Category Archives: People

People connected to Lyme Regis

On the Beach

Last weekend Lyme held its 2012 Fossil Festival. Successful, yet again, in itself, it also was the start of a summer/coast long Earth Festival which forms part of the Cultural Olympiad. There were fossils, fossil sellers, fossil collectors … everywhere; especially on the beach where a huge marquee was the centre of the festival.

There is always something new to be learned at the Fossil Festival and this year was no exception. Chris Paul gave a very interesting talk about ammonites that had worm tubes attached to their shells. More can be learned about this on the Museum web-site.

However, the thing that has stuck in my memory is a tiny piece of information gleaned from Tom Sharpe’s talk on Mary Anning. Henry de la Beche (right) who lived for a time in Aveline House (Lloyds Bank) on Broad Street and was the founder of the British Geological Survey, was a great friend and benefactor of Mary Anning. Mary gave Henry his love for geology and he helped the Annings financially when they fell on hard times and even drew the above cartoon of Mary at work on the beach to raise money for them. In his talk, Tom Sharpe pronounced “de la Beche” as “de la Beach” and not “de la Besh” as one would expect for a French name. On being asked “Why?”, he explained that we had Mary Anning to thank for our knowledge of how Henry’s name was pronounced 200 years ago! How can that be?

Mary was largely self educated and often wrote words phonetically. In her letters she refers to her friend as “Henry de la Beach” thus we know that was how she and others pronounced the name. Perhaps my heading should have been “Of the Beach”.

 

Whistler at Moreton

Laurence Whistler, the glass engraver lived in Lyme and was a committee member of the Lyme Regis Society for many years. This is common knowledge but what his engraving was like and where to view examples is less well known.

The church of St. Nicholas at Moreton which is a few miles east of Dorchester, was bombed during WWII. Strange but its juxtaposition to Bovington Camp might well explain it. After the war it was rebuilt, the windows were glazed with plain glass and, over a period of thirty years, Whistler engraved them.

The effect is stunning. By day, the beautiful countryside is seen through the engravings whilst at night, the engravings are set of against a black canvas.

 

 

 

 

The first three pictures show the daytime effect. The final picture is taken from the Laurence Whistler board in Lyme Regis Museum and shows the night time effect.


Moreton is well worth a visit. You will also be able to see the grave of T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia) who died in a motor-cycle accident on his way from Bovington Camp to his home at Clouds Hill. The grave is in the local cemetry not the churchyard but it is quite close. Clouds Hill, owned by the National Trust, is a good country walk from Moreton.

Lawrence also has a distant connection to Lyme Regis but that is another story.