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All the latest news from Lyme Regis Museum

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Vile Ministers and Poor Silly Creatures

Thursday 5th March in Woodmead Hall at 2.30pm. A talk by Bruce Upton. Stories from Dorset in the Civil War, some tragic, some comic, all happening in the mid 1600s.

Robert Hildyard - Lord of Catherstone Manor

Tuesday 31st March in Woodmead Hall at 2.30pm. A presentation by Mike Seaman, organised jointly with the Lyme Regis Society.

Exhibition: Serendipity

On display in the Rotunda Gallery at Lyme Regis Museum until 31st March 2015, an exhibition of items from the Reserve Collections chosen by the Curatorial and Research Teams for your enjoyment, with a few things loaned by our friends.

Walks

The first rockpooling walk of the year will take place on Thursday 12th March at 2.20 pm, in addition to the full schedule of other walks:

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Newly found Ichthyosaur named after Mary Anning

A fossil ichthyosaur that was discovered on the Dorset coast in the 1980s has been discovered to be a totally new species. What's more, it has been named Ichthyosaurus anningae after Lyme's famous fossil hunter, Mary Anning. To read more about the ichthyosaur and to watch a video click on this link.

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Family Fun Day - February half-term 2015

Have great fun making a Pasta-saurus between 11am and 3pm on Thursday 19th February.

Everything is free all day!

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EVENTS: Coming up in February

Thomas Hawkins and his Sea Dragons – a mad, bad, fossil collector?

Thursday 5th February in Woodmead Hall at 2.30pm. A talk by Stephen Locke. Hawkins was a highly successful and in every way extraordinary, notorious and obsessive early collector of ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs. A contemporary of Mary Anning but a very different character!

Lyme through the year – a photographer’s view

Tuesday 24th February in Woodmead Hall at 2.30pm. A presentation by Peter Wiles, organised jointly with the Lyme Regis Society.

Exhibition: Serendipity

On display in the Rotunda Gallery at Lyme Regis Museum until 31st March 2015, an exhibition of items from the Reserve Collections chosen by the Curatorial and Research Teams for your enjoyment, with a few things loaned by our friends.

Walks

The rockpooling and Lyme History walks will return in March, but February has plenty of fossil-related walks on offer:

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New Exhibition: Serendipity

From 14th January, there will be a new exhibition in the Rotunda Gallery at Lyme Regis Museum. It is a “lucky-dip“ of pictures and objects from our reserve collections, chosen and put together by the Curatorial and research teams at the Museum.

Works by Richard Eurich and other Lyme painters will be shown, together with items from the Museum’s John Fowles collection of New Hall fine porcelain made around 1790-1810. Other curious but more everyday pottery will be shown alongside.

If you have wondered what the museum has tucked away in reserve, this is a chance to view some of our treasures. The exhibition will run until 31st March. Opening hours are 11 a.m to 4 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday during this winter period.

Pictured above: "The Pink House" by Richard Eurich, OBE, RA (1903–1992). Oil on canvas, 1933. Specially loaned for this exhibition by Ronald Severs.

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A shell-crushing Jurassic fish

One of the many impressive fossils on display in Lyme Regis Museum is that of a Jurassic fish known as Dapedium. This was first discovered by Lyme's pioneering  fossil collector Mary Anning in the nineteenth century, but one of its secrets has only just been uncovered by an undergraduate student at Bristol University. In a groundbreaking paper in the prestigious journal Palaeontology, Fiann Smithwick has reconstructed the feeding behaviour of this extraordinary ancient fish - showing how it used its powerful jaws to crush the hard shells of its prey.

As part of his research project, Fiann studied the specimen in Lyme Regis museum and worked closely with the museum's geologist Paddy Howe. For further information about Fiann's work, see the University of Bristol website.

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There is still time to catch the Sydney Jessett exhibition in the Rotunda Gallery, which has been extended into the first few days of January. But the last day will be Sunday 4th January!

A new exhibition should be opening soon - watch this space!

Even though it's the middle of winter, there are still plenty of Fossil walks on offer - every day from 2nd to 11th January, and again from 18th to 26th!

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The Conservation of Seaside Towns

Tuesday 9th December at Woodmead Halls - 2.30pm. An illustrated talk by Peter Coe of The Lyme Regis Society. Organised jointly with The Lyme Regis Society.

Know your Fossils

Saturday 27th December at 2.30pm. A talk and hands-on experience of local fossils with the Museum's geologists.

Exhibitions

The Sydney Jessett exhibition in the Rotunda Gallery closes on 1st December 2014. but you can still read about it on the Exhibitions page, as well as any news of forthcoming exhibitions.

Walks

The rockpooling and Lyme History walks have now finished for the winter, but there are still plenty of fossil-related walks on offer this month:

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Another chance to see our World War I exhibition

If you missed our WWI exhibition then you can see it now, in high resolution, on our Past Exhibitions page. Click here.

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EVENTS: Coming up in November

What is a Shaman?

Thursday 6th November at Woodmead Halls - 2.30pm. A discussion by the Curator of Ethnography at Exeter Museum on centuries-old practices involving interaction with the spiritual world. Illustrated using objects from the Museum's collection. Organised by the Friends of Lyme Regis Museum.

Exhibitions

Two exhibitions continue in the Museum from last month:

  • World War I and Lyme Regis: The lower gallery of the Museum contains a major exhibition commemorating World War I and the men of Lyme and Uplyme who fought and sacrificed all. Until the end of October.
  • Sydney Jessett, Lyme Painter: Exhibition in the Rotunda Gallery, Lyme Regis Museum 1st October – 1st December 2014. Sydney Jessett (1885-1961), whose work is not as well-known as it should be, was a prolific and gifted Lyme landscape artist. His work spanned the period from before his service in the First World War in Flanders to his time in Lyme, where he produced thousands of water colours of Lyme landscapes from 1939 to the 1950s.

For further information about these and future exhibitions, see the Exhibitions page.

Walks

The rockpooling and Lyme History walks have now finished for the winter, but there are still plenty of fossil-related walks on offer this month:

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Lyme Freedom returns from Down Under

Australian coffee shop owners Jeff and Debi Johnson, from Crystal Brook South Australia, repatriated a Freedom of the Borough of Lyme Regis certificate at Lyme Regis Guildhall, today, Monday 13th October at 10.00 am.
b2ap3_thumbnail_Cyril-Wanklyn-receiving-the-Freedom-of-the-Borough-from-the-Mayor-William-J-Emmett-at-Town-Hall-January-13th-1938.JPG
Its return, 76 years after being presented in 1938 to former Lyme Museum Curator, Cyril Wanklyn, was received by Museum Director David Tucker at the exact spot where it was awarded.

The photograph to the right shows Mayor William Emmett conferring the award of Freedom and the Certificate is shown below. The certificate is a beautiful example of calligraphy and it bears the old town seal. It will become a key exhibit in a new display about Cyril Wanklyn.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Cyril-Wanklyns-Freedom-of-Lyme-certificate.jpgCyril Wanklyn, one of Lyme’s foremost historians, saved the Museum and the ancient borough records from oblivion. His work on the records saw them transcribed and placed in safe custody. It was for that the award was given, recorded in a brass plaque in the Guildhall. Lyme has the most complete set of records of any small borough, going back to the 14th century.

The remarkable story is that Debi Johnson bought the certificate for its beauty in Hazel’s Antiques in Blakeview, just north of Adelaide, 20 years ago. Debi had no idea of its significance until an internet search threw up information about Cyril Wanklyn on the Lyme Regis Museum’s web site – and, contacting researcher Graham Davies, Jeff and Debi offered to come over to the UK and present it to the Museum in exchange for a digital copy to display in their coffee shop. How this certificate got to Australia is a mystery, but Cyril may have many Australian connections besides his known chairmanship of mining syndicates.

Jeff said “Debbi and I are excited and intrigued that through sheer luck and coincidence we are a part of the mystery of this certificate. We have discussed things over and would love to return the certificate to Lyme personally. It’d be nice to display it, along with the related story, in our Coffee Shop here in Crystal Brook”.

David Tucker said “The Museum is pleased to provide a secure home for this piece of Lyme Regis history and to be able to honour Cyril Wanklyn for what he did for the Town and the Museum. Thank you so much, Jeff and Debi.

If you would like to learn more about Cyril Wanlklyn and the emormous legacy of historical information he left the town then you can read about him on the People and Places area of our web-site.

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Museum Half Term Events

October 30th sees Lyme Regis Museum running one of its Fun Days! Admission to the museum is free and Alison Bowskill will be at hand to carry out a craft activity with visiting families.

On both October 30th and 31st the museum will be running its famous Fossil Polishing event on the museum terrace (weather permitting!). For pocket money prices, visitors have the chance to prepare their own polished piece of Jurassic Magic for them to take home. With our expert geologists present (as seen in the accompanying image) it’s also a chance to learn something of life in the ancient seas of Lyme Regis and the Jurassic Coast. And where else would one wish to prepare a fossil other than on the same spot that Mary Anning carried out much of her great works of fossil discovery?

The museum is open from 10 to 5 each day and Fossil Polishing will run between 10 and approximately 4pm.

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The History of Book Illustration

Thursday 2nd October at Woodmead Halls - 2.30pm. An illustrated talk by John Marriage. Organised by the Friends of Lyme Regis Museum.

West Dorset's Ancient Roads

Tuesday 28th October at Woodmead Halls - 2.30pm. An illustrated talk by Russel Telfer of Charmouth's Pavey Group. Jointly with The Lyme Regis Society.

Know your Fossils

Saturday 4th October and Saturday 18th October. A talk and hands on experience of local fossils with the Museum's geologists.

Family Fun Day

Thursday 30th October. Free entry to the Museum! Activities in the Museum led by Alison Bowskill. Fossil Polishing on the Terrace - Buy a fossil at pocket money prices, polish it and take home a personalised souvenir.

Exhibitions

The Museum is hosting two exhibitions this last month:

  • World War I and Lyme Regis: The lower gallery of the Museum contains a major exhibition commemorating World War I and the men of Lyme and Uplyme who fought and sacrificed all. Until the end of October.
  • Sydney Jessett, Lyme Painter: Exhibition in the Rotunda Gallery, Lyme Regis Museum 1st October – 1st December 2014. Sydney Jessett (1885-1961), whose work is not as well-known as it should be, was a prolific and gifted Lyme landscape artist. His work spanned the period from before his service in the First World War in Flanders to his time in Lyme, where he produced thousands of water colours of Lyme landscapes from 1939 to the 1950s.

For further information about these and future exhibitions, see the Exhibitions page.

Walks

The full range of walks organised by the Museum is on offer this month:

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Gifted, Prolific, Forgotten: Sydney Jessett Returns to Lyme Regis Museum

Born in Bethnal Green, London in 1885, Sydney Jessett moved to the South West in 1939 with his evacuee granddaughters and wife, Ethel.

Apart from service in the Royal Flying Corps during the First World War, Sydney Jessett was a clerk for the Church Missionary Society until his retirement that year. Living near Kittwhistle until 1945, he painted many landscapes of the area, favouring Pinhay Bay and Golden Cap. His talent was natural: at evening classes in east London he had been banned from the annual exhibition because he was too good!

Moving into Lyme, the family settled in above what is now the Coombe Street Gallery, where Jessett continued to paint prolifically. A voluble cockney, maybe mildly eccentric, he walked miles sketching, accompanied by his dog. He entertained visitors in his dark little studio, where on the backs of old posters, on wallpaper and scraps of mount board, he reflected colour and light in impressionistic local scenes.

Sydney Jessett never made a fortune; his paintings sold for 2/6d, or to a lady, a kiss.

Visitors to the museum enjoyed one of his pictures in our April “Drawing Inspiration” exhibition of landscapes, but it has not been since 2005 that the Museum has mounted a major exhibition of his work.

Museum researchers Richard and Barbara Bull have put together a full exhibition of this little known but talented artist using pictures from the museum and his family’s collections, including 7 new paintings donated by Michael Irish.

The exhibition will be in the Rotunda gallery and run from October 1st till December 1st.

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Lyme's Eroding Coast

Tuesday 30th September at Woodmead Halls - 2.30pm. An illustrated talk by Richard Edmonds, Earth Science Manager for the Jurassic Coast Team. Organised jointly with the Lyme Regis Society and the U3A. This talk costs £3.00 but is free for members of these two organisations and Friends of the Museum.

Exhibitions

Two exhibitions continue from last month:

  • World War I and Lyme Regis: The lower gallery of the Museum contains a major exhibition commemorating World War I and the men of Lyme and Uplyme who fought and sacrificed all.
  • Strange Scenes from the Borderlands: A new art exhibition by Dave Wicken in conjunction with Lyme Artsfest, until Sunday 14th September in the Rotunda Gallery.

For further information about these and future exhibitions, see the Exhibitions page.

Know your Fossils

Saturday 6th September and Saturday 20th September. A talk and hands on experience of local fossils with the Museum's geologists.

Walks

The full range of walks organised by the Museum is on offer this month:

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An early American connection for Lyme

Mr Stephen Massil has contacted us with some new information about Lyme and a question. He has been researching the family of Henry Franks Waring who was Lyme Regis Town Clerk in the 19th Century. Although it was known that Waring was of Jewish descent (see Ethnic Minorities: Lyme Regis & West Dorset, Past & Present by Louisa Parker. Judy Ford & Jo Draper - published by Lyme Regis Museum), Mr Massil has now informed us that Henry's Jewish great-grandfather, Naphtali Franks was born in New York in 1715. His parents from London, Jacob Franks and b2ap3_thumbnail_phila_franks.jpgAligaill Bilhah Levy, had married in New York. Jacob’s brothers Aaron and Isaac had remained in London and the family's varied business connections flourished across the Atlantic. Naphtali was sent to London at age 18 in 1733 to join his uncle and cousins and became a prominent figure in the Jewish community and more widely as an F.R.S. (from 1764). Franks married Isaac Franks’s daughter, his cousin Phila, in 1742. Their granddaughter Margaret Franks married Captain Henry Waring and lived in part of the Great House on Broad Street.   
Naphtali’s and Phila’s portraits were painted by Thomas Hudson and were sold by ‘Miss Waring, a member of the family …’ at Christie’s auction of Portraits in November 1967. Mr Massil believes this Miss Waring to be a granddaughter of HF Waring’s sister Frances who married her cousin Francis. The portraits were bought by Alfred Rubens and donated to the Jewish Museum in London.
At some time these portraits must have hung in a house in Lyme. Was it the Great House, HF Waring’s South Cliff (now Farnham House), Aveline House (53 Broad Street) where Frances Waring is believed to have lived in the 1870s or all three? If anyone has any information about this then please could they contact us by commenting on this post.

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Monday 11th August sees an illustrated talk by David Cox, "Some of our Native Wildlife Wonders", at 7.30 pm at Woodmead Halls, organised by the Friends of Lyme Regis Museum.

There are two exhibitions at the Museum this month:

  • World War I and Lyme Regis: The lower gallery of the Museum contains a major exhibition commemorating World War I and the men of Lyme and Uplyme who fought and sacrificed all.
  • Strange Scenes from the Borderlands: A new art exhibition by Dave Wicken in conjunction with Lyme Artsfest, from Tuesday 5th August in the Rotunda Gallery.

For further information about these and other exhibitions, see the Exhibitions page.

This month also sees several fossil-related days:

  • Know your Fossils: A talk and hands on experience of local fossils with the Museum's geologists. Saturday 9th August.
  • Fossil Polishing at Marine Parade Shelters: Buy a fossil at pocket money prices, polish it and take home a personalised souvenir. With free entry to the Museum! Thursday 7th August and Wednesday 20th August.
  • Build a "Brickosaur": Have fun with artist Darrell Wakelam whilst learning about fossils and get a chance to take home a LEGO® ichthyosaur kit based on the Lyme Bay Ichthyosaur on display in the Museum (Costs £10 for accompanied children 6 and over). Two sessions 10am and 2pm and booking is essential. Friday 22nd August at the Town Mill (Upstairs Gallery).

In addition there is a full schedule of Fossil walks, Mary Anning walks, Lyme History Walks and Rockpooling walks.

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Lyme Lads - D-Day

Now that the D-Day exhibition has been replaced by our Lyme Regis and World War I exhibition, you can still see the major part of it on our web-site. Click here and go to "Lyme Lads - D-Day".

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EVENTS: Coming up in July

There are two new exhibitions at the Museum this month:

  • Lyme Regis and WWI, starting on Monday 7 July 2014. This will follow the "Lyme Lads" exhibition about the D-Day landings which closes on July 4th.
  • Inspired by the Old Town Dump by Ronnie Cresswell – in the Rotunda Gallery from 25th June to 3rd August.

For further information about these and other exhibitions, see the Exhibitions page.

This month also sees one of the Museum's regular Know your Fossils days, on Saturday 5th July: A talk and hands on experience of local fossils with the Museum's geologists.

In addition there is a full schedule of Fossil walks, Mary Anning walks, Lyme History Walks and Rockpooling walks.

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The Jurassic Coast Fossil Finder

Lyme Regis Museum has recently helped the Jurassic Coast Team create a pictorial database of about 1000 fossils that can be seen in museums along the coast. The picture show's our enormous ichthyosaur scull , the Lyme Bay Ichthyosaur. Click here to go to the Fossil Finder to get more information on the scull and many more fossils in our collection.

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