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Barnes for all!
Fundraising Campaign 

An opportunity for us all to help preserve the William Barnes Archive for the future.

Tim Laycock, looking through the many scrapbooks kept by William Barnes.

When he died in 1886, William Barnes left behind a wonderfully varied and extensive collection of writings, papers, publications, sermons, poems, posters from lectures and examples of woodcuts and engravings- an archive. To lift the lid on the boxes that contain these treasures is to open a door into Victorian Dorchester and the life and times of the Dorset poet. 

The William Barnes collection is owned by the Dorset Museum and Art Gallery. It was bequeathed to the Museum after William Barnes’ death, and for many years was lovingly tended by members of The William Barnes Society. The paper archive is now deposited with the Dorset History Centre on behalf of the Museum, and the opportunity has arisen to have the entire collection made more accessible to all.

What this means is that every item would be catalogued to an internationally recognised standard, with many of the more significant documents being scanned and saved digitally. Anyone anywhere in the world will then be able to access, study and appreciate the wide range of William Barnes’ talents, and gain real insights into the man, his family, his working years as schoolmaster and priest and his literary and artistic works.

The William Barnes Society commends this uniquely important project to you, and we invite you to help us to achieve our aim of raising £35000 to make this work possible. Our partners in this venture will be the Dorset Museum & Art Gallery, The Dorset History Centre, and each and every one of you who loves and admires the work of William Barnes, and who wishes to ensure that his legacy remains accessible to generations to come.

The William Barnes Society will be donating all proceeds [after expenses] from this year’s events to the William Barnes Archive.

We will also be running a number of special fund-raising events, including a revival of The Year Clock, Tim Laycock's play about the life and times of William Barnes. This play, which has been performed more than 70 times, could not have been written without the William Barnes Archive fundraiser.


If you want to pay by cheque please make it payable to the Dorset Archives Trust and send to the following address: Honorary Treasurer, Dorset Archives Trust, c/o Dorset History Centre, Bridport Road, Dorchester DT1 1RP – Please mark clearly with ‘Barnes fundraiser’ and state if you are happy to use the Gift Aid scheme.

Or to donate directly, please transfer funds with the reference ‘Barnes’ to:

  • Dorset Archives Trust

  • Account (Lloyds): 23954768

  • Sort Code: 30-92-69


Dorset Museum & Art Gallery    Dorset History Centre  Dorset Archive Trust  Dorchester Town Council   William Barnes Society