DID you know that the first underwater photograph was taken in Weymouth Bay by William Thompson?

In 1856 Thompson lowered a housed plate camera to the seabed and operated the shutter from a boat.

Thompson was born in Hamworthy and completed his education in France before returning to live at Lychett Minster.

In 1847 William Thompson married Sarah Slade, a member of a well-known Poole family of Newfoundland merchants. Soon after the marriage, the couple set up house where at 11 Frederick Place, Weymouth, Thompson practised as a solicitor.

Thompson had many interests. He was the owner of a yawl of 104 tons, named the "Waif", and a 12 ton cutter named "Feather Star", both of which were used for trawling and dredging in Weymouth Bay. He was a member of the Royal Thames Yacht Club and later became a founder member of the Dorset Yacht Club. As a naturalist Thompson discovered several new species of anemones and seaweeds.

He died at 3 Gloucester Row, Weymouth, on April 15, 1879. Thompson lies with his wife and father and other members of the family in a vault near the entrance to the graveyard at Wyke Regis.