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
'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
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
NEW PUBLICATION 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’.
Coram Tower, Lyme Regis
Cecil Amor, writing in the Marshwood
Vale magazine last month, highlights
Coram. Below is a quote from Walk 6 in Lesser Known Lyme
“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
Our book has the full story, and more: “... in the
mid-1700s something happened to take the focus away from the
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.”
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