Dorset’s coastal museums, along with the coastal museums of East Devon marked the 10th anniversary of the inscription of the Jurassic Coast as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. To this day, the Jurassic Coast is still the only natural World Heritage Site in England. The Site, stretching from Orcombe Point, Exmouth to Studland Bay in Purbeck tells the story of 185 million years of earth history in 95 miles of coast.
Swanage, Wareham, Portland, Bridport, Lyme Regis, Honiton, Budleigh Salterton and Sidmouth Museums all opened for free and made cakes to celebrate the anniversary. Some museums invited special guests and all ensured that their hardworking volunteers were able to benefit from a nice brew-up and a slice of cake.
And what cakes there were. I and my colleagues in the Jurassic Coast team were amazed by the creative skills of the museums. Wareham Museum’s cake was decorated with chocolate dinosaurs and the cake cutting ceremony was carried out by the Mayor, Mrs D.R. Cleaton. At Swanage, Museum Friend David Forster handed out slices of cake made by his wife Jacqui to all. The cake was decorated with a giant carnivorous dinosaur. Lyme Museum went for geological accuracy, with an icing ammonite made by Curator Mary Godwin.
Over the border in Devon, Honiton Museum recruited the Mayor, Mr Vernon Whitlock to cut the cake. Budleigh Salterton too persuaded their Mayor to lead their cake cutting ceremony. Sidmouth Museum too rose to the challenge in spectacular style. Their cake was cut by Ramos Gallois, a well-respected geologist. The cake itself, made by Rita Bewes, Museum Secretary was three layered: the bottom layer orange, the middle blue and the upper green, capturing the three geological ages whose story is told on out coast.
Bridport Museum’s cake can best be described as edible art. Their cake was decorated with a giant pliosaur skull, in the jaws of which was jammed Richard Edmonds, Jurassic Coast Earth Science Manager, whilst Sam Rose and Sam Scriven of the Jurassic Coast team trying to rescue their colleague. The icing figures were remarkable, Richard’s figure captured his shock of hair, Sam Rose’s had fair hair and glasses, and Sam Scriven’s his distinct beard.
Finally, thanks to the governing bodies of all the museums for opening to help with our celebrations. It was yet another fantastic example of the cooperation and enthusiasm of the Jurassic Coast Museums Partnership. Thank you all!
David Tucker, Dorset County Museums Adviser