Friday, September 05, 2008

Steps at Lyme Regis

One of the unexpected joys of keeping this blog has been making new friendships. The comments box and email may have replaced the letter but the communication between total strangers, starting with the simple exchange of information and opinions and developing into genuine interest in the other person, is as real as that depicted in 84 Charing Cross Road. I have been very fortunate to have formed friendships with like-minded people whom I may never meet but who now play an important part in my everyday life.

A very special real-life friendship has developed with D of 60goingon16 and yesterday she invited me to join her on a trip to Lyme Regis. I mentioned the planned visit in an email to new-found 'virtual' friend Carolyn, who lives in America and she sent me a link to a 19th century article on Lyme Regis in the archives at Cornell University and that revealed information about Jane Austen that I hadn't known. I see now why the proper term for a blog is 'web log'. Here for Carolyn are some pictures of the steps on the Cobb at Lyme Regis. (Click on the pictures to enlarge)

We were rather disappointed when we saw this set of steps. We had been hoping for something a little more dramatic.
Then we realised that there were more. Could these be the steps featured in Persuasion?

Walking farther along the Cobb, we spied something more promising.
These fit the description from the article in the Cornell University archive much better: "By Lyme people this flight, which is merely a series of stones projecting from the wall, is called "the teeth" and it is down these steps that Louisa Musgrove fell."
If I knew more about photography, I could remove the unsightly modern litter bin!
Thank you, D, for including me in this lovely visit to Lyme and thank you, Carolyn, for helping us to identify the flight of steps with the Jane Austen connection. More pictures of the visit in a future post perhaps, or maybe D will share some of hers. (No pressure!)


  1. Wonderful photos! Thank you. I cannot imagine using those steps.

  2. As you can see, I stayed firmly on the lower level of the Cobb. A few people braved the top but it was very windy and not for the faint-hearted like me.

  3. Did you not go to Lyme Regis on an English Department trip M? I remember doing so and thought it was a sedately wild, lovely place. I also recall stopping off there when walking from W. Sussex to Buckfast in the early '80s and having a cream tea in a very Jane Austin cottage tea-room. Is there a link for the Cornell article on Lyme Regis? Great photos – except for the bin!

  4. No, Crinny, we went to Chawton instead. I'll email that link for you.

  5. Thank you for the delightful souvenirs of a memorable visit, M. And yes, I'll be writing about it (with photos) this evening - and continuing the theme of friendship. (Not that one ever needs an excuse to write about friendship.)

  6. I'm not surprised Lydia fell if she attempted those particular steps. Great photos!

  7. True, Susie. I wouldn't attempt it wearing trousers and modern shoes, imagine a long dress and 18th century footwear!

  8. Hey, I've climbed up and down those steps many times - most notably when 8 months' pregnant, which proved a tad awkward but I was not to be deterred. I must admit, however, that it was more the knowledge that Ciaran Hinds had stood beneath them while filming the Roger Michel version of Persuasion which inspired me, than anything more literary. Sorry. It's just that whole irresistible 'jumping from a great height into Ciaran Hinds's arms' thing. You know the one? Oh. Maybe it's just me, then . . .

  9. Great photos and how lovely to identify the actual spot.
    Persuasion - a favourite - and Ciaran Hinds, though my favourite Ann was Juliet Stevenson (on radio in the nineties).

  10. Persuasion is my favourite Austen novel. I didn't hear the radio dramatisation but I can imagine that Juliet Stevenson would be excellent.


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