Love is in the Air…Weymouth & Portland’s Victorian Valentines

Well, as Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, I eagerly await to see what glittering jewels and delicious delights my beloved will present to me early that morn…(don’t even go there!) It might surprise you to know that celebrating St Valentine’s Day is nothing new, it has been observed for centuries, apparently made popular by Geoffrey Chaucer…

Victorian Castletown, Portland…Matelots, Mariners and Mishaps.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit, as much as I love the Isle of Portland, in all honesty I don’t know a great deal about it’s history, for that I defer to local historian and accomplished author, Stuart Morris. (image © West Dorset District Council Channel Coast Observatory) What I do enjoy is reading…

The Great Escape from Portland Prison 1868;

Anyone living in the Weymouth  area  while Portland was still a main stream prison  will have memories of the horrendous traffic jams along Chesil Beach Road, caused by the pursuit of escaped prisoners. All vehicles leaving the island would be stopped and searched, checking for the concealment of the said escapees. As a young child it caused no end…

The Portland Shooting 1898.

Right throughout the whole of time certain laws of the human universe remained constant. One of those being that no amount of wealth, social standing and prosperity could ever guarantee happiness. So it was for one Weymouth hard working family. William and Martha Lumley owned and ran an established, well respected Weymouth business. They were the proud owners…

Misdemeanours and misfits in the Victorian courts; 1863.

I just love to browse the old newspapers and see what our ancestors were up to. The papers columns are filled with intriguing snippets of their daily lives, the usual hatch, match and dispatches, arrivals and departures, accidents and fights, and the misfortunes of those whose day to day activities managed to fall foul of…

The sea takes… and the sea gives back

With the steady stream of violent storms that has hit the South coast over the past couple on months it has been fascinating to see how the immense power of the ebb and flow of the extreme tides and currents affect the shores. The last storm to hit the South Coast, rather fetchingly named the…

The Armada and Chesil beach; December 1876.

Storms are nothing new to us on the South coast, we have lived with them since time immemorial, though this winter’s battering is proving to be some what of a prolonged event! World famous Chesil beach  runs from the cove at Chiswell, Portland to West Bay. Facing that immense heritage pebble bank is the locally…

1867; Danger Lurks in Portland Quarries.

The quarries on Portland are world renown. They are of  a strange type of brutal beauty, the glare from the white stone is blinding in the bright sunshine, the heat reflects mercilessly from the  calcified remains that makes up the huge slabs that tumble and totter precariously all around. Ultimately, their beauty belies the ever present…

1862; Portland prison, The Pleasantness of Penal Servitude.

These facts are taken from an article penned by an unnamed author in the Cheltenham Chronicle of 23rd December 1862 and yes, that is genuinely what he titles his article…. The Pleasantness of Penal Servitude! They relate to the prison that was built on Portland to contain the convict labour force for building the Portland breakwater…