The House

The historic house dates back to the 1500s, before Elizabeth I was Queen of England. For more than 400 years, many different families owned and occupied the building. They added, demolished, altered and extended it as fashions changed, and to meet their needs.

John Bowdidge, a Gentleman, lived in the house between 1687 and 1695. Later, the building was divided between several families, indicating a lowering in status of the property. The front portion of the building was most likely used as a shop from the mid-1700s until 1960. At that time, Hilda Coles closed the family’s ironmonger’s shop, as it was by then, and decided to open a museum.

Today, the town house is Grade II* listed on the National Heritage List for England (NHLE). This means it is of particularly special architectural and historic interest and ensures that the building is protected for future generations.

Step inside and discover some fascinating, and often quirky, architectural features including an enclosed stone courtyard, timber-framed walls, Georgian panelled rooms and a kitchen extension dating back to the mid-1700s.

Visit the award-winning Museum of East Dorset to discover more about the house and all the different people who lived there. If you are fascinated by local history and love exploring traditional architecture, this is the place to visit in Wimborne.