The original idea to create a model town was first discussed way back in the 1940s. A small group of local gentlemen started taking photographs of buildings and preparing detailed plans. A site was found for the project just off the Cornmarket. A 1/10th scale was decided upon which would enable a large section of the town centre to be constructed within the confines of the walled site.Building commenced in the late 1940s and by 1951 the new attraction welcomed its first visitors. The buildings were cast in concrete panels, and most of the window frames were made of Beech wood. Once open the Model Town very quickly became a popular attraction, with visitors flocking from all over the country to marvel at the magical miniature world that had been created.
Gallery - click to enlarge
During the following years, ownership of the Model Town changed several times, until eventually the site was purchased by a property developer. The models very soon fell into decline as the site became a haunt for vandals. In the mid 1980s, a small group of Townsfolk decided that the Model Town should be saved from the Bulldozer! After much persuasion, the developer agreed to give the models to the townspeople.The hunt was now on to find a new site. Sir Michael Hanham and the Hanham Trust came to the rescue and offered a corner of what was then a field – the site we now occupy. This generous offer was the signal for a small army of volunteers, East Dorset District Council, the District Surveyor plus many more, to start the very difficult job of dismantling the models and transporting them to the new site.
After a few years of desperately difficult work, the re-built Model Town was opened to the public once more in 1991. Now surrounded by beautiful gardens, the models have the added attraction of having all the shop windows display the goods and services available to the folk of Wimborne Minster way back in the 1950s.The Model Town, now a Registered Charity, continues to invest in the project to ensure this most unique resource is preserved for future generations to experience and enjoy.