Bridport’s street market is one of the jewels that contribute to making our town so special. The market you see today has a long history. In 1253, King Henry III granted a charter to Bridport and since then the Market has been in operation almost continually.
In Saxon times “port” meant a place of trade, any type of trade and not necessarily a seaport. This port, market, or bullring was often a widening of the main street in the town centre and in Bridport this can be found in South Street near St Mary’s Church. When the Royal Charter was issued, the market gradually moved to East Street and eventually to the site of the Town Hall. Shambles – permanent fixed open stalls with sloping roofs – were built on the pavement by the George Inn, and opposite the Town Hall.
A pageant – also known as ‘Bridport Through the Ages’ – was held to celebrate the 700th anniversary of the granting of the town’s Royal Charter in 1253 and took place from June 24 to June 27 1953.
The photos show just how popular the event and royal visit from Princess Margaret was, with an estimated 10,000 people filling the streets of Bridport as she arrives at the town hall and greeted by Bridport Mayor, H. R. C. Palmer.
Today Bridport is a thriving, bustling Market Town especially on Wednesdays and Saturdays when the street market is in full flow from around 8am until the afternoon.
If you visit the market you will find a diverse range of stalls selling a wide assortment of goods and produce including local food, street food, clothing and jewellery, arts and crafts, antiques and bric-a-brac, books, furniture, flowers, plants and lots more. A special feature of the Saturday market is the bric-a-brac stalls in South Street.
In addition to the regular twice weekly markets Bridport also hosts a Farmers Market on every second Saturday of the month on Barrack Street & in the Lyric Theatre, open from 9am until approx. 2pm. This market is run independently of the Street Market. The Farmers Market offers a variety of local fresh, often organic goods. Many of the traders are members of the Bridport Local Food Group.
A more recent addition is the Vegan and Craft Market held on Barrack Street on the third Saturday of every month which hosts a vibrant mix of stall holders selling mouthwatering vegan food and local, fresh produce, hand crafted items and beauty products. Everything from authentic Greek pitta wraps to sweet and savoury baked goods, locally grown oyster mushrooms, recycled jewellery, organic skincare, kids clothing and vegan pick and mix can be found here.
Over the past couple of weeks I have visited the market and spoken to as many stallholders as I could and taken a picture of them and their wares. I met stallholders who have been coming to Bridport for over 30 years and a couple for whom it was their first time. The huge range of produce and items on sale is best described in pictures and the images below give a flavour of what you will find and the wonderful people behind the stalls.
It is very easy to spend a morning browsing the stalls and with during peak monthe up to one hundred to choose from, it means a visit to the market is always special. But what makes Bridport’s Street Market really special is the people behind the stalls. Not only are they all passionate about what they have to offer for sale but are a great group of really knowledgeable and friendly people who love what they do.
Staff Sgt. Ray Lambert – hero of D-Day stationed in Bridport
One of the last surviving soldiers from the first wave of the D-Day invasion of Omaha Beach has died at his home in North Carolina, he was 100 years old and was still meeting friends and family right up to his death on April 9.
Staff Sgt. Ray Lambert was stationed in Bridport from November 1943 to June 1944. He was a medic in the Medical Detachment to the 2nd Battalion of the 16th Regiment and the 1st Division. The medical detachment was housed in the Literary and Scientific Institute in East Street and houses in Barrack Street, while the mess hall was Allington Court, on the roundabout going into North Allington.
A memorial ceremony in memory Staff Sgt. Lambert will be held on SundayJune 6th at 2.00pm at St mary’s Church, South Street.