Unique collection of old Lyme photos uncovered

PUBLISHED: 12:18 31 January 2019

Lyme Regis railway staff pictured in 1948. Picture Percy Bird

Lyme Regis railway staff pictured in 1948. Picture Percy Bird

Archant

Former train driver Percy Bird’s pictures to go on show

Railway staff rResting at Lyme between trips. St Albans - now Woodbury Down - in the background.  Picture Percy BirdRailway staff rResting at Lyme between trips. St Albans - now Woodbury Down - in the background. Picture Percy Bird

A unique collection of more than 300 photographs of Lyme Regis taken in the 1930’s and 40’s has been uncovered.

They were taken by Percy Bird, a locomotive driver on the former Axminster to Lyme branch railway line.

Tripping boats at Cobb Gate jetty in 1952 with visiting warship HMS Scott in the bay. Picture Percy BirdTripping boats at Cobb Gate jetty in 1952 with visiting warship HMS Scott in the bay. Picture Percy Bird

They were discovered by his grandson Rob Wheeler who transferred the original images from the glass plates to his computer.

Mr Bird was interested in motorcycles, musical instruments and astronomical telescopes. Pictures of these plus the railway and railway staff and all areas of Lyme feature in his collection.

A driver with Lyme 'Puffing Billy' - the locals' name for the steam  engine. Picture Percy BirdA driver with Lyme 'Puffing Billy' - the locals' name for the steam engine. Picture Percy Bird

The public has the chance to see these photos at a slide show at the Woodmead Halls, Lyme Regis on Sunday, February 10, at 2.30pm.

Commentary for the show will be given by local historian Ken Gollop, who says that this is the most important historical photo collections of Lyme during the 20th century.

Percy Bird with 'Puffing Billy'Percy Bird with 'Puffing Billy'

The show will be in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society at the request of the family.

** Puffing Billy, the much loved steam train, was also a bearer of hot news as it chugged its way into East Devon.

Enterprising drivers on the picturesque branch railway line used to pick up newspapers from the W.H Smith shop on Lyme Regis railway station before leaving for Axminster and drop off copies at some of the more isolated spots.

None was more enterprising than Percy Bird who, in the mid 1950s, used to package a paper and “airmail” it almost 100 ft from Uplyme’s Cannington Viaduct, to the field below for the Collier family.

Most Read

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Most Read

Latest from the Midweek Herald

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists