Lyme Regis, Dorset. The town of the “French Lieutenant’s Woman” and the place where “she sells seashells”

regis lymeLyme Regis in Dorset (Photograph by Eugene Birchall)

The South Coast of England does not suffer from the lack of lovely seaside towns, with ubiquitous smell of fish and chips, long promenades, winding steep streets, breathtaking views and that special unhurried atmosphere of provincial resort towns. Lyme Regis that is in Dorset, almost on the border with Devon, is one these charming spots. Besides there is always someone who pans it for the lack of glamour and shabbiness, you cannot blame Lyme Regis for the lack of character. “These places must be visited and visited again to make the worth of Lyme understood,” wrote Jane Austen, but it was not only her who was captivated by its sceneries. Beatrix Potter, having presented the world with Peter Rabbit and Squirrel Nutkin, depicted Lyme Regis in some of her illustrations for the “Tale of Little Pig Robinson”.
lyme bayLyme Regis in Dorset (Photograph by Herry Lawford)
For John Fowles, the great novelist of the past century and the master of compelling plot, this little town became his last resort. He spent the latter 30 years of his life in Lyme Regis, wrote here “Daniel Martin” and “A Maggot”, worked as a curator in the local museum, and immortalized the settlement by making it the main place of the “French Lieutenant’s Woman’s” storyline.

Having been set on the Jurassic Coast, Lyme Regis is also one of the best-loved places for British fossil-hunters. Fossilized ammonites, the extinct molluscs with spiral shell, are the most common finds on the Lyme’s shore, although more intriguing discoveries also occur here now and then. In the far 1810 Mary and Joseph Anning, the kids of local cabinet-maker, stumbled across the remains of the weird creature, which they took for ones of a crocodile, and that shortly would be identified as those of an ichthyosaur. This primordial reptile predestined Mary’s further carrier.
lyme dorsetLyme Regis in Dorset (Photograph by Eugene Birchall)
She became the eminent fossil collector, well known in the palaeontological circles of the time. And it was her who uncovered the first skeleton of pterodactyl in England. On the place of now Lyme Regis Museum used to be Mary Anning’s shop, where she was selling her numerous fossilized finds, having become, as rumours say, the inspiration for the tongue twister “She sells seashells by the seashore”.

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Rick said...


Dorset holiday cottages said...

Nice post! I think, it would be awesome to spend Holidays in Dorset.

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