OLD photographs of a parish in Dorchester are continuing to be dug up and recorded, much to the delight of a local author.

A recording group, organised by David Forrester and the Mill Street Housing Society, have been recording the memories of people who used to live in Mill Street, Fordington.

Mill Street was used by Thomas Hardy for characters in his novel The Mayor of Casterbridge.

Pictures of the Mill Street Mission, a coronation tea party and general fun in the area have re-emerged since the project got underway.

Some of these pictures were provided by David Holden who used to live Fordington.

Mr Forrester, who published Fordington Remembered: Growing up in and Around Dorchester, said he was delighted with the new items.

He said: “He used to go to Mill Street Mission when he was a boy. Some of the photographs I’ve got he was actually in.”

Mr Forrester said he wanted to record these stories before they were lost forever.

He said: “We have had an open day where I showed 220 photographs and talked about them. We had 40 odd people there, 40 of them volunteering to tell their story.

“We are in the throws at the moment of recording people’s stories. I’m going to put them together in a book.”

The book, which is expected to be called Mill Street: Thomas Hardy’s Mixen Lane, will cover a large period of time, according to Mr Forrester.

He said: “The book is going to deal from Hardy’s time, probably from the mid-1850s, the cholera epidemic, right until the 1960s.”

Profits from the book will be evenly split between the Women’s Refuge charity and the Mill Street Housing Society.

Mr Forrester will give a talk on Mill Street at an open meeting of the Charlton History Group at Herrison Hall in Charlton Down.

This will take place on Wedneday, September 17 from 7.30pm. Entry costs £3 for non-members or £2 for members.

Later this month, on Tuesday, September 30 there will be another open afternoon from 2pm until 4pm in St Georges Hall, Fordington.

This will allow members of the public to view pictures in the Mill Street Archives and record their memories.

Mr Forrester said: “I’ve been taken right back to my childhood.

“It was a sort of forbidden place for 100 years where people wouldn’t go. It’s now a very nice quiet place to live.”

If anyone has any memories or stories to share with Mr Forrester about the Mill Street and Fordington areas of Dorchester, he can be contacted on 01305 250882.