HERITAGE DAY A GREAT SUCCESS !
On Saturday 19th August the Bawdrip History Group organised a Heritage Day to publicise the proposed Heritage Project the aim of which is to learn more about our heritage and share this with residents, visitors, children and future generations with the help of a village trail and three interpretation boards.
Large numbers of visitors came to the various venues around the village offering a range of displays and activities catering for all interests. The day began with the Church bells ringing out across the village.
In the Hall Simon and Gina Scarbro explained the project and sought views on the suggested options. Ned Philcox interviewed local residents for their memories, Dave Bown displayed his latest finding regarding the Bridgwater Railway and Jackie Curtis showed some of her excellent work including her latest linocut. Sue Philcox brought some of her heritage breads for everyone to taste which acted as an appetiser for the delicious ploughmen's lunches drinks and cakes served by Lynn Brum and her team.
On the village green there were fun activities with skittles and the village stocks. Bygone pastimes and games like giant noughts and crosses and snakes and ladders for the children were available.
An entertaining live Folk music session was provided by Lorna and Andy was enjoyed by all.
Sue Clarke displayed exhibits focussing on the changing landscape and its flora and fauna.
In the Church there was a display of records and treasures, a selection of old Bawdrip pictures and a fascinating virtual view from the Church Tower.
This was a very enjoyable day for all who attended and will no doubt help the History Group in achieving the aims of the project . They wish to thank everyone for their efforts and support which also raised over £300 on the day.
Unfortunately, the bid for Lottery funding for the Heritage Project was not successful but there is however the opportunity to update the submission taking on Lottery Board’s comments and try again. This would especially attempt to improve the value for money aspects by securing the match funding offered by the various supporting groups already identified and increase the contributions from others.
There have been several secured amounts promised and other groups approached. At its July meeting the Parish Council considered confirmed its full commitment to the promotion and support of the Heritage Project and to the funding and arrangements for the ongoing maintenance of the interpretation boards and allied associated assets which form part of the project. It also agreed to consider other areas within the Heritage Project that may arise, that the Council might fund (or contribute there to) with a specific grant (s) and to approach Sedgemoor District Council the owners of the village green to propose that we take over the ownership and maintenance thereof.
Attempts will be made to find volunteers who would be willing to serve as trustees of a “Village Charitable Trust” which in future could take responsibility for management of some or all the village assets. You can learn more about the Project at the village Heritage Day on Saturday 19th August. (see details below)
Bawdrip History Group Nov 2015
Industry in Dunball
The well attended November history group meeting in Bawdrip featured a talk by Peter Russ from Puriton on the industry in Dunball and Puriton. Peter was born in Puriton explained that the old industrial areas of the area was his playground as a child which gave many opportunities as a youngster to have the ultimate adventure playground.
With the coming of the railway in the 1840’s Dunball developed into the major port for the import of coal for the South West from Wales and provided a convenient route for the John Board Lime and Cement Works which was founded in 1844. They were eventually make a range of materials and products: bricks, cement, lime, manure and salt. The various works were connected together by a rail network of standard and narrow gauge lines. The supplies were transported originally by horse drawn narrow gauge tracks which also included a lengthy tunnel to overcome the hillside into Puriton.
In 1876 the Dunball Steam Pottery, Brick and Tile Company was established. Clay was transported westwards by tramway from the pits to be processed and the products fired in kilns alongside sidings to the main line.
The works were bought by Colthurst Symons and Co Ltd, brick makers of Bridgwater. At its peak the works were producing 30,000 handmade tiles per week and employed between 70 and 80 people in 1947, were the last of the kind in the area when they closed in 1970.
The mainline station at Dunball was never profitable for passenger traffic especially the access to Puriton involved a steep hill narrow path. In 1903 the station employed six staff but was eventually closed under the Beeching axe.
In 1940, the Royal Ordinance Factory was built between Puriton and Woolavington. It was largely self-supporting with material being transport by rail. A large explosion occurred at the factory in the early 1950s, with several workers dying or being injured. It closed in 2008.
The village's many stone quarries began to go out of use during World War II. The cement and lime works, next to both the King's Sedgemoor Drain and the Bristol and Exeter Railway line, became run down by the early 1960s and was demolished when the M5 motorway was built through part of the site. The church, and the boundary walls, in the old part of the village, are built of blue lias blocks.
Many of the features were destroyed with the building of the M5 motorway when large amounts of the hill side were removed. Puriton Park was built over part of the site of an in-filled blue lias quarry, at the eastern end of the village.
Peter is clearly dedicated to preserving the history of the area and was thanked for such an interesting and informative insight into the area for those present and rekindling many memories for others.
The next meeting will be on Thursday 21st January 2016
Local Bawdrip Resident and Author Dave Bown has recently researched the Bawdrip section of the Bridgwater Branch Railway.
1927 Sunday School outing to Burnham on Sea (Photo W Locke)
This detailed and interesting research comes in the 125th year of the first operating of the Branch on 21 July.
You can read the fascinating details by clicking the link http://www.geocities.ws/dbown100/BawdripHalt.htm