CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Dorset Magazine today CLICK HERE

Dorset fossil collector Steve Etches

PUBLISHED: 16:31 23 November 2016 | UPDATED: 16:31 23 November 2016


Steve Etches is clearly a clever, persuasive - and lucky - man.

If I told my wife I wanted to house 23,000 fossils in our dining room for the next 35 years, she’d turn me to stone.

Not only did Steve convince his wife to do just that, he has just pulled off another astonishing feat - securing £5million of lottery and private funding to build a state-of-the-art museum in Kimmeridge to house his record, priceless collection.

The Etches Collection: Museum of Jurassic Marine Life opens on October 21st and no one will be more delighted than Mrs Etches.

“She’s been very good,” admits Steve, a plumber by trade. “First, I converted the garage, then I took over the dining room. And then there’s the coach loads of students coming over to look at my fossils. It can’t have been easy for my wife.”

The 67-year-old made his first discovery - an echinoid flint cast - at the age of five before embracing the hobby with vim in his 30s, scouring the Dorset coast for rare pieces. His world-beating finds include crocodiles, sharks and dinosaurs, ranging from a two-metre jaw of a Pliosaur to a millimetre-long ammonite egg.

Steve says: “Scientists said this coastline had the least interesting fossils. But a plumber proved them all wrong. This will completely change what people think a museum is. It’s an experience that takes you back to deep time.”

Find out more at


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Dorset visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Dorset staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Dorset account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from People

Tue, 10:39

From festival director to an internationally acclaimed artist, meet some of the remarkable people working behind the scenes to enhance what historic Sherborne has to offer

Read more
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Hosted by Martin and Philippa Clunes, this year’s event drew people, ponies and dogs from far and wide to raise funds for Dorset County Hospital Charity Cancer Appeal

Read more
Friday, July 27, 2018

Martin Clunes and his family have called West Dorset home for over two decades. Here he shares some of their favourite local places

Read more
Monday, July 9, 2018

Calling all self-professed Clunatics! Test your knowledge on Doc Martin with our quiz.

Read more
Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Fanny Charles meets some of the residents and businesses owners who are proud to call Dorset’s newest town the place where they work, live and play

Read more
Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Donna and Harry Mosley have brought the taste of their world travels to The Paddle in Highcliffe, where brunch and lunch is a deliciously leisurely affair

Read more
Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Here we turn the spotlight on some of our county’s most successful and discover what makes them tick

Read more
Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Human rights lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith has brought the plight of detainees at Guantanomo Bay into the art rooms of local schools

Read more
Friday, March 2, 2018

Rural communities throughout the UK could be eligible to receive funding via the Calor Rural Community Fund from energy provider Calor

Read more
Tuesday, February 27, 2018

His extraordinary physique made Chang Woo Gow famous, but this well educated family man sought escape from the limelight in Boscombe

Read more
Thursday, February 8, 2018

Retired drama teacher turned film director and producer, Rosita Clarke tells us about the ghostly Dorset love story that has just won her an award at an international film festival

Read more
Tuesday, February 6, 2018

We’ve been lucky enough to speak to some of Dorset’s best known over the years. Here’s what they love most about this beautiful county

Read more
Monday, January 29, 2018

A world-renowned explorer, a palaeontologist and futurist, and a butterfly conservator reveal the importance of the past for the future of mankind

Read more
Monday, January 15, 2018

AFC Bournemouth’s Jermain Defoe tells Andy Greeves how having a virtually vegan diet has helped to keep him at the top of his game and why beetroot helps him run faster

Read more

Local People

Tue, 10:39

From festival director to an internationally acclaimed artist, meet some of the remarkable people working behind the scenes to enhance what historic Sherborne has to offer

Read full story »