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Thursday 27 June 2013

The Lyme Regis Museum Blog has moved...

After two years hosted by Google Blogger, the Lyme Regis Museum blog now has a new home on the main Museum website. The old blog will no longer be updated, so if you are following via RSS or have it bookmarked please change the link to

Friday 14 June 2013

The Great Fires of Lyme Regis

One of the most striking objects to be seen inside Lyme Regis Museum is the 18th century hand-powered fire engine, which has been a treasured exhibit ever since the Museum opened in 1921. Sadly, the fire engine never had much success in putting out fires, as can be seen from this photograph taken after its last attempted use in 1889. The fire engine, itself miraculously unharmed, is standing amid a scene of devastation under the wall in Broad Street opposite the Royal Lion Hotel.

The photograph comes from a fascinating new research paper about the Lyme Regis fire engine and the numerous great fires it witnessed. The paper was written by Richard Bull following a talk by Thea Hawksworth, and is the latest in the "History of Lyme Regis in Museum Objects" series. All the papers, including "The Fire Engine and Lyme’s Great Fires", can be downloaded by clicking here.

Friday 7 June 2013

Trapped in the Jurassic!

"Jurassic Dreams" is the latest in the ongoing re:collection series of exhibitions in the Rotunda gallery at Lyme Regis Museum. The idea behind the series, organised jointly by the Museum and Lyme Regis Artsfest  is to encourage local artists to take inspiration from the Museum itself. For this latest installment, Keith Robinson has devised an exciting illustrated story that starts with two children exploring an eccentric old museum. They discover a secret room containing dusty old instructions for building a time machine, and before long they find themselves... Trapped in the Jurassic!

As well as this new story, the exhibition showcases a wide range of Keith's other work, which you can preview at his website Jurassic Dreams. As well as his children's illustrations, Keith created the Lyme Regis town map that can be seen a short distance from the Museum at the corner of Marine Parade (see photo below). You can read the story of how this large and intricate map was created, and see some of the intermediate steps, in Keith's exhibition.

Saturday 1 June 2013

Museum events in June

5.30 pm Thursday 6th June at The Town Mill Malthouse

The Lymiad / Dinner with Dr Buckland

"Dinner with Dr Buckland" is a black comedy, written in verse, taking a swipe at the eating habits of the the great 19th century geologist, William Buckland ("eating his way though the animal kingdom"). It will be performed by Fred Humphrey and Sandra Lello and following it they will read extracts from The Lymiad, a satirical poem about Lyme in the 19th century, written anonymously in the form of letters from Lyme to a friend in Bath. In conclusion, Professor Hugh Torrens, who is an expert on Mary Anning, will talk about his theories as to the author's identity. Organised by The Friends of Lyme Regis Museum. Tickets £3 (members £2); telephone 01297 443370 or email "info [at]" for more information.


Until 14 July in the Museum's Rotunda Gallery

Jurassic Dreams!

An exhibition by children's illustrator Keith Robinson.


Thursday 6th June 9am
Friday 7th June 9.30am
Saturday 8th June 10.15am
Sunday 9th June 10.45am
Monday 10th June 11.15am (fully booked)
Tuesday 11th June 11.45am
Wednesday 12th June 12.15pm
Thursday 13th June 1pm
Saturday 22nd June 9am
Sunday 23rd June 10am
Monday 24th June 11am
Tuesday 25th June 11.45am
Wednesday 26th June 12.30pm
Thursday 27th June 1.15pm


Saturday 1 June 1.30pm
Saturday 8 June 1.30pm
Saturday 15 June 1.30pm
Saturday 22 June 1.30pm
Saturday 29 June 1.30pm


Saturday 1 June 11am
Monday 3 June 11am
Saturday 8 June 11am
Monday 10 June 11am
Saturday 15 June 11am
Monday 17 June 11am
Saturday 22 June 11am
Monday 24 June 11am
Saturday 29 June 11am


Wednesday 5th June 9.30am
Friday 14th June 3.00pm
Friday 21st June 9.30am
Friday 28th June 3.30pm

Friday 24 May 2013

A Certificate of Excellence for the Museum!

Many thanks to everyone who has given Lyme Regis Museum a positive review on the excellent and much-visited TripAdvisor website. The Museum is ranked the third most popular tourist attraction in Lyme Regis, with an average of 4.5 stars out of 5. We have just heard that TripAdvisor has recognised the Museum's achievement by awarding us a 2013 Certificate of Excellence. This prestigious award, which places Lyme Regis Museum in the top-performing 10% of all businesses worldwide on TripAdvisor, is given to businesses that consistently earn high ratings from TripAdvisor travellers.

You can see the Museum's page at Trip Advisor by following this link... and please do add your own review if you want to!

Wednesday 1 May 2013

Museum events in May

Lyme Regis Fossil Festival
The Museum is open free for Lyme's annual celebration of palaeontology. On Saturday & Sunday our geologists will be in the marquee on the beach helping you polish fossils which can be purchased for a small charge.

Museums at Night - "The Beast in the Cellar"
7.00pm at the Museum
Come and see the Museum's big ichthyosaurs and hear our geologists talk about them. Tickets are limited in number and cost £5.00 with children free.

Coach Trip to Somerset
Visiting Wells Cathedral & Somerset Rural Life Museum at Glastonbury. Coach leaves Holmbush Car-park at 10am. Tickets £20 per person. Please phone 01297 445337 to book.


Tuesday 7th May 9am
Wednesday 8th May 9.15am
Thursday 9th May 10am
Friday 10th May 10.45am
Saturday 11th May 11.15am
Sunday 12th May 11.45am
Monday 13th May 12.15pm
Tuesday 14th May 12.45pm
Thursday 23rd May 9am
Friday 24th May 9.30am
Saturday 25th May 10.30am
Sunday 26th May 11.15am
Monday 27th May 12 noon
Tuesday 28th May 12.45pm (fully booked)


Saturday 4th May 1.30pm
Sunday 5th May 1.30pm
Saturday 11th May 1.30pm
Saturday 18th May 1.30pm
Sunday 19th May 1.30pm
Saturday 25th May 1.30pm


Saturday 4 May 11am
Monday 6 May 11am
Saturday 11 May 11am
Monday 13 May 11am
Saturday 18 May 11am
Monday 20 May 11am
Saturday 25 May 11am
Monday 27 May 11am


Monday 6th May 9.00am
Wednesday 15th May 2.45pm
Wednesday 22nd May 9.00am

Friday 12 April 2013

The Listers at High Cliff

The picture on the left shows High Cliff house in Lyme Regis, together with several eminent members of the Lister family who used High Cliff as their holiday home. The most famous of these was Baron Lister of Lyme Regis, the great pioneer of antiseptic surgery, but several other members of the family achieved prominence in their chosen fields.

Richard Bull, a member of the Museum's research team, has now produced an in-depth paper about the Listers at High Cliff. This is almost 50 pages long and packed with illustrations (the screenshot shown here is taken from the first page of Richard's paper), and it is freely available for anyone who is interested. It is the second of Richard's studies of "People of Lyme" – the first was on the Reverend Richard Pennell (1776 – 1857). Both papers can be downloaded, in PDF format, from the People and Places page of the main Museum website.

Friday 5 April 2013

A Local Author at the Museum

STOP PRESS.... Here is another event in April that didn't make it into the previous post! Local author Nigel Clarke will be launching his new book Adolf's British Holiday Snaps in the Museum at 6.30 pm on Saturday 20th April, followed by a talk in the Guildhall next door at 7 pm. Tickets, which include a glass of wine, are available at £5 from the Museum either in advance or on the day.

During World War 2, the German Air Force created a unique archive of reconnaissance photographs of Britain – the first aerial survey of the United Kingdom. At the end of the war, what remained of this extensive archive was sorted and interpreted in the UK before being sent to the United States. The photos remained classified until the 1970s when satellite imagery replaced them! Nigel Clarke's new book collects many of "Adolf's British holiday snaps", particularly from the South West of the country, showing it as it was before post-war industrialisation – with few large towns, no motorways, no shopping centres and only one international airport.

Nigel has kindly agreed that all proceeds from the book launch and talk will go to Lyme Regis Museum. Director David Tucker said “we are very grateful to Nigel for his generosity and we are very pleased to be selected as the venue for the launch of this impressive book”.

Monday 1 April 2013

Museum events in April


Beach Treasure by Lynda White – beach-combed china and Lyme Bay paintings. An Artsfest re:collection project in progress, on display in the Rotunda at Lyme Regis Museum from 30 March to 19 May 2013.


WEDNESDAY 3 APRIL 11am to 3pm
Family Fun Day with local artist Alison Bowskill – Come along for Spring themed craft activities!

THURSDAY 11 APRIL 2.30pm Woodmead Hall
Museums and the Arts – A talk by Mary Godwin, former Director of Lyme Regis Museum. Organised by The Friends of Lyme Regis Museum. The AGM precedes the talk.

TUESDAY 23rd April 2.30pm at Woodmead Hall
Belmont - History and Future Plans – A talk by Caroline Stanford of the Landmark Trust. Jointly with The Lyme Regis Society (the talk will be preceded by the Society’s AGM which will start at 2.30pm).


To book on any of the walks listed below, please contact or phone 01297 443370. Further details of specific walks can be found on the What's On page of the main website.

Lyme History Walks

  • Monday 1 April 11am
  • Saturday 6 April 11am
  • Monday 8 April 11am
  • Saturday 13 April 11am
  • Monday 15 April 11am
  • Saturday 20 April 11am
  • Monday 22 April 11am
  • Saturday 27 April 11am
  • Monday 29 April 11am

Mary Anning Walks

  • Saturday 6th April 1.30pm
  • Saturday 13th April 1.30pm
  • Saturday 20th April 1.30pm
  • Saturday 27th April 1.30pm

Rockpooling Walks

  • Monday 1st April 3.00pm
  • Tuesday 2nd April 3.30pm
  • Sunday 7th April 9.30am
  • Tuesday 16th April 2.45pm
  • Tuesday 30th April 2.45pm

Fossil Walks

  • Monday 8th April 9am
  • Tuesday 9th April 9.45am
  • Wednesday 10th April 10.30am
  • Thursday 11th April 11.15am
  • Friday 12th April 11.45am
  • Saturday 13th April 12.15pm
  • Sunday 14th April 12.30pm
  • Monday 15th April 1pm
  • Tuesday 23rd April 9am
  • Wednesday 24th April 9.15am
  • Thursday 25th April 10am
  • Friday 26th April 10.45am
  • Saturday 27th April 11.30am
  • Sunday 28th April 12.15pm
  • Monday 29th April 1pm

New in the Museum

The Lyme Bay Ichthyosaur!

Sunday 3 March 2013

BBC Countryfile visits the Museum

Last Thursday (28 February), the long-running BBC series Countryfile visited Lyme Regis and met some of the Museum staff. The Museum's geologist Paddy Howe (seen on the left with Countryfile presenter Julia Bradbury) was involved in filming on the beach between Lyme and Charmouth, and was also filmed in his workshop preparing a small ammonite specimen. Filming also took place at the "ammonite graveyard" on Monmouth Beach, and Tom Sharpe of the National Museum of Wales was interviewed about Mary Anning.

The programme is scheduled to air on BBC1 in two weeks' time, on Sunday 17th March at 7pm. The photograph below shows Tom Sharpe and Julia Bradbury during filming. Both the pictures were taken by the Museum Education Officer, Chris Andrew.

Friday 1 March 2013

Museum events in March


SUNDAY 3rd MARCH 2.30pm at Woodmead Hall
Yet more tales from under shady tree
An illustrated talk by Ken Gollop
Doors open 2pm - Admission £3.00 - Don't be late as it could get very full!

THURSDAY 7 MARCH 2.30pm at Woodmead Hall
The Extraordinary Life of Robert Fitzroy RN. Darwin's Commander
A talk by David Croman (organised by The Friends of Lyme Regis Museum)

TUESDAY 19th March 2.30pm at the Parish Church
The Skrabl Organ
A talk by Richard Godfrey of the Lyme Regis Organ School (organised jointly with The Lyme Regis Society). NB there will be no refreshments at this event.

Other events

SATURDAY 30 MARCH 10am-1.30pm at the Inn Place, Pilot Boat Inn
Sale of Quality Books
Donations of quality books welcome - contact Richard Wells (01297 442627) or David Cox (01297 443156)


To book on any of the walks listed below, please contact or phone 01297 443370. Further details of specific walks can be found on the What's On page of the main website.

Lyme History walks

(NEW this month - see this blog post for more details)

Monday 4 March 11am
Saturday 9 March 11am
Monday 11 March 11am
Saturday 16 March 11am
Monday 18 March 11am
Saturday 23 March 11am
Monday 25 March 11am
Saturday 30 March 11am

Rockpooling walks

Monday 25th March 9.30am

Mary Anning walks

Saturday 2nd March 1.30pm
Saturday 16th March 1.30pm
Saturday 23rd March 1.30pm
Saturday 30th March 1.30pm

Fossil walks

Friday 1st March 11.45am
Saturday 2nd March 12.15pm
Sunday 3rd March 12.45pm
Monday 4th March 1.30pm
Sunday 10th March 9am
Monday 11th March 9.15am
Wednesday 13th March 10.45am
Thursday 14th March 11.15am
Friday 15th March 11.45am
Saturday 16th March 12 noon
Sunday 17th March 12.30pm
Tuesday 26th March 9am
Wednesday 27th March 9.30am
Thursday 28th March 10.15am
Friday 29th March 10.45am
Saturday 30th March 11.30am
Sunday 31st March 1pm

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

Tuesday 29 January 2013

The Common Seal of Lyme Regis

The picture on the left shows a reversed photograph of the Borough of Lyme Regis seal matrix, which is on display in the Museum (on loan from Lyme Regis Town Council). The design of the seal is believed to date from the 13th century, when King Edward I granted the town its Royal Charter – although this particular matrix is likely to be of more recent manufacture.

The seal shows a mediaeval-style ship bearing the cross of Saint George on its masthead, together with a scene of the Crucifixion on the left. On the right, St Michael the Archangel (to whom Lyme Regis parish church is dedicated) is seen trampling on a dragon. The Latin inscription reads SIGILLUM COMVNE DE LIM, meaning "Common Seal of Lyme".

The Common Seal of Lyme 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 on this subject written by Thea Hawksworth.

Wednesday 23 January 2013

The Beast in the Cellar

Geologists Ben Brooks and Phil Davidson have carried out an extensive analysis of a very large Ichthyosaur, codenamed E42, which is stored in the cellar of Lyme Regis Museum. The specimen is approximately 4.2 metres in length, and is broken into 18 separate blocks. It is believed to be a member of the genus Temnodontosaurus, which flourished in the early Jurassic period, between 198 and 185 million years ago.

This fantastic fossil is one of the largest to be discovered on the Jurassic Coast, England’s only Natural World Heritage Site, and is one of the hidden treasures of Lyme Regis Museum. But it won't be hidden much longer – Ben and Phil have made a digital reconstruction of the fossil (an overview of which is seen above), and this will soon be put online on the Museum's website. Director David Tucker said “we’re very grateful to Ben and Phil for the work they have done on this amazing fossil. We would love to be able to display the fossil in our museum, but unfortunately it is too big for our geology gallery. Putting these images on our website is the best way that we can make the ichthyosaur accessible to a wider audience.”

Lyme Regis is the home of the science of palaeontology and the museum is built on the footprint of the house of Mary Anning, the first and greatest of all fossil collectors. The museum is in the early stages of a project to extend its premises. “We are the key fossil site in Britain” added David “and we want to make sure that this unique town has the museum it deserves as the key fossil-hunting site in Britain”.

The photograph on the left shows the Museum basement where the 18 blocks containing the massive ichthyosaur specimen are stored.

Monday 21 January 2013

Replica of an Iron Age mirror

The replica mirror shown here is one of the objects on display in Lyme Regis Museum. It is an accurate copy of the original, now in the British Museum in London, which was discovered in 1971 during excavation of the Iron Age and Roman site at Higher Holcombe Farm in Uplyme. As described in a previous blog post, the mirror dates from the period immediately prior to the Roman invasion, and was a very fashionable item in Southern Britain at that time.

The mirror 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 about the "Replica of Bronze Mirror from Uplyme", written by Max Hebditch.