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Postcards of Dorchester - South Street & Cornhill

All Cards from the private postcard collection of Michael Russell OPC for Dorchester & Fordington
© Copyright Mr. M Russell FIPD All Rights Reserved

Most cards can be dated approximately from image ref numbers on the front or back of the card.
If you have other postcards showing different scenes from Dorchesters' past please make contact via the email address on the front page.

South Street: runs north to south through the center of Dorchester connecting the center of the High Street, where the distictive buildings of St Peters Church and the clock tower of the Corn Exchange can be seen in many of the postcards shown below, and the site of the old Roman South Gate into Dorchester. It is clearly marked on John Speeds Map of Dorchester dated 1611 with the town pump shown in pride of place at its northenmost end and Nappers Mite and the Grammer School towards its southernmost extremity. The top quarter of its length however has been known as 'Cornhill' since before 1652 and is marked as such on Kingston's map dated in 1771. Where the town pump was is a small building called a Cupola. This Cupola is referred to in Municipal Records. On 28 Apr 1758 the Corporation ordered 'Mr William Bryer, our Steward to employ proper persons to take down the lantern of the Cupola which is very ruinous and dangerous, and to fit up the wood-work and other parts of the Cupola in as good and cheap method as he can'. Seven years later on 1st Oct 1764 there is reference to 'Mary, wife of Edward Hibbs of Knighton Dorset labourer to be whipped tomorrow morning at the cupola'. The significant entry however is for 28th Feb 1783 when it states "The Cupola being in a very ruinous state, and in its present situation quite a nuisance to the street, and it being the opinion of the gentlemen present that the Road would be more commodious for travelling if the same was entirely removed, It is resolved that the same be taken down, and that the Pump, which ought to stand for the Benefit of the Neighbourhood, be ornamented in such manner as shall be approved of at a future meeting. PS Mr Robert Stickland is desired to be assisting with the Town steward in taking down the cupola.".

Cornhill was the site of the old coaching inn 'The Antelope' (now an arcade), and where the old pump stood is now an obelisk shown in the first card below. The two most historical buildings in south street are Nappers Mite the old Almshouses established in 1615 and the old Grammer or Free School

30a. Cornhill - 1909   Link to Obelisk 2008

From the junction of High West & East Streets looking down Cornhill to South St
Behind the gas lamp is Wilts & Dorset Banking Co. Limited, 34 High East street
30b. Cornhill 1909

The shop opposite behind the policeman is 'Riglars' the tobacconists at 1 Cornhill
Posted Maiden Newton 14th May 1909
31. Cornhill - Robinsons - 1903   Link to Picture 2010

Robinson's (left) sold stationery and musical instruments and were concert agents
Looking back at St Peters Church & the Corn exchange (Negative F. Frith 50841)
32. Cornhill - Antelope Hotel - c1943

The Antelope Hotel on the left closed in 1990's and is now
offices and the entrance to a shopping arcade (Negative Valentines H4370)
33. Nappers Mite - (c1910-1915?)

Founded by Sir Robert Napper (Napier) 1615
Completed after his death (Negative Judges 802)
34. Nappers Mite- c1910?

Card by ETW Dennis Image P63209
The street frontage was rebuilt in 1842
35 The Free School, Nappers Mite - 1924

Building front right Dorchester Free School just before it moved to Culliford Road in 1928
Further on 'Nappers Mite' and 'Thurmans' - on left Henry Perham's hairdressers

Posted in Dorchester 9.45pm February 24th 1924
(Negative Kingsway Real Photo Series S3167)
36. Far end of South Street - 1923

This end of South Street was the site of the old South Gate into Dorchester
The shop Tilley & Son were cycle agents & based at 45 South St

Posted in Dorchester 22nd September 1923
(Negative Judges Real Photo Series 801)
37. Nappers Mite - 1958   Link to Picture 2009

Established for 10 poor men, 4 from the country & 6 from the town
had a small courtyard out the back (Negative Wades Real Photo Series 777)
38. South Street - 1970's?

The spire is All Saints Church
(Negative J Salmon Ltd Sevenoakes 1-54-13-12L)
Genealogical Notes:-


Cards 31 & 32. CORNHILL 1903 & 1943        [Return to Card 32]

    The premises on the left is the 'Antelope Hotel' with its distinctive bay windows and iron railed balconies. Its recorded as in Cornhill or South street as the latter becomes Cornhill as it approaches the High street. The sign can be clearly seen in the picture from 1943. The Antelope was one of Dorchester's oldest coaching Inns and predated the fire of 1613. It is not clear to me whether it was destroyed then by the fire and rebuilt, but there is evidence that the premises adjoining it was in ruins from the fire. It was two years before it was sold and rebuilt so the fire certainly reached that area. The Antelope was most famous for its 'Oak Room' which was the location of Judge Jeffreys famous 'Bloody Assizes' held on 5th September 1685. This is now a tea room off Antelope Walk, the front of the old hotel now acting as an entrance to an arcade of shops. From street directories we know the names of many of its past proprietors many of whom issued trade bills for debt incurred at the hotel. Some of these have survived and I have reproduced these below against the individual concerned.
    (1). Thomas ATKINS: is listed as Governor of the Company of Freemen in Dorchester for the year 1689, and when the rates for the year 1737 were compiled for St Peters Parish he was assessed at 6d ' for his house 'The Antelope' (Municipal Records of Dorchester). He may therefore have been proprietor for many years. He was buried at St Peters Church on 23rd January 1739/40 and left a will so I would like to transcribe a copy for this site if anyone has it.
    (2). James STENT: was proprietor before 1830 (Pigots directory) and the trade bill shown above was issued in 1831. The following year the newspapers report a court action that he took out against a Mr FISHER, an agent for the outstanding balance of recent election expenses incurred at the Hotel. Expenses reached the considerable sum of £29,000 of which £10,000 related to tavern bills.
    (3). Charles PARSONS: (b. c1809) a native of Sopley in Hampshire is listed in the 1841 Census as the Innkeeper of 'The Antelope Tap' situated in Cornhill, which he appears to have run with his wife Sarah (she was born c1815 in Dorchester). Immediately preceding this entry is:-
    (4). Richard GAUTON: whose trade is given as 'Hotel Keeper' and his household includes a list of 9 servants so it looks like he ran the hotel side of the business whilst Charles PARSONS and his wife looked after the Tavern. By 1844 (Pigots directory) Richard GAULTON is shown as proprietor of the 'Antelope' and Charles and Sarah are running 'The Dolphin Inn' located in Church Street.
    (5). James HOARE: (b c1805) a native of Herefordshire was shown in the 1851 Census as Innkeeper of 'The Antelope Tap' in South Street. He was with his wife Harriet and his 4 children and 4 travellers, a post boy , an ostler and a coachman & his wife all clearly associated with the hotel/Inn.
    (6). James YEARLEY: is shown in the 1852 Slater's Directory as proprietor of the Antelope Hotel in Cornhill but he died in 1858 and the 1861 Census shows his 17 year old son Stephen YEARSLEY as head of household. Stephen was baptised in St Peters church on 19th November 1843 where his mothers name is recorded as Elizabeth.
    The 1861 Census also shows the presence of another victualler called James WATTS who was 28 years old and presumably helping Stephen YEARSLEY to run the business as Stephen is listed at the Antelope with 10 servants everything from a housekeeper and barmaid to waitresses, room maids, a boots, and an ostler. He left to become a dealer in horses, married a lady from Hatcham in Kent, had a son in Pechkam and was still living in 1901.
    (7). James SLY: had taken over the Antelope Hotel at 14 Cornhill by the time of the 1871 Census which he was running with the help of his wife Harriett together with his daughter Emily, and 6 servants. The trading Bill shown above was issued that year. James SLY was baptised at St Marys church in Melcombe Regis on 19 Sep 1818, the son of a carpenter William Sly by his wife Sarah. Prior to James arrival in Dorchester he had already prospered to become the proprietor of the Cutter Hotel in Melcombe Regis. He married his wife Harriett Manning in her home parish of Taunton in Somerset in 1848 and had two children in Melcombe Regis (Emily Blanch 1849 and William in 1852, but William died there). The 1875 Post Office directory shows James SLY still in charge of the 'Antelope Family & Commercial Hotel & Posting House', in Cornhill but he died before the next census in 2nd quarter of 1879.
    (8) In 1881 the hotel was run by a 61 year old man William TURNOCK and his wife Elizabeth who had run a hotel in Christchurch Hampshire in 1871. By 1889 however the Hotel was under the management of Mrs Jane DUNN.

    (9) Jane DUNN was the widow of Charles DUNN (baptised Gillingham Dorset 1 Nov 1818 the son of a labourer Henry Dunn by his wife Elizabeth). Jane herself was born at Henstridge in Somerset c1826. Charles a porter and Jane a laundress initially worked in Wincanton but soon moved to Dorchester where they jointly ran the White Heart Hotel in High East Street. They had a son Clement Charles DUNN baptised in All Saints church on 16th May 1855 but Charles Dunn died in Dorchester in 1863. Jane now a widow moved to Fordington where she was the landlady of the Junction Hotel for many years. Her son Clement moved to London working as a commercial clerk in Finsbury (1881) and later at the Manchester Hotel in Aldersgate (1891). Jane was still running the Junction Hotel in 1881 but had moved to Cornhill to manage the 'Antelope' by 1889. She died in Dorchester at the age of 71 in 1894 and her son Clement returned to Dorchester to take over management of the 'Antelope'. In kellys Directory of Dorchester for the year 1895 the stables were being advertised (see below) by William HAMMOND Junior.

    (10). Clement Charles DUNN married in 1900 in Newton Abbott to Helena Joanna MERRICK and they were still running the 'Antelope' in 1915.

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