LYME Regis celebrated the 1200th anniversary of its first settlement with a year-long festival in 1974.
I have very fond memories of this very special occasion as I was appointed organiser of Lyme 1200. Alderman Douglas Fortnam chaired the organising committee and local girl Valerie Curtis was my administration assistant. We worked voluntarily out of an office in the old Borough Council HQ in Broad Street.
The Lyme 1200 celebrations were launched at a New Year’s Ball in December 1973, organised at the Woodroffe School by the Rotary Club. The festival events were many and varied and involved virtually every organisation and activity in the town, featuring many of Lyme’s historical events with a number of social gatherings including a ball at which the famous Joe Loss Orchestra provided the music.
Another event was the Lyme 1200 Banquet, also at the Woodroffe, at which the guest speaker was the poet John Betjeman. Highlight of that event was an appearance by Lyme-born singer-songwriter Adrian Loveridge who flew over from Los Angeles especially to sing the four songs he had composed to mark the celebrations in his home town.
Adrian, whose stage name was Adrian St James, was the son of Jack and Estella Loveridge who emigrated to the United States in 1955 when Adrian was eight years-old.
Adrian became quite a name in the Californian music business, both as a performer but particularly as a song writer. He won a Gold Disc for writing a number called ‘Loving You Baby’, sung by the late Laura Branigan which sold 500,000 copies.
I worked alongside Adrian to get the four songs he penned for Lyme 1200 laid down as an EP titled ‘My Town’. The four songs were called ‘Lyme Regis Down By The Bay’, ‘Town Where Your Daddy Was Born’, ‘One More Time’ and ‘Island By The Sea’. My favourite was ‘Town Where Your Daddy Was Born’ (see lyrics below) but I thought all of them were excellent compositions with Adrian succeeding in getting references to Lyme’s colourful history into the lyrics.
Adrian returned to Lyme to live many years later and, under his real name, he wrote two songs – ‘Forever Beautiful’ and ‘Queen of Hearts’ – in memory of Princess Diana from the people of Lyme Regis which were recorded onto a cassette.
A number of people on social media have enquired about Adrian’s EP after local musician Andy Cable said he had found a copy and asked about the process of converting the vinyl record to something more appropriate for this digital age. A number came forward to say they had a copy and thought the songs were excellent.
Adrian was the brother of Les Loveridge who joined his family in LA in 1957 but returned to his home town several years later. He’s a former chairman and life-member of Lyme Regis Football Club.
Adrian found Lyme a much different place than when he left as a youngster and unfortunately he died at the age of 52.
Mr and Mrs Loveridge, both deceased, returned to Lyme for holidays many times over the years and kept in touch with local affairs, presenting trophies to the football club and the Royal British Legion, both of which are much coveted today. Mr Loveridge, a painter and decorator, served in the Royal Navy during the war.
I have often thought over the years that Adrian did not really get the recognition he deserved for the ‘My Town’ EP and it’s gratifying to see that a number of people have now shown some appreciation. Les gave the Gold Disk to the museum but they returned it because they did not think it was an appropriate exhibit.
I’m looking into getting the four songs converted to an MP3 audio file so we can put it up on the LymeOnline website to get a wider audience.
My favourite track: ‘Town Where Your Daddy Was Born’
Well now my son
We’re a long way from home
Do you like it here?
This is the town
Where your daddy was born
Now the sky is so clear.
So let’s you and I take a walk
And man to man we can talk
About the town
The town where your daddy was born.
Do you understand
When I tell you this town is
Twelve hundred years old?
Yes, that’s older than granddad
Now this is the place
Where they traded and sold
And painters would sit by the sea
To capture the lost memories
Of the town
Town where your daddy was born.
Chorus: A king has slept here
An artist has lived here
A writer once wrote here
A battle’s been fought here
A duke has landed on the shore
In this town
The town where your daddy was born.
Three Cups’ beauty exposed
HERE’s an unusual occurrence in Lyme Regis – mutterings of praise for local brewery Palmer’s. Having stood as a much-criticised eyesore in Broad Street for three decades, the frontage of the former Three Cups Hotel has been returned to its former glory, demonstrating what a beautiful building it is.
But don’t get too excited. I don’t think we can assume that the full development of the site is about to begin, although we are assured some preparatory work has commenced at the rear.
Plans for the Cups include a retail outlet on the ground floor, two luxury flats above, a couple of town houses, possibly a small retail outlet or two, a 60-seat restaurant overlooking the bay with beach-hut type overnight chalets and an underground car park.
At the time it was estimated that the investment would be in excess of £5 million. Now it is rumoured this has increased considerably following trial tests on the ground stability at the rear of the property.
I’m told that Lyme Regis Town Council put pressure on the Bridport-based brewery to do something about the decaying frontage which was becoming a danger to pedestrians. It would be good if the council could exert more pressure to get Palmer’s to do a clean-up job on the side wall which is clearly visible from Broad Street and looks like an abandoned industrial site.
It’s a step in the right direction getting the frontage looking as though this historic building is being cared for. When we last enquired about the project we were told by a Palmer’s representatives that it was the intention to proceed with the overall plan but engineering difficulties had been experienced at the rear of the site.
Having tidied up the front, town councillors will be anxious to press Palmer’s to get on with the job.