AFTER a short series of articles on your memories of a demolished pub in Weymouth, this week we delve deeper into the history of the Railway Dock Hotel.

We also take a closer look at the railway scheme that never was, which, of course, was responsible for the pub's somewhat novel name being nowhere near a railway line!

It's thanks to regular Looking Backer Geoff Pritchard and book The Great Western at Weymouth by John Lucking that we can make sense of what happened with the failed scheme.

Geoff said: "I remember the Railway Dock Hotel from the 1950s when I was a child and used to think what an odd name, as there was no railway there.

"It was built in 1902, hopefully to coincide with the construction of a dock scheme by the Great Western Railway. Like a number of memorable public buildings in the area, it was designed by Crickmay and is described by Eric Ricketts in the Buildings of Old Weymouth as 'a romantic and pleasant extravaganza.'

"This local firm of architects designed a large number of buildings in the area, including the Globe Inn, the Royal Dorset Yacht Club, All Saints Church at Portland, the extensions of 1887 to Holy Trinity Church and the White Ensign Club in St Nicholas Street, which was demolished in 1970 and a great loss to the architectural scene."

Geoff said it was only when he was older that he learned about the Newton’s Cove dock scheme in John Lucking’s excellent book,

The Great Western at Weymouth, published in 1971. The plan for the scheme was announced in 1904 but abandoned by 1913.

He said: "The Great Western Railway’s service to the Channel Islands had outgrown the somewhat limited facilities at Weymouth Harbour and one scheme to alleviate the problem was to build new berths abutting Newton’s Cove adjoining the Admiralty Breakwater.

"This would save paying harbour fees to the Weymouth Corporation, and attract additional trade. Not surprisingly the council objected, but their opposition to the Parliamentary Bill promoting the scheme was ineffective.

"The proposed railway connection to the docks was to run parallel to Underbarn Walk, through two tunnels of 598 yards and 1121 yards respectively and then round the west of the town to join up with the main line south of Upwey Junction.

"Matters dragged on and it was necessary to prepare a reduced cost scheme, with a branch line joining the Portland line near Rodwell Station. The existing line would be doubled from Rodwell to Weymouth. In 1904 it was announced that work would start immediately on the dock scheme, but the scheme was eventually abandoned in 1913.

"Had it been built, it would have solved problems of space and congestion which beset Weymouth Harbour during its operation as a commercial port. This was particularly noticeable when Weymouth was ruled out as a container port through lack of space and infrastructure."

Geoff has also reminded us of another failed scheme in the area - which coincided with our newfound fascination with hovercrafts in the 1960s!

He said: "In 1968 a company proposed development of a hoverport at Newton’s Cove, hovercraft then capturing the public’s imagination as a mode of transport. Proposals included a hotel at the Nothe Fort. This scheme also came to nothing."

So there you have it - the railway connection that never was and the pub with the completely inappropriate name! Thanks to Geoff for filling us in.