Past Remains

A view of yesterday from today

Sundial House & Library Cottage, Lyme Regis, Dorset

I put these two buildings together on the same page for now. Partly because they are situated next door to each other and form part of an architectural listing group, but mostly because I've only got two photos of Library Cottage and it seems a shame to use a whole page for a very short article when I can tack it onto this one! I might give it it's own page if and when I can take some more photos.

Appropriately, the name of the first charming Grade II listed house is called Sundial.  Built in 1903,  it was designed by the architect Arnold Mitchell, who also designed Library Cottage, as well as the delightfully Hobbit-like Umbrella Cottage, which can be seen here. The wonderful Sundial that has given the house it's name is large with a delightfully fat grinning sun and edged with ebullient foliage curlicues. The motto beneath is HORAS NON NUMERO NISI SERENAS and, as I am not versed in Latin I had to google for it's meaning, which roughly translates as "I do not count the hours except the bright ones". Such a beautifully appropriate epithet.

Built with blue lias rubble and dressings in contrasting stone, the building comprises four storeys and two window bays above a square headed doorway containing a studded door which is reached by eight stone steps. Two-light mullioned windows are on the first and second floors, situated to the left of the four-light splayed bay windows, with two two-light mullioned windows on the third floor. The eponimous sundial is situated between the door and the first floor window bay. A stone rubble wall with two entrance doors separates the forecourt from Marine Parade, where both buildings are situated. Two delightful large ammonite fossils are set into the wall above two slits, and at least one other in the wall of the house itself, signifying the importance of the area for fossils and the contribution made to science by the palaeontologist, Mary Anning.

Also a Grade II building, Library Cottage is very different to it's tall and impressive next door neighbour. It began life as two cottages, circa mid 19th century, which Arnold Mitchell converted into one house, and was named Library Cottage because it was here that the town's Marine Circulating Library was established in 1839. Our nation's much loved novelist, Jane Austen, had died some 22 years before in 1817; otherwise, we could imagine her visiting the circulating library as a part of her social life when she stayed in Lyme.

A much smaller cottage with a symmetrical frontage and pink-washed walls, it consists of two storeys and two window bays encompassing both top and bottom floors. The striking rainwater heads are 18th century, and were added to either side of the front by Arnold Mitchell, which he'd taken from another building. I'm not sure what the central piping was, but there appear to be spouts at the top and bottom. That, and the fixtures, all look part of the same arrangement and probably came from the same place, along with the cast iron frieze dated 1768.

Both so different from each other, and also from Umbrella Cottage, these buildings show some of the range of styles that Arnold Mitchell worked with. Yet, despite the differences, they also show how he accentuated the meaning behind them in his own unique way.

And below, two more photos of Sundial, which I took some time before in 1996. The ones above were taken in 2009.

Almost identical to the one above; however, this one shows the roof detail of a parapet with a moulded string at the base. 

These same photos can also be seen in the Photo Gallery album, along with some more that I took later in 2016.

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