This is another retrospective blogpost that I should have done way back in 2013, on returning from Weymouth for a job interview. The exif data puts the images at 19 June 2013. Weymouth is a seaside town in Dorset, and I was hoping to really see what the Brits were like when they were on their summer hols. I on the other hand was burdened with a tie and my usual interview gear so could not get dirty or sweat stained, and I would have to make sure that I was on time for the interview. I even left my bucket and spade at home!
I also could not dally too long either as I had a train to catch back to Southampton. The station was close to the beach, but I do recall stopping at a taxi service to get a business card just in case I needed to get a taxi in a hurry. Because it is a seaside town most of what I saw was centered around the beachfront, although I did make an excursion into the industrial area. Naturally war memorials were priorities to photograph, and any big ships too although Weymouth Harbour is really geared towards the fishing, pleasure craft and tourism industry.
It was not too crowded either, although that could be because I had arrived while everybody was having breakfast. I hoped that the much loved seaside landlady trope had not been perpetuated into our new century and I am sure many of the beachside “boarding houses” had been where so many of the typical seaside holiday stories had been written.
There were a number of War Memorials of note along this stretch of beachfront. The first was an ANZAC memorial for the First World War, I covered all of these memorials in a dedicated post
In the image above you can see the town War Memorial with a poppy field between them. It commemorated “The Citizens of the Borough who made the Supreme Sacrifice during the Second World War”. It also lists those lost during World War 1.
Weymouth, being a port city was also defended by Fort Nothe which is situated at the end of the Nothe Peninsula on at the entrance to the harbour. I would have liked to have had a close look at it but did not have the time to do so.
This side of the harbour mouth was the home of one of those strange towers with a rotating doughnut on it, although it was not in operation by the looks of it. There was construction work going on in that area so I could not really see what I wanted to. You can see the tower sticking out in the image below.
The king used to take a dip there because he had been advised to bathe in seawater to help with his Porphyria. Unlike today one did not just leap into the sea, and the much talked about “bathing machine” was taken out into the water, whereupon the person could have his paddle in private. Huzzah! they even have a bathing machine on display.
Staying with our beach theme, my experience of going to the seaside as a child was probably very different to that of a child in England, and there were some activities that we did not seem to have in common during my era. The first being the Punch ‘n Judy show:
Although I suspect Mr Punch has been sanitised and made more politically correct, and of course the seaside donkey ride.
It was quite a strange feeling walking along this beachfront because so many odd memories kept on popping up and I had to resist the temptation to roll up me trouser legs, tie a knotted handkerchief around my head and go for a paddle in the sea. I now headed for the harbour as time was marching and the harbour was a good place to navigate from. A lifting bascule bridge joins the two sides of the harbour and allows access to the inner harbour.
I stopped at the church that you can see on the left and came away with one very poignant image. It is quite odd to think that he really lives on in this church while his “schoolfellows and friends” have all been lost to memory.
Shortly after my harbour visit I headed off to my interview in the industrial area. It was not a long walk, but it was becoming quite a hot day and I longed to dispose of that tie. I did not get the job though, and I suspect I was much too under qualified anyway. On my way back I paused at the local cemetery and church before arriving back in town. I had time to kill so headed off along the Esplanade. There was a church in the distance that I wanted to have a look at.
The esplanade is composed of converted Georgian terraces that serve as flats, shops, hotels and guest houses. Many were built between 1770 and 1855 and they form a long, continuous arc of buildings which face Weymouth Bay.
This iteration of the Royal Hotel hotel was opened in 1899 and is a Grade II listed building. During World War 2 it was requisitioned for use as the local headquarters of the United States military.
The Memorial in front of the building serves as a reminder of the part Weymouth played in the invasion of Normandie.
IN MEMORY OF AMERICAN SERVICEMEN 1939-1945. 1944-1945.
THE MAJOR PART OF THE AMERICAN ASSAULT FORCE WHICH
LANDED ON THE SHORES OF FRANCE 6 JUNE 1944 WAS LAUNCHED
FROM WEYMOUTH AND PORTLAND HARBORS. FROM 6 JUNE 1944 TO 7 MAY 1945, 517,816 TROOPS AND 144,093 VEHICLES EMBARKED
FROM THE HARBORS. MANY OF THE TROOPS LEFT FROM WEYMOUTH PIER. THE REMAINDER OF THE TROOPS AND ALL THE VEHICLES PASSED THROUGH/ WEYMOUTH EN ROUTE TO PORTLAND POINTS OF EMBARKATION.
PRESENTED BY THE 14TH MAJOR PORT, U.S. ARMY. (Added JUNE 1999:)
There is also an a reminder of the tragedy that befell man who were being trained for the assault at Lyme Bay:
28 APRIL 1944
749 DIED DURING D-DAY
TRAINING EXERCISE ‘TIGER’
WHEN A CONVOY OF LSTS WAS ATTACKED BY E-BOATS
24 DECEMBER 1944.
The other landmark in this area is the Jubilee Clock Tower, built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s 50 years of reign in 1887.
My destination was in sight, although still quite a walk away. If only I had my bicycle back then.
I suppose I could have caught “the train”
Or hired a boat
Make no mistake, the sea was flat calm out there, and you would be able to wade out quite far too. In the bay was a sailing ship and I was able to zoom into her and later identified her as the 1971 built TS Royalist.
and then finally I was approaching St John’s Church.
The church stands out for me as it had what was probably the scariest angel I have ever seen on a church building.
And then it was time to turn around and head for the station.
The exif data says the image below was taken at 17H39, but that could be when I uploaded them. At any rate, my train is here, its time to go.
My trip to Weymouth would not be complete without random images…
DRW © 2013-2021. Retrospectively created 11/08/2018