This month’s news from the team in Sturminster Newton


Sturminster Newton has had a busy month – Pauline Batstone has the round-up of what’s been going on in Stur

Work is progressing on transforming the old NatWest building from a bank to a shopping destination with a steampunk theme. For the rest of us who had never heard of ‘steampunk’, the dictionary says “the essence of steampunk is an homage to vintage fashion with a modern, sassy twist”. What this means for 1855 is that we are taking the space back to its original features where possible, and reclaiming part of Stur’s history. At the same time we will be offering an exciting shopping experience, intended to draw more people into town. So far more than 20 entrepreneurs have expressed interest in trading from the building – phase one of the development is expected to open by the autumn. If you are interested in hiring customer-facing retail space for your own business then get in touch via or drop a note with your details into The Emporium.

The Dapper Chaps
The men’s boutique sitting within The Emporium has everything for the well-dressed chap – and will also be offering retro fashion for those who long for the days of dressing up, as opposed to dressing down.

The Emporium
The new art gallery opened in June to display the wide range of paintings and pictures which the shop receives as donations. The art gallery makes use of the walls on the stairs, landing and also in the two meeting rooms. Do come in and have browse – you may find something just right for that space on your wall

The Boutique
The shop in Church Street currently has some glamorous gowns at knock-down prices for those special summer events, alongside the usual range of lovely, good quality clothes and accessories, all offering excellent value for money – a browse is always an opportunity for some new-to-you fun clothes without breaking the bank.

The Car and Bike Enthusiasts
The monthly car and bike meet continues to go from strength to strength. Meeting on the first Saturday morning of each month, the last meet had over 80 vehicles, and more than 200 visitors. You can see the huge range of cars and bikes on Facebook here – there are no rules on what can be shown, so the meet attracts a wide variety of vehicles from quite a distance. The enthusiasts now gather at the Recreation Ground, Ricketts Lane (on the bridge side of the town), having outgrown the Station Road Car Park, and inspired some ‘parking rage’. Now shoppers and car nerds can park in comfort in Station Road and take a stroll through town to The Rec – picking up a coffee and bacon butty on the way!

The Litfest
Thank you to all those who supported the third Sturminster Newton Literary Festival this year – they get better each time, with a range of events for all interests and ages. The range of renowned and bestselling authors connected to Dorset which our small town managed to attract was very exciting, and the talks were always fascinating and entertaining. Highlights were Minette Walters talking about her latest historical novel set in Dorset during the civil war, Natasha Solomons in conversation about her latest novel I, Mona Lisa, and Dr Steph Alder and Professor Angelique Richardson introducing the University of Exeter’s Hardy’s Correspondents project.
The festival culminated in a (free) Victorian Fair for families, and Queen Victoria even braved the chilly winds to grace the event with her presence.
Keep the middle two weeks of June free in your diary for the Festival 2023.

Any other business …
The Sturminster Newton Community Benefit Society Ltd. is the body which runs The Emporium and The Boutique, and is behind 1855 – but that name is a bit of mouthful so in future it will be known simply as SturAction.
The next Stur event will be SturBuzz (20th to 27th August). It’s to be an eco-event, making us more aware of our natural environment and how to sustain it, with activities and learning in and around Sturminster Newton. See – more details coming soon!


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