Church House Wimborne | Then and Now


It’s not Wimborne’s prettiest building but what Church House lacks aesthetically it makes up for in prominence.

Standing alongside the Minster, the two-storey parish room is the scene of social and charity events and church admin in normal times.

Sansom & Son’s ironmongery in 1900

Together, the Minster church and Church House dominate the view as you look down Wimborne High Street from the Square.

But 120 years ago we’d have seen a very different building alongside the Minster.

In Victorian times the site hosted Sansom and Son’s ironmonger’s shop.

The grand opening of Church House on the same site in 1906. Picture from Wimborne Camera by Barbara and Derek Willis

The oldest of my pictures shows Sansom’s in 1900.

It was given to me 40 years ago by Bill Topp, who worked there in the early 1900s.

The property had been left to the Minster in 1617 but in 1905 they gave Sansom’s notice to quit to make room for the construction of Church House.

Church House in 2000

Sansoms announced a sale of their ‘stock, ironmongery, furniture etc’ and later moved to new premises at 9 and 25 High Street.

One of these eventually became Bill Topp’s own shop, Topp & Bollen.

Bill was also chairman of Wimborne Urban District Council in 1950.

Meanwhile Church House arose from the rubble of the original Sansom’s shop.

Church House in 2021

Mrs Bankes of Kingston Lacy House laid the foundation stone on September 13, 1905, and the Bishop of Salisbury dedicated the new building on July 25, the following year.

Building costs totalled £2,870 4s 11d, raised by public subscription.

Roger Guttridge


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