Our Story

The story of our lifestyle store

In 1964, Wendy and Mike Suffield rode their scooter to Dorset in search of a house.  They stopped for a coffee and a digestive biscuit at The Hambledon Gallery in Blandford.  This was a serious place for such a small market town, with monthly one-man shows exhibiting work by Henry Moore, Keith Vaughan, Mary Fedden and Cecil Beaton, among others. It cemented their conviction that this could be a happy home. The gallery owner at the time, Katharine Church (Kitty West), offered Wendy a job as her assistant. Very quickly, Wendy became the financial brains of the business. Seeing the precariousness of selling only the occasional Julian Trevelyan, she began to buy what Kitty laughingly called ‘Wendy’s trash’.  Kitty retired in 1984, Wendy added more women’s wear brands and The Hambledon Gallery really was the first of its kind, a lifestyle store before its time.

The Hambledon Gallery is ‘Dorset’s original lifestyle shop’, is still family run and proud of being independent. It has been one of The Times’ boutiques of the week and is a destination for many retail devotees.

Our History

Scroll through to view our history

1962
1963
1964
1971
1974
1976
1979
1984
1988
1996
2012
2015
2018

1962

1962

The Hambledon Gallery is opened by Amabel York at number 42 Salisbury Street, Blandford as an artists’ meeting place.

1963

1963

Artist, Katharine Church (Kitty West) takes over and shows work by well known British artists including Henry Moore, Cecil Beaton, Julian Trevelyan, Mary Fedden, Elisabeth Frank and Keith Vaughan.

Wendy and Mike Suffield marry 31st March in Rochester, Kent.

1964

1964

Frequent house hunting and job searching trips to the South encourage Mike and Wendy to move to Dorset.  They are lured into The Hambledon Gallery by three Keith Vaughan pictures in the window and the promise of good coffee and a digestive biscuit for 1d.  Wendy and Kitty hit it off and Wendy joined in November.

1971

1971

Wendy and Mike return to England from a year long sabbatical in California.  They are inspired by their trip and the country’s ‘can do’ attitude.

1974

1974

Kitty invites Wendy to become a partner in the business.  Instead of taking her wages, Wendy begins to buy the business in instalments.

1976

1976

The hottest summer since records began, Wendy buys the house next door, number 44.  She bashed a hole through with the help of a friend for added selling space.

Nick Wurr designs The Hambledon Gallery logo.

1979

1979

A second room is added upstairs by bashing through into number 44.  Initially this room was used as an extension to the exhibition space.

Today the space is used as the changing rooms.

1984

1984

Kitty retirees aged 75 and Wendy takes full ownership of The Hambledon Gallery.

1988

1988

Wendy undertakes a massive building project and extends the upstairs of the shop to the rear of number 42.  The floor space is doubled.

In March The Hambledon Gallery has a David Hockney prints exhibition.

1996

1996

Mike Suffield buys number 40 from the butcher, Joe Peaple.  The premises provided valuable extra space

Number 40 is used to pack parcels from sales from our online shop.

2012

2012

The Hambledon Gallery is 50 years old. Celebrations include an exhibition during Dorset Art Week’s.

A diary is printed to mark this milestone.

2015

2015

Wendy retires in May after 52 years at the coal face of retail.

Youngest daughter takes up the retail reins.

2018

2018

The shop in Blandford has a facelift and our new website is launched.

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