Gertrude Coggin’s Autograph Book

Gertrude Coggin’s Autograph Book

Autograph Book
This album belonged to Gertrude Bessie Coggin (1879-1963), a music teacher who nursed patients at Beaucroft Red Cross Hospital during the First World War.  Ms. Coggin remained in Wimborne all her life and never married.

Entries date from April 1911 to 1941 but the vast majority (circa 60) were inscribed by soldiers who were patients at Beaucroft Red Cross Hospital between 1914 and 1919. Some of the pencilled sketches and half-dozen small snapshots are a little faded but the inked entries are all fine.

Somehow the autograph album ended up in London (“Priest Marion Co. Ltd., 3 Farringdon Rd., Holborn LEC1” [written in biro on page one]), where it was purchased in the 1990s from a bookseller’s stall on Exmouth Market.  It was then bought on the internet in 2015 by a Wimborne resident.

For which kind deed, and the
Former care, ‘merce’ he would say
Ere he packs his kit, for camp
Or billet, and travels on his way.
And when the accounts of ‘inasmuch’
Are being reckoned up.
I hope the name of Beacuroft
House will be somewhere near.

Pt G Robinson
1/8 Middlesex Regt


Letter from Bessie Angell to the War Office

Letter from Bessie Angell to the War Office

Bessie Angell wrote this letter to the War Office after the death of her son, Harry:

Oct 8th 1916
In reply to your notice of this morning we are very please to know our Son was buried decent and in a Cemetery and we thank you very much for informing us about it we are deeply greaved at the lost of our son he is the second one we have lost with the 5th Dorset Regiment will you kindly forward us any thing that may be sent us soon as you can as we shall forget the quicker with many thanks we
Remain your’s respectfully
F & B Angell

View  Copy of Bessie Angell’s original letter – page 1
View  Copy of Bessie Angell’s original letter – page 2


WCT records now part of Dorset History Centre Archive

WCT records now part of Dorset History Centre Archive

WCT’s recently deposited records have now been formally archived at Dorset History Centre.  They have been given reference D-2647, Wimborne Community Theatre.

Papers and photographs telling the story of each of WCT’s 19 productions were deposited there to ensure their preservation for future generations.  Dorset History Centre Archivist, Mark Forrest, said ’These records preserved here will be of use and interest for research into Dorset’s history now and in the future’.

The Archiving project was funded by Heritage Lottery Fund.  Some of the documents and many of the photographs and videos are available on this website.

Dorset History Centre exists to preserve and make accessible the archival heritage of Bournemouth , Dorset and Poole.


Archiving WCT

The website is a repository for images and stories relating to nearly twenty productions involving hundreds of young people and adults in many unusual East Dorset sites, from Kingston Lacy to Knowlton Rings to Wimborne’s Pump House.

We wants to share this cultural heritage with the individuals and communities that helped create it, and anyone interested in how community theatre engages audience and performers with a sense of history played out in a landscape.

We are continuing to develop the Archive sections, found under Past Productions, labeling photographs, videos and other items; if you find something missing, please come back and look again another time.