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Writers' Dorset

Explore the lives and work of the county’s writers

The Budmouth School, Mellstock Avenue, Lucetta Lane: Dorset and the narratives of writer Thomas Hardy have become intertwined. Arguably Dorset’s most famous writer, Hardy was born not far from Dorchester and chose to build his home, Max Gate, in the town. You may be familiar with his books and poems, even with the details of his life. But here something else is on offer: here you can get a feel for the man himself through his personal possessions and his faithfully recreated study. Devoted fans will be thrilled to see the very pens with which he wrote ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’, ‘Dynasts’ and ‘Jude the Obscure’.

A gallery dedicated to Dorset writers would be incomplete without reference to the great poet William Barnes. A friend of Thomas Hardy, he encouraged the younger man to write, and his own story is quite remarkable. Born in very humble circumstances, Barnes was a champion of the labouring classes and modest to the core.

He found inspiration in the people and placesaround him, often writing in the Dorset dialect.

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Explore the lives and work of the county’s writers