Dark Dorset Online Scrapbook is an archive of current and past events relating to local history, folklore and mysteries that can be discovered in the English county of Dorset.

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Monday, 28 February 2011

News Clipping: Thomas Hardy's study at Max Gate in Dorchester opens

The study where Thomas Hardy wrote Tess of the d'Urbervilles is to open to the public for the first time. Previously visitors to the novelist's former home at Max Gate in Dorchester could only see the hall, dining room, drawing room and garden.  Opening times at the Victorian villa, designed by Hardy, will also extend to five days a week from 1 April.

READ MORE - Source: BBC News 28th February 2011

Thursday, 24 February 2011

News Clipping: Volunteers to spend spooky night sleeping rough at Nothe Fort for charity

A Dorset Echo is joining volunteers to brave a spooky night out at Nothe Fort for charity.  Ghosts, ghouls and all manner of things that go bump in the night will be sharing the fort with the volunteers who will be sleeping rough for homelessness charity Alabare Christian Care on March 4.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Thursday 24th February 2011

Thursday, 17 February 2011

News Clipping: Trebuchet returns to Corfe Castle - but there's not a cow in sight

During the Middle Ages this type of device was used to lay siege to ancient strongholds by hurling diseased cows over castle walls.  But the good residents of Corfe Castle have no need to keep a watchful eye skyward for falling cattle, because today, thankfully, it is employed just for fun.

READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Thursday, 17 February 2011

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

News Clipping: Weymouth welcomes giant Japanese spider crab

A Japanese spider crab believed to be the biggest seen in Britain has gone on display. Named Crab Kong, he has a claw span of more than 8ft (2.4m), weighs 15kg (33lb) and is 30-40 years old. The male spider crab was caught earlier this month by fishermen in Suruga Bay, south west of Tokyo. The crab is on display at the Weymouth Sea Life Park but will be transferred to a permanent home at a Sea Life centre in Munich, Germany, at Easter.

 READ MORE - Source: BBC News Friday 15th February 2011


Weymouth Sea Life Park have their own 'Crab Kong'

An apt definition of a sea monster would be something of a slimy, scaly, water-spouting serpent, hell-set on dragging sailors to Davey-Jones’ locker. A creature that swallows ships whole, and fearsome enough to make even Captain Jack Sparrow shiver his timbers. But it would appear that here in Dorset, we are a slightly more flexible with the term “monster.” Local legends tell of a beast called the “Shapwick Monster”. The story goes that villagers of Shapwick discovered a strange creature that they had never seen before.

READ MORE - Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Friday 18th February 2011

Monday, 14 February 2011

Events: Civil War Commemoration & Return of Original Bell at Weymouth's Old Town Hall

Take a step back in time in Weymouth this weekend as the town’s celebrates its historic links to the Civil War. The event will be held at the Old Town Hall, Weymouth. to commemorate the Battle of Weymouth of 1645 and the Crabchurch Conspiracy and mark the return of the Old Town Hall 'Bell' from Weymouth Museum at Brewers Quay, where it has been kept for several years.

Above: On Saturday 7th February 2009 a spectacular re-enactment took place in commemoration of the Battle of Weymouth and the Crabchurch Conspiracy of 1645. This film shows the performance of the mock trial and execution of the traitors. Dorchester's Town Crier, Alistair Chisholm played the leading role of Colonel William Sydenham and delivered a stunning performance at the Nothe

Programme of Events
  • Saturday 19th February
    11am – Long re-enactment march from Church Ope Cove to Weymouth (Pike And Shot Events Ltd.) 
    8PM – The accoustic DOLMEN perform ‘The Crabchurch Conspiracy’ at The Boot Inn.
    • Sunday 20th February, 2011
    11am: Old Town Hall opens to public for refreshments and small Civil War exhibition.

    12 noon: Re-enactment march arrives at hall (from Sandsfoot) and stays for half an hour. Soldier explains this section of Civil War story and lays wreath.

    1.15pm (approx): Re-enactors march with the original Old Town Hall bell from Brewers Quay. The bell was removed from the hall many years ago. Recently it has resided at the Weymouth museum, they have kindly allowed the bell to return to its original home at the hall.

    2pm (approx): Re-enactors arrive with bell at the Old Town Hall.

    3pm: Hall closed
    Other Civil War Weekend Events taking Place include:

    • Sunday 20th February
    11am– Short re-enactment march from Sandsfoot castle to the Old Town Hall (Pike And Shot Events Ltd.)
    More information: www.weymoutholdtownhall.co.uk and www.thedolmen.com/crabchurch.html

    Saturday, 12 February 2011

    News Clipping: Celebrating Thomas Hardy's Portland links

    A new exhibition will celebrate the special relationship between Dorset’s famous novelist Thomas Hardy and the Isle of Portland.  This half-term, from February 21 to 27, the Portland Museum will be showcasing a new display that highlights the inspiration the building and island gave to the poet and writer.

    READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Saturday 12th February 2011

    Friday, 11 February 2011

    News Clipping: Mystery beast seen prowling again

    The beast of Dorset has been spotted again on the roam just outside of Bridport. Pensioner Shirley Smith says she saw a large black cat run across the main road to Beaminster after leaving her nearby home.  Ross Moore says he also saw a large cat run across the road and up a grass verge just outside Powerstock. Both called the Bridport News after reading how gritter lorry driver Mike Ward saw a large black cat at Batcombe and at Netherbury.

    READ MORE - Source: Bridport and Lyme Regis News Friday 11th February 2011

    Saturday, 5 February 2011

    Wednesday, 2 February 2011

    News Clipping: Dorset mystery beast sightings

    The beast of Dorset has been spotted again just outside of Bridport. Pensioner Shirley Smith says she saw a large black cat run across the main road to Beaminster after leaving her nearby home. Ross Moore says he also saw a large cat run across the road and up a grass verge just outside of Powerstock.

    READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Wednesday 2nd February 2011

    Tuesday, 1 February 2011

    News Clipping: A raccoon in my garden? But this is Ringwood!

    The last place you would expect to see a raccoon is in the middle of a Ringwood housing estate. So photographer, John Rothwell, was amazed when he snapped a raccoon in the back garden of his home in Poulner just after midnight. John, 57, who is a member of Ringwood Camera Club, says the creature has been visiting his bird table for the past few days.

    READ MORE - Source: Dorset Echo Tuesday 1st February 2011

    Frankenstein's creator died this day in 1851

    Few seaside towns can claim so many literary associations as Bournemouth. The remains of writer, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly, author of one of the most famous of all Gothic horror novels - Frankenstein, is buried in the cemetery of St. Peters in the centre of the town.

    Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly
    Portrait of Mary Shelley, painted by Richard Rothwell in 1840.
    Mary Shelley was born on the 30th August 1797, in Somers Town, London. She was the second daughter of feminist and writer Mary Wollstonecraft and political journalist William Godwin (who are aso interred in her grave). Her mother died shortly after Mary's birth from a hemorrhage  sustained either during delivery or by the actions of the midwife. Unusual for girls at the time, Mary received an excellent education. She published her first poem at the age of ten.
    Percy Bysshe Shelley and his first wife Harriet often visited Godwin's home and bookshop in London. At the age of 16 Mary eloped to France and then Switzerland with Shelley. During May of 1816, the couple travelled to Lake Geneva. Apparently inspired by a ghost tale contest among her friends, Lord Byron, John William Polidori, and Claire Clairmont Mary had what she called a waking dream that became the manuscript for her most famous work, entitled ‘Frankenstein' or 'The Modern Prometheus'.

    It tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, a scientist who tries to create a living being for the good of humanity but instead produces a monster.  Frankenstein creates his monster by assembling parts of dead bodies and activating the creature with electricity.  The monster, which has no name in the book, is actually a gentle, intelligent creature.  However, everyone fears and mistreats him because of his hideous appearance.  Frankenstein rejects the monster and refuses to create a mate for him.  The monster's terrible loneliness drives him to seek revenge by murdering Frankenstein's wife, brother, and best friend.  Frankenstein dies while trying to track down and kill the monster, who disappears into the Arctic at the end of the novel. 

    Film Posters for Universal Studios 1931 version of 'Frankenstein'
    Film Posters for Universal Studios 1931 version of 'Frankenstein'
    Many films have been based on the character of Frankenstein's monster, the most iconic being played by Boris Karloff in the Universal Studios 1931 version of the novel.  Most are simply tales of horror and have little to do with the serious themes of Shelley's novel.  These themes include the possible dangers involved in scientific experimentation with life and the suffering caused by judging people by their appearance. 

    Mary and Shelley married in 1816 after Shelley's first wife committed suicide by drowning. In 1818 the Shelleys left England for Italy. The Italian adventure was, however, blighted for Mary by the death of both her children Clara, in Venice and their son Will died from malaria in Rome.  Mary suffered a nervous breakdown after the death and almost died of a later miscarriage. It was followed by the birth of her only surviving child, Percy Florence Shelley. In July 1822, Percy Bysshe Shelley sailed up the Italian coast and was caught in a storm on his return. He drowned on the 8th July along with his friend Edward Williams and a young boat attendant.

     To support herself and her child, Mary wrote novels, including Valperga (1823), The Last Man (1826), and the autobiographical Lodore (1835).  She spent much of her life in promoting her late husband's work, including editing and annotating unpublished material. She returned to England, never to re-marry.

    The Grave of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly
    The Grave of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly
    She died on 1st February 1851 in Chester Square, London of what some suspect to be a brain tumor, before her to move to live with her son Percy Florence Shelley at Boscombe Manor. Her last book, sometimes considered her best work, was ‘Maria', which was published posthumously.  Her son brought his mothers remains to be interred in St. Peter's Churchyard in Bournemouth, along with Percy's heart, which was not originally buried with his body. It was retrieved from his funeral pyre by his friend Trelawny and kept by Shelley's wife Mary, pressed flat, in a copy of the poet's "Adonais" and was interred for the first time in Mary's tomb.

    Source: www.darkdorset.co.uk
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