HISTORICAL buildings around Lyme Regis will be opening their doors this month for the national Heritage Open Days scheme.
The Lyme Regis Society, which aims to retain the beauty and architectural integrity of the town and local surroundings, will be promoting the open days as the Lyme Regis Heritage Trail, taking residents and visitors on a tour around some of the town’s most interesting architectural gems.
The Heritage Trail promotes both the town and local businesses and offers a family orientated activity during the month of September.
The programme for the Heritage Trail will be as follows:
Belmont House, Pound Street
Saturday, September 7 – Sunday, September 8, 10am – 4pm
This grade II listed maritime villa is where author John Fowles wrote ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’ and is also the former home of Eleanor Coade, the inventor of Coade stone. Many fine examples of the stonework can be seen both inside and outside the house and a Victorian observatory tower in the garden is another highlight.
The house is now owned by the Landmark Trust and recently underwent a £1.8million restoration. It can now be hired as a holiday home and hosts creative writing study workshops. For further details see www.landmarktrust.org.uk/news-and-events/visiting-landmarks/visiting-belmont/
Lyme Regis Guildhall, Bridge Street
Sunday, September 8
Sunday, September 15
Saturday, September 21 – Sunday, September 22
10am – 5pm
A barrel ceiling, wooden panelling and a host of history are included here with stunning views over the bay.
The Guildhall is where the town council meets regularly and hosts civic ceremonies such as mayor making, and it is also available to hire as a wedding venue. For further details visit www.lymeregistowncouncil.gov.uk/
The Church of England Cemetery Chapel, Charmouth Road
Friday, September 13 – Saturday, September 14, 10am – 4pm
This highly-decorated chapel was first built in 1856 and recently restored by Lyme Regis Town Council.
While not normally open to the public, the chapel is still used occasionally by local families for funeral services. It contains a fine example of Victorian bier.
The Old Chapel, Alexandra Hotel, Pound Street
Monday, September 16 – Friday, September 20, 11am – 5pm
The Reverend Edward Peek converted former stables into the chapel in 1884 as part of an extensive refurbishment of the adjoining Poulett House, then owned by the Dowager Countess Lady Poulett and now known as the Alexandra Hotel.
This chapel was recently restored as a beautiful venue for weddings and functions. For further details visit www.hotelalexandra.co.uk/food-and-drink/the-chapel
To visit during the open days, please go to the Alexandra Hotel reception first and a member of staff will escort you.
The Town Mill, Mill Lane
Saturday, September 7 – Sunday, September 8
Friday, September 13 – Sunday, September 22
11am – 4pm
Originally built in the 1300s, this ancient watermill – set in the artisan quarter of Lyme Regis – was rescued from dereliction by local volunteers, through a ten-year restoration project.
It is now open everyday to demonstrate how a watermill works and produces flour. Have a go at using a mill wheel yourself and see the huge wooden mill water wheel turn.
There are also several artisan businesses to visit in the Town Mill complex. For more details visit www.townmill.org.uk/
Bethany Chapel, Coombe Street
Saturday, September 7, 10am – 12noon and 2pm – 4pm
Friday, September 13 – Saturday, September 14, 10am – 12noon
Wednesday, September 18 – Thursday, September 19, 2pm to 4pm
This church began in the 1860s with services in borrowed premises until the present building was erected in 1914 on the site of eight condemned cottages. It has been improved and extended in recent years to enable us to be more helpful within our community.
This simple chapel hosts an interesting history, a few surprises and a warm welcome. For more details visit www.bethany-chapel.co.uk/
St Michael the Archangel Church, Church Street
Sunday, September 15 to Friday, September 20, open all day with talks at 2pm
The parish church, standing on the cliff edge, is the only grade I listed building in the town (the historic Cobb harbour being classed as a structure, not a building). It has Saxon origins and a fascinating interior featuring Jacobean carvings and intriguing inscriptions. Highlights include the impressive Skrabl organ and stanined glass window featuring famed fossil hunter Mary Anning, as well as her grave outside.
The church is open every day but especially for the Heritage Trail on the dates listed above, with talks to be given at 2pm. Please note, the church’s main entrance is currently locked due to water damage inside, for which a major repair project will soon be starting. Visitors are asked to use the north entrance to the left of the main door instead.
For more details visit www.lymeregis-parishchurch.org/
The Sculpture Trail, Langmoor Gardens
Open every day
Modern sculptures have been added to the Langmoor and Lister Gardens in Lyme Regis over the past two years, creating an additional interesting feature for visitors. A map showing the location of all the sculptures is located at each entrance – see if you can find them all!
Town Mill Malthouse Gallery, Mill Lane
Open every day
Free exhibitions will also be held in the Town Mill’s Malthouse Gallery throughout September, with local artist Julie Oldfield’s ‘Luminous’ running until September 11 along with Adrian Gray, the pioneer of stone balancing art.
From September 12, artists Pauline Lerry, Lesley Roberts and Siân Martin respond personally to a variety of environmental issues in ‘Change Matters’.
Other upcoming events being hosted by the Lyme Regis Society include a talk on ‘The Old George Inn, Lyme Regis’ by Audrey Standhaft, 2.30 pm on Tuesday, September 24 in the Woodmead Halls.
Maurice Liddard will then give a talk on ‘The Lyme Regis Town Regalia’ on Tuesday, October 29, also at 2.30pm in the Woodmead Halls.
If you are interested in joining the Lyme Regis Society, email Vicki Dixon on email@example.com, complete the online form at www.lymeregissociety.org.uk/join-us/ or come along to one of the talks.