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Hilltop History – Episode 15

Listen to Alfred’s Hilltop History programme, presented by Elaine Barratt.

On this week’s programme:

  • Bob Kelley’s parents operated a café and bakery on Shaftesbury High Street in the 1960s and 1970s. Bob explains how regular Shaftesbury visitor, the celebrity Diana Dors, used to call in to try and negotiate a bargain. She was accompanied by her sex shop magnate partner. And you’ll hear how caterers coped in the days before beeswax wraps or cling film!
  • Shaftesbury Abbey and Gold Hill Museum volunteer Claire Ryley continues to tell the story of our town using fifty items on display at the museum. Today, Claire joins Nick Crump to talk about an historic book known as the Psalter. Join the pair as they travel back to the Shaftesbury of 1150. You’ll hear why this book was used for daily reference by women in the Abbey. You will also discover the origins of the term ‘red letter day’.
  • Dave Hardiman presents the story of the labouring families who lived in Bere Knapp cottages in Compton Abbas. The Greens, Merefields and Hardimans were resident. And you’ll hear what drove 19th-century labourers to undertake perilous sea crossings.
  • Well-known Shastonian, Don Cutler, remembers wartime Shaftesbury when low-flying German planes flew over our town. One crashed south of Shaftesbury. Trinity Church tower was one way the German airforce navigated to the population centres on the Severn Estuary. Don also talks about the prisoner of war facility at Motcombe.