The best of Dorset in words and pictures

Charmouth’s camera

Samuel Hansford's early photographic images of Charmouth and district are a fascinating window onto a different world

With images of the family, the town and surrounding area (Morecombelake, Wootton Fitzpaine and Whitchurch Canonicorum), Around Charmouth… contains 120 pictures and includes a unique insight into life before and between the wars. From a sheepwash to a Dorset agricultural worker looking aghast before taking his first dose of ‘modern medicine’, from formal portraits to snapshots of village and family life, Around Charmouth… is a treasure trove of small vignettes on life in the early 20th century. Here we feature three images to give a flavour of the delights which the book contains.

The whole of Charmouth appears to have been decorated in honour of the coronation of George V. This display outside the George Hotel is typical of many of the scenes.

The idea of going for a little local tour now strikes us as mundane in the modern world. Back in Samuel Hansford's time it was an occasion for which dressing up was very much in order.

By contrast, the delivery of a buffalo's head to Wootton Manor excites little interest, other then the effort required to carry it

Around Charmouth and District, with Samuel Hansford and his camera, is an eighty-paged book of images published by Samuel’s grandson, David, and great-granddaughter, Davina. It is available from Davina Hansford on 01297 560014 (answerphone) or by emailing

Dorset Directory