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BLOG 109 – Allsop Gallery, West Dorset Flower Club And The Really Interesting Club

BLOG 109 – Allsop Gallery, West Dorset Flower Club and The Really Interesting Club

I never cease to be amazed by the range of things going on in Bridport as illustrated by this weeks Mayor’s Blog.

BRIDPORT ARTS CENTRE – Allsop Gallery ‘Grad Race’ Exhibition

Bridport Arts Centre’e Allsop Gallery is currently showcasing work by recent graduates from two of the South West’s leading universities, Arts University Bournemouth and Solent University in Southampton. This exhibition aims to provide a platform for emerging artists as they navigate one of the hardest points in their careers.

I went along to the preview last Saturday evening and was able to not only have a good look at the work on display but also talk to some of the artists that had produced it.

Lisa Moro’s Finger Removal Archive exhibit was particularly intriguing, and Olana ‘Light’s Fly like a Butterfly’ exhibit really came to life when the butterfly emerged at dusk on Bucky Doo Square.

The exciting exhibition showcases a range of talent in a variety of mediums and covers themes of politics, class, race, domestic abuse, gender, social media, grief and the body. Sometimes playful, sometimes deadly serious, and sometimes weird.

Graduating in unprecedented times, the artists explore new territory using innovative techniques, materials and visual language. They engage the viewer by looking at wider themes often from a subjective point of view and challenge us to look at ourselves and the world we inhabit.

The exhibition runs from Tuesday 14 February to Saturday 1 April 2023 and I encourage you to pop in next time you are in town.


On Monday afternoon I was invited to talk about the Bridport Community Orchard at the AGM of the West Dorset Flower Club.

The West Dorset Flower Club was formed in 1951 and has about sixty members at present and it was the second club formed after a Mrs Pope founded the first one in Dorchester.

The club has a varied programme of events during the year, mainly a visiting demonstrator and some practice afternoons, when members are hands on. They occasionally book a nationally recognised demonstrator for an open meeting, when the general public are able to attend.

The club has a proud track record including being successful at Chelsea Flower Show and the National and Area shows. In addition, the club has also decorated many churches and arranged flowers for different local charitable events in the town.

I have always been really impressed by the imaginative displays in the floral marquee at the Melplash Show and now I know who is responsible for a good many of them – the West Dorset Flower Club.

The club meets in the WI Hall in North Street at 2.30pm on the second Monday of the month and is always happy to welcome visitors and especially new members. They are a really friendly group and certainly made me feel very welcome.

To find out more contact either:
Chairman: Sue Baker – [email protected]
Programme Secretary: Pat Fowler- [email protected]  


On Thursday evening I delivered a talk about being Mayor of Bridport and the history of the Town Hall to the Bothenhampton and Walditch Really Interesting Club.

The Really Interesting Club is such a simple idea. Once a month members gather together to do something really interesting. The members themselves come up with the ideas and take it in turns to take the lead. As a result there is an almost endless range of diverse really interesting things to do. Everything from a range of crafting events to visits and walks have all been the monthly focus.

This month it was my turn to provide the ‘really interesting’ experience and I have to admit I was more than a little bit nervous as the day drew ever closer. Talking about the experience of being Mayor was the easy bit having lived and breathed it for the past three years. I already knew a fair bit about the history of the Town Hall but there was definitely a need for some serious homework to ensure I was to be up to the task on the night.

As it turned out the RI Club were delightful and I was able to inform, enlighten and entertain them. Dressing one of the members in the Mayors robes and regalia was great fun and giving those present the opportunity to see close up the Mayor and Mayoress chains of office, the ceremonial maces and the photographs of previous Mayors was much appreciated.

The biggest surprise of the evening was when I informed them I was not their Mayor. Like so many people living in one of the parishes that make up the urban area we think of as Bridport, they assumed I was their Mayor and that the Town Council was their council.

Did you know that the Town Hall sits on the site of St Andrew’s Chapel, which was built some time before 1270? Sadly there was a fire in 1782 which gutted the original chapel and market house. The present Town Hall building was constructed on the site in 1785/6 at a cost of £3,000.

In 1925, the interior of town hall was redecorated to a design by Francis Newbery, who had been brought up in Bridport, and worked as a school teacher in the town and subsequently become the Director of the Glasgow School of Art.

The decoration included a mural of panels depicting the town. Occupying the central panel is a female figure who represents the town dressed in very particular shade of blue. Do you know why?


Bridport Youth Dance

Following on from the recent success of the Day of Dance at the Arts Centre Bridport, Youth Dance & the BYD Street Dance Crew will be performing at the Electric Palace for three nights in March.

The shows are part of the celebration of 21years of Bridport Youth Dance. I am hoping to go along to one of the performances and I know I will be blown away by the skill and passion of the young performers.

Why not take the opportunity to marvel at the skill and artistry of the performers by going along and lending your support to our extremely talented young people.

Bridport & District Gardening Club – Spring Show

The B&DGC Spring Show is scheduled to take place on Saturday 18th March in the United Church Hall in East Street.

The show is a great opportunity for all you gardeners, bread, cake and preserve makers, photographers and crafters to share the results of all your hard work with a wider audience.
Anyone can enter, and there are classes to suit all ages and levels of experience and you don’t have to be a member of the B&DGC to take part.

The full show schedule and entry forms are available to view and download at:

All entries must be on display at the United Church Hall, East Street from 6.00 – 7.30 on 17th March or from 8.30 – 10.30 on the morning of the show.

For more information call 07870 414222 or email [email protected]

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