Hardy, Dorchester and World War I

Thomas Hardy Birthday Weekend 2023

Hardy, Dorchester and World War I

Various Venues including The Dorford Centre, from Saturday 3rd June from 11am

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The Walk:

Walk led by THS Chairman Mark Chutter - We will meet at 11am at Hardy’s Statue at Top O’ Town and will then walk en-route to the Prisoner of War Camp at Poundbury. There will be readings from Hardy’s novels, poetry and letters .Our cuisine stop will be at 12 noon so please do bring a packed light luncheon. We will then continue our ramble to the Keep Military Museum with a guided tour by a war specialist and a talk by Mark entitled: 'War, Hardy and The Keep'. This will require an entrance fee to be paid at The Keep - £7, or £6 if over 65. Finally we will head back to the centre of Dorchester (Casterbridge). Please wear appropriate clothing and walking boots.

*** The walk is free but The Keep Military Museum will charge an entry fee. We would appreciate knowing numbers in advance. Please contact THS Secretary - Dr Tracy Hayes - if you would like to attend: info@hardysociety.org


2.00pm Discounted Tickets to Dorset Museum for THS Members

The Museum will allow entry between 2pm and 4pm to THS members attending the Birthday Weekend celebrations for a discounted price of £5 each.

The Lecture at 4.30pm

'Had he and I but met...' by Brian Bates

In November 1916 Hardy and his second wife Florence were invited to look round the prisoner of war at camp at Poundbury and meet some of the inmates. Florence later wrote: ‘Thomas Hardy’s kind heart melted at the sight of the wounded and he expressed his sympathy with them by eloquent gestures, to which they responded in a most friendly manner … now he is sending some of his books in German, for their library.’ But what was it like for those incarcerated in the Dorchester camp, one of the largest in Britain? This talk will show what life was like inside the camp and tell some of the stories, some tragic, some dramatic and some humorous, that came out of it. It will also describe how the local community was affected by having the 'enemy' in its midst.

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Brian and his wife have lived in Dorchester since 1971. His love of social and economic history was ignited by an inspirational schoolmaster and his passion for the history of Dorchester began when he wrote a thesis on the town’s seventeenth-century economy. He gives talks on various topics, including aspects of Dorchester’s and Dorset’s rich history. He has also written a number of books including: Dorchester Remembers the Great War; Living With the Enemy (The Story of Dorchester’s Great War Prison Camp) and Villains, Victims and Tragedies, Stories from the Dorset Assizes.

Dinner at 6pm:

A hot and cold buffet with dessert to be provided by our lovely caterer Paul Collins

Evening Entertainment at 7pm:

The Mellstock Band

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THE MELLSTOCK BAND entertain with a unique combination of singing, instrumental music and spoken word, encompassing west gallery harmony, traditional songs, glees, dances, marches, poems and stories.

As well as performing their popular themed costume shows, they play for dances, present workshops and provide rural sounds for all kinds of public and private events.

Sunday Service at St. Michael's Church Stinsford on 4th June at 10am.

Wreath-laying at Thomas Hardy statue and William Barnes statue on 4th June at 1pm.

For any enquiries please contact: Dr Tracy Hayes - THS Secretary - info@hardysociety.org

Tickets for the lecture are £8 for THS members, £10 for non-members and can be booked here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-thomas-hardy-birthday-lecture-2023-tickets-558045157087

Tickets for the hot/cold buffet dinner are £12 for THS members, £15 for non-members. Tickets for the evening entertainment are also £12 for THS members, £15 for non-members, each of which can be booked here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/thomas-hardy-birthday-weekend-2023-buffet-dinner-and-the-mellstock-band-tickets-558051706677

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