931 aged 85.
The scene on the right of the street:-
    The building on the immediate right of the picture is 'J GOLDIE Ltd' wine, spirit, ale & porter merchants, at 36 High East street. This is now called 'The Borough Arms" and it had a new landlord Rick Green who took over from the previous licencee Frank Thompson in June 2009. The shop with the awning is 35 High East street and called 'Bailey & Thorpe' a drapers and outfitters, and is now 'Woods' the furniture store. The next 3 storey building with five arched windows on the upper two stories was the 'Wiltshire and Dorset Banking Co Ltd ' whose manager was John Millard Lush and today is also part of Woods furniture store and although not visible in the picture stands on the corner of the very narrow Friary lane which runs off north from High East Street at this point. Although difficult to see there are then 3 georgian buildings before the distinctive bay windows of the 'Kings Arms Hotel'. These were Alfred Herbert Evans the chemist and druggest (now Fordingtons Furnishings vacant in 2009); Stickland and Sons the hairdressers and tobacconists at number 32 High East street (now the China Express takeaway) and Charles Parsons the grocers, tea dealer, & provision merchant, who was also an agent to the British Equitable Insurance Co (now the Empire Kebabs and Pizzas shop). For the Kings Arms see card 24 below.
Card 24. HIGH EAST Street 1914        [Return to Card 24]

The scene on the left of the street:-
    The 'Kings Arms' was built in 1720 and is located at number 30 High East Street, It can be seen in Card 5 further down the street from St Peters Church and the Corn Exchange (Where High West Street becomes High East street). It boasts that many monarchs & celebrities have stayed there including King George IV and Queen Victoria. It was always described as an Inn and posting house. From street directories we know many of the proprietors names for example Francis OLIVER was the Inn keeper prior to 1830 up to 1852 when William MANLEY took over. George FROST was there prior to 1871 until the mid 1880's when Harry Stone FROST appears until DG BILHAM in 1895. It was the earliest building in the town to have electric lighting (1889) which it obtained from a private supply powered by the steam engines in the Aerated Waterworks (making minerals) at the back of the hotel.
The scene on the right of the street:-
    The first shop with the very dark sign hanging outside is 23 High East Street, the premises of the printers Henry LING who have been there since 1870. In street directories they were described as "printers, booksellers, agents for ordnance maps, stationers and publishers. Today (2011) the downstairs is a travel agents called 'Nichol World Travel' but the administration offices of Henry Ling still occupy upstairs with a modern production unit on the edge of town.

    The next building at 22 High East Street has a clearer sign outside for the Dorset School of Domestic Economy & Cookery. In 1905 it was educating 20 girls for ¾ of the year but now is the home of the Housing Advice Centre.

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