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Weymouth Civic Society

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Civic Society News

WCS Newsletters

The Board publishes a newsletter several times a year reporting on the Society’s activities.
The latest Newsletter - Number 83
is displayed below, and a PDF copy may be downloaded using the included button.

Members are invited to send items for publication in the WCS Newsletter as E-mail attachments to

Weymouth Civic Society

Civic Day, Saturday June 16th 2018


Did you know that Sir James Thornhill, who painted many walls and ceilings around the country, including the dome in St Paul’s Cathedral and the Painted Hall in the Royal Naval Hospital, Greenwich, was Mayor of Melcombe Regis, now Weymouth, from 1722 until 1734? He left a wall painting in St Mary’s Church in the town centre where it can still be seen.

What was the subject? Where else did he paint?

Come to a free exhibition about his life and work in St. Mary’s Church, St. Mary Street, Weymouth on Saturday 16th June
11am – 3pm.

At the same time there will be a video showing in
New Bnd Street beside the White Hart
where he was born.

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Weymouth Civic Society

Civic Day, Saturday June 16th 2018


Renowned son of Melcombe Regis

Saturday, 16 June is National Civic Day, a national celebration of Civic Pride, instituted by Civic Voice , the national association of Civic Societies.

This year Weymouth Civic Society has chosen to showcase the renowned artist Sir James Thornhill (1674 – 1734).one of our most famous sons.  Born in Melcombe Regis in what is now the White Hart public house, Thornhill was Serjeant Painter to King George I and the first English artist to challenge the domination of foreign painters at court.  He was also the first English painter to be knighted.  

He is most famous for his paintings of the ceiling of the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral in London and of the Chapel and Great Hall of the Royal Naval Hospital at Greenwich. He also worked at Blenheim Palace, Chatsworth and Hampton Court. His legacy to our town is the painting of the Last Supper behind the altar in St Mary’s church. As a citizen of Melcombe Regis he stood as Member of Parliament 1722-1734 and was granted the Freedom of the Borough.

His story and a record of his many works will be displayed at two venues –

St Mary’s Church and outside the White Hart on Civic Day, Saturday 16  June  from 11.00 am to   4.30 pm.

Note: Last year’s Civic Day put the public gardens of the Borough on show for two days.

From Pru Bollom

Further information may be obtained from  

Message from “Civic Voice”
Conservation Matters

To Gerald Mabb, Secretary.
Dear Gerald,

I am writing to you to share with you research that has been published by Historic England showing that the number of full-time equivalent historic environment specialists providing advice to local authorities in England has fallen by 36% since 2006. 

I wanted to share it with you as I think the conclusion is simple; less staff providing advice to local authorities is threatening the future of our historic environment. As we celebrate 50 years of Conservation Areas, this is wrong. 

With conservation staff numbers being so hard hit by cuts, we have to ask how councils are coping with their duties to manage the historic environment. Many will say they have the advice from consultants and private sector. We do not believe that is suitable. The activities of conservation officers are most effective when they are embedded in the local planning authority, rather than being seen as an add-on. A 36% decreased is unacceptable.

Will you support Civic Voice's Big Conservation Conversation to help us continue to make the case for the importance of the historic environment.

Vice President of “Civic Voice”, our National Civic Organisation and publisher.

Stop Press

Latest News updates will be posted here as available.

The Board also publishes recent WCS news on their
 Facebook Page
 which is moderated by Claudia Moore.


Dear Members & Friends,
Welcome to our new style newsletter.

Our webmaster does an excellent job filling our WCS website with all our news and information, & Claudia Moore keeps our Facebook pages up to date.

Now whilst most members will receive the newsletter online, paper copies will be sent to those without email. A very big thank you to Dinah Ellis who is editing this format.

Many members are beavering away on projects, the first of which is Civic Day on June 16th. We're celebrating the Weymouth connections of the artist Sir James Thornhill with exhibitions outside the White Hart in Bond Street, where he was born, & in St Mary's Church where he painted the Last Supper on the reredos. Many thanks to Pauline Crump & Valerie White for their work on this.
We need stewards on the day; if you can help, even for an hour, please phone me on 01305 774435

A number of us enjoyed a most interesting and informative visit to the Borough Nurseries in April we have another visit arranged for September, as you can see from our programme.

Mary Bennett, Chairman


We've started the season with the Acrow prop still in place and a test hole in the floor as we await the final placing of an oak post to brace the building. We've made the best of this, "disguising" the temporary prop with paper leaves. We are planning a free summer event called "Royal Weddings Past & Present", but have no date set yet.

Many thanks to all our volunteers, & Jenny, Hilary, & Ann who helped prepare the house for visitors. Sadly, one of our newer friends recently passed away: Shelley was a real asset, eager to learn about the house, funny, friendly and helpful; she will be sadly missed.

Dorothy Hyman, Custodian


Weymouth Town Centre
Increasing interest and activity is being generated with the aim of improving the Town Centre. We have been invited to join the Town Centre Member Group, which is gratifying in view of our longstanding concern for the well-being of the town centre.

Council Offices site
A group of members met with Council Leader Jeff Cant & Strategic Director Martin Hamilton to discuss issues focused on the future of the Council Offices site and general Town Centre matters. With no definite proposals yet for the Council Offices site, there were broad areas of agreement, including serious need for public car parking, the importance of enhancing & respecting the special harbour-side setting, buildings of a reasonable height, primarily residential use, a limited number of small shops & cafes facing North Quay, & a rear service road reflecting the ancient High Street.

Cont. in column 2

cont. from column 1

Pavilion Peninsula Development
ln response to the public consultation on the future development of the Peninsula, the Society's Planning & Environment Committee set out a wide range of points for consideration, including:
The local authority should maintain adequate control of the development;
Buildings to be well designed and low-rise - no more than 2 & 3 storey;
Attractive all-weather leisure facilities will be important;
The Pavilion Theatre must be retained, enhanced and supported, with better developed - conference facilities, linked to the proposed hotel;
There must be adequate dropping off facilities for vehicles in front of the theatre;
We approve of marine-related uses on the harbourside, and
Good pedestrian walkways around the perimeter of the whole peninsula;
The main vehicular route on the peninsula should be south of the Pavilion building, directly accessing both the harbourside marine-related uses and the main car parking area, so as to leave

the north, beach-side, mainly pedestrian.
This north side overlooking the bay is suitable for the proposed restaurants and hotel;
Parking provision on the peninsula as proposed is seriously inadequate and should be

substantially increased. We suggested a two-level car park, with a covered walkway direct into the theatre complex.
We are against a second hotel in front of the theatre: the forecourt should be kept open as a public space for various uses. This would also retain the fine views to the Nothe Peninsula and from the Nothe Steps across to the beach.

PUBLIC CONVENIENCES: Our response to the consultation on toilet provision on the Esplanade stressed the importance of facilities at regular intervals, rather than at a few widely-spaced locations. We welcome new buildings, well-designed inside & out, with the proviso that none should be on the seaward side of the Esplanade, blocking views of the beach & bay. Any new ground-level toilets in the King's Statue area should be in part of the former Tourist Information Centre, beside existing facilities for disabled people.

ESPLANADE LIGHTING SCHEME: The £250,000 grant-funded scheme, part of the Dorset Coastal Connections Project, co-ordinated by Dorset Coast Forum, has reached the draft plan stage. This followed consultation with a wide number of interested parties, including seafront residents, community groups & school children. Feedback from the public display in Weymouth Library (and online) in mid-May will be used by the appointed design company, Tonkin Liu, to create a proposal to be agreed by W&PBC Management Committee; then planning permission will be sought. Their scheme involves using led lighting strips fixed to the seaward side of existing lighting columns from Lodmoor to the Pavilion Peninsula. The light from these strips can be programmed to change colour and to go on and off in a variety of sequences.

At the last WCS meeting the general consensus was that thls was acceptable, as the sweep of the bay would be outlined without the clutter of wiring or additional posts. The preference was for a less-gaudy, restricted colour palette, gently-moving and static light sequencing & with consideration given to the structural integrity of the restored Victorian cast iron columns at Greenhill.

Edfited by Dinah Ellis

Planning News

The Planing & Environmental Committee publish a regular Planning News update. Click the button below to go to our Planning pages.

Members are invited to send items for publication as E-mail attachments to

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