Category Archives: Events

Events organised by the Society for its members and the public

Ware Farm – A letter to members




 As mentioned at the Annual General Meeting, the Society has been consulted by the National Trust concerning development proposals at Ware Farm. 

By way of background, in 1987 the Society organised in short order a fund raising campaign to assist the National Trust acquire Ware Farm. This campaign raised £27,000 towards the £38,000 purchase price. It is clear from our archives and press reports at the time, it was the intention that the National Trust would retain the whole of the land in perpetuity for the benefit of the general public. 

It is important to understand that the gift of cash to acquire land in these circumstances does not, of itself, make the land free from the threat of development. It is the National Trust that can declare land inalienable, meaning it is free of the threat of being sold or developed, unless as a result of an Act of Parliament. 

While the National Trust has declared most of the Ware Farm land inalienable, it has not done so in respect of the site containing the farm buildings and the adjacent triangular field, which it considers as investment properties. 

I attended a meeting with Richard Nicholls, Chair of Dorset CPRE and local Ware residents with Helen Mann General Manager of the North & West Dorset Region in mid-April to discuss their proposals. Most of these proposals are against the intention expressed in 1987, and as such are opposed by the Society. However as a result of these strongly expressed objections, the National Trust are rethinking their proposals. 

I am pleased to say that Helen Mann has agreed to present the revised proposals at a special meeting of Society Members and their guests. While the purpose of this meeting is to consult Society Members we are conscious that there is potentially wider interest in what the National Trust is proposing.

Therefore without wishing to exclude anyone those who are intending to attend should be as guests of Members. There will be no charge for this meeting.

I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at this meeting. If you wish to communicate with me in lieu of attendance or in addition to attending please email me at

 With kind regards

Chris Savory

PS. Please note that, due to the difficulty of communicating with all our members at short notice in these circumstances, it has been decided that in future all such communication will be by email. Please ensure that the Society always has your current email address by emailing


Heritage Matters and the “Ron and Norah Driver Youth Heritage Prize”

Prizes for Heritage Matters, the arts competition organised by the Society and sponsored by it, Lyme Regis Museum and the Town Mill, were presented on Saturday the 19th September at the Jubilee Pavilion. Scores of entries were received from pupils at Woodroffe School, St Michael’s Primary School and Mrs. Ethelston’s School and we believe that the competition really succeeded in raising the profile of the town’s heritage amongst its young people.

The Jubilee Pavilion will have an exhibition of the three first prize winners (one from each school) and those entries which were “Highly Commended” for the remainder of ArtsFest. All the other entries are on show at The Hub in Church Street.

The best overall entry was awarded the Ron and Norah Driver Youth Heritage Prize by the Society. This went to Polly Howarth Yates of Woodroffe School (shown left with her mixed media composition). Polly’s concept was that a town’s heritage is  shown in what is thrown away. Her picture shows the huge Black Ven landslip of 2008 which brought down some of the contents of the old rubbish dump. Polly used small items from the dump mixed with pictures from the town’s history (e.g. Mary Anning, John Fowles, Thomas Coram) to form the landslip in her picture which was created on an old woodedn panel on which she had transcribed the history of the dump. Great concept and wonderful execution. It is hoped that, following its display during ArtsFest, Polly’s work will be on display for a while in the Museum.

Another great concept came from Lila and Evelyn Churchill of Mrs Ehelston’s School who won the first prize there. Their Belmont House was a painted box (right) and the inside of the box was decorated with extract of information about John Fowles life and works together with information written in their own hands about their great-great grandfather who was John Fowles’ gardener in the later years of his life.

The first prize winner for St Michael’s School was Lucy Waplington with a painting of the Cobb (left).



Belmont Public Open Days

The restoration of Belmont by the Landmark Trust is nearly complete and, in line with their promise when they applied for Planning Permission/Listed Building Consent, the Trust will be opening the house to the public. The Society has been involved in discussions with the Landmark Trust on the restoration of Belmont for several years and has fully supported what they plan to put in place. Now is an ideal opportunity to judge if we were right.
The restored frontage is above and details of the opening times are below.
Belmont Public Open Days: Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 September 2015 – 10am to 4pm
No booking required.

What next for Lyme’s eroding coast

We know that the Jurassic Coast is constantly eroding.  It can change overnight as the two pictures below of Black Ven taken in March and May 2008 show. What is the future?





On Tuesday 30th September,Richard Edmonds, Earth Science Manager for the Jurassic Coast Team will give an illustrated talk about recent changes to coast and cliffs around Lyme Regis and consider what the future may bring.

“Lyme’s Eroding Coast” will start at 2.30pm in Woodmead Halls and is organised by The Lyme Regis Society in co-operation with Lyme Regis Museum and the Heritage Coast U3A. Entry is free for members of all these organisations and £3 for visitors.


Coffee Morning 2014

Smell the coffee and talk the talk. Everyone is welcome to the Society’s annual Coffee Morning at the Alexandra Hotel. Enjoy wonderful coastal views, coffee and cake.

Come along and discuss important issues about Lyme’s development or just the weather. We’d love to see you there.

10.30 till 12noon on Friday 31st January in the Alexandra Hotel’s beautiful restaurant. Entry by donation with free coffee and biscuit.

Hidden Dorset – An illustrated talk by Colin Varndell

Renowned wildlife photographer Colin Varndell will, once again, enthral us with his pictures on Tuesday 26th November at 2.30pm in Woodmead Hall.

Horse chestnut


Colin’s photography is superb with huge attention to detail as shown in these two pictures on his web-site (


Great-spotted woodpecker in flightThis event is our annual joint meeting with The Dorset Wildlife Trust and entrance charges will be £2 for members of either organisation (including refreshments) or £3 for others.

Those of you who look at “Pictures of the week” on the Telegraph web-site may have seen Colin’s picture of the “Beaminster Polar Bear” at about this time last year. Hopefully, he will tell us the story of his photograph as part of his (very) Hidden Dorset. If not then click here to see this unusual animal.

The Maritime History of Lyme Regis

Ebb and Flow

When Peter Lacey’s book on Lyme’s maritime history was published, Ken Gollop described Peter as Lyme’s 21st Century historian following on from Roberts in the 19th Century and Wanklyn in the 20th. On Tuesday 24th September, Peter will give a talk about Lyme’s rich maritime history which will be the first in the autumn series of talks organised by the Lyme Regis Society jointly with Lyme Regis Museum.

The talk will be at Woodmead Hall and start at 2.30pm. Entry will be £1.50 for all.

Heritage Open Days 2013

Welcoming visitors

Once again this year Lyme had two buildings open for Heritage Open Days/Dorset Architecture Week. The Society opened The Guildhall as usual and South West Water opened the Sewage Pumping Station under Gun Cliff. If you read the article about Helen Yool’s work with the Society in the latest All Over the Town Newsletter, then you will see that we were very involved with this latter development.

Vialls' architecture

What a contrast between the two buildings; George Vialls’ 19th Century architecture and a huge hidden 20th century edifice.

And yet, the buildings are only yards apart!



The pumping hall

Visitors to Lyme could see the massive pumping hall with 6 pumps costing £50,000 each and move on to see The Guildhall with its beautiful archtecture and cushions showing a tapestry of Lyme’s sea-front which even includes the vent tower of the pumping station.

Tapestry with the vent tower (centre)

If any reader’s missed the open day, then they can read about the Guildhall in our Historic Houses Part I booklet.

Celebration of Life

On Saturday 13th July, Helen Yool’s family hosted a tea party at the Alexandra Hotel to celebrate Helen’s life. On a beautiful summer’s afternoonHelen’s sister Sheila, niece Julie and nephew Marcus welcomed other relatives, old friends and neighbours, staff from Shire House care home where Helen was so happy and members of the Society. The LRS Committee was represented by Stephen Wilkins, Audrey Standhaft and Keith Shaw.

Molly Spencer presenting her picture to Sheila

Following a wonderful cream tea, Sheila talked about Helen’s life, a poem chosen by Helen was read and the Society presented a photographic portrait of Helen, taken by Molly Spencer and printed on canvas to Sheila.


Many of you will recognise the picture as that we used to illustrate our article about Helen when her death was announced.

A selection of pictures taking at the event by John Marriage are shown below.

Helen's nephew Marcus with guests


Enjoing the tea

Enjoying the sunshine

Helen's niece Julie with guests

A talk by Ken Gollop

Would you believe it? You wait all year for a talk by the inspirational Ken Gollop and two come along within a few weeks.

This time, though, Ken isn’t talking either in or directly about Lyme Regis but his talk entitled “A Charmouth Boy’s Life with the Sea” – the story of Frank Gollop (1862 – 1961) is bound to worth the trip to Charmouth.

The talk is being staged by The Pavey Group at the Community Hall on Lower Sea Lane, Charmouth on Thursday 30th May at 2.30pm. Entrance is free for Pavey Group members and £1 for everyone else. Enjoy!