Lyme Regis and India

Lyme had a particular connection with India in the 1820s and 1830s: the huge East India ships returning from India would pause off Lyme to allow passenger to take a boat to the town, who would then continue to London by coach, which was quicker than going by ship. Railways stopped this new trade from 1838.

In 1838 the King of Oudh in north-west India passed through Charmouth, and caused such interest that he was interviewed by the local newspaper. The King was suffering badly from England’s cold climate (it was May). The reporter much admired the King’s clothes: ‘rich shawls of his clime, embroidery, jewels, even the boots he wore were replete with valuable ornament’ ( The Sherborne Mercury ).

The censuses from 1851 give place of birth, and there were several people in Lyme in 1851 who had been born in India. Most of these were probably European. Two monuments in St. Michael’s Church, Lyme Regis record earlier Indian connections.