DT1 Town Talk: Walking in their Shoes project discovers interesting historical facts

Dorset Echo: Jack Welch, a volunteer with the Walking in their Shoes project at Routes advice and information centre in Dorchester Jack Welch, a volunteer with the Walking in their Shoes project at Routes advice and information centre in Dorchester

The past month for the Heritage Lottery Funded project Walking in their Shoes has seen the team take up their deerstalkers and magnifying glasses, as their latest research begins to uncover the latest clues and are now seeing some very exciting results of our investigations.

Some of our best discoveries this month include the revelation Dorchester had one of the largest German Prison of War camps in the country, with an estimated 5,000 inmates at its peak, nearly half the town’s population at the time.

With 2014 marking the significant centenary since the UK declaring war on Germany, we are keen to make as many findings as possible about this important narrative of Dorset’s role in the war.

We also found out Routes, 5 North Square, Dorset Youth Association’s Advice and Information Café where we meet, was a lodging home for off duty soldiers and a popular car servicing company next door was a hotspot for refreshments and sanctuary when they were not on the frontline.

We know that the home was first opened in 1888 by the Church and Temperance Societies and tried to make a warm, comforting place for soldiers and to encourage them to stay out of the pubs.

As young people we encourage each other to do the same today.

Elsewhere, we are working very hard on the Geocaches of our pilgrims’ trail across the county and will be including some exciting features if you fancy a journey down the historical lane of Dorset, walking in the shoes of the Saxon St Aldhem, so keep your eyes peeled.

Please call Lorna on 07788 203003 for more details and remember to look at our website walkingintheirshoes.blogspot.co.uk/ and Twitter @DorsetWitS for ongoing updates.

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