Cobb Gate

Point of interest
Photo gallery

The area known as Cobb Gate, situated at the bottom of Broad Street, with a small car park and millennial clock gives little indication of its former purpose. Until the end of the eighteenth century, all goods landed at the Cobb had to be brought along the foreshore to this busy point for customs assessment. Back then warehouses, a custom house and fish market were situated in this area. The old customs house was located where the current public toilets are in between Fordhams and the Pilot Boat Inn.

Assembly Rooms, built as an imitation of those in Bath, replaced the warehouses in the 1770s as a fashionable meeting place for the rising numbers of wealthy visitors.

John Fletham’s guidebook - A Guide to all the Watering and Seabathing Places dating from 1803, describes the Assembly Rooms as follows:

“Lyme has a small Assembly-Room, Card-Room and Billiard-Table all conveniently ranged under one roof ; and had the Library been joined to it, all the amusements which the place can furnish would have been comprised in one building. The situation for this edifice is happily chosen, as it commands a charming marine view as far as the Isle of Portland, eight leagues off, and the interior is compact and well arranged. Magnificence is not essential to enjoyment: often more happiness is found in a cottage than in a palace; and the rooms at Lyme frequently exhibit as cheerful countenance as are to be seen at Bath or Brighton.”

Balls were held in the assembly rooms and in letter written by Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra  during her stay in Lyme in 1804 describes her experience of dancing at the venue. See more in the Jane Austen section.

After 1874 the building became a social club and then a cinema, eventually being demolished in 1928 and ultimately replaced with the present car park.

Cobb Gate