Cycling on the Weymouth Esplanade…nothing’s new under the sun!

Ever since the Georgian era the beautiful curve of Weymouth Esplanade was the place to be seen.


This grand gravelled walk, defined on one side by the sea wall and the other by its reknown line of white Portland stone posts and chains was where people from all walks of life like to promenade of a daytime or evening.

Later, a set of ramps were built that led down from the Esplanade that enabled easy access for horse and rider or horse and carriage onto  the beach.

Man and horse shared the space quite happily.


But  time and technology moved on up through the years, all was not well with those Victorian promenaders who liked to partake in a stroll and enjoy the virtues of the fresh sea breezes….and not all of those new fangled Victorian inventions were fully appreciated.


In recent times, there has  been many heated debates about cyclists and those on various modes of transport with wheels of varying styles and degrees in size using the busy Esplanade alongside pedestrians.

It seems that the two opposing fractions seem to be unable to get along  with each other.

Those promenading on foot complain about having to dodge those ‘inconsiderate’ persons who whizz past on their sets of wheels, whatever they may be, bike, blades or scooters.

Those on their small-wheeled transport ask why they too shouldn’t be able to travel freely and in relative safety ‘off road,’ 

But it seems this problem is not just a 21st or even 20th century one.

Even back in Victorian times those same old, same old arguments were being had…and not just for riding on the pavements!.

In August of 1873 a piece was penned in the Southern Times berating the nuisance of these new fangled machines.

‘1873 9 Aug



We have been requested to draw the attention of the authorities of the town to the great annoyance caused both to visitors and residents through bicycles being allowed on the Esplanade- a state of things not only occasioning inconvenience and obstruction, but positively becoming a dangerous nuisance.

Some time since we recollect hearing the Mayor give the Superintendent of police strict orders to prohibit bicycles being driven on the esplanade, but somehow or other this seems to have been forgotten.

It would be also well if the police were to prevent the furious manner in which some of the riders drive their machine through the public thoroughfares of the town, to the great danger of any one who happens to be in their way. It was only a few weeks since that four or five bicycles were being driven up the front as hard as the rider could propel them, when a poor boy, who happened to be in the road, was knocked down by one of them, the bycle going right over his back.

Fortunately, the lad was not much hurt, but when an officer who witnessed the affair, remonstrated with one of the party, he was soundly abused for his trouble.

The police summons people for furiously driving, and they would be only discharging their duty if they similarly served those who in order to show off their abilities, rush so recklessly through the streets.’


                            It also seems that even the good old Victorian Bobby had to put up with his share of abuse!



Writing a book, blog, short stories or your own family history, then why not bring them to life with historical graphics.

I have a huge collection that cover illustrations from numerous Victorian articles about travel, prisons, children’s homes, poverty, philanthropy…
Check out my Etsy site for Victorian illustrations, many local ones being added all the time from my own personal collection.

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