This picture is not one of Harry’s. My dad took it on Boxing Day1968 and it shows me and my buddy John. We were members of the Weymouth Underwater Club and learned to “skin dive” under the tutelage of Ron Parry, an ex Royal Navy hard-hat diver who ran the local diving shop in Walpole Street. In those days off-the-peg diving suits weren’t available, so Ron would cut out the neoprene to the correct size and we would glue our own suits together with Evo-Stik. The air bottles that we used were whatever we could get hold of provided that they passed a hydraulic pressure test and would accept the correct demand valve connector. From what I understood at the time they mostly seemed to come from old aircraft or hospitals with the proviso that they hadn’t been used to hold anything toxic or poison, etc. It isn’t “skin diving” any more – it’s SCUBA diving. I haven’t done any diving since 1971, but I’ll bet it’s still good fun, even if it is a bit more sophisticated. The reason for the Boxing Day dive was for our annual underwater treasure hunt – on Christmas Day Ron would go to the ferrybridge and throw small weighted tins into the drink. In each tin there was a number that corresponded to a piece of treasure (cigarettes, beer, whiskey, etc.). On Boxing Day morning when Ron told us to GO, we headed into the water to look for the tins. Great fun but dam cold.
Weymouth’s lovely beach (and bums).
The Pier Bandstand again.
I love the sign for the Pavilion show in the background: “While the Sun Shines”.
Fishing has always been a popular pastime on our Stone Pier. When I was a schoolboy I spent many, many hours with my mates on the pier fishing, but we never caught anything bigger than a tiddler.
Brian Huddy was our local stunt rider and appeared at many events where he would jump his bike over a row of cars, do wheelies, etc., All very tame when compared with what they can do these days with a modern bike.
Deckchairs on Weymouth Esplanade. I can sit in these for free these days, but have never done so.
Horses got to use the beach in the off season – maybe they still do?
Greenhill Gardens have always been a popular place for a casual walk, or a game of tennis, or a game on the putting green. This cafe was built in the early 1960’s to replace a rather dilapidated shed.
Originally named “Duke of Devonshire”, P.S. Consul was one of the fleet owned by Cosens and Co. She (and her sister ships) were used to take tourists on pleasure trips to Bournemouth, Swanage, and other local places. She had a reinforced bow section so was able to be taken into Lulworth Cove where she was carefully run onto the beach so that passengers could alight for a short time ashore. She was built in 1886 and scrapped in 1968.
Weymouth’s Pier bandstand was constructed (using 3,000 tons of concrete and 180 tons of steel) on a site that had previously been used to site a more traditional type of wooden bandstand. It was opened in 1939 and demolished in 1986 when the structure became unsafe. It was used for dancing, talent shows, wrestling, roller skating, and many other things as well as a bandstand. The local population seem to be equally split between those that were pleased to see it go and those that think it should have been replaced (with a similar structure).
The Swan Pedaloes on the Radipole Lake in the late 1950’s. These brutes were constructed out of marine plywood and were immensely heavy and hard to pedal. The wooden floats would gradually let the water in so that by the end of the day they were even heavier (look at the aft end of number 8 in the picture to get an idea of how low in the water they could get). The bungs were removed and they were emptied at the end of every day and overnight they were kept on the jetty. Eventually they started to fall apart – the heads and necks came adrift first, so they were used for a season or tow without them. After that they were scrapped and never replaced.
Contrary to the information put out by our tourist department, it does sometimes rain in Weymouth.
Weymouth Belle originally worked out of Bournemouth as the “Bournemouth Belle”. She was used to carry passengers on trips around the bay and Portland harbour. She was sold sometime around 1974 and was renamed “Souters Lass” and put to work at Fort William in Scotland, where she still works.
Our lovely beach again. Back in the years after WWII (and probably also before then) not all tourists brought a bathing costume. It was more usual for the men to roll up their trouser legs and just go for a paddle, or as in the case of this chap, just throw your child in from a safe distance from the edge so that you didn’t even get your shoes wet.
Weymouth harbour. This was in the days before the trawler race (an idea pinched from the Brixham trawler men), so is probably a fishing competition, or similar.
Caravanning in the 1950’s. Although this picture was taken somewhere in Kent, it must have been almost identical to the sites that were springing up around the Weymouth area at that time.
Doc’ Giles Romanes was the Dorset eye surgeon. He loved steam engines and was very knowledgeable about them and their history and wrote several books about them. He owned and exhibited “Goliath”, this small Wallis & Steevens engine at many local events including the Great Dorset Steam Fair, driving it there rather than having it transported by low-loader. It was never shown as a static exhibit and was always used to drive a piece of machinery (threshing drum, rack saw bench, etc.). I think this pictures was taken somewhere near Bere Regis, but that is just a guess. Goliath weighed in at 3 tons and produced 3 n.h.p. (nominal horse power – bigger than our modern brake horsey power and probably it was in excess of the 3 when it was new).
Cleaning up the Osmington White Horse in the early 1960’s. This was before Aneka Rice cocked it all up with her “Challenge Aneka” programmes by pouring tons Portland stone scalpings all over it. It was OK for a month or two and then like all Portland stone it turned grey and eventually had to be removed – a difficult job on such a steep slope.
St Helier was one of the British Rail Channel Island ferries. This photograph shows her being manoeuvred into “The Cove” area of the harbour in 1960 a few weeks before she was towed away for scrapping. I really like the boys in the foreground with their go-cart (I used to have one in the 1950’s but it wasn’t as good as this one). The St Helier was built with two funnels – one was a dummy and was later removed.