A series of pictures and texts show the history of Weymouth & Melcombe Regis from prehistoric times to the twentieth century. There is also a display of Weymouth souvenir china.
The first display in this gallery relates to Georgian Weymouth. As a result of the patronage of the King, the town of Weymouth & Melcombe Regis was transformed into an elegant and fashionable seaside resort. The centrepiece of the display is the large, equestrian portrait of George III by Sir William Beechey.
In front of this display are two items of local archaeology. The first is a piece of Roman tessellated flooring with geometric patterns from a dwelling in Newberry Road, just a stone’s throw from Brewers Quay. The second is believed to be the skeleton of a Romano-British lady, found near Camp Road in 1937. We are running a children’s competition for a name for this lady.
The Tudor period is represented by a very fine, carved wooden over mantle that possibly came from a wealthy merchant’s house. The quays of Weymouth and Melcombe Regis would have been very busy at that time. Nearby is the Prior’s Chair from the town’s priory, of which nothing now remains.
Samuel Weston was a prominent person in the town in the time of George III. He was mayor four times, Swedish Consul, a Lloyds agent, and a merchant. His statue is in the Guildhall and the Weymouth Lunar Society have contributed a display about him. During this period three East Indiamen were wrecked off Weymouth, the Halsewell in 1786, the Abergavenny in 1805, and the Alexander in 1815 and Samuel Weston was involved in the auctioning of recovered cargo from the latter two. More recently recovered items from these three great ships are on display.
Weymouth was, and still is, an important ferry port with services to the Channel Isles and France. These are featured in the transport display. There are models of the SS St Julian and PS Contractor and a lifebelt from the SS Sarnia. Photographs portray road, rail and sea transport in Weymouth through the ages and are accompanied by the nameplate and crest from the West Country class locomotive “Weymouth”.
In the time of Henry VIII there was a real threat of invasion and a series of castles were constructed along the south coast. Two of these were at Portland and Weymouth. The Weymouth one is at Sandsfoot and now much decayed although recently made safe for public entry. We are fortunate to have a model of it as built on display.
A new departure for Weymouth Museum is a childrens’ corner. Besides a display of toys there are, a school desk to sit at, a map for them to locate their school, and a selection of hats of all shapes and sizes that they are welcome to try on.
More displays show smoking and shaving equipment and other gentlemens’ requisites, whilst all sorts of domestic items are shown in a shop window.