Thomas Hardy Victorian Fair 2023


Sunday, 4th June 2023 from 11am to 4pm


Photo credits from left to right: D-DPA 1 DOR 403 – A drawing of the proposed Clock tower on the Corn Exchange in 1862 (courtesy of Dorset History Centre). Thomas Hardy and Bicycle – Dorset County Museum © 2019 D-DPA 1 DOR – South Walks 1860 (courtesy of Dorset History Centre). Thomas Hardy – Dorset County Museum © 2019

Thomas Hardy’s Casterbridge –
Dorchester Through Time

Dorchester Through Time

Casterbridge Defined
‘Casterbridge is a old, hoary place o’ wickedness by all account.  ‘Tis recorded in history that we rebelled against the King one or two hundred years ago, in the time of the Romans, and that lots of us was hanged on Gallows Hill’
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Thomas Hardy

The Early Years
‘It faces west, and round the back and sides High beeches, bending, hang a veil of boughs, And sweep against the roof. Wild honeysucks Climb on the walls, and seem to sprout a wish (If we may fancy wish of trees and plants) To overtop the apple-trees hard by.’
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Max Gate

The House that Hardy Built
‘ - Ah, maybe you’ve some vision Of showings beyond our sphere; Some sight, sense, intuition Of what once happened here? The house is old; they’ve hinted It once held two love-thralls, And they may have imprinted Their dreams on its walls?’
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Thomas Hardy’s Casterbridge

‘Casterbridge was the complement of the rural life around not its urban opposite. Bees and butterflies in the cornfields at the top of the town, who desired to get to the meads at the bottom took no circuitous course but flew straight down High Street without any apparent consciousness that they were traversing strange latitudes.’  
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Thoughts and Reflections

‘One may ask, what other purely English establishment than the Church, of sufficient dignity and footing, with such strength of old association, such scope for transmutability, such architectural spell, is left in this country to keep the shreds of morality together?’
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In his late 70s whenever Florence was concerned about Hardy’s health his response would be “If you send for a doctor, I shall be ill”. 
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‘They may laugh at me for my ignorance; but that was father’s fault, … But they shall never laugh at my children … Thank God I’ve been able to keep her at school at the figure of near a hundred a year; … Let ’em laugh now if they can: Mrs. Charmond herself is not better informed than my girl Grace.’
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‘Opposite Knight’s eyes was an imbedded fossil, standing forth in low relief from the rock. It was a creature with eyes. The eyes, dead and turned to stone, were even now regarding him. It was one of the early crustaceans called Trilobites.’
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‘There, before him, he saw rise up from among the trees a fountain of sparks and smoke, then a red glare of light coming forward towards him; then a flashing panorama of illuminated oblong pictures; then the old darkness, more impressive than ever. … the disturbance, … being caused by the 6.50 down-train’
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Trade, Commerce and Industry

‘the vans of the carriers … were drawn up on each side of the street in close file, so as to form at places a wall between the pavement and the roadway. Moreover every shop pitched out half its contents upon trestles and boxes on the kerb, extending the display each week a little further and further into the roadway’
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Law & Order

‘sheep could be heard bleating without the Shire Hall while a sheep-stealer was being sentenced within’
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Thomas Hardy Music

‘this sensitiveness to melody... though he was no skilled musician, remained with him through life.’
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Borough Gardens

‘I mean to build a hall anon,
And shape two turrets there,
And a broad newelled stair,
And a cool well for crystal water;
Yes; I will build a hall anon,
Plant roses love shall feed upon,
And apple trees and pear.’
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Friends & Influencers

`To take his last journey forth--he who in his prime
Trudged so many a time from that gate athwart the land!
Thus a farewell to me he signalled on his grave-way,
As with a wave of his hand.’
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Military Life

‘I constantly deplore the fact that “civilised” nations have not learnt some more excellent and apostolic way of settling disputes than the old & barbarous one, after all these centuries; but when I felt that it must be, few persons are more martial than I, or like better to write of war in prose and rhyme.’
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An Afternoon Concert

‘Sing, Ballad-singer, raise a hearty tune; Make me forget that there was ever a one I walked with in the meek light of the moon When the day’s work was done. Rhyme, Ballad-rhymer, start a country song; Make me forget that she whom I loved well Swore she would love me dearly, love me long,
Then--what I cannot tell!’
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Mayor of Casterbridge Walk

‘The Ring at Casterbridge was merely the local name of one of the finest Roman Amphitheatres, if not the very finest, remaining in Britain…. It was to Casterbridge what the ruined Coliseum is to modern Rome, and was nearly of the same magnitude. Melancholy, impressive, lonely, yet accessible from every part of the town.’
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KeeP 106

Thomas Hardy Victorian Fair 2021

Join KeeP 106 broadcasting live
from the event
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There were over 5000 visitors at last year’s Thomas Hardy Victorian Fair.

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