A HISTORIAN is set to give his last talk after 25 years of educating the public.

Ken Gollop will be giving his annual lecture from the 'Tales Under Shady Tree' series on Sunday, November 18, having given them for a quarter of a century for Lyme Regis Museum.

Ken, who has been giving the talks for a quarter of a century at Lyme Regis Museum, was originally meant to give the talk in March.

However due to the 'Beast from the East', it was postponed.

Ken said: "My first talk was in 1992, John Fowles persuaded me to become a Trustee of Lyme Museum.

"At my first trustees' meeting, I complained that it was all Mary Anning and Jane Austen and not much about the local working class, so they told me to get on with it. "That resulted in doing the first talk and slide show, where I told the tale of Shady Tree, a large wych elm we used to play under on the only level bit of ground in the valley rather than Bumpy Field.

"This was very popular with both locals and incomers, and so far I have done about 25 similar illustrated talks, but now I am 82, I think it's time to retire. "I can't imagine anything worse than an oldie getting up and making a fool of himself in front of an expectant audience.

"I have enjoyed doing it and the museum has benefitted from the extra material my talks have generated."

It was due to his grandfather, Frank, that Ken became interested in history, with Frank taking Ken and his cousins after the Second World War for long walks in the winter around the countryside or to Charmouth, teaching them things about the local area.

His grammar school history teacher, Miss Male, also encouraged him to take an interest in local history.

Ken said: "My favourite topic I suppose was the maritime history of Lyme. Our family goes back several generations connected with the sea.

"My great grandfather married into the Hunter family, a fishing family at Charmouth going back many years.

"My grandfather married Elizabeth Gordge, whose family amongst other things were excisemen (smugglers) at Stanton St Gabriel's in the 1700s.

"The sea has always been there and we still have some connection, my nephew has the aquarium on the Cobb and some of Frank Gollop's great grandchildren have boats and others are in the lifeboat."

The final talk will focus on the new housing developments in Lyme and the history of the Woodbury Down Estate, which is still known locally as St Albans after the hotel that used to be there.

David Tucker, director at Lyme Regis Museum, said: "Lyme Regis has had few supporters more hard working, dedicated and far-seeing than Ken Gollop.

"Through his talks and huge local network the museum has succeeded in developing connections with many local people and families which has led to many fantastic objects being donated to the museum.

"Ken was for many years a trustee of the museum and also spent a very successful period as chairman of our charity.

"To this day his enthusiasm for the museum and its work is undimmed."

Ken's final Shady Tree talk will take place on Sunday, November 18 at Woodmead Halls from 2.30pm.

Admission is £3 to include a cup of tea.