Exmouth to Milford on Sea
including the East Devon & Dorset World Heritage Site
(Dr Ian West)
(Prof. Michael House)
Western end of Chesil Beach (or Bank) West Weares in background
Looking over Fortuneswell and Chesil (1900)
SS Preveza aground on Chesil Beach 15 January 1920 in Newton's Cove. West Weares in background
HMT James Fennell on Portland rocks 1922
Chesil Beach and Portland were notorious for ship wrecks. Mariners still get into trouble today if they get caught out by the fierce currents swirling round the Isle.
Mackerel fishing off the Chesil (film photos AH) date unknown but likely to be 1930/40s.
Still, today, when the mackerel are running the beach is lined with anglers, picnic parties (wine mandatory!) and seagulls. The photos (DS) were taken during an evening visit to Abbotsbury by a fishing party from Frampton. The lines were taking out 6-7 fish at a time. They were then wrapped in foil, roasted on BBQs and eaten about 10 minutes after capture. Main problem then is that shop-bought fish, no matter how fresh, just doesn't taste the same
Easton and Church Ope Railway, opened 1 September 1902. Easton was closed from 11 November 1940 to 1 January 1945 following air raid damage. Although the station closed to passengers in 1952 regular freight kept the line in use until a decade or so later.
(Info. from a Wikipedia entry)
I bought the passenger ticket off e bay. Both stations are long gone and are not likely to be resurrected.
Houses top left were prison warders accommodation, now demolished
Portland Prison opened in 1848. Convicts spent their time hacking stone out of the quarries and building the breakwaters round Portland Harbour.
Portland's modern harbour was first built by the Navy (with convict assistance-note the date above) from 1849 -1872. Two more breakwaters were added in 1906. (Info from a Wikipedia entry)
It wasn't only the convicts who were doing 'hard labour'. The Royal Navy wasn't known for its generosity toward the men, and boys, who manned the ships. The boys in this picture are scrubbing their hammocks!
The boom (bottom right) was laid across the harbour entrance in times of peril and later HMS Hood was sunk there to keep the enemy out should he be bold enough to attempt a raid. These pictures came from a newspaper of the time, dated 1891
Patria October 25 October 1902
As much photographed as the view along the Chesil at the northern end of the Isle, the Pulpit Rock is at the southern end near the lighthouse. Needless to say there must be thousands of locals and visitors who can say 'I stood up there on top of the Pulpit' . It isn't, however, quite as easy at it looks
The stone heaps are partly natural wastage as the vertical faces of Portland limestone are underlain by the Kimmeridge Clays which makes for a rather uncertain foundation. Much of the stone though is tippage from the old quarry workings. Quarries still abound on Portland as the limestone is much needed particularly for restoration of buildings in prestigious cities such as London. Life does, however, get ever more difficult for the quarries (as it also does in Purbeck) as houses are built all over the Isle and vociferous inhabitants protest at expansion and even original quarrying
The quarrying was going on when the houses were built and purchased so it could hardly, surely, have come as a surprise to find that people still earned their living from them and wanted to continue doing so
Newton's Cove and West Weares, much the same in 1930 as in 1900
Lower Lighthouse Portland 1890
St Catherine's Chapel stands high above the Chesil Beach at Abbotsbury
The chapel is just visible through the sea mist on the right (DS 1999)
Click on picture for more information
Built by Henry VIII in 1540
Portland Castle 1950s (Ministry of Works)
page updated: 31/10/2011
The Isle of Portland is chiefly famous for its long history of quarrying the excellent building stone it is composed of. The link here is to a paper written on the subject by a quarry manager whose family have been engaged in the business of winning stone for several generations. The photographs below were taken in the 1960s by Mrs Maureen Keats (see Index)
Broadcroft Whitbed blocks 1964
Broadcroft breezeblocks, grit in cement 1964
Broadcroft stone for St Paul's Cathedral, London 1964
Broadcroft Grove Quarry, Portland June 1961
Easton Masonry Works and Diamond Saw 1964
Portland Isle Quarry
Whitbed (left) and Whitbed with Purbeck above (right)
Perryfield: roach for polished stone, crusher for gravel, cement and agrilime 1964
Perryfield: Lower Purbeck above Portland Stone, Friars Ltd view west 1964
Dorset Limestone Ltd Stonetex 1964
Broadcroft: stalactites in Whitbed 1964
Chesilton and harbour 1964
SS Dorothea aground on Chesil Beach 14 February 1914
Rufus Castle and Church Ope Cove. Rufus Castle was probably built for William II (called "Rufus" for his red hair). It is likely that the structure we see today was the keep of a larger castle. Little remains of that first castle, with the possible exception of the arch that spans the path from Church Ope Road.
In 1142, Robert, Earl of Gloucester, captured the castle from King Stephen on behalf Empress Maud, and a license to rebuild was granted in 1258. The castle was rebuilt in the 15th century, and much of what remains dates from this time. (info from Britain Express)
THE MERCHANTS' RAILWAY, Portland was authorised by an Act of Parliament in 1825, and opened in Oct, 1826, The railway was constructed for the conveyance of stone from Tophill to the quays and the Weymouth and Portland Railway. (Info. from Portland Year Book)
Upper and Lower Lighthouses 29-8-64
Raised Beach east 29-3-69
The following photographs were part of a further collection, mainly taken by William Stanton, and also found in Dorset County Museum. Unfortunately they were mostly unlabelled though the time period was obvious from various aspects as were, of course, the locations. Apart from one Purbeck Quarry, which was unmistakable anyway, there were only, for instance, Portland or Purbeck, and sometimes nothing at all, as identification. They were still valuable material as other pages will also testify
This is probably the fossil tree in the grounds of Portland Heights hotel (now called The Heights)
above Church 'Ope Cove
click on photo for panoramic views
The following photographs were taken by Prof. Michael House, part of a collection of some 1200 slides given to the Dorset GA Group by Mrs Felicity House