Events at Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum in Dorchester


What: Wicked Wessex Tour: The Cat O’Nine Tails

When: Ongoing July 20th to October 5th.

More info: Learn about the dark history of Wicked Wessex. The cat-o’-nine-tails was a type of whip used in the Royal Navy. A sailor could be flogged for anything from drunkenness to desertion. Each of the cat’s ‘tails’ was knotted to increase the pain of the lashes. Free with valid Museum Annual Pass. Find out more at or call 01305 261849.

What: Paint Freedom – art exhibition by Bob and Roberta Smith

When: July 27th to September 6th

More info: Bob and Roberta Smith is a contemporary British artist best known for his slogan art. Paint Freedom is a new exhibition of portraits and landscapes and the works are in collaboration with the National Trust’s People’s Landscape project. The exhibition has been created by Bob and Roberta, together with members of the public. The exhibition will be on display throughout the museum. Free with valid Museum Annual Pass. National Trust members get £1 off entry, and there is free entry to the museum for Arts Fund Members. For more information visit or call 01305 261849.


What: ‘Art and Activism’ In conversation with: artist Bob and Roberta Smith, human rights lawyer Clive Stafford-Smith, UWE senior lecturer in History Dr Rose Wallis and activist Baroness Jones of Moulescoomb.

When: August 15th, at 7pm.

More info: This talk will feature acclaimed artist Bob and Roberta Smith, human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith, senior History lecturer Dr Rose Wallis and will be chaired by Baroness Jones of Moulescoomb. The discussion will explore themes raised by a new collaborative piece of art, created by Clive Stafford Smith and Bob and Roberta Smith, which asks the questions, ‘Who are our contemporary Tolpuddle Martyrs?’ and ‘How can art be used as activism?’. For more information visit or call 01305 261849. £10 per head. For more information visit or call 01305 261849.


What: Desire, love, identity: exploring LGBTQ histories

When: Saturday, September 21, until Sunday, November 17.

More info: Same-sex love and desire and gender diversity are an integral part of human experience. The way they have been expressed culturally has varied widely globally and over time. Based upon Professor Richard Parkinson’s award-winning book, ‘A Little Gay History’, this exhibition offers glimpses into LGBTQ experience through the British Museum’s collection. For more information visit or call 01305 261849.



What: Drinks in the Clink: Cider Riot

When: Friday, September 27th at 7pm

More info: A brief history of Cider – how to make it and how to drink it. Starting with an introduction to cider and its place in history, then moving on to a look at the types of apples used in its production, the equipment required and finish with a taster and ploughman’s nibbles. Run by Nick Poole of the West Milton Cider Co.  For more information visit or call 01305 261849.



What: Jewellery making workshop with Caroline Parrott

When: Saturday, October 19th 10am-4pm

More info: Caroline creates beautiful, colourful jewellery using hand printed and coloured aluminium.

This is an exciting opportunity join her and create your own unique jewellery, using anodised aluminium that you hand print and dye as part of the workshop. Students typically create 5 different pieces in a day including, earrings, bangles and pendants.

Suitable for beginners and those with experience of jewellery making. Please bring and apron and wear old clothes as dyes can stain permanently. Lunch is included in the price and tickets are £65 each. If you have any queries about the workshop, please call Abbie King on 01305 261849


What: Drinks in the Clink: Spells in the Cells

When: Thursday, October 31st, 7pm

More info: A brilliant and unique night out for any school of wizardry fan….

The evening begins with a serving of Butterbeer, a truly tasty beverage straight from the books. From there, things get even boozier with just a swish and a flick. We invite you to try your hand at mixing potions, and yes, they are whipped up in a cauldron. Using a set of ingredients sourced from ancient magick textbooks, you’ll chop, grind, and mix up concoctions such as the Transfiguration Tonic, which you will then proceed to drink. Practical magic, indeed.

No witches or wizards under the age of 18. Dressing up strongly encouraged! Booking is essential and tickets are £30 each. For more information visit or call 01305 261849.



What: ‘The Exiled Collector’, a talk by Anna Sebba .

When: Sunday, November 3rd at 1pm.

More info: William Bankes was a 19th century collector of ancient Egyptian artefacts and Spanish paintings intended for his ancestral home, Kingston Lacy. He was forced into exile in Italy to escape prosecution, yet continued to collect for a house he no long lived in nor owned. The house has been restored by the National Trust – can William himself be restored in this talk? For more information visit or call 01305 261849.