The Priest's House Museum & Garden, 23-27 High Street, Wimborne Minster, Dorset BH21 1HR
01202 882533  museum@priest-house.co.uk

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Gone but not Forgotten

Posted on 21 Mar 2016
The 'S&D 50' touring exhibition will be on display at the museum from 1 April to 2 May 2016 (closed Sundays). Admission charges apply. It was 50 years ago in 1966, on the evening of Saturday 5th March, that whistles and explosions shattered the peace of many towns and villages through Somerset and Dorset. Railwaymen were paying their last respects to the passing of the Somerset & Dorset Railway. As the final service train many of the stations, detonators were placed every few yards along the track and the locomotive's whistle sounded almost continuously. The line which had been part of the way of life for these country people for as long as they could remember would be no more. The Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust has been given £58,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund 'Our Heritage' programme to mark the 50th anniversary year with an exciting programme of travelling exhibitions, outdoor arts events, talks, walks and family friendly activities. The exhibition will visit a wide range of places at, or close to, former locations along the S&D railway line. The Somerset and Dorset Railway (S&D) ran from Bath across the Mendips and through Dorset to Bournemouth, with branch lines across the Somerset levels to Burnham-on-Sea, Bridgwater and Wells. One of Britain's best loved railways, famous for its charm, quirky character and beautiful scenery, it closed in March 1966 after more than a century of service. The travelling exhibition will visit over 30 locations throughout the Somerset and Dorset area over the course of the year, including Wells, Wimborne, Bridgwater, Radstock, Street and Sturminster Newton with support from local councils, museums, libraries, heritage groups and societies. The exhibition will explore the impact of the railway on local communities from its development, through its working life, since closure and also the work of the S&DRT in preserving and promoting its heritage. The Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust is based at Washford Station on the West Somerset Railway where an extensive collection of memorabilia relating principally to the S&D is on display, including a working reconstruction of Midford Signal Box. Also at Washford is the Trust's collection of locomotives and rolling stock, some of which are under restoration.