Tessarae from the Holcombe Villa

Early Lyme Regis

Posted on: 14th February 2017

The pattern of human settlement in and around Lyme Regis has been shaped by rising sea levels and unstable cliffs. The coastline would once have been much further out, so the earliest settlements may have been lost to the sea. Bronze Age burial mounds (barrows) at Shapwick Common, Hardown Hill and Charmouth are the only… READ MORE

Plate II. Ground plan and sections of the great landslip ar Great and Little Bindon and Dowlands in the parish of Axmouth on the east coast of Devon

The Bindon Landslip of 1839

Posted on: 14th February 2017

Conybeare and Dawson’s Memoir and Views of Landslips on the Coast of East Devon &c. 1840 To open a detailed view of any page click on the picture NB. The Plates are high resolution and need a fast broadband link. In 1840 Lyme geologists Rev William Conybeare and Dr William Buckland produced the first fully… READ MORE

Tracy Chevalier Remarkable Creatures

Tracy Chevalier

Posted on: 12th April 2016

Much of her research for Remarkable Creatures was done in Lyme and Tracy went on many fossil walks with our geologist Paddy Howe. Tracy also contributed to a highly successful museum event, Mary Anning Day, in 2009, and we are thrilled that she is now a Patron of the Museum Friends. Born in America in… READ MORE

A selection of books by John Fowles

John Fowles

Posted on: 12th April 2016

He had moved to Lyme Regis in October 1965, buying the romantically sited Underhill Farm, right in the Undercliff west of Lyme. He was a full-time writer, and started The French Lieutenant’s Woman only fifteen months after arriving in Lyme, setting it in the town a hundred years earlier (1867). In 1969 he moved to… READ MORE

Jane Austen's Doll and Fan

Jane Austen

Posted on: 12th April 2016

By the beginning of the 19th century, Lyme Regis had become a fashionable resort for summer visitors, and of the thousands who came to enjoy the pleasures of the town none is recalled with more pride and affection than Jane Austen (1775 – 1817). Jane came to Lyme with her family in the summer of… READ MORE

Literary Lyme

Lyme’s Literary and Artistic Connections

Posted on: 12th April 2016

The more well-known writers with Lyme connections, many of whom are represented in the museum, include: Henry Fielding (1707 – 1754): The famous novelist and playwright got himself into a scrape in Lyme Regis in 1725. He tried to run away with Sarah Andrew, the ward of a merchant, Andrew Tucker. His attempt was repulsed:… READ MORE

Cannington Viaduct 1900s

Photographic and Postcard Collection

Posted on: 12th April 2016

These provide a wonderful record of the town, its people and landscape. These collections can be accessed by making an appointment with the Curator email:

William Dawson’s map of the Great Landslip of Christmas 1839, published in 1840

Landslips and Landscape

Posted on: 12th April 2016

The shale layers that make up most of these cliffs are known as ‘black’ shales because of their dark colour. This comes from the large amount of organic material included in the sediment and tells us that the sea bed at the time must have been stagnant and had very little oxygen. The nature of… READ MORE

Mary Anning

Mary Anning

Posted on: 12th April 2016

Mary Anning’s discoveries were some of the most significant geological finds of all time. They provided evidence that was central to the development of new ideas about the history of the Earth. Her opinions were sought and she was acknowledged as an expert in many areas, including the rather unglamorous coprolites (fossil faeces). She played… READ MORE


Fossils and Rocks

Posted on: 12th April 2016

For thousands of years the Lyme cliffs have crumbled and fallen, revealing great numbers of fossils which have been washed out of the crumbling rock by the sea. In the days before palaeontology, people picked up these oddly shaped ‘stones’, seeing them as curiosities of nature, but until the early 19th century there was no… READ MORE