Lead or Rumour info - - The King's Arms, Dorchester, Dorset | Leads, Rumours and News... | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Lead or Rumour info - The King's Arms, Dorchester, Dorset

Bertie Bollockbrains

The Spice Must Stop
Regular User
Thomas Hardy is my favorite author, so how exciting it was for me to spot this place standing empty...

Closed since January 2015, stickers on the windows saying CCTV but couldn't see any. Heras fencing down that side passage, with a gap big enough underneath to slip under. Looking through the windows I see all furnishing as you would expect in a 3 star hotel, including booze still behind the bar. Unfortunately with wife in tow I couldn't really have a proper look beyond that fencing.

What really excites me is that Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886) has a scene set in this hotel. Thomas Hardy's tale of Michael Henchard, an agricultural worker who, while drunk, sells his wife at a fair, is set in Dorchester. Many years later, Henchard becomes rich, respected and Mayor of the town. In the scene at the King's Arms he is at the height of his career and dining with the Town Aldermen in the bay window seen in the photo above.

I shall quote the relevant passages from the novel... "The building... was the chief hotel in Casterbridge - namely, the King's Arms. A spacious bow-window projected into the street over the main portico, and from the open sashes came the babble of voices, the jingle of glasses, and the drawing of corks..."

Then his wife and daughter turns up after many years of absence...

"'Why,' said the old man, 'tis a great public dinner of the gentle-people and such like leading volk - wi' the Mayor in the chair. As we plainer fellows bain't invited, they leave the winder-shutters open that we may get jist a sense o't out here... That's Mr Henchard, the Mayor, at the end of the table, a facing ye; and that's the Council men right and left...'"

Michael Henchard's downfall starts from here; slowly, tortuously and long-drawn over about 300 pages - obviously the wife wasn't too happy about being sold at the fair many years earlier and karma comes to Henchard.

if anyone is going throw me an invite please. Finally Dorchester Prison is still there to be explored - it's been sold now to developers.