I already run a blog dedicated to the Victorian period of the Weymouth’s history, entering into the lives of the folks who lived here, those who visited to partake in its health giving waters, or who simply arrived to work here.
What I wanted was to start one telling of its present day, recording those places and events that I am living right now, which will become one day in the future part of Weymouth’s history.(well, I suppose technically they are history already…but you get my drift!)
Gathering an ever expanding collection of Weymouth memorabilia such as old carnival programs, holiday guides and local pamphlets, from time to time I hope to slot a few of those in too, maybe jog a few memories along the way, (including mine I hasten to add.)
I was born, raised and apart from a couple of brief periods of my life, have lived right here in sunny old Weymouth.
Some people might call me insular…well, so be it!
I’m quite happy with that.
I love my home town with a passion, so let me share with you a few reasons why.
O.k, negatives out of the way first.
There might be a few things I grumble about, dodgy decisions made by those who ‘rule’ over us, wall to wall traffic in the summer (despite having a park and ride), exorbitant prices we often pay for the benefits of being a tourist town, (and to those who visit us and moan about the price of this and that and how they’re being ripped off…don’t forget, we pay those prices too, and not just in the summer months!)
But that aside, I simply wouldn’t choose to live anywhere else.
We have it all…a beautiful long beach with soft white sands, a choice of shallow water perfect for kids paddling or travel further up the beach towards Greenhill, where it’s deeper, great for diving in and swimming.
There is nothing nicer than walking the shoreline barefoot at the crack of dawn in summer, just you, the gently lapping waves and resident gulls riding the ripples.
Then there are the stunning, award-winning seaside gardens, originally built in the victorian era by a wealthy landowner…
We can even boast a charming quaint historic harbour, its ancient quayside lined with an eclectic jumble of colourful cottages and houses, all watched over by the mighty Georgian Red Barracks on the Nothe behind, a relic of Weymouths military past.
I used to live with my sister and her family in the little old white coxswains cottage next door to the lifeboat house, which was certainly an interesting experience.
At one time they used to fire maroons to summons the men.
Night or day, a loud boom would rent the air, swiftly followed by a flash, then a second, this would let the whole area know that someone out there was in trouble, meaning brave folk would be downing tools or climbing out of their warm beds to race to their station, ready to help.
Living literally on the lifeboat house doorstep, the first thing you would hear was the rumble as they rolled out the contraption that fired these rockets, you knew then to get your head under the pillow super quick, boy was it loud..but then it had to be.
Unfortunately, with todays technology, the rockets are long gone, which is sad, they were a valuable reminder to everyone that the lifeboat was off out again, often in dire weather, and many whispered a silent prayer for those at sea, and for their safe return.
Here in Weymouth we are lucky enough to be located in amongst the most stunning scenery.
Just travel a few miles out and you have the rugged Isle of Portland, or Isle of Slingers as it is sometimes referred to.
The Cove is world renown for awe inspiring seas during storms, no wonder local author Thomas Hardy named this area Dead Mans Bay in his novels.
This great slab of limestone rock is the site of numerous quarries, from where the famous Portland Stone has been extracted over centuries and sent around the world. Many of our nations heritage buildings are built with this white rock created with millions of fossilised crustaceans that once thrived in the warm seas around these shores.
Looking out from the cliff edge of this elevated isle is a 360 panorama of fantastic views, especially the world famous Chesil beach, beyond that lies the Fleet and Abbotsbury.
Weymouth is completely surrounded by oodles of history, from neolithic sites to Iron age forts, castles and towns.
Something which I believe sparked my fascination for local history, listening to my dear old Dad telling exhilarating tales of the folks from these historic sites such as Maiden castle or the Victorian Nothe Fort.
We’re also part of the World Heritage Jurassic Coastline, fossils of long ago creatures literally fall at your feet along our shores.
Not only do we greedily posses all this but we can lay claim to a balmy climate (well perhaps not always, but rarely does it snow here).
Nestled snugly down within a sheltered basin, with the great chalk Ridgeway protectively surrounding us, means we virtually live in a micro climate.
Many a time Weymouth basks in brilliant sunshine while ominous black clouds or fog gather along the ridgeway…so much so that when you drive up over you sometimes feel you are entering another world.
Our maritime heritage is not to be sniffed at either, jointly with Portland we hosted the 2012 Sailing Olympics and Paralympics…
…we were chosen to host the Tall ships race 3 times so far, in 1983, 1987 and 1994, and are hoping to do so again in the near future.
There’s always something interesting going on in the locality, from bustling Carnival day…
…to the popular kite festival in spring, when an assortment of giant appendages such as legs, heads or animals can be seen soaring high above the house tops.
How about perusing the rather yummy stalls of the sea food festival.
Always a lively atmosphere around the harbour when this is on, live music, free tastings, copious amounts of alcoholic beverages, and of course, lots of delicious goodies to buy and munch on…
…or if your interest is of the more adventurous nature, try watching the bikes as they race across the sands and over the jumps in the annual moto cross.
So maybe you see why I’d rather not move thank you very much…
- 1877; Weymouths shipping trade (susanhogben.wordpress.com)
- 1888; Weymouth Queen Victoria Jubilee Clock. (susanhogben.wordpress.com)
- Weymouth’s Victorian bandstands. (susanhogben.wordpress.com)
If you love local history or tales of the military in town, why not grab a copy of my new book Nothe Fort and Beyond.
Available on Amazon at £9.99.
Lots of tales to be told.