Victorian Costume Competition for Local Businesses


Congratulations to Debbie Dalley and her team at The Old Tea House at 44 High West Street,  for winning the Business Category of the Victorian Costume Competition, which was judged by Victorian Judge Spracklen (head teacher of The Prince of Wales First School) on Saturday, the day before the Thomas Hardy Victorian Fair, which took place on Sunday, 2nd June.

Debbie and Derek, her Chef and partner, will be presented with a prize and certificate at the Dorchester Chamber’s business breakfast at the Corn Exchange on Tuesday, 11th June.  The breakfast will be attended by the Mayor and Councillors from Dorchester Town Council.  Click here for more information

Other business that got into the spirit of the occasion were Dorchester Chamber member, John Fiori from Horse with the Red Umbrella at 10 High East StreetThe popular cafe has a unique link to Thomas Hardy – Visit the café for more information.

Alice Higgins, owner of  Down to Earth, Health Food Shop at 19 Trinity Street.  She managed to source a traditional Dorset Bonnet and looked perfect as she served customers.  .

Medusa Apothecary at 22 High East Street, worked with Eleanor Gallia of Nether Cerne Herbs to create something very special for the Victorian themed day.


Murray and Emily, who own The Posh Partridge at 29 High East Street loved sourcing their own style of Victorian costume for the day.  They did a roaring trade in their café and catering business, serving delicious food and drinks to the madding crowd all day.

Seventh Seal at 26 High East Street is a barbers with a twist.  We couldn’t drag the judge away from the excellent coffee and male grooming!

Vinny at Six, cocktail bar and restaurant in North Square.  They joined in the day by creating ‘ a Victorian Photo Booth’ for the general public to dress up and take selfies.

Julian Nangle from Books Beyond Words at 25 High East Street, with his amazing range of second hand books .  It was hard to get the Judge to leave!

Frederick L. Mabb, Gentleman’s Outfitters, at 7 High West Street, kindly supplied businesses with frock coats for the day and created a wonderful Victorian display inside the shop.

Fusion Lighting at 18a High West Street – Judge Spracklen’s face lit up when he saw Paul kitted out in all his finery.

Deniz from Turquoise Kitchen, Turkish Restaurant.  The restaurant is situated at 6 High West Street in the famous historical building where Judge Jeffreys held court so Judge Spracklen felt quite at home.

Victorian gardeners from Borough Gardens at the heart of Dorchester.  The gardeners step back in time to 1896 when Borough Gardens first opened.

The Thomas Hardy Victorian Fair Costume Competition for local businesses.

Thanks to all businesses that took part.  With especial thanks to sponsors of the Victorian Costume Competition – Milton Abbey School

*Milton Abbey School are offering a Fashion Design course from September.