Monday, November 3, 2014

Roving Press Newsletter (1) - highlighting Dorset people, places, literature, books and authors

Roving Press - First Newsletter

This is the season for making the most of what's on our doorstep now the grockles have gone home. In this our first newsletter we feature our latest 'Lesser Known' guide and others in the series, all designed to get you out exploring Dorset. There's also something for those who enjoy cuddling up with poetry, and some further Literary Snippets. 

Dorset Voices front cover
What constitutes a poem?
Playright Peter John Cooper reckons:

'A poem is a train of thought using language in such a way to create an emotional response in the reader or listener. You can use various rhythms, word plays or rhyme schemes to help generate that emotion.'

Read work by Dorset poets and writers in Dorset Voices: A Collection of New Prose, Poetry and Photographs. And for cutting-edge poetry, see Big Mouth.

Rain (YouTube) - something for a rainy day. Great stuff, thanks Peter. (Don't worry, he's not as scary as he looks!)

5 Unconventional Poetry Forms  from the to help writers.

Lesser Known Lyme Regis by local author and writing coach Joanna Smith joins our stable of local guides. Rather like having your own personal guide, each book has bespoke walks and maps. They appeal to locals as well as visitors, really getting behind the scenes, with plenty of pictures to entice you out of your armchair.

Author Joanna Smith lives in Lyme, where she runs the Black Dog Writing Group. She spent two years researching the book. ‘So much has been written about the town’s history, literary links, walking trails and fossils, but I wanted to write a comprehensive guide that brings all these facets of the town together. 

The book includes interviews with dozens of local people such as fishermen, artists, fossil hunters, historians and wreck divers, which give a real insight into contemporary Lyme and explain why it’s such a vibrant place’.

Click HERE for a review by Bridport News and read our Roving Press blog.

Coram Tower, Lyme Regis
Cecil Amor, writing in the Marshwood Vale magazine last month, highlights philanthropist Thomas Coram. Below is a quote from Walk 6 in Lesser Known Lyme Regis.

“At the top of the car park, Coram Tower is unmistakable across the main road. It was built in the 1880s as St Michael’s College, a school for the sons of clergy. The school closed in 1899 and the building was renamed to commemorate the life of Thomas Coram.

   Thomas was born in Lyme in 1668, the son of a skipper, and was sent away to sea at the age of 11. In about 1720, when he was in London supplying stores to the Navy, he came in contact with destitute children living near the banks of the Thames. He was so shocked by their suffering that he spent 17 years fighting to set up an institution that would care for them.
    The Foundling Hospital was opened in London in 1741 for the ‘education and maintenance of exposed and deserted young children’ and was the world’s first incorporated charity and the first children’s charity in Britain; 27,000 children grew up in the Hospital until it closed in 1954. The charity lives on today as Coram, an organisation that works with disadvantaged children in the UK.”

The Priest's Way, Swanage

The Priest’s Way between Swanage and Worth Matravers has been restored, as featured in our revised edition 2014 of Lesser Known Swanage

John Newth writes about The Purbeck House Hotel & Louisa Lodge, Swanage in Dorset Life magazine. Take a look at our blog post Walk in Swanage, Exploring ‘Old London by the Sea’.

Weymouth's Royal Visitors

By George!...George III's holiday snaps Pt 9
Unwelcome visitors in Weymouth Bay

George III's holiday snaps pt 7
Royals Take a Dive

Our book has the full story, and more:
“... in the mid-1700s something happened to take the focus away from the harbourside feuds. 

Doctors began advocating saltwater bathing as a cure for all manner of things (gout, rheumatism, skin complaints, gunshot wounds, bruises, strains, eye problems, etc.); it was even recommended as a cure for ‘persons of corpulent habits, who become unwieldly’ (according to local author John Love). ...
    Ralph Allen was an influential socialite at the time, and when he fell ill his doctors advised the ‘saltwater cure’. So he took himself off to Weymouth, where his health improved. In 1780, the Duke of Gloucester (King George III’s younger brother) came to Melcombe on Allen’s recommendation to try ‘the cure’, which worked so well he took up summer residence. Then came the King himself. His Family is said to have holidayed almost every summer in Weymouth from 1789–1805, originally staying at his brother’s Gloucester Lodge. Thus gradually Weymouth was transformed from a commercial port into a fashionable resort – ‘England’s Bay of Naples’.”

Even today, we're still doing it! Are you brave enough? When was the last time you went sea swimming? I’ve just got into open-water swimming and would love to hear from anyone who swims locally. Please email.

Sun, sand and inequality: why the British seaside towns are losing out
An interesting read in The Guardian. Having written Lesser Known Weymouth, I can vouch that the town has loads of great features and shouldn't be dismissed as a backwater. Looking beyond/above the 'For Let' signs it's still a great town with a rich history – a brilliant place with the best silky sand, gentle beach, special areas like the Nothe and Jordan Hill, and so much to do. Perhaps you have an excuse now? There are plenty of backstreets to explore in Lesser Known Weymouth.

Beating the bounds
The July edition of Dorset Life has a feature on boundaries (the borough variety) written by Jo Draper. The following extract from our book explains a little about the old custom of 'Beating the bounds' in Weymouth:

“As the path leaves old Radipole, there is a small stone bridge opposite Letterbox Cottage. A stone in the river here has special significance. Over the centuries, a ‘Beating the Bounds’ ceremony was held, traditionally during the fifth week after Easter, when people would walk the 10–12 miles (16–19.3 km) around the borough’s boundaries. On the way they would bless the crops and give thanks to God. These boundaries were marked by stones, gates, walls and trees, and in the old days boys and girls were ‘bumped’ or sometimes beaten with a rod at these boundary posts ‘to determine and preserve recollection of its extent, and to see that no encroachments have been made upon it, and that the landmarks have not been taken away’ (William Barnes, quoted in Udal 1989). Weymouth Museum has the original ebony and silver boundary rods. The long but jolly walk also involved rowing boats and the scaling of walls. Nowadays, the Mayor and Corporation occasionally re-enact the ceremony, with school children carrying small boundary rods.”


The latest '
Literature Live Bulletin' is available from Dorset County Council, essential reading for all lovers of literature. Full of lists of events, groups, prizes and competitions, new publications, workshops and classes, and online resources.
Sign up to receive by email - send your details to

The Society of Women Writers and Journalists (
SWWJ) is another recommended organisation - see our June blog.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory cover condemned as 'creepy',...
 from the Daily Telegraph. Please let us know which one of our book covers you particularly like, and why. It's always good to get feedback.

Home - Literature Works
- see the latest Literature Works newsletter for news, opportunities, jobs and events.

4 October  - Charmouth Literary Festival

Our author Peter John Cooper was part of the line-up of speakers. 45 years as a playwright – congratulations Peter; see his impressive profile on LinkedIn

Kingston Maurward College recently hosted a morning of learning about digital technology. Thanks to speaker Kate Doodson at Cosmic Ethical IT and Superfast Business South West. For more free workshops to help small businesses see Superfast BusinessWSX Enterprise and David Lakins.

Let us know if you are involved in any local events, etc. we might mention in our social media or next newsletter. If you enjoy and find any of this useful please share with friends, and thanks for subscribing.

Julie Musk
Roving Press


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4 Southover Cottages, Frampton, Dorset DT2 9NQ, tel 01300 321531,,
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