Lyme Regis Museum's annual celebration of the life of Mary Anning took place on 29th and 30th September with a weekend of talks, exhibitions and family events. It confirms the scientific importance of Lyme Regis and its museum that the weekend attracted speakers of the calibre of Sir Crispin Tickell, academics from the universities of Oxford and Bristol, and Tom Sharpe of the National Museum of Wales. Geologists from the Natural History Museum in London were among guests observed discussing Lyme’s fossils with local collectors. (Click here to see the text of Sir Crispin Tickell's talk)
The talks were well attended and when faced with the absence through ill-health of one of the speakers, the museum was able to organise a replacement event from among the large number of eminent palaeontologists and fossil collectors in the audience!
A highlight of the weekend was the display of fossils discovered on Lyme's beaches almost 200 years ago by Elizabeth Philpot, Mary Anning’s friend and colleague,
An example of a fossil fish collected by the Philpot sisters is shown on the right.
One unexpected benefit – Oxford University Museum of Natural History (who loaned the Philpot fish) offered to loan more material, and have suggested that an exhibition of recently discovered Lyme fossils be hosted at Oxford.
There were also activities for the young at heart including fossil polishing and assisting artist Darrell Wakelam to make a wonderful model of a fossil fish - Xiphactinus.
Pictures are shown below of the Xiphactinus in preparation, Sophie who was one of Darrell's enthusiastic helpers and the finished model.
Night at the Museum - The Moth Ball
"Museums at Night" was marked by the Lyme Regis "Philpott" Museum's first moth evening on 18th May. The event was started with a talk by Dr Phil Stirling, Dorset County Conservation Officer.
Mercury vapour lights were set up in, and adjacent to, the Charmouth Road car park by Alan Kennard and Marjorie Waters and some thirty people,including children assembled around the lights.
Cold evenings and a northerly breeze in the week was not a good omen. Conditions were a little better on the night but still unfavourable for moths to fly. Some 36 different species were seen over a two hour period. Had it been warmer there would have been many more.
Pick of the catch was a Ruddy Carpet, a nationally scarce moth, but known to inhabit Lyme. A Cream Wave stood out amongst the more common species such as Flame Shoulder,Hebrew Character, Scalloped Hazel, Green Carpet, Iron Prominent, Pale Tussock, and Twenty-plume moth. A selection of moths are shown below.
Larger ( Macro ) Moths
17 Common Swift - Hepialus lupulinus Linn. 1693 Cream Wave - Scopula floslactata Haw. 1724 Red Twin-spot Carpet - Xanthorhoe spadicrearia D & S 1735 Ruddy Carpet - Catarhoe rubidata D & S 1764 Common Marbled Carpet - Chlorclysta truncata Huf. 1773 Broken-barred Carpet - Electrophaes corylata Thun. 1776 Green Carpet - Colostygia pectinataria Knoch. 1834 Common Pug - Eupethecia vulgata Haw. 1906 Brimstone Moth - Opisthograptis luteoilata Linn. 1920 Scalloped Hazel - Odfontopera bidentata Clerck 2000 Iron Prominent - Notodonta dromedarius 2003 Pebble Prominent - N. ziczac Linn. 2028 Pale Tussock - Calliteara pudibunda Linn. 2102 Flame Shoulder - Ochropleura plecta Linn. 2126 Setaceous Hebrew Character - Xestia c-nigrum Linn. 2160 Bright-line Brown-eye - Lacanobia oleracea Linn. 2190 Hebrew Character - Orthosia gothica D & S 2337 Marbled Minor agg - Oligia spp. (? srrigilis) 2380 Treble Lines - Charanyca trigrammica Hufn. 2425 Nut-tree Tussock - Colocasia coryli Linn.
The ever-moving landslides of the Devon-Dorset coast
A talk by Dr Ramues Gallois , fellow of the Geological society
Geologist Ramues Gallois entertained an audience of around 80 people on Saturday evening (March 10) at Lyme Regis Guildhall. Dr Gallois, Fellow of the Geological Society, spoke about the ever-moving landslides of the Devon and Dorset coast, of why they occur and whether they can be predicted. He presented a fascinating archive of photographs and drawings of past landslides that explained and illustrated the spectacularly active landscape between Lyme Regis and Sidmouth. Together, these form the largest complex of landslides in Europe.
Right - Speaker Dr Ramues Gallois, Fellow of the Geological Society
The talk was organised by Lyme Regis Museum’s as part of National Science and Engineering Week. Chairman of trustees, Stephen Locke, thanked Dr Gallois for his highly interesting and relevant talk. He pointed out that Dr. Gallois had mapped our area as an officer of the British Geological Survey and has taken a particular interest in the landslides. His very special understanding of the local geology combined with his knowledge of the more recent history of the landslides meant he had given us a truly authoritative account of these remarkable and important features of the local landscape.
Left Dr Ramues Gallois (right) with members of the audience
Below - View of the second landslip, at Whitlands, which took place on 3 February 1840. Published by Dunster based on a watercolour by Miss Philpot.
Other major slips discussed were the Hooken slip at Beer Head in 1790 and the recent, 2008 slip below the Spittles to the east of Lyme (see below)
If you want more information about this topic then go to Dr Gallois's own web-site.
Family Fun Day - 15th February 2012
Visitors were invited to create their own jurassic timeline in an art activity based on a new children’s book Meet the Ecosaurs. Local artist Alison Bowskill helped children colour in dinosaur pictures, make fossil rubbings, and stick them on a paper timeline to take home.
Meet the Ecosaurs is written by Lyme resident Janis Lane and illustrated by Jennifer Crabb from Somerset. The book uses historically accurate information to introduce local Jurassic Coast dinosaurs as characters in a fantastic story.
The pictures below show Alison with some of the children and parents on the day.
Wassailing and the Mummers Play - 14th January 2012
The Museum continue with its tradition of wassailing on the old twelth night.
The Uplyme Morrismen led off the festivities on a cold afternoon whilst the Museum provided the onlookers with mulled cider and applecake to add warmth to the occasion.
Adrian Pearson then played his accordion to accompany the singing of the traditional wassailing song.
Following on from the wassailing was a Mummers play. A tradition last seen in Lyme in the 1930s. Harry Ford, a Museum volunteer whom you might remember as Professor Buckland on Mary Anning Day has written a new Lyme based play in which the brave Sir George (Danny Anholt) saves Lyme from the woodworser, an evil spirit from the Spittals (Justin Tunstall).
Below are photographs of the main protagonists, the drummer who led the procession round the town and the ale-wife who caused much amusement throughout the crowd.
To see more pictures of the morris dancing taken by John Marriage click here.
To see our previous events from 2010 and 2011 click here.