Sunday, 19 September 2010

Visting Lyme Regis

A recent trip to Lyme Regis allowed me to see the improvements to the Philpot Museum, now the Lyme Regis Museum.  For some time now the museum has had a Curator, which has been a distinct advantage.  The arches have been incorporated into the museum building and the displays have been updated and improved to fit in with the heritage status of the Jurassic Coast.
The Jurassic fossils are displayed in the downstairs main gallery and in the cabinets there is a small local slab with the premaxilla and teeth of the upper jaw of Dimorphodon macronyx - originally labelled Pterodactyle.
This is a fine specimen and I originally photographed it in September 1980 when John Fowles was Hon. Curator of the museum.  This specimen was collected by James Harrison - the original Mary Anning finds are in the Natural History Museum, London.
Much more impressive is a drawing by Joseph Anning (Mary's brother) which is made using reconstituted belemnite ink from specimens collected at the undercliff at Lyme.  As far as I am aware, this is the only drawing of a pterosaur fossil that has been rendered in this way and it is unique.  It is worth seeing before the colour fades, though fossil belemnite ink is quite stable compared to other mediums of art.
Just a short trip up the coast to Charmouth and there is the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre.  West Bay at Bridport has the Jurassic Pier where you can look across to the cliffs of the coast.  There is a lot to see and do on this coast.