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Monday, 25 February 2013

An early 16th century counter table

Here is another unusual object from the Museum's collection. It is a wooden table dating from the early 16th century – probably some time during the reign of King Henry VIII. It is called a "counter table" because it would have been used to check weights and measures, in order to avoid short measure in markets and impose dues or taxes. This is the origin of the term 'counter' as in a shop counter!

The table is featured in the series History of Lyme Regis in Museum Objects on the Museum website, produced by the Museum's research team. If you follow the link, you will find a number of in-depth PDF documents you can download, including one by Max Hebditch on the subject of the counter table.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

The Great Landslip of 1839

As mentioned in yesterday's post, landslips are a recurring feature of the Jurassic Coast. One of the most spectacular occurred in December 1839, 3 miles west of Lyme Regis in the area now known as the Undercliff. The 1839 slip affected a large tract of land below Bindon Manor and Dowlands Farm, resulting in the features called Goat Island and the Chasm. This particular landslip was very well documented because the geologists William Buckland and the Reverend Conybeare were in the area to survey it. In 1840 they produced the first detailed scientific report about a major landslip, which was beautifully illustrated with coloured maps and diagrams by William Dawson and engravings by Mary Buckland. The conclusions of the report are still valid.

Lyme Regis Museum has a copy of the report, but it is in very fragile condition. For this reason it has recently been digitised, and is presented in full on the museum website for your enjoyment. You can view it here: The Bindon Landslip of 1839.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Another rockfall at Lyme Regis

Lyme Regis witnessed another major landslip yesterday (11 February 2013), which occurred in the cliffs overlooking Monmouth Beach on the west side of the town. Lyme Regis Museum Education Officer Chris Andrew happened to be on the spot, and took the photograph on the right showing the extent of the new rockfall, which was probably triggered by recent heavy rainfall.

Cliff falls are part of the natural erosion process, and are a frequent occurrence on the Jurassic coast – in fact they are the very thing that creates the coastline and keeps it "alive". However, such falls can be dangerous, which is why visitors should always treat the cliffs with respect. And nature is no respecter of human property, as seen in the photograph below which Chris also took yesterday. This shows the effect of earlier cliff movements on a row of beach huts on Monmouth Beach.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Lyme History walks

This year Lyme Regis Museum is starting a new series of guided walks in which you can explore Lyme's history with local expert Chris Lovejoy (left). Chris will take you on a journey through the unique and colourful history of Lyme Regis, recounting amazing stories of buccaneers, smugglers and rebels, as well as famous residents or visitors of local and national renown. Discover how people used to live, and how the town developed through the centuries. The walk, lasting one and a half hours, is on fairly level ground through the town centre, starting from the Marine Theatre and ending at the sea front.

The Lyme History walks will take place regularly on Mondays and Saturdays at 11 am, starting on Monday 4 March. For full details, including prices and how to book, see the Lyme History walks page on the Museum's main website.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Not Mary Anning's fossil-hunting hammer!

The  picture on the left shows an object in Lyme Regis Museum that for many years was believed to be a geological hammer made especially for Lyme’s most famous fossilist, Mary Anning (1796-1847), by her father Richard. However, it was discovered last year that it is nothing of the sort! It is the pick-shaped handle head and broken part of the shaft of an 1882-issue British Army entrenching tool!

The entrenching tool is featured in a new series on the History of Lyme Regis in Museum Objects on the Museum website, produced by the Museum's research team. If you follow the link, you will find a number of in-depth PDF documents you can download, including one by Richard Bull explaining in detail how "Mary Anning's Hammer" was found to be something else entirely!

Friday, 1 February 2013

Museum events in February


Thursday 7th February 2.30pm at Woodmead Hall
East Devon Hill Forts - 600 Years of History
A talk by Tom Cadbury, Curator of Antiquities at Exeter's Royal Albert Memorial Museum, organised by The Friends of Lyme Regis Museum.

Tuesday 26th February 2.30pm at Woodmead Hall
Chard – The first powered flight and other history
A talk by a representative from Chard Museum, organised jointly with The Lyme Regis Society.


Both Object and Observer: An exhibition by Maisie Hall showing her work in progress towards the new Re:Collection project. In the Rotunda Gallery of Lyme Regis Museum until 27 March.

Mary Anning Walks

Saturday 2nd February 1.30pm
Saturday 9th February 1.30pm
Saturday 16th February 1.30pm
Saturday 23rd February 1.30pm

Fossil walks

Friday 1st February 12.30pm
Saturday 2nd February 1.15pm
Saturday 9th February 9am
Sunday 10th February 9.30am
Wednesday 13th February 11.45am
Thursday 14th February 12.15pm
Friday 15th February 12.45pm
Saturday 16th February 1pm
Sunday 24th February 9am
Monday 25th February 9.15am
Tuesday 26th February 10am
Wednesday 27th February 10.30am
Thursday 28th February 11.15am

For more information, contact