Here's a quirky little story from June 1908.

Tourists flocked to Lyme Regis because they thought they'd stumbled upon an erupting volcano!

Smoke and flames could be seen coming out of the cliffs to the east of the town and just past the church cliffs – following a huge landslide.

A vicar and a former geological survey officer inspected the site on June 10.

They reported that the smoke did not in fact come from a volcano – but instead from a pile of burning debris – which had slipped from a second tier on the cliff.

The material included shales, iron pyrites and cement stones.

Smoke had initially started to appear in January 1908 and was the result of the spontaneous combustion when decomposed material mixed with oxygen and produced sulphates.

The debris had earlier been soaked by rain, which had helped the decomposition of pyrites – allowing it to ignite with the same organic material.

The smoking continued from January to June before it was reported that the ‘volcano had burst’.

This was a way of describing that the smoke had stopped because of a further landslide on June 10 – which exposed a fissure revealing a hole, similar to a brick kiln.

There had never been a volcano, but many believed it was possible that a small seismic tremor might have been the cause of the landslip – although there was no record of any seismic activity.

It was also possible that the removal of limestone from the eastern side was weakening the cliffs and was likely to have caused the landslide.

These postcards from Bob Speer at The Sanctuary in Lyme Regis show how visitors to the town perceived the landslip as a tourist attraction.