Friday, August 23, 2013

Kimmeridge Fossil Museum

District Council supports fossil museum and new village hall

Purbeck District Council has agreed to provide £50,000 towards a project to provide a fossil museum and integral village hall in Kimmeridge, Dorset.

The Kimmeridge Trust requested the funding support towards a £5m-plus project which aims to provide local residents with a new community facility whilst securing a permanent home for a large collection of Jurassic fossils.

The new facility will replace the old village hall which has outlived its useful life.  The fossil collection has been compiled by local resident Mr Steve Etches over thirty years. It is internationally recognised and is the largest collection of Kimmeridge clay formation fossils outside of the Natural History Museum.

Councillor Peter Webb, Economy and Infrastructure Spokesperson for Purbeck District Council, said: “This is a unique opportunity for Kimmeridge and for Purbeck as a whole.   The new village hall and community facility will provide local residents with a superb new central hub and the museum will create a new focus for visitors to Kimmeridge, enhancing their experience and improving the local economy.”

John Woodward, Project Director for the Kimmeridge Trust, said:  “The Trust and inhabitants of Kimmeridge are delighted and very grateful to Purbeck District Council for their most positive support and recognition and how this project will benefit Purbeck and its communities.”

The District Council’s approval of the funding supports the its Corporate Strategy objective of ‘Improving the local economy and infrastructure’.

Mr Etches’ collection represents one of the finest collections of Jurassic fossils held outside recognised public institutions. He has agreed to gift it to the nation and enable the public to enjoy it by placing it in the new museum.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Dark Sky Swanage?

Suggestion for Swanage: Many proposed initiatives for boosting local business cost money. How about selling Swanage as the `Dark Sky Capital' of the South Coast? All we need to do is to switch off the lights. We could even save money! Perhaps every Friday night could be Dark Night. Bournemouth creates quite a glow, but looking east, north and south it can be dark enough.

We already have the 14" telescope at Durlston, run by the Wessex Astronomy Society which runs welcoming and informative evenings every so often (next one, weather permiiting, is on 30th August). Let's enthuse people with a wonderful view of the heavens!