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Shire Hall Memories Needed

Shire Hall

8:28am 19th October 2013

A special exhibition looking into 200 years of crime and punishment in Dorchester needs your help.

The Shire Hall History Project is looking for people with memories of the Old Crown Court which closed in 1955.

They're putting together a collection of local stories from old staff members, jurors and people who stood in the dock.

The project is all part of plans to transform the Grade 1 Listed building into a major heritage attraction.

West Dorset District Council is preparing a bid for £1.1 million of Heritage Lottery Funding to create the visitor centre, which they say will feature "high quality exhibitions and education resources."

Mr Stevens, Participation Worker at digital:works, who is leading the Shire Hall Oral History Project, said: "I want to capture the memories of anyone who can recall the Old Crown Court or the Shire Hall. If you have any memories of being part of a trial or perhaps doing building work there, please contact me as I would love to hear from you and record your experiences for posterity."

Robert Gould, Leader of West Dorset District Council, said: "Creating a major heritage attraction in the heart of Dorchester will safeguard our history and attract more visitors to West Dorset, which will help our economy.

"We are working with interested groups to help decide how this remarkable place can be developed into a successful visitor attraction. Standing in the Old Crown Court you get an overwhelming sense of history, because time has stood still and it has hardly changed since Georgian times."

If you have memories of the Shire Hall or Old Crown Court, please contact the Shire Hall Oral History Project on 01305 252226. Or email  

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