Today we look back at a quirky memory involving an unusual way for shoppers to get to Weymouth town centre!

Back in October 1990 the Weymouth Town Bridge was shut for repairs.

With this key route being out of action, rowing boats across Weymouth Harbour were laid on for shoppers who needed to get to the town from the Chapelhay and Rodwell areas.

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Weymouth Town Bridge out of action and under repair

For the less adventurous, a bus was running which would go around the much longer road diversion around the inner harbour and across Westham Bridge.

Thanks to Portland historian Stuart Morris, we have some images of this unusual happening to share with you, in which you can see queues of shoppers boarding the boats and experiencing an adventurous trip into town!

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Some opted to take a bus instead

The footage was filmed on a rainy day and as you can see, umbrellas and macintoshes were all par for the course!

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Passengers board the boat to get across the harbour

One of the people who rowed people across the harbour at this time was Robert ‘Bobby' Grey, who served as a Weymouth RNLI crew member for 25 years, and passed away in 2017.

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Robert ‘Bobby' Grey

Another of the rowers was Don Laker. The willing ferrymen would even take double buggies across and help parents load them onto the boats from the quay.

It is thought that Bobby or one of the other rowers would initiate a round of The Wheels on the Bus as passengers were rowed across - and some of the youngsters were even given a go on the oars!

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Making their way across

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'If in doubt use the free bus’

The sign you see in these photos informing people of the steep gangway, stating ‘if in doubt use free bus’ is rather apt because Weymouth residents remember getting the boat across to be quite the hairy experience!

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Loading up the boat with passengers

Mandy Stubbs recalls: “I was terrified of getting into the boat.”

Nicola Green remembers: “I went over with my son and was the only one on the boat that got seasick.”

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Passengers waiting to board the bus with the under repair Town Bridge in the background

To share memories like these, join our new nostalgia Facebook group, We Grew Up in Weymouth and Portland here