Sunday, 5 June 2011

Going Global in Swanage

The Great Globe can be found perched near the cliff edge in Durlston Country Park near the Dorset resort of Swanage. It was carved in sections out of Portland Stone in 1887 in Greenwich and transported to Dorset by sea. Weighing over 40 tons it is described as one of the largest stone spheres in the world. In 1891 a group of stone slabs were placed around the globe and inscribed with some handy facts about the natural world. Geopolitically it is frozen in the late Victorian era and likely to remain so. It makes an unusual visitor attraction – it possesses no associations with the great and good, it commemorates no historic event, there are no religious or spiritual connotations – all it has is curiosity value. Publishers of postcards found a ready demand for images of the globe and this little group was assembled very quickly with no great effort involved. I went to see it about twenty years ago and will post some photographs when I locate them. It may be time for a return trip – the globe was restored last year.

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