King George III

King George III statue in WeymouthIt was King George III of England that put Weymouth on the tourist destination map.  His jaunts to Weymouth in the late 1700s made Weymouth ‘The’ place to be seen by the rich and famous as well as those of any standing in society.  It was King George III who made bathing in the sea fashionable.  In 1789, whilst recovering from a bout of porphyria, a disease affecting both the nervous system and/or the skin, the King decided to visit Weymouth.  The physicians of the day extolled the virtues of sea water as part of the healing process.  A replica of his bathing machine can be seen alongside a commemorative statue to the ‘Mad King’, taking pride of place on Weymouth seafront.  It is recorded that every time the King re-emerged from the sea to get changed, his band would all rise and sound a quick burst of God Save the King.  There are other tributes to The King throughout the town; after the King’s statue which was erected in 1810 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the his reign, none more prominent than the ‘white horse’ carved in to the chalk hill on the eastern side of the town.  Less famous than the white horse of Westbury in neighbouring Wiltshire, its secondary status could perhaps be due to its tragic accompanying tale.  The story goes that King George II commissioned the horse, only to be disgusted to see that it was shown depicting him riding out of Weymouth, and not in to his beloved resort.  As a result, the artist himself was devastated and hanged himself for fear of public loathing and the King himself never returned to the town.

Whilst in town, King George lived in Gloucester lodge.  The grand building can still be seen in its prime position today and currently is converted in to a number of flats.  It is also home to the popular Moby Dick’s pub and restaurant (see eating out guide).
The Esplanade, Weymouth Seafront Slideshow: Rob’s trip to Weymouth was created with TripAdvisor TripWow!