Great Western Trippers flock to Victorian Weymouth 1870

Weymouth was once one the popular detinations for the Victorian Day trippers.

They arrived by railway in their thousands.


Large factories and workshops would close for a week and the workers and their families would decamp en masse to the seaside to enjoy the healthy benefits of the sea and fresh air.

One example is in the July of 1870, almost the entire factory of the Great Western Railway’s carriage and locomotive works set off on their hols on the same day. Nearly 6,000 of them left Swindon station for their various destinations. Some headed for the bright lights of London, some for the bustling city of Bristol, a few even ventured to Swansea. An unlucky few were left behind at the works to keep things ticking over at the factory.

Nearly 1,500 men, women and children swarmed into Weymouth on the special trains that were run to carry them.

Can you imagine that nowadays? Never mind the warnings that were given last year at the Olympics about staying away from Weymouth because of traffic congestion,(hasten to add there wasn’t an inkling of congestion anywhere!…in fact it had never been so easy to drive right into town and park)

Those that came to Weymouth were allowed to stay for the week if they so wished (or more likely, if they could afford) the others made the most of the day at the beach, and returned home that night.

Their day would have been spent relaxing on the sandy beach, or taking a trip on the numerous steamers that ran from the harbour…maybe a trip to Portland to watch the convicts at work in the vast quarries, or along the coast to view the mysteries of the rock formations near Lulworth Cove. Shops to browse, pubs to visit, cafes to retire to…time to recharge the batteries and soak up some sunshine.

All too soon, the 600 odd weary and, by now, probably broke trippers that were returning home that night would head for the Weymouth train station, squeezed into the carriages, and dreamt of the days when they could return again to  the little seaside town.

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