A good place to rest your feet & escape the rain
The Ropemakers Arms is a comfortable, traditional pub with lots of charming "old Fashioned" touches. There is a nice looking Patio at the back but we have called in for a drink when shopping,"doing" the market and/or to escape a rainshower!
It is much bigger than it looks from the outside and divided into a series of "rooms".
We stayed in the main bar near the entrance where the men enjoyed Palmers beers while my sister and I sampled local cider. We did not order from the menu which however looked most inviting and reasonably priced for mid-day meals.
Food is also served in the evenings and this pub hosts live music at weekends.
A really nice old pub.
See you in Bucky Doo Square!
This small square behind the Town Hall and in front of the Bridport Arts Centre is the "buzzing, happening" place in Bridport.
It is right at the centre of town - where South St. meets West St. to the left and East St to the right.
There are enough theories regarding the origins of its strange name to provide material for a thesis - or a mystery thriller. Certainly too many to relate here.
Most people are now just happy to be around the Square on marketand other shopping days, to watch public displays and concerts perfomed by brass bands and jazz groups.
Local walking groups use it as their starting point and people sit to chat and rest on benches or on the seat around the circular ,carved stone sculpture that bears the Bridport coat of arms other panels which illustrate the history of the town.
In front of the Arts Centre a Notice Board has news and information about forthcoming events and Tourist Office is nearby.
The Town Hall was undergoing renovations when we were there and a colourful mural designed and painted by local school children added colour to the scene whilst hiding "the works".
Overall the atmosphere around Bucky Doo conveys a vibrant communiy
A notable citizen of Bridport
You can meet this gentleman in the Bridport Museum where you will find him waiting for you in his pharmacy. He stands in front of shelves containing potions and liniments.In his hand he holds a little jar of his most famous product - The Poor Mans Friend.
Giles Laurence Roberts was born in 1766 in a public house in West Bay a mile or two away from Bridport. His childhood was beset by accident and illness. Perhaps it was that experience that made him determined to become a healer. So as young man he took an interest in apothecary and whilst working as an assistant developed and produced an ointment which was something of a cure-all for all manner of skin complaints . It sold well in tiny pots and became known as The Poor Mans friend but he was as yet unqualified and so acquired a reputation as a Quack.
He was however a Godly man, ane a lay preacher much loved by the townsfolk.
Later he studied at Guys and St Thomas'Hospital in London where he was awarded certificates that enabled him to practice as a surgeon, physician and apothecary.
The title of Doctor was conferred later the Royal College and University of Aberdeen which awarded him an Honorary Medical Diploma.
Business flourished and he bought the historic Old Church Inn in East St where he set up his Pharmacy, complete with a laboratory and lecture room.
Eventually appointed Medical Officer to the Poor he was active throughout the remainder of his life in advocating environmental improvements and better health care specialyl for the poor..
The Obituary which is reproduced and hangs behind him in old Shop (bought by and installed in the Museum) is full of praise and affection for the quack who became a doctor but earned the title of "Poor Man's Friend."
Post Script. At the time of the sale of the shop the recipe for the famous ointment was found - it consisted mainly of lard, beeswax and zinc oxide , colourings and oils and was pronounced by a Dermatologist to have been effective in treating eczema and minor skin problem.
He died in 1834 and is buried in St Mary's Churchyard commemorated on an obelisk with these words - His memory is cherished especially by the Poor with Grateful Feelings.
Visit the local Museum
The attractive 16th century façade of the Bridport Museum hides a rambling building crammed full with almost anything and everything to do with the history of Bridport.
The Museum is now owned and managed by an Independent Trust, a few staff , volunteers and a couple of hundred supporting “Friends” of the Museum.
It receives financial help from the Local Authority but do not expect state of the art interactive presentations here. Some of the galleries can seem a bit shambolic but it is the kind of small local museum I like - it gives a real sense of walking through history with the real people who lived and worked in this interesting ancient town.
Through historic photographs and documentary exhibits, costumes and a great variety of local artefacts the social, industrial, agricultural, geological and architectural history is conveyed
If you are staying in the area look out for notices of special events and exhibitions and if you have any family history in the area The Bridport Local History Centre is just over the road at The Coach House in Gundry Lane ( Open Tues.Wed, and Thurs.)
My favourite exhibits were the gallery devoted to the town's long history of rope and net making - the processes involved and the lives of the people - many of them "out or home workers ".
And the unforgettable visit to the shop of the "Quack"- one of Bridport's famous sons - who will have a Tip of his own.
It is all well worth a visit - entrance is free and the Museum is open from April to October.
A medieval mystery house
I was not sure whether to post this here or as an accommodation Tip - read on ……….
One of Bridport’s many Listed Buildings caught my eye as we were driving down South Street on the way back to our rented cottage at Chideock.
It was raining and already dusk on a wet December day but even in the dim light of a street lamp it invited another look.
It is an unusually tall but narrow nearby modern buildings but it looks very much older.
I discovered that it is called The Chantry and is said to be not just the oldest building (not counting religious buildings) in Bridport but the oldest in Dorset.
Architectural detective work has dated it the late 13th century and mapped out its probable history and usage.
On a return visit a few months later I stopped to take a photograph. A passer-by told me that although Listed this was a private property and not open to the public.
That statement is technically correct but if you would like the experience of living in the house for a few days or longer you could - for a handsome rent. The house is now in the care of the Vivat Trust and available to rent as a Holiday Home.
Take a peep inside the house - you may be surprised - maybe tempted -
And if you would like more history see:-
Look at the buildings
There are over 1000 Listed Buildings in Bridport. Listed because of their architecturel, historic, industrial or vernacular qualities.
They include churches and chapels, public houses and schools; the former Workhouse, and public buildings like the Town Hall and local government offices.
Some are strikingly attractive others may seem run down and lacking interest. But whether it is a graciouis proportioned, sash windowed building, a bow windowed Victorian shop front or a seemingly derelict factory they have all played a part in making Bridport the lively town it is today.
The harbour is quite busy with small craft and it is possible to go out fishing from here. We enjoyed watching people just "messing about in boats".
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