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


Clowning Around in 2018

Clowning Around in 2018

Wimborne Community Theatre is delighted to be working with Inside Out Dorset on a new performance as part of its 2018 festival. WCT previously worked with Inside Out Dorset in 2014 as part of Periplum’s performance of ‘The Bell’ in Blandford.

Taking place at a Bournemouth location over two evenings in September, the project will involve members of WCT working with a leading European circus company. Workshops will be held in Wimborne between 19th and 22nd April.

Some places will be available for non-WCT members.  If you would like to find out more, please contact Wendy Petitdemange, at Activate.

Voices From 1918

Voices From 1918

Photo:  Olive and Florence Harcourt at Beaucroft Red Cross Hospital, Colehill.  Olive Harcourt’s diary will be used in the Voices From 1918 project.

Wimborne Community Theatre is partnering a new Heritage Lottery Funded project which will enable people to experience 1918 through the eyes of people who were there.

Voices from 1918 will present the voices of men and women as they experience events in the final year of the war. It will be presented on a daily basis as a series of news, Twitter feeds and apps enabling people to receive stories of each day in 1918 direct to their phones, tablets and computers.

The project is being produced by delivery partner organisation ScreenPLAY who will work with the Dorset History Centre, Priests House Museum and others to create a view of 1918 from a Dorset perspective.

Young people with a learning disability will spend a second day at Dorset History Centre with artists Sharon Hayden and Alastair Nisbet looking at how Voices from 1918 brings together stories from the archives and modern technology for a new audience.

More information to follow.


Dorset History Centre


The Gathering: Messages from the Great War

The Gathering: Messages from the Great War

Tickets are on sale for an original performance of documentary theatre, called ‘The Gathering – Messages from the Great War’, which takes place on Sunday, February 11 at 7.30.  

The play is a commemoration of the lives of two local soldiers, Will Cutler and Hubert Wareham, who died during the First World War, and two people closely involved in their lives: Will’s wife, Tillie, and the Vicar of Wimborne Minster, Reverend James Fletcher.

The first performance takes place at Holtwood Methodist Chapel where Will married Tillie Frampton, in 1913, and further performances are planned as part of Wimborne History Festival in July.

Venue: Holtwood Methodist Church, Holtwood, Dorset BH21 7DT
£6/£4, suitable for 12 years and over from Wimborne TIC: 01202 886116         

The play is based on the stories and photographs from current family members, and research by Wimborne’s town crier, Chris Brown, as well as research gathered over recent years as apart of the development of WCT’s production What They Left Behind’ (2016).

Liz Frampton, Tillie’s granddaughter, who lives in the same village her grandparents once lived, said: “I am excited that this performance will give me a tiny glimpse of my grandparents, Will and Tillie, whose life I was not privileged to share.”

Visitors to the Priest’s House Museum will be familiar with Hubert Wareham, whose portrait, resplendent in medals for school achievement, is displayed in the schoolroom.

Alan Wareham, Hubert’s great nephew, said: “ We are looking forward to attending the play as it has really brought my Great Uncle Hubert’s story to life and it recognises and honours the great sacrifice that he and others made”.

Writers, Gill Horitz and Tony Horitz, said:“The play is based on letters, photographs and stories provided by family members, local historians and Museum archives.  Using them as stimuli, we have dramatised the voices and thoughts of these four people from these remaining fragments of their lives.”   

James Webb from the Priest’s House Museum said:“As part of the project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, volunteers are undertaking research into the people of East Dorset affected by the conflict on the home front and the front line. Family members have come forward with archives and stories, which have proved invaluable. The use of theatre has the ability to make these stories accessible to new audiences.”

The production will be enhanced by projected images, created by Alastair Nisbet, of ScreenPLAY, and performances by four Dorset-based professional actors: Kevin Burke, Bryony Reynolds, Joe Urquhart, and Jake Baker.

The production by State of Play Arts has been commissioned by the Priest’s House Museum, as part of its ‘The One Hundred Year Heritage of the First World War for Wimborne and East Dorset’ project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

 Priest’s House Museum
State of Play Arts


Skittles Evening 27th April 2018

Skittles Evening 27th April 2018

will now take place on Friday 27th April.

At The Coach & Horses Pub, Poole Road, Wimborne BH21 1QB
At 7.30 pm (Doors open from 7.00 pm)
Entrance fee £6 per person (pay WCT on the door)
Food available for £5.25

Hope everybody who originally booked will be able to make it.
All arrangements are the same and we have a record of your food order so all we need from you is confirmation that you can make the new date.