Exhibition Hotel reunion set to bring the old gang back together

Dorset Echo: DRINK AND BE MERRY: Barry and Anth Harris, former landlords of The Exhibition Hotel, are planning a reunion DRINK AND BE MERRY: Barry and Anth Harris, former landlords of The Exhibition Hotel, are planning a reunion

MEMORIES of an iconic Dorchester pub will be revived at a one-off reunion event in Dorchester.

Barry and Anth Harris, who used to run the old Exhibition Hotel in London Road 30 years ago, are hoping to bring former regulars back together.

They are holding the reunion event at the Wessex Royale Hotel in High West Street from 7.30pm on Saturday, April 5.

Barry said the idea for the reunion stemmed from when they met a couple of the old regulars from the Exhibition at the Gamekeeper in Charminster last Boxing Day.

He said: “We had some lovely comments about it and thought we would do a reunion.”

Barry added: “When we took over the pub it was on its knees but we inherited some of the nicest lads and customers you could ever wish for – they were absolutely brilliant and we had some fantastic times.

“They have always stayed friends with us.”

When Barry and Anth took on the Exhibition in the early 1980s it was one of Dorchester’s oldest pubs and they never thought it would close.

Barry said: “When we took over Eldridge Pope told us it was one of the oldest pubs in the town and they said it would never close.”

The couple left around four years later as Barry returned to the building trade and the Exhibition finally shut its doors around a decade ago.

Barry said his best memories included Boxing Day celebrations at the old venue, when around 80 to 100 people used to turn up.

He added: “For a few years we were probably the best weekend pub in town.”

The Exhibition also had five letting rooms and would regularly host television crews that were visiting the area.

The event at the Wessex Royale is for anyone with memories of the Exhibition to come along and enjoy and reminisce as well as a chance to catch up with old friends.

There will be a 1980s themed buffet and music from Chris Groves, who used to perform at the old pub.

Barry said he was also hoping to persuade another regular performer Ray Mitchell to sing a few songs as well.

There will also be a display of old photographs from the Exhibition’s heyday.

Tickets cost £10 including food and are available from the Wessex Royale Hotel.

Call 01305 262660.

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