In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Blandford Forum like this:
BLANDFORD-FORUM, or Chipping Blandford, a town and a parish in Blandford district, Dorset. The town stands on the river Stour, and on the Dorset Central railway, 10 miles NW by W of Wimborne-Minster. It dates from remote times; but was damaged by arms in the civil war, and by fire in 1579, 1677, 1684, 1713, and 1731,-suffering in the last of these years a demolition of all its houses except forty; and it now presents as modern and sprightly an appearance as any town in the county. ...
It comprises two main streets, meeting in a spacious market-place; and consists chiefly of red brick houses, with high roofs and ornamented fronts. The town hall is a handsome edifice of Portland stone with Doric columns and entablature. The corn exchange was built in 1855; and is a commodious structure. The chief bridge across the Stour is a substantial structure of six arches. The parish church, built after the fire of 1731, is a handsome Grecian edifice, with a tower. A pump, under a portico, adjacent to the church, was erected in 1760 as a memorial of the fire. The Independent chapel was built in 1868, and is in the early English style. A high-roofed ancient mansion, near the parish church, is the only existing house which dates prior to 1731. A farmhouse, in the outskirts beyond East-street, includes remains of Damorey Court, the seat, in the time of Edward II., of Roger D'Amorie, constable of Corfe Castle. Bryanstone Park, the seat of Lord Portman, terminates one of the streets. The town has a head post office‡ of the name of Blandford, a railway station, two banking offices, three chief inns, two dissenting chapels, five endowed schools, almshouses, and charities, including the schools and the almshouses, to the yearly amount of £1,085. A weekly market is held on Saturday; and fairs on 7 March, 10 July, and 8 Nov. The manufacture of very fine point lace was formerly carried on; and was followed by a manufacture of shirt buttons. The town is a borough by prescription, but sent members to parliament only under Edward I. and Edward III.; it was incorporated by James I., and is now governed by a mayor or bailiff, four aldermen, and twelve councillors; and it is a seat of petty sessions and a polling-place. Pop. of the borough, 1,521. Houses, 296.The parish comprises 862 acres. Real property, £5,937. Pop., 3,900. Houses, 731. The living is a rectory. and a vicarage in the diocese of Salisbury. Value, £300.* Patrons, the Dean and Chapter of Winchester. Archbishop Wake, Archbishop Lindsay, Bishop Lisle, Dean Ryves, Creech, Pitt, and Bastard the poets, Sagittary the physician, E. Wake the founder of the corporation of the sons of the clergy, and John A. James the author of the "Anxious Inquirer," were natives. Races were formerly run, but have been discontinued.
Blandford Forum is now part of North Dorset district. Click here for graphs and data of how North Dorset has changed over two centuries. For statistics about Blandford Forum itself, go to Units and Statistics.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Blandford Forum in North Dorset | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 24th March 2017
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