AS part of the celebrations for Lyme Regis Museum’s centenary year, the Friends of the Museum set up a bursary for sixth for students from The Woodroffe School.
The bursary was set up to support selected students while they researched and reported a project based on the museum. On completion, residual money, after expenses, would be used to award a prize for the project.
Mackenzie Dewar Gibb took on the challenge. He explored the museum, talked to volunteers and staff, including the curator, and found information and images to produce a video on the history of Lyme Regis.
Mackenzie showed the story of Lyme Regis as a small village of fishermen, farmers and salt producers, which changed when the Cobb was built.
The new harbour allowed goods to be moved in and out of England. This port became the fourth biggest port in the country, and with that Lyme became rich. But it wasn’t to last, cargo ships got bigger and the harbour was too small, and Lyme Regis was poor once again.
A second chance came in the eighteenth century as the well to do of Britain were persuaded that to drink or bathe in sea water improved health, as did walking in the clean air of the seaside.
A wealthy man called Thomas Hollis saw the potential of Lyme Regis and improved it, buying up and knocking down slums before building the Assembly Rooms, essential for fashionable Georgian towns.
He also improved the hotels and built the walk along the seafront. He brought his important London friends to the town and, with that, came money.
Alongside this were the new discoveries of palaeontology, which brought curious visitors and scientists. Lyme Regis lived again, as a pleasant town and a holiday destination.
Mackenzie’s video goes on to show why Lyme is still, in 2022, a desirable place to live or spend your holidays. This 15 minute video will shortly be available for viewing on the Lyme Regis Museum website.
The Friends of the Museum is a trust set up to support the museum. Some of the members work as volunteers with visitors, curate the exhibits, or research into local history.
The Friends have paid for improvements in the building, supported the learning facilitator and have been involved in the restoration of the Mary Anning portrait lent to the museum by the Geology Society which can be seen, during the summer months of 2022, in the Palaeontology Gallery.
The Friends are always looking for new members – for more information visit www.lymeregismuseum.co.uk/about-us/the-friends-of-lyme-regis-museum/