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Tuesday, 31 May 2011

PRESS RELEASE: RAF reunion party

News Release 31 May 2011

A special RAF reunion party was held recently (Saturday May 21) at Lyme Regis Museum. Organised by museum trustee Ken Gollop, the event brought together 25 veterans and their families for a trip down memory lane, aided by a slide show of photographs from the museum archives.

The veterans were all part of the Marine Craft Unit which operated from 1937 to 1964, performing a range of safety and air sea rescue duties. The Boat Building Academy at the Cobb now occupies the barracks and workshops where the boats were maintained.

During the evening two small brass wheels were presented to the museum by Mike Poupard, former Lyme Regis harbourmaster, who found them in 2009. Also present was Brian ‘Dusty’ Miller, the person responsible for them falling into the harbour. The wheels were originally built into the hull of the RAF motor dinghies to make them easy to drag up the slipway. Dusty damaged the boat when taking a short-cut across the rocks in 1957 and the wheels were knocked off into the water. When Mike Poupard found them among seaweed he didn’t know what they were: ‘I had been digging out the harbour mouth and was looking for anything nasty that could hurt our beach-goers. I found the wheels and thought that they might have been off an Elizabethan man o'war rather than a RAF boat ferrying crews to and from the boats moored outside the harbour. When Dusty Miller came forward to admit his guilt the mystery was solved!’

The wheels are now on display in Lyme Regis Museum in the ‘New to the Museum’ showcase.
(left to right) Brian ‘Dusty’ Miller, Ken Gollop and Mike Poupard

Monday, 30 May 2011

Plesiosaur detective work

Earlier in May, the Museum Geologist Paddy Howe found this fossil amongst the pools and seaweed on the blue lias ledges to the east of Lyme Regis.

Firstly, what is it? Well, its easily recognisable (at least by Paddy) as a plesiosaur vertebra. It would certainly take pride of place in my collection but Paddy is far more interested in more complete plesiosaur specimens than this. Where there is a vertebra, might there be a larger specimen?

Paddy found an excellent specimen of a juvenile plesiosaur on these ledges a few months ago. Is this from the same specimen or is it worth spending time hunting for a new specimen? If it is from the same plesiosaur then the vertebra must have been released from the rock before Paddy found the plesiosaur and have been washing around in the sea since then until Paddy (coincidentally) found it.

So what evidence have we got? We only have the shape, size, colour and texture of the vertebra but this is enough! The shape and size indicate that the vertebra is from a juvenile plesiosaur. The colour and texture are indications of when, where and how it was fossilised. These match the plesiosaur that Paddy had found earlier and so he concluded that the vertebra was from that specimen.

If you would like to know how Paddy knew the vertebra was from a juvenile plesiosaur or see pictures of the "full" specimen then click here.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

This week's events at Lyme Regis Museum

SPECIAL EVENTS

Wednesday 1 June 11am to 3pm - FAMILY FUN DAY (Free admission): Make your own driftwood boat! Drop in and get creative with local artist Alison Bowskill, who will help you see the potential in pieces of driftwood from the beach. All materials supplied.

TALKS

Saturday 4 June 2.30pm - MARY ANNING – FOSSIL PIONEER: A talk by Daphne Baker on the self-educated woman of Lyme who became the greatest fossil hunter the world has known.

EXHIBITIONS

MARY ANNING AND THE MEN OF SCIENCE. An exhibition exploring the relationship between local fossil-hunter Mary Anning (1799-1847) and the great men of science of her day. The exhibition is supported by a grant from the Royal Society and runs until 6 June.

FOUNDLING VOICES. An exhibition celebrating one of Lyme’s famous sons, Thomas Coram, who established the Foundling Hospital in London. Hear voices of former pupils of the Foundling Hospital recounting life before, during and after their time in the institution. This touring exhibition from London’s Foundling Museum can be seen in the ground floor gallery until 31 May.

FOSSIL WALKS

Monday 30 May 09:00
Tuesday 31 May 09:30
Wednesday 1 June 10:15
Thursday 2 June 10:45
Friday 3 June 11:30
Saturday 4 June 12:15
Sunday 5 June 12:45

OTHER WALKS

Friday 3 June 10:00 - NATURE ALONG THE RIVER LIM: A walk along the River Lim towards Uplyme with David Cox, the museum’s flora and fauna specialist, who will describe the bird, animal and plant life to be seen en route. The walk lasts about 1½ hours, and walkers make their own way back, or enjoy a drink at the village pub or a picnic at one of the many beautiful vantage points.

Saturday 4 June 15:00 - Mary Anning Walk

For full details of upcoming events, see What's On at the Museum.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

The lerret - purpose built for fishing in Dorset

The lerret is a fishing boat that dates back to 1615 or earlier. Lerrets were built for launching from the steep shingle of Chesil Beach on the Dorset coast and some of their features are very specific and very interesting.

The boats are double ended and, therefore, do not have a transom at the rear as a standard fishing or rowing boat would have. "Why?" you may ask. Well, when launched down the steeply shelving shingle bank, the bow enters the sea at speed and is quickly in deep water. As the bow is forced up, the stern goes down and a boat with a transom stern would immediately become waterlogged and possibly even sink.

If you look at the picture of the lerret above (incidentally, this shows the stern of the boat) you will see the four oars, each of which was manned. What you can see is not the oar's blade; it is the end held by the crew. The blade is much, much thinner. Again, you may ask "Why?". Lerrets do not have rowlocks to hold the oars in position for rowing. They have 'hole-pins'. On the oars, you can see the 'holes' through which the 'hole-pins' pass. The thick section of the oar, the 'copse', acts as a counter balance and the crew are able to just let go of the oars without any fear that they will be lost; a very valuable capability whilst fishing or beaching. The copses, the pins and their method of use can clearly be seen on the picture below

Sunday 22nd May was Lerret Day in Lyme Regis. To learn more about the events of that day, lerrets and their history click here.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Inspector Morse in Lyme Regis

Chief Inspector Morse doesn't like holidays, and he takes them as rarely as possible. Nevertheless, the opening scenes of the 1992 novel The Way through the Woods see him taking a short break in Dorset... starting with three nights in Lyme Regis! Morse is attracted to the town because, as he tells Chief Superintendent Strange, "it's where some of the scenes in Persuasion are set" ( a fact which impresses the normally philistine Strange so much he later passes it on to the Chief Constable!)

While in Lyme, Morse stays at the Bay Hotel -- a perfectly real hotel on Marine Parade (pictured left). It has to be admitted that the Chief Inspector doesn't enjoy his holiday very much -- but then he wouldn't! To compensate for Morse's indifference to the natural landscape, author Colin Dexter provides some very nice descriptions of the town. And Morse does, while suffering his way through his three-day stay, come across a couple of clues that draw him into the central mystery of the novel.

The second half of Inspector Morse's Dorset holiday is spent in Dorchester, where he devotes a whole afternoon to a visit to the Dorset County Museum. Whether he visited our own museum while he was in Lyme is not recorded... but one would like to think he did!

Given that the real murder mystery doesn't get going until Morse is back in Oxford, you might wonder why Lyme Regis features in The Way through the Woods at all. The answer is simple -- Lyme is Colin Dexter's "favourite place on Earth", as he explains in a Daily Telegraph article with the unequivocal title Colin Dexter's heaven on earth!

Monday, 23 May 2011

American tourist strikes gold


Earlier this month, on the Museum's fossil walk Leigh Goddeau found a 'goldstone nodule'. Such nodules are not common place but, when they are found, they usually contain nicely preseved Arnioceras ammonites. As you can see from the pictures, this nodule was no exception to that rule and contained a fine collection of small ammonites.


After the walk, the Museum's geologists took the specimen back to the fossil workshop and cleaned it up so that a delighted Leigh could take it back home to Florida.

For more information about the Museum's fossil walks click here.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

This week's events at Lyme Regis Museum

A belated Happy Birthday to Mary Anning who was 212 years old yesterday!

TALKS

Thursday 26 May 2.30pm - LYME’S LITERARY LINKS: David Coates will talk about great literary figures who have been inspired by and lived and worked in Lyme. Jane Austen, who wrote about Lyme in Persuasion, and John Fowles in French Lieutenant’s Woman are the most notable, but also children’s author and illustrator Beatrix Potter, who came to Lyme in 1904 and wrote about the town in Little Pig Robinson; J R R Tolkein, author of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, who regularly visited Lyme for his summer holidays between 1905 and 1910; Henry Fielding, novelist and playwright, who visited Lyme as a young man and tried to elope with a 15-year-old heiress; Francis Palgrave, poet and editor of the poetry anthology Golden Treasury; P G Wodehouse, G K Chesterton and Ivy Compton-Burnett.

Saturday 28 May 2.30pm AND Sunday 29 May 2.30pm - KNOW YOUR FOSSILS: Chris Andrew will provide answers for all would-be fossil collectors. Expert and enthusiastic fossil hunter himself, Chris will tell how to find, identify and handle fossils, as well as how and what fossils lived, and how they are preserved to the present day, almost 200 million years on. He will show some recent unusual finds not previously on display, and invites you to bring your own discoveries along for identification if you wish.

EXHIBITIONS

MARY ANNING AND THE MEN OF SCIENCE. An exhibition exploring the relationship between local fossil-hunter Mary Anning (1799-1847) and the great men of science of her day. The exhibition is supported by a grant from the Royal Society and runs until 6 June.

FOUNDLING VOICES. An exhibition celebrating one of Lyme’s famous sons, Thomas Coram, who established the Foundling Hospital in London. Hear voices of former pupils of the Foundling Hospital recounting life before, during and after their time in the institution. This touring exhibition from London’s Foundling Museum can be seen in the ground floor gallery until 31 May.

FOSSIL WALKS

Sorry, no Fossil Walks this week.Regular walks resume next week.

OTHER WALKS

Monday 23 May 15:45 - Rockpooling 
Saturday 28 May 14:00 - Mary Anning Walk

For full details of upcoming events, see What's On at the Museum.

Ebb & Flow - A Maritime History of Lyme Regis


Visitors came from as far afield as Canada for the launch of Peter Lacey’s Ebb & Flow: The Story of Maritime Lyme Regis at the museum on Friday May 20th.
Local historian and Museum trustee, Ken Gollop welcomed the publication as the third comprehensive history of Lyme, following on from those of George Roberts' "The History of Lyme Regis" (1823/34) and Cyril Wanklyn's "Lyme Regis - A retrospect" (1922/27). Ken believed that just as these two famous books are today simply referred to as "Roberts" and "Wanklyn" then Peter's book will eventually simply be referred to as "Lacey".

Peter Lacey thanked the Museum, its current curator, Mary Godwin, and its previous curatorial assistant, Jo Draper and particularly Ken Gollop for all the help he had received over seven years in his research and writing. He generously pledged the royalties from the first 100 copies sold to the Museum's funds.
Pictured (right) is Peter von Kaufmann, from Toronto, receiving a signed copy from his uncle. Also seen below is the author and his wife, Barbara, displaying the bouquet presented to her in appreciation of her help. The book tells how the sea has shaped the town’s character, and charts its fortunes from flourishing port to much-loved seaside resort over the past twelve centuries.

[Based on a Museum Press Release]

Footnote - The plate on the back cover of the book shows "The Lyme Regis" by Joel Hallett. This is the ship built by the Mansfield Brothers and referred to in our post on Michael Mansfield QC on 19th May 2011.

Friday, 20 May 2011

A historic Dorset fishing vessel - the Lerret

The launch of the Lerret Littlesea at Lyme Regis, July 2010
[picture: Martin Haswell]

A unique sea-going heritage project will be launched in Lyme Regis on Sunday May 22 in celebration of the historic Dorset fishing vessel the Lerret. Led by Lyme Regis Museum and boatbuilder Gail McGarva it tells the story of the Lerret and its fisherfolk through the creation of a touring exhibition and an oral history archive.

The day of celebration begins at 11am at Cobb Gate beach when newly-built Lerret Littlesea and her motherboat Vera of 1923 will be launched and ceremonially rowed to the Cobb. The boats will land at Victoria Pool (the Cobb) where there will be an evocative exhibition, including photographs of Lerret fisherfolk, and a storytelling tent in which to hear recorded Lerret memories surrounded by nets, floats, pots and stones of those fishing days. Visitors with memories of Lerret fishing that they would like to share can record their stories, which will be added to the museum’s archive.

Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund, this Story of the Lerret exhibition together with Littlesea and Vera will tour the Jurassic Coast throughout the summer.

THE STORY OF THE LERRET TOUR

SUNDAY 22 MAY – LYME REGIS
Lerrets Littlesea and Vera are launched at 11am from Cobb Gate with a ceremonial row to Victoria Pool (the Cobb). The exhibition there is open all day.

FRI-SUN 10-12 JUNE – BEALE PARK WOODEN BOAT SHOW, THE THAMES AT PANGBOURNE
The Lerrets and the exhibition are part of the Watercraft (wooden boats magazine) stand. The Lerrets are rowed across the lake throughout the weekend.

SUNDAY 26 JUNE – BURTON BRADSTOCK BEACH
In partnership with The National Trust, the Lerrets and the exhibition are on the pebbles of the beach.

SUNDAY 3 JULY – SPIRIT OF THE SEA FESTIVAL SANDSFOOT CASTLE, WEYMOUTH
The Lerrets and the exhibition are on display in the castle gardens overlooking the sea.

MON-SAT 4-9 JULY – SPIRIT OF THE SEA FESTIVAL PORTLAND MUSEUM
The Lerrets and the exhibition are in residence in the gardens of Portland Museum all week.

SUNDAY 10 JULY - SPIRIT OF THE SEA FESTIVAL ‘REVIVE THE LERRET’ AT CHISWELL.
A procession with the Lerrets through the streets of Chiswell, finishing on Chesil Beach, where the exhibition will be and, weather permitting, launch of the boats for a ceremonial row.

SAT 16 JULY – QUEEN ELIZABETH SCHOLARSHIP TRUST DAY, DORNEY LAKE, ETON COLLEGE
The exhibition is on the lakeside and a Lerret water display will be on the lake.

SAT/SUN 6/7 AUGUST – THE SWANNERY, ABBOTSBURY
The Lerrets and exhibition are in the grounds of the Swannery, amidst the beautiful setting of the Fleet and Chesil Beach.

MON-SUN 19-25 SEPTEMBER – LYME REGIS MUSEUM
The Lerrets and exhibition on the sea terrace of the museum throughout the week, overlooking the beauty of Lyme Bay.

THUR 22-FRI 30 OCT – HISTORY OF MARITIME LYME EXHIBITION, THE MALTHOUSE, LYME REGIS
The Lerrets and their stories are at the heart of this historical maritime exhibition in celebration of Maritime Lyme 2011.

For additional information on Maritime Lyme 2011 programme of events see
www.maritimelyme.co.uk/programme/home

[Based on a Museum Press Release]

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Michael Mansfield QC; Who Do You Think You Are?

Most people have heard of Michael Mansfield, QC. He has been involved in some very high profile cases in recent years, including the Stephen Lawrence trial, but when he came to Lyme’s Marine Theatre for a speaking engagement in November 2006 he had a most pleasant surprise. Not only did he discover that his roots lay deep in the town – he also found much in the way of family memorabilia on display in the Lyme Regis Museum.

He writes of the occasion in his autobiography, “Memoirs of a Radical Lawyer”. “When I was invited to speak at a fund raiser for the Marine Theatre in Lyme Regis, the event had surprising and unforeseen consequences, for at the end of the evening I was presented with a file that revealed that my ancestors had actually hailed from Lyme. It transpires that not only are many Mansfields to be found in the cemetery – including my great-great-great-grandparents Mary and Joseph – but in the Lyme Museum hangs a picture of one of the last ships to be built in the town, at The Cobb, by one William Mansfield, a wealthy shipwright. The author John Fowles, in his capacity as Curator of the Museum, wrote a short biography of William.”

The ship in the painting to which he refers is the “Lyme Regis”, launched in a blaze of publicity in 1849. Built by the Mansfield Brothers, its launching was the social highlight of the year, with crowds coming from miles around to see it “christened” in the traditional way. Documents filed at the Museum by our former Curatorial Consultant Jo Draper reveal that a grand supper was held in the long room at the shipyard that evening. “Too much cannot be said in praise of that bountiful supper,” said the Dorset Chronicle, “and the excellent quality of the wines that were profusely provided by the worthy owners and master builders, to which the whole party did ample justice.” Sounds like quite a night…….

Writing to the Marine Theatre trustees after his talk, he said of the file and its contents (all culled from this Museum) that it was absolutely fascinating, “and has definitely inspired me to look further into my genealogy. I am immensely grateful.”

The story of the visit and its “unforeseen consequences” was told in Museum Piece, newsletter of the Museum Friends, and concluded: “So: will this grand inquisitor be burrowing deep into records all over the West Country? An intriguing prospect, to be sure, for who knows what he might uncover as he sifts through the “evidence”. We await his findings with interest!

(Text by Margaret Rose, Chairman of the Friends of Lyme Regis Philpot Museum.
To learn more about the Friends, click here)

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Thomas Coram and the Foundling Voices


Thomas Coram is one of the most notable sons of Lyme Regis though he made his fortune elsewhere. He is most famous for the Coram foundation and the Foundling Hospitals which, over many years, provided a start in life for many less fortunate children.


Foundling Voices is a travelling exhibition, based on an oral history project in which seventy four former pupils of the Foundling Hospital School were interviewed over an eighteen month period. A further seventeen people who had an association with the School - including children and partners of former pupils, local residents and staff members - were also interviewed.



Listening to the remembered experiences of foundling life is quite moving -

"Who am I? Where have I come from? What happened?"
"The word illegitimate is possibly the most searing word in the English Language"
"Who am I? I am a man with a family now. A man with a name, not just - somebody who is nobody. ... Now I am one of a big crowd of a family, I don't stand alone anymore."

The exhibition is in Lyme Regis Museum until the end of May.

Boys queuing for dinner at Berkhamstead Foundling Hospital

For more details of the exhibition see here.
For more information about the Foundling Museum see here.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Night at the Museum

Last weekend museums all over the country were open late as part of the Museums at Night campaign. Lyme Regis Museum hosted experts from the Norman Lockyer Observatory in Sidmouth at an evening event on Saturday 14th May. Entry was free for about 60 stargazers who listened to interesting lectures and looked at the night sky through a number of telescopes. One scope was even connected to a laptop and giant real-time images of the moon were projected onto the outside wall of the Museum.

David Strange, took his audience on an illustrated journey from the Sun to Arcturus; a journey of a mere 36.7 light years. Starting with sun spots the journey followed the solar wind past the planets of the Solar system and out in deep space where Arcturus is found in the constellation Bo├Âtes. On the way we saw: the Aurora Borealis (caused by the solar wind) in the Earth’s atmosphere, the asteroids which may eventually cause Earth’s destruction, the evidence for the existence of water on Mars, the moons of Jupiter and the rings of Saturn with its moon Titan (which is considered the most likely place in the Solar System for us to find life). On past Pluto (did you know it is no longer considered to be a planet) and on to the fourth brightest star in the sky, Arcturus.

The audience learned numerous fascinating details but the one that caught my imagination was the heat given off by Arcturus (which is about 30 times larger than the Sun) that can be felt here on Earth. This is about the same heat that you would feel from a candle placed five miles away.

After the talk and refreshments in the Museum, darkness fell and it was time to go outside and gaze at the sky

.

For more information about the Norman Lockyer Observatory look here.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

This week's events at Lyme Regis Museum

TALKS

Sorry, there are no talks at the Museum this week (the next one is on Thursday 26 May). For those who missed it, there is a summary of last week's talk "Jane Austen... Why Didn't She Marry?" here.

SPECIAL EVENTS

Friday 20 May 6pm - BOOK LAUNCH PARTY: In this Year of Maritime Lyme, the museum celebrates the publication of local author Peter Lacey’s book Ebb and Flow – A Maritime History of Lyme Regis.

Sunday 22 May from 11am - CELEBRATING THE LERRET DAY (museum open free): An all-day celebration of the historic Dorset fishing vessel, the lerret. Newly-built lerret Littlesea and 1923 motherboat Vera will be launched from Cobb Gate for a ceremonial row to the Cobb, where there will be an evocative exhibition of memories from lerret fisherfolk. If you have stories of lerret fishing, record them there for our oral history library.

EXHIBITIONS

MARY ANNING AND THE MEN OF SCIENCE. An exhibition exploring the relationship between local fossil-hunter Mary Anning (1799-1847) and the great men of science of her day. The exhibition is supported by a grant from the Royal Society and runs until 6 June.

FOUNDLING VOICES. An exhibition celebrating one of Lyme’s famous sons, Thomas Coram, who established the Foundling Hospital in London. Hear voices of former pupils of the Foundling Hospital recounting life before, during and after their time in the institution. This touring exhibition from London’s Foundling Museum can be seen in the ground floor gallery until 31 May.

FOSSIL WALKS

Tuesday 17 May 10:15
Thursday 19 May 12:00
Friday 20 May 12:30
Saturday 21 May 13:15

OTHER WALKS

Saturday 21 May 14:00 - Mary Anning Walk
Sunday 22 May 15:00 - Rockpooling

For full details of upcoming events, see What's On at the Museum.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Jane Austen... Why Didn't She Marry?

"Jane Austen... Why Didn't She Marry?" was the title of an amusing and well-attended talk given recently at the Museum by Diana Shervington (pictured left). Diana, a long-time Lyme Regis resident, is well-qualified to speak on this subject: her maternal and paternal grandmothers were both granddaughters of Jane Austen's brother Edward. Diana has a wealth of knowledge that has been handed down orally within her family, as well as being fortunate enough to inherit several items of memorabilia that were owned by Jane herself.

Diana began her talk by pointing out that Jane Austen was well-acquainted with the opposite sex. She had six brothers and only one sister, and while she was growing up there were always other boys in the house who were being tutored by her father. So she grew up surrounded by boys! She enjoyed their company, and understood their interests and sense of humour... an understanding she later used to great effect in her writing.

Over the years, Jane had four suitors that we know about. There may have been others, since all her intimate papers were burnt after her death by her sister Cassandra. Jane's first, and arguably most serious, affair was with a student from Dublin named Tom Lefroy. Jane recorded how the two of them did all the most shocking things in the way of dancing and sitting together! Unfortunately Tom was a sensitive young lad, and felt that the other people in Jane's circle were always laughing at him... so he fled back to Dublin. He later became a successful politician.

Jane's other suitors all fell by the wayside for one reason or another. Number Two, the son of an apothecary from Sidmouth, was tragically killed in a riding accident. Suitor Number Three got as far as proposing to Jane, and she even said Yes! But the following morning she changed her mind... after all, the fellow was a hopeless dancer and he didn't like reading -- and Jane's two great passions in life were books and dancing! Suitor Number Four was another Devonian: a young man Jane met while on holiday in Dawlish. He was a nature-lover who got on famously with Jane... but her family couldn't stand him! Jane's mother even went so far as to say he had altogether the wrong sort of nose!

So why didn't Jane Austen marry? One factor, of course, is that she had difficulty finding someone who was on the same intellectual level as herself (not to mention a good dancer)! Another is that she was a firm believer in Love... that people shouldn't marry if they weren't completely in love with each other. She wrote to her niece (the daughter of her brother Edward) that if there was any doubt in a woman's mind as to whether to say Yes, then she should say No!

Diana ended her talk by reciting the poem "Jane's Marriage", written by Rudyard Kipling in honour of Jane Austen -- one of his literary idols.

Amongst the many valuable items that Diana brought to the Museum, and scattered rather casually over glass display cases containing fossils and other geological specimens, were a set of tiddlywinks that had been played with by Jane, and a glove that had been worn by her. The glove is illustrated below.

For more information on Jane Austen's connections with Lyme Regis, see the Jane Austen page of the main Museum website. If you're interested in attending one of the many excellent talks held at the Museum, visit the Events page... or keep an eye on this blog!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

How to find a dinosaur!

Recently, Museum geologist, Paddy Howe and some friends went fossil hunting on the blue lias ledges between Lyme Regis and Charmouth.

Two pairs of eyes are better than one when you're staring at the bottom of a rockpool.

You can see how essential wellington boots are to fossil hunting.


Paddy spots something in the rock. Could it be a dinosaur?

Probably not! Although not unknown, land-living dinosaur fossils are unusual in the blue lias which was laid down at the bottom of an ancient sea. A fish-lizard or ichthyosaur is more likely.


The next stage in the process is to recover the specimen and see what it is.

What do you need for the recovery process? Well, obviously, a group of friends and on-lookers but also a hefty hammer and chisel.

Having removed a section of the blue lias wide enough and deep enough to, hopefully, contain the specimen, it is carried back to the FossilWorkshop to be cleaned up and identified.

What Paddy had spotted was the paddle of a small incomplete ichthyosaur. Now would you have believed that from the picture of the rockpool? A detail of the paddle is shown below.

You can see more fossil finds on the beach here.

Thanks to Museum Education Officer, Chris Andrew for the pictures.

You can book to go on a fossil walk with Paddy and Chris here.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Curator’s Newsletter May 2011

From Mary Godwin, Curator of Lyme Regis Museum:

Friends In Deed
In their recent book sale, carried out over two days and on eBay, the Friends of the Museum made a splendid £715.52 towards the museum lighting fund. We’d like to thank the many people who donated books; your generosity is much appreciated. Thanks also to the many helpers. The new lighting design for the museum is now ready and we will be going ahead with the work, room by room, once the museum moves into its winter timetable again in November. Further fundraising will also be done to enable as many new LED light fittings as possible to be purchased.

The Lymiad
Many newsletter readers will have subscribed to enable the publication of The Lymiad, an anonymous witty account of life in Lyme in Regency times. Originally, the plan was to publish at the end of 2010 but this has been seriously delayed and we’re very grateful for your patience. John Constable, with whom we’re working to realise this project, has reported that the delay is primarily due to new information which has come to light about the possible author of The Lymiad. This has resulted in the need to rewrite and re-edit the notes and introduction. However, John reports that this is now very nearly complete, and the book is typeset. He still needs to proofread the typeset pages but then it can go to print and he hopes it will be ready in July.

Blog Update
Blogging, Facebook and Tweeting are all really just online ways of promoting the museum by 'word of mouth'. It’s widely acknowledged that word of mouth is the very best form of publicity, so it’s all very worthwhile. As reported in last month’s newsletter, Andrew May and Keith Shaw have been writing a blog for us and have come up with lots of interesting stories to date.

Our Facebook page now has 30 fans! More needed!

Fossil Festival
The annual Lyme Regis Fossil Festival ran from 29th April to 1st May and was once again a great success. People of all ages came along to learn about fossils though talks, walks and hands-on science activities. During the three days we welcomed over 1,500 people to the museum and activities in the marquee. Many thanks to everyone who helped with setting up, running activities, and packing everything away!

Museum Diary Dates
14th May - ‘Sky at Night’ at the museum, with experts from the Norman Lockyer observatory 8 – 10 pm.
20th May - Launch of ‘Ebb and Flow – the Story of Maritime Lyme’ by Peter Lacey 6 - 8 pm.
22nd May - ‘Celebrating the Lerret Day’ from 11 am.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Beatrix Potter in Lyme Regis

Beatrix Potter (1866 - 1943) was an author and illustrator who is best known for her small-format children's books such as The Tale of Peter Rabbit. She came to Lyme Regis on holiday in 1904, two years after The Tale of Peter Rabbit was published. While staying here she worked on another book, The Tale of Little Pig Robinson, which did not see print until 1930 -- her last published work.

The Tale of Little Pig Robinson is set in the fictional town of ‘Stymouth’, which Beatrix Potter based in part on Lyme Regis, as well as on the nearby towns of Sidmouth and Teignmouth in Devon. Views of all three towns are used as backgrounds in the book.

On her visit to Lyme, Beatrix Potter stayed at Burley, Silver Street, and enjoyed perfect weather and the steep views. She produced a number of sketches of the town, including several drawings of Broad Street: she wrote in a letter that it was a lovely street and she would have liked to have done better justice to it. One of her sketches of Broad Street on display in the Museum is reproduced below.
To find out more about the many writers and artists associated with Lyme Regis, see the Writers and Artists page of the main website... or better still, visit the museum!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

This week's events at Lyme Regis Museum

TALKS

Thursday 12 May 2.30pm - JANE AUSTEN. . . WHY DIDN’T SHE MARRY?: Descendant Diana Shervington’s talk will provide amusing reasons for Jane’s spinsterhood.

Saturday 14 May 8 pm - THE SKY AT NIGHT: A stargazing party with experts from the Norman Lockyer Observatory. A talk, refreshments and then outside for telescope views of stars, planets and an almost-full moon. A family event in celebration of Museums at Night weekend.

Sunday 15 May 2.30pm - KNOW YOUR FOSSILS: A talk on how fossils lived, and how to find, identify and handle them, with museum expert Chris Andrew.

EXHIBITIONS

MARY ANNING AND THE MEN OF SCIENCE. An exhibition exploring the relationship between local fossil-hunter Mary Anning (1799-1847) and the great men of science of her day. The exhibition is supported by a grant from the Royal Society and runs until 6 June.

FOUNDLING VOICES. An exhibition celebrating one of Lyme’s famous sons, Thomas Coram, who established the Foundling Hospital in London. Hear voices of former pupils of the Foundling Hospital recounting life before, during and after their time in the institution. This touring exhibition from London’s Foundling Museum can be seen in the ground floor gallery until 31 May.

FOSSIL WALKS

Sorry, no fossil walks this week! Regular walks resume on Monday 16 May.

OTHER WALKS

Monday 9 May 15:30 - Rockpooling
Saturday 14 May 14:00 - Mary Anning Walk

For full details of upcoming events, see What's On at the Museum.