People living in Dorchester a century ago were brought to life by students of St Osmund's School.

A packed town hall was treated to a variety of short talks from historians, businessmen and representatives from several other organisations, alongside dedicated students in 'A Dorchester Story 1914-18'.

As a precursor to their production 'When The Men Marched Away' - being held later this month - St Osmund's School invited Chris Copson from the Military Keep Museum and local historian Brian Bates to set the context from a military perspective.

They were joined by representatives from Dorchester Town Football Club and The Hardy Society who gave insights to the football club pre-war and how Thomas Hardy himself interacted with the prisoners of war, housed in Poundbury, by giving them copies of his own books.

Astonishing statistics from Symonds and Sampson as to the comparative price of livestock, the history of Gould's and the Pope family as well as the construction of the town memorials by Grassby and Sons, gave a business perspective to the evening.

Pupils from St Osmund's performed Thomas Hardy's own Hornpipe as well as And There Was A Great Calm, Hardy's poem about the armistice.

To further illustrate the talks by Brian Bates about the Prisoner of War Camp and Colliton House Hospital, pupils from the school also performed two original songs from their production: 'German Jack In A Box' - the story of an escapee, and 'Colliton House Rag' - based on poems written by the patients at the hospital.

Entertainment from the era was presented by Anna-Maria Geare from the Decadettes and the whole evening was rounded off with a brief talk from Maria Gayton from the Dorset History Centre.

With the Town Crier, Alistair Chisholm as compere, the whole evening set the scene for Dorchester during the Great War.

St Osmund's pupils and staff have worked on this history project for 18 months.

The next event the students will perform is a play entitled 'When The Men Marched Away' which will be held at the Thomas Hardye School theatre on Tuesday, March 27 and Wednesday, March 28.

Tickets for the play are available from the Dorchester Tourist Information Centre or at St Osmund's School.