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PUBLISHED: 18:08 23 May 2013 | UPDATED: 18:34 23 May 2013

The Georgian Lock-up

The Georgian Lock-up


Martin Warwick explores a popular seaside town with Georgian morals and a fishy emblem

There’s a lot of stone around here - stone walls, stone roofs, stone pavements stone kerbs and stone benches. Reaching for your pens already? Let’s explore a bit more before you commit yourself. This place is a great promoter of morality, as witnessed by the George III period lock-up just off the main street where the stone plaque above the studded door pronounces ‘Erected for the Prevention of Vice and Immorality by the Friends of Religion & Good Order AD 1803’.

Moving on, there is an ornately fronted town hall with stone angels, flowers and foliage all around the front doors, and cast-iron lamp standards not found anywhere else in Dorset. Nearly opposite is a hotel with a stone turret and a high wall built from what appears to be vertical crazy paving, but this is just an informal use of smaller stone fragments not laid in the natural way they were found in the quarry.

All over this seaside town, the same motif appears - in stone benches, wooden benches, the street lighting and everywhere. Can you picture the Isle of Man symbol with the three legs? Well, this one is similar but more curvaceous, with a fish between each pair of legs, and all within a surrounding circle. Talking of circular things, there are some cannonballs mounted on a column in the town, but I can’t tell you exactly where without giving you too much information.

Now, returning to the main street, albeit branched off by now, there’s another stone plaque. This one tells intended carriers how much they will be charged for having their goods weighed, as follows: ‘Table for Weighing. Stone per ton 1d, Coal per ton 2d, Hay and Straw per load 6d’. So do you know where we are?

• The first correct answer selected at random on 30 June 2013 wins £25.

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