REGULAR readers will know how often we use information and pictures fromNeil Mattingly's Freshford.com website and how grateful we are to him.

It seems he is equally appreciative of us after we featured his history of the Dampier family who for 80 years ran the Charmouth village shop.

Mr Mattingtly said: "The response was very helpful in finishing the 32-page booklet on the history of both the building and the families who have run the shop since it opened in 1806. "

Mr Mattingly will be giving a talk with Phil Tritton, whose family have now been running it for the last 10 years on Friday March 11 at 7 pm in Charmouth village hall. They will be launching the booklet at the same time.

He added: "We have more than 100 slides to show the audience of the fascinating story of its survival against all the odds over two centuries.

"The talk and booklet cover briefly the history of the original building. The earliest owners so far found were the Cornelius`s who owned it in the 17th century. It then passed to the Edwards and then the Crouts and finally through marriage to the Bradbeers in the early 19th century.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News:

The Coach and Horses (The Three Crowns) in the centre of the village, where Joseph Bradbeer had been the landlord before opening his shop in 1806

"It was Joseph Bradbeer, who was the landlord of the Three Kings (Coach and Horses) who realised the potential of the site on the coach route linking London with Exeter and in 1806 opened a Post Office, where the Royal Mail Coach could deliver and receive mail.

"This was also the year that he married his third wife Lydia, who was 25 years younger than himself and assisted in the shop. On his death in 1821, Lydia continued the business until 1832 when she remarried local teacher, William Watts and leased the shop to village carpenter, John Carter.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News:

George Mortimer stands in the doorway of his shop with his assistants in 1888

"Her marriage was a disaster and William left her penniless and all her property was auctioned in 1841 to pay off his debts.

"John Carter bought the eastern part of the building and Giles Pryer, a builder the other part.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News:

An early hand coloured postcard of a horse and cart passing outside the shop

"The Carters prospered but in 1864, There was a devastating fire in the Pryers part beginning in the thatched roof that soon spread across. It was rebuilt in brick, but shortly afterwards the Carters gave up and the son, John William moved to Rugby where he opened a grocers.

"It was then briefly in the hands of James Hawkins who ran a similar business of Post Office and General Stores.

"After James it was George Mortimer who was to be the owner for the next 20 years and extended the business into drapery, shoes, hardware as well as grocery and the Post Office.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News:

John Baker's extensive display piled up outside his shop in 1905

"He was very successful and later opened a similar business in Fulham Road in London.

"His successor Edward Vince continued from 1888 until 1898, before retiring to Exeter.

"Sadly, the shop went into decline with the arrival of John Baker, who lost the Post Office License to William Holly with its move to "Wistaria".

"Robert Morgan who was initially in partnership with John fared even worse with the increased competition from other shops in the village.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News:

George Chard outside the Grocers in 1896 that he managed for Edward Vince who also owned the Charmouth Stores at this time. George Pidgeon, the village Post man is standing in the doorway

"He married Laura Pagan who was the widow of the landlord of the Coach and Horses and ran both that business, the shop and also a bus service. But he was overstretched with the shop suffering and went into decline, especially during the years of the First World War.

"It was William Dampier who was to be the saviour of Charmouth Stores, when he took it over in 1919 with his move from Dorchester, where he worked in Boons Grocery Store.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News:

Excitement when this vehicle parks by the shop in 1950

"His son Donald carried on after his death in 1955. His own son, Ronald was to assist and in time took over and it was not until the year 2000, that he and his wife Jean retired. The business has been run for the last decade by the Trittons, who have expanded it under the Nisa banner.

"Charmouth is very fortunate today to still have a family run shop offering such a wide range of goods and services at competitive prices after being at the centre of the village for over 200 years. The talk and booklet we hope will make people aware of its amazing survival against all the odds, especially with the competition of the supermarkets and internet today."