"Bridport In Dorset" Bridport by ranger49

Bridport Travel Guide: 15 reviews and 48 photos

AN ancient, bustling market town.

Bridport is the nearest town to the lovely self catering cottage that we first stayed in at the end of 2010 during one of the coldest recorded weeks in this part of England - in fact in most of the UK.
In spite of the cold, the frost and the snow we went out sightseeing every day, except one, during that first week and fell in love with all the area, determined to return.
Next time we struck gold! and, returning to the same cottage the first week in April 2011 enjoyed summer like weather.
However many time you say "The weather doesn't matter" it does really. But if you can feel at home in a place when your bones feel as thay are freezing it is so good to go back and be rewarded by an early heat wave.
This is a place we will return to again and again and find new things to do and enjoy whatever the weather!

No sea here - so why BridPORT?

The River Brit which flows into West Bay was once navigable and high tides enabled flat bottomed boats to reach the southern shores of the town.
In 1253 it was granted the Status of a Royal Borough which gave it the right to exercise control of all trade, markets, local justice and the gathering of tolls.
A small harbour was created and by the end of the 13th Century Bridport town was claiming the right to exact tolls from any vessels using that stretch of the river. The ability to import and export goods by water was to play an important part of the future development and prosperity of the town as a manufacturing and trading centre.

The Museum and Local History Centre

The small Museum is well worth a visit - and it is free. The building has some history,of its own. It is said to located on the site of a Saxon castle, and now has an attractive C16th facade all that remains of the previous structure that was destroyed by fire in 1876.
The museum covers local history from the time of the Romans and of Bridport from its earliest known origins.
There are scenes of rural life through the ages and a lot about an early 19th century local, self taught "pharmacist" famous for the invention of a cure-all ointment known as the Poor Man's Friend.
One of the most interesting accounts is about the rope making industry which for many years was the most important trade of the area. The local production of a particular type of hemp or flax that was perfectly suited to rope making was a significant factor in establishing Bridport as the most important and main centres of the industry for centuries.
All the ropes used by the Royal Navy were made here as well as the ropes used by other seafarers, and in any trades requiring strong, heavy duty ropes for haulage work.
Even the ropes used on the gallows and by the hang-man were likely to have been produced here!.
At one time whole familes were engaged in the production process as the finished rope had to be pulled, strengthened and twisted into shape in long "walks".
Until I visited the museum I had not connected the street name <Rope Walk> with the trade at all.
A subsidiary trade was the manufacture of nets and in recent times Bridport netting has been used at Wimbledon, the 1966 World Football Final and as the "arrester" nets for the space shuttle.

  • Last visit to Bridport: Apr 2011
  • Intro Updated May 6, 2012
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Reviews (8)

Comments (3)

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Nov 11, 2012 at 7:41 AM

    We tend to forget how important ropes and rope-making used to be, especially in the era of sailing ships. Good that the local museum deals with this.

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    May 9, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    Barbara, lovely little page about this bustling market town in England.

  • Myfanwe's Profile Photo
    May 8, 2012 at 11:38 PM

    Hi Barbara, A lovely insight to Bridport, it looks like a really nice place. We're off to Euromeet in a few weeks but will have to arrange to meet up later on in the summer. Take care, Vicki

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