Weymouth’s origins date back to Roman times when galleys would sail up the River Wey to Radipole to offload their goods for transport to the Roman town of Durnovaria (Dorchester).
By 1252, Weymouth had become established as a successful seaport in its own right on the southern side of the River Wey, in competition with its near neighbour, Melcombe Regis, on the northern side.
In 1348 the first case of the Black Death was recorded in Melcombe Regis, brought into England, it is suspected, aboard a spice ship. The two towns were united by a 1571 Act of Parliament into the double borough of Weymouth and Melcombe Regis.
Weymouth really came into its own during the reign of George III, when seabathing became fashionable and the King was introduced to Weymouth by his younger brother, the Duke of Gloucester. Much of society followed and the resulting housing boom was responsible for the classical Georgian architecture still typical of Weymouth today.
The creation of a turnpike road from Dorchester to Weymouth in 1771 eased travel to the town and the arrival of the London & South Western Railway in 1857 confirmed Weymouth ‘s position as one of Britain’s preeminent seaside resorts, a position it has never lost.
For a truly nostalgic experience, why not combine your steam rail trip with a visit to Nothe Fort – on 26th May 2018 for the 1940s Family Fun Day, or on 18th & 19th August 2018 to join the Ragged Victorians! Alternatively, take one of the regular Smugglers Tours or Haunted Harbour Tours organised by The Weymouth Heritage Centre.
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