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Blandford Forum

In 1731 a catastrophic fire destroyed a large part of the old town of Blandford, rendering 480 families homeless. Over the following 30 years much of the town was rebuilt under the supervision of John and William Bastard and subsequently has remained largely untouched by re-development. The centre of Blandford Forum therefore remains a near perfect example of Georgian building style from 1731–60.

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The Almshouses (shown in picture 9) date from 1682 and are one of the few buildings (along with 'The Old House' in picture 10) that survived the fire. What was then a calamity is generally regarded by the current inhabitants as a blessing – and is commemorated by the following inscription to be found carved into the paving stones outside the Town Hall:

Recipe for regeneration:
take one careless
tallow chandler and
two ingenious Bastards.


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In the top row of pictures:

  • The Market Place with Town Hall and church of St Peter and St Paul (picture)
  • Church of St Peter and St Paul, built 1733–9 by John and William Bastard (picture)
  • The Market Square, seen from the church tower during the 'Georgian Fayre' (picture)
  • East Street, seen from the church tower during the 'Georgian Fayre' (picture)
  • Late 20th century bridge across the Stour, linking the old town centre to new development west of the river (picture)

In the bottom row of pictures:

  • The Old Greyhound Inn, Market Square (picture)
  • Shop fronts, Salisbury Street (picture)
  • Old Bank House, overlooking the churchyard (picture)
  • Almshouses on Salisbury Street, dating from 1682 (picture)
  • View from Langton Road across the rooftops to 'The Old House' c.1660 (picture)

For a view of the house John and William Bastard built for their own habitation in 1732, and the memorial to the fire – erected in 1760, see July 2002

See more of Blandford – the Blandford Georgian Fayre

Nearby locations that also feature in galleries on this site:

directionMelbury Abbas, Shaftesbury, Glow-worm Hunt on Hambledon Hill

directionTarrant Valley, Ackling Dyke (Roman road)

directionShapwick, Wimborne Minster

directionWinterborne Stickland

Other sites on the web

The Dorset Page:   Blandford Forum – local information and links to further resources on the web

Maps of the area on streetmap.co.uk:   1:50,000 – detail, 1:250,000 – locality and route to get there

picture resolution
The pictures of Blandford Forum in this gallery were captured at medium resolution.
This is images of dorset stock photography gallery 019
All photographs copyright © 1998–2003 John Allen

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