Wimborne Minster

Street Map

Wimborne Minster (often referred to locally as Wimborne) is a market town in the East Dorset district of Dorset in South West England, and the name of the Church of England church in that town. The central town has a population of 6,418 (according to the 2001 Census) and is situated at the confluence of the River Stour and River Allen, five miles north of Poole.

The NT property of Kingston Lacy is nearby.

The Mayor of Wimborne is currently Robin D Cook. who held the post previously. The town and its administrative area is served by eleven councillors and one from the nearby ward of Cranfield. Wimborne is twinned with Valognes, France and Ochsenfurt, Germany.

The architecture of Wimborne is regarded as one of the foremost collections of 15th, 16th and 17th-century buildings in Dorset. Local planning has restricted the construction of new buildings in areas such as the Corn Market and the High Street, resulting in the preservation of almost all of the original buildings. The most interesting examples of English architecture include the centuries-old Wimborne Minster, the Town Hall, the Priest’s House Museum and dozens of original 16th, 17th and 18th-century fronted shops and pubs. The town is also home to the Tivoli Theatre, a 1930s art deco cinema and theatre.

This is a Saxon Church, with Norman and Gothic architecture. It is famed for its unique chained library and the tombs of King Ethelred, the brother of Alfred the Great, as well as the tombs of John Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, and his duchess, the maternal grandparents of King Henry VII of England.

The model town is one of the largest and most established model towns in England. It depicts Wimborne at the time the model was made, in the 1950s. It is at 1/10 scale, resulting in the model of the Minster being several feet high. The model shop windows accurately show the goods which the real shops were selling at the time. The exhibition also includes a model railway based on Thomas the Tank Engine, which was opened by Christopher Awdry.

On weekends and national holidays, the town crier can be seen in the main square and around the Minster. The legacy and position of the town crier date back to the Civil War. The town has a large civil war re-enactment society, which performs every year.

The town has a well-established and large market. The market is held on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It was previously located in the Town Centre but moved out several years ago to a site on the edge of town to accommodate its size.[7]

Every year Wimborne hosts the longest fireworks display in Dorset, as part of its Guy Fawkes celebrations; a county record that it has held for the last seven years. The display is held each year in the grounds of St Michael’s Church of England Middle School and is well supported by many thousands of people from the town, Colehill village and the surrounding area. All proceeds are donated each year to local schools, and since 2004 over £40,000 has been raised for local school projects and equipment.[8]

Every two years in mid-August, the Park Initiative, an inter-church charity working on Leigh Park estate, holds a community event called “Alive in the Park” in the centre of the estate using a large marquee.

Every summer in June the town holds the Wimborne Folk Festival. Founded in 1980, the annual event of traditional folk dance and song has become the focal point for the largest gathering of dance teams and musicians in the South of England. The festival is considered by many to be the town’s major event of the year and is highly regarded nationally as one of the largest events of its kind in the country.The festival involves Morris Dancing. The regional festival is attended by over 15,000 people across its weekend, with parts of the town being closed to traffic.

Wimborne Minster is twinned with Ochsenfurt in Germany, and Valognes in France.

Wimborne has many pubs. Many of these pubs are centuries old, with some dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries. Below is a list of pubs in central Wimborne.

Many residents and visitors of Wimborne are elderly, and in 2009 official statistics proved Wimborne to have the highest life expectancy for both men and women in the UK, with 9 out of 10 women expected to reach 75.

The historically important aerospace company Cobham plc has headquarters in Wimborne and employs a large proportion of its residents. The economy of the main town is dedicated towards Leisure and has many shops, restaurants and pubs. Tourism is an important aspect in the town’s economy. The town is also served by a Waitrose located on the old Cricket green and a Co-Operative supermarket.

From 1847 to 1977 Wimborne was served by a two platform railway station. The station was built for Southampton and Dorchester Railway, later part of the London and South Western Railway. It was later expanded when the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway was constructed between Bath and Poole. Wimborne was as a reversing point on the Somerset and Dorset, but its importance was reduced when an avoiding line was built from Bailey Gate to Broadstone, Dorset. The station also had a large goods yard, of which the present site today is occupied by the weekly Wimborne Market. The station was closed to passengers in 1964 and sundries (parcels and light goods) in 1966 as a result of the Beeching Axe programme. The final goods trains ran in May 1977.

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