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Surprising Finds and Lucky Survivals

Ed Bristow looks back on 4 years of working at Dorset History Centre and his most memorable items from the archives.

I will soon be leaving my role as a History Centre Assistant, after more than four years of working at Dorset History Centre (DHC). Over the years I have been lucky enough to see some amazing documents, and have even made some surprising finds myself! So before I leave I thought I would take the opportunity to write about some of my favourites.

Working on Weymouth

Since I started working at DHC, one of my main tasks has been box-listing the Weymouth Borough archive (reference: DC-WYP). This collection consists of hundreds of boxes of documents, ranging from the medieval period all the way through to the present day. The collection was allocated to me in part because I have lived in Weymouth my entire life, and it has been a privilege to handle so many pieces of my home town's history. It is because of this that I have selected three documents relating to Weymouth within my choice of highlights.

Ed Bristow, History Centre Assistant

  • Chevalier D'Eon D RAC P 169 B Gender Recognition - at the Point of a Sword

    One of the most unexpected items within Dorset History Centre's collections is a small black and white poster dating from 1796. It advertises a fencing match in Southampton by a woman; Mademoiselle Charlotte Genevieve Louis D'Eon, also known as the Chevalier D'Eon.

  • Titanic notepaper D-CRI/H/5/1/1 A Tragic Reminder of the Unsinkable Ship

    Ed Bristow shares an unexpected trace of the Titanic in an unlikely collection.

  • Bomb damage in Chapelhay Destruction and Creation

    Weymouth and its inhabitants suffered greatly during the war; its proximity to the naval base at Portland and its well-protected bay left it at the receiving end of several bombing raids.

  • D-DPA/1/WY/292 Weymouth Bridge: Engraving by John Upham A Bridge Between People

    Many local people are aware that Weymouth was originally two towns; Melcombe Regis to the north of the harbour, and Weymouth to the south. The two communities had an often fractious relationship, usually related to the harbour.

  • King George III medical treatment Regency Tourism and King George III in Weymouth

    Dorset History Centre has a large collection of local studies books, including many rare and unusual volumes. A particular favourite is a wonderful guide to Weymouth that was published around 1799.

  • Charles I signature Cash Flow Problems and the Civil War

    A newly catalogued letter reveals the desperate measures employed by King Charles I to raise much needed funds in the years leading up to the Civil War.

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