The Charmouth Jubilee Shelter
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The Old Wooden Bridge with Shelter in Background

It is interesting looking back at an earlier Jubilee celebration in Charmouth – that in 1897 of Queen Victoria which was commemorated by the construction of “The Jubilee Shelter”. Sadly there are no traces today of this structure, but photographs of the time show it in all its glory. It would have stood at the top of what is today the Car Park by the present bridge that crosses the river there. This area has changed dramatically as at the time of its construction the River Char formed an Ox bow with an earlier wooden footbridge crossing the bend in the river near the Cement Works (Heritage Centre). This would have taken visitors over to a piece of land known as “the Spit” to the East Cliff. It had been the site for two 24 pounder and one 64 pounder guns that were fired periodically by the local Volunteers to a target consisting of a barrel with a flag on it out to sea. They stored their ammunition in a brick building nearby known as “the Battery”. When the Volunteers were disbanded in 1895 their Band was retained and the building became redundant. Rather than leaving it empty it was decided to convert it into a shelter to mark the Jubilee.
Photographs show the original Battery covered with a pointed roof, which was supported by number of timber pillars protecting the benches below. In 1904 a passage was cut to be known after the contractor as “Hodders Gap” which cut off the bow and gave the river a straight shorter passage to the sea. Unfortunately, the river rapidly enlarged its passage at the New Cut, by eating away the sward until it reached and undermined the Shelter, which totally disappeared.

The Jubilee Shelter can be seen on the field in the background behind the Cement Works(Heritage Centre).