Weymouth - love Weymouth (hint of fish)
A little bit of History
Weymouth originated as a settlement on a constricted site to the south and west of Weymouth Harbour, an outlying part of Wyke Regis. The town developed from the mid 12th century onwards, but was not noted until the 13th century. By 1252 it was established as a seaport and became a chartered borough. Melcombe Regis developed separately on the peninsula to the north of the harbour; it was mentioned as a licensed wool port in 1310. French raiders found the port so accessible that in 1433 the staple was transferred to Poole.
Melcombe Regis is thought to be the first port at which the Black Death came into England in June 1348, possibly either aboard a spice ship or an army ship. In their early history Weymouth and Melcombe Regis were rivals for trade and industry, but the towns were united in an Act of Parliament in 1571 to form a double borough. Both towns have become known as Weymouth, despite Melcombe Regis being the main centre. The villages of Upwey, Broadwey, Preston, Wyke Regis, Chickerell, Southill, Radipole and Littlemoor have become part of the built-up area.
King Henry VIII had two Device Forts built to protect the south Dorset coast from invasion in the 1530s: Sandsfoot Castle in Wyke Regis and Portland Castle in Castletown. Parts of Sandsfoot have fallen into the sea due to coastal erosion. During the English Civil War, around 250 people were killed in the local Crabchurch Conspiracy in February 1645.
In 1635, on board the ship Charity, around 100 emigrants from the town crossed the Atlantic Ocean and settled in Weymouth, Massachusetts. More townspeople emigrated to the Americas to bolster the population of Weymouth, Nova Scotia and Salem, Massachusetts; then called Naumking. There are memorials to this on the side of Weymouth Harbour and near to Weymouth Pavilion and Weymouth Sea Life Tower.
The architect Sir Christopher Wren was the Member of Parliament for Weymouth in 1702, and controlled nearby Portland's quarries from 1675 to 1717. When he designed St Paul's Cathedral, Wren had it built out of Portland Stone, the famous stone of Portland's quarries.
The resort is among the first modern tourist destinations, after King George III's, brother the Duke of Gloucester built a grand residence there, Gloucester Lodge, and passed the mild winter there in 1780; the King made Weymouth his summer holiday residence on fourteen occasions between 1789 and 1805, even venturing into the sea in a bathing machine.
A painted statue of the King stands on the seafront, called the King's Statue, which was renovated in 2007/8 by stripping 20 layers of paintwork, replacing it with new paints and gold leaf, and replacing the iron framework with a stainless steel one. A mounted white horse representing the King is carved into the chalk hills of Osmington.
Weymouth's esplanade is composed of Georgian terraces, which have been converted into apartments, shops, hotels and guest houses. The buildings were constructed in the Georgian and Regency periods between 1770 and 1855, designed by architects such as James Hamilton, and were commissioned by wealthy businessmen, including those that were involved in the growth of Bath.
These terraces form a long, continuous arc of buildings which face Weymouth Bay along the esplanade, which also features the multi-coloured Jubilee Clock, erected in 1887 to mark the 50th year of Queen Victoria's reign.
US soldiers marched through Weymouth to board landing ships for the 1944 invasion of France.
In the centre of the town lies Weymouth Harbour; although it was the reason for the town's foundation, the harbour separates the two areas of Melcombe Regis (the main town centre) and Weymouth (the southern harbourside) from each other.
Since the 18th century they have been linked by successive bridges over the narrowest part of the harbour. The present Town Bridge, built in 1930, is a lifting bascule bridge allowing boats to access the inner harbour.
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution stationed a lifeboat at Weymouth for the first time on 26 January 1869. A boathouse was built with a slipway by the harbour and is still in use, although the lifeboat is now moored at a pontoon.
The sailing bit :
We left Yarmouth feeling pretty pissed off with the damage to the stern of the boat, i took a grinder to the damaged steelwork and ground it off to remove the sharp edges and then sikoflexed some rubber tubing to it.
In my haste to get away from the place and the arguments over responsibilities for the damage etc , i chose to ignore a strong wind warning for yet more Easterly winds, as we rounded Hurst Castle it was obvious we were in for some fun going over Hengistbury ledge.
The sea was running quite fast and the ledge was kicking up some breakers as we crossed it, I wasn't overly comfy but determined not to turn back to Lymington I pressed on towards Weymouth. It was pretty tiring at the wheel when surfing down breaking seas and knowing it wasn't going to let up and that Durlstone ledges would be worse than here I ducked into Poole harbour for some respite and spent the night on my old swing mooring.
The following day feeling a little more relaxed we set off for Weymouth , the Admiral was on watch as we slipped our mooring and I'm sure he was looking for the old fuel barge and the boxer that lived there. (Will get in touch if you ever read this - same number - Ian)
So thirty odd miles to Weymouth proved uneventful and a nice day sail, the entrance past the pier was easy to pick out in the distance and we entered with just the main sail , dropping it as we past the ferry terminal.
A major victorian play ground , with gorgeous beaches and for me - child hood memories , for as a kid this is a place we would often visit, an easy and short trip down from Bristol which used to be "home" .
Many happy memories of Weymouth - but not the traffic , the days before air conditioning in cars left much to be desired when stuck in mile after mile of traffic heading down the A37 all in the same direction ....... all with the same destination.
but visit by sea and there are few queues , except maybe the one for the lifting bridge to get into the marina , but BA doesnt like marinas so no big issue for now.
Hint of fish every where !
It was great to reaquant myself with this lovely old place , such good weather too, the only tragedy being the sad loss of a afishing boat the days we sat there, all crew lost, later investigations showing that their life raft was tethered to the cradle as it was a poor fit, sad waste of young lives.
I sat in Weymouth for a week enjoying the stench of fish and watching life go by, but time and something else ? wait for no man so lets be moving on and besides Lord Admiral Nelson the ginger destroyer wasnt allowed on the beach during the day, well not at night either but we bent thiose rules .
so where next ? THE ENGLISH RIVIERA .... Torquay