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Travel back in time at Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum

There’s the chance to travel back in time to Dorset in the Georgian era in a new exhibition at Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum in Dorchester.

From 10 July until 4 September, the Museum is hosting ‘Georgian Dorset’, in partnership with Weymouth Museum.

The exhibition will feature selected Georgian artworks from the Bussell Collection. Ernest Bussell, a Weymouth ironmonger, was a well known collector of fine art, china, porcelain and silver. After his death in 1967, Bussell’s wife donated his paintings and prints to the town of his birth.

Bringing the past to life at Shire Hall Historic Courthouse

Based in the county town, Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum brings more than 200 years of justice and injustice to life. With interactive galleries, immersive cells and the impressive courtroom, there is something for everyone to enjoy at the museum.

We’re excited to be partnering with Weymouth Museum to bring a new exhibition on Georgian Dorset to Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum this summer. The Bussell collection is one of the most important collections held by Weymouth Museum. So it’s such a pleasure to exhibit this artwork and welcome visitors from across the county and country to see it. Abbie King, Museum Director


A glimpse of Royal Weymouth

The exhibition will also showcase some pieces from King George III’s time in Weymouth. In 1789, George III visited Weymouth after a doctor recommended the King convalesce on the coast. The visit was a huge success. The Queen declared the King was ‘much better and stronger for the sea bathing’. George III enjoyed his visit so much that he returned to Weymouth regularly over the next 15 years. 

Marcia Headon, Chair of Weymouth Museum, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum. With artworks depicting places, people and leisure activities of the time, this exhibition will offer visitors and snapshot of Georgian Dorset. The Georgian period was a really interesting time in Dorset’s history. Tourism was growing due to King George III’s association with Weymouth, and we’re excited to share this with visitors.”

Admission to Shire Hall includes entry to the Georgian Dorset exhibition and for more information, visit the website

*Image is ‘On the Esplanade’, a cartoon of the Mayor of Weymouth bowing to the King by Thomas Rowlandson, 1797 (© Weymouth Museum)

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