Infobox UK place
region= South West England
constituency_westminster= West Dorset
static_image_caption=South Street, Bridport
Bridport is a town in
Dorset, England. Located near the coastat the Western end of Chesil Beachat the confluence of the rivers Brit and Asker, it originally thrived as a fishing portand rope-making centre (the hangman's rope being made at Bridport gave birth to the saying "stabbed with a Bridport dagger"). The Port is no longer in existence although the harbour at West Bay is a mile away.
It has recently become the subject of articles where it has been nicknamed 'Notting Hill on Sea' [ [http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,2015679,00.html Why everyone flocks to Notting Hill on Sea] The Observer,
18 February 2007] and is attracting large numbers of second home owners with all the attendant social problems that this creates. In 2006 West Dorsetwas named 10th best place to live in the UK. [ [http://www.channel4.com/4homes/ontv/best&worst/2006/wdorset.html Best and Worst places to Live 2006] ] The town is twinned with Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue, France.
According to the 2001 Census, the
populationof the Bridport stands at 12,977. One and a half miles from the town centre and within the town boundary lies West Bay, a small fishing harbour known as Bridport Harbour until the arrival of the railway. At that time it was "rebranded" to its current name to make it sound more attractive. West Bay was also the scene for the opening shot of "The Life and Times of Reginald Perrin" and the 1950s film of the "Navy Lark" was also shot there.
Bridport is composed of several small suburban districts, namely Allington, Skilling ,Coneygar,
Bothenhampton, Bradpole, Court Orchard and St Andrews Well.
A number of these districts were formerly small surrounding villages which have gradually coalesced with Bridport's expanding urbanity over the years (see below).
Bothenhamptonin particular is still regarded by locals as a large separate village.
Askerswell, Bothenhampton, Bradpole, Burton Bradstock, Chideock, Evershot, Eype, Loders, Powerstock, Pymore, Shipton Gorge, Skilling, Swyre, Symondsbury, Uploders, Walditch and West Bay
Bridport is situated on the world heritage
Jurassic Coastand Chesil Beach. The loose clay cliffs in the area are abundant with fossils making the area popular with fossil hunters.
Industry and Commerce
It is home to some light industry prominently, Palmer's Brewery (JC & RH Palmer Ltd), a company which owns a percentage of the towns property under various alias, and which recently celebrated its bicentennial;
AmSafeBridport, successors to the old established firm of Bridport-Gundry; Curtiss Wright; Relyon Beds and Edwards Sports, the main survivors of the 750 year old rope and net making companies. Even to this day the goal nets of any major football championships are likely to be made in Bridport and also the tennis nets, wooden posts and umpire's chair at Wimbledon.
Bridport has a thriving commercial centre with a twice-weekly street market and monthly farmers' market [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/dorset/content/articles/2005/01/13/farmers_markets_feature.shtml Farmers' Markets in Dorset] BBC Dorset] .
Bridport has an Arts Centre, Cinema, Library and Museum.
The New Year is celebrated at Bucky Doo square next to the Town Hall in fancy dress. South Street closed to traffic and drinking is permitted on the streets as plastic glasses are issued by nearby pubs.
RNLI Raft Race
The raft race is held in July in the River Brit basin at West Bay. Participants build a 'floating vessel' and row it a few hundred yards up the River Brit before returning to the lake by the harbour sluice gates. The idea is to avoid sinking, capsizing or falling in.
The town holds its annual carnival on the third Saturday in August. The main feature is a carnival parade of floats, walking acts and majorettes. Other attractions on the day include carnival darts, carnival golf, a grand car boot sale, carnival fete and a fun fair. After the carnival South Street is closed for the night as live music is played while people dance in the street. Bridport's fun fair is open till late which is situated on Asker Meadow a local nature reserve next to Morrisons supermarket.
A torchlight procession takes place the following night where 1,500 torches are carried 2 miles from the town centre to a bonfire at West Bay. This is followed by live music and fireworks. West Bay's fun fair opens till late. The annual events raise money for local good causes and organisations.
On the Thursday before the August Bank Holiday weekend each year Bridport hosts the Melplash Show at the West Bay Showgrounds. One of Dorset's three biggest agricultural shows.
Guy Fawkes Night
The biggest public firework display is held at the Bridport Leisure Center and is organised by the Bridport Round Table. It is normally held on the nearest Saturday to the official night.
Honiton- Southamptonroad A35 passes around Bridport on a bypass, and the A3066to Crewkerne, via Beaminsterstarts in Bridport. There is also a direct road to Weymouth, the B3157 also known as the coast road, this take you through the coastal villages of Burton Bradstockand Abbotsbury. The railway station in the town closed in 1975 (one of the last railway closures), and now the nearest stations are Maiden Newton, Crewkerne, Dorchester or Weymouth. There are regular buses to Weymouthand Axminsterevery hour weekdays, and the X53 Exeter- Bournemouthcoastal service stops at the main bus station every two hours most weekdays with some extra services during the school summer holidays. There are a few buses a day to Crewkerne and Yeovil, and minor buses serving surrounding villages as well.
* Bridport Primary School
* St Mary's CE VC Primary School
* St Catherines R C Primary School
The Sir John Colfox School is Bridport’s only secondary school located on the outskirts of the town. Serving ages 11 to 18 it also has a combined sixth form with nearby
BeaminsterSchool. It is a specialist language college so offers opportunities for learning languages useful for travelling abroad. The school houses are Adler, Fleur de Lys, Hinomaru and Toro. The school was the first built with a Private Finance Initiativeand is now operated by Jarvis. The head teacher is Kay Taylor.
Some parents choose to send their children either to Beaminster School, Woodroffe School, Colyton Grammar School or the Thomas Hardye School. There are daily buses running to these schools from Bridport.
Local Colleges and University
Kingston Maurward College
The town's football team is
Bridport FC"The Bees". They currently play in the Western Football Leaguedivision 1. The club was founded in 1885 and the home ground is St. Mary's Field.
The town's rugby union team is Bridport RFC.
Bridport & West Dorset Golf Club is situated atop of the east cliff at West Bay. The club has an 18 hole links course, driving range and pitch & putt course.
The area also hosts one of the last remaining
real tenniscourts that was recently renovated with the aid of a lottery grant.
Local celebrities include singer
PJ Harvey, actor Martin Clunes, Antiques Roadshowpresenter Paul Atterbury and musician Billy Bragg. Former Plymouth Argyle and Torquay United footballerand manager Kevin Hodgeswas born in the town. Bridport and the surrounding area was used to film Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Channel 4 television programme " River Cottage" and also a BBC drama "Harbour Lights" staring Nick Berry.
Bridport has one main local newspaper, "The Bridport News" owned by
Newsquestwhich is published weekly on a Thursday. There are also a number of free papers, one being "A view from Bridport". The Dorset Echoalso serves Bridport which is published daily from Monday to Saturday.
Local television is served by
BBC Spotlightand ITV Westcountrywhich are both based in Plymouth. Terrestrial television is transmitted in both analogue and digital from the Stockland Hill Transmitter but the main town is served by an analogue only relay transmitter based at Highlands End.
Bridport is a
Met Officecoastal weather observation point and such it is often included as a place name on the BBC national weather map.
The town's local commercial radio station is
Wessex FMwhich broadcasts at 96.0FM. Owned by The Local Radio Companyit also serves Weymouthand Dorchester. BBC local Radio includes both BBC Radio Devonand BBC Radio Solent.
Bridport lies between boundaries of broadcasters of the South and those of the South West. Viewers in Bridport are more likely to receive news about
Devonand Cornwallthan they are about East and North Dorset. To bridge the gap in the county the BBCproposed launching BBC Radio Dorset but this was soon dropped following BBC cut backs [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/dorset/7051877.stm County station proposal dropped] BBC News, 18 October 2007] . The Dorset Broadcasting Action Group campaigns for better coverage in the area.
With the closure of Bridport's only nightclub, DeVinchies [ [http://archive.thisisdorset.net/2004/12/17/60343.html Sadness over plans to close nightclub] Dorset Echo,
17 December 2004] in 2005 saw the end of the night scene at Bridport for young people. The Royal Oak in West Street, owned by Palmer's Brewery was then converted to cater for a younger audience. The Royal Oak is now closed while it is being refurbished for an older crowd. This has left a big hole in Bridport's nightlife with lots of people travelling to Weymouth, Dorchesterand Seaton to end their night in a club. Other venues have tried to bridge the gap. The opening of the Electric Palace Cinema in 2007 has brought opportunity for more late night entertainment. Its management is promoting gigs at least once a month and is also hosting daily films whose appeal is targeted towards younger people. There are occasional gigs at the nearby Bridport Arts Centre.
* [http://www.bridport-arts.com/ Bridport Arts Centre]
* [http://www.dorsetforyou.com/index.jsp?articleid=324212 Bridport Census data]
* [http://www.electricpalace.org.uk Bridport Cinema]
* [http://www.bridportleisure.com/ Bridport Leisure Centre]
* [http://www.bridportmuseum.co.uk Bridport Museum]
* [http://www.bridportnews.co.uk/ Bridport News]
* [http://www.bridportopenstudios.co.uk/ Bridport Open Studios]
* [http://www.bridportprize.org.uk/ Bridport Prize]
* [http://www.bridportradio.co.uk/ Bridport Radio]
* [http://www.bridportandwestbay.co.uk Bridport Town Council]
* [http://www.bridportgolfclub.org.uk/ Bridport & West Dorset Golf Club]
* [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/main.jhtml?xml=/property/2007/03/17/pbridport117.xml Welcome to Bridport, or Notting Hill on Sea] The Telegraph,
17 March 2007.
* [http://www.bridportradio.co.uk/content/view/608/1/ Bridports reaction to Notting Hill on Sea references.] Bridport Radio
22 February 2007.
* [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/wine/main.jhtml?xml=/wine/2007/10/13/edpint113.xml Pint to pint pub guide: The George, Dorset] The Telegraph
13 October 2007.
* [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/wine/main.jhtml?xml=/wine/2007/11/10/edpint110.xml Pint to pint] The Telegraph
11 November 2007.
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/dorset/content/image_galleries/bridport_gallery.shtml Bridport: Notting Hill by Sea?] BBC Dorset
* [http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2006/oct/07/dorset.shortbreaks.hotels The Bull Hotel] Guardian
7 October 2006.
* [http://www.thisisdorset.net/display.var.2107158.0.supermodel_spotted_dancing_at_bridport_nightspot.php Kate Moss spotted dancing at Bridport nightspot] Dorset Echo
10 March 2008.
* [http://travel.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/travel/article3834335.ece?openComment=true Brits love to be beside the seaside] The Times,
29 April 2008.
* [http://property.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/property/article3854369.ece Postcode lottery: DT6] The Times,
2 May 2008.
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