Guild Anderson’s bespoke kitchen design commissions close to Gillingham have included country houses of all sizes, and the remodelling of a beautiful Old Rectory was a project not too far from our own home.
Gillingham is in the heart of a rural community, it sits in the Blackmore Vale area of Dorset and is the most northerly town in the county. Shaftesbury is only 5 miles to the east. Like many other towns in the area Gillingham became a local farming centre with buildings being of Saxon and Tudor origin. It was home to the first grammar school in Dorset in 1516, and like Sherborne 13 miles to the south, it too had its own silk mill in 1769. Gillingham’s old mill buildings are sadly long gone, they once provided the town with a gloriously historic centrepiece. They were attractive enough to catch the eye of the great John Constable, who painted the mill while staying at Gillingham Vicarage. His painting of the old town bridge is in the Tate Gallery.
When the railway arrived in the 1850s, so did prosperity and new industry. Brick making, cheese making and printing all developed, and at the end of the 19th century Gillingham was home to one of the first petrol engine plants in the country. During the 2nd World War thanks to its position on the railway from London to Exeter it saw a rapid growth as evacuees were sent to Gillingham.
The town plays host to the annual ‘Gillingham & Shaftesbury Show’, which is an agricultural show held every August. Gillingham Market takes place every Monday and Saturday and there is range of independent retailers, although they are not as varied as those found in Shaftesbury or Sherborne.
The area has become popular as more clients relocate and breath new life in to traditional period homes of all sizes. We enjoy the challenges that each project gives us and look forward to working on more local commissions as people move to this beautiful part of the South West.