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BRIDGWATER is a market town and civil parish in Somerset
Somerset
, England. At the 2011 census, it had a population of 35,886.

Bridgwater
Bridgwater
is at the edge of the Somerset
Somerset
Levels , in level and well-wooded country; to the north are the Mendips and to the west the Quantock hills . The town lies along both sides of the River Parrett
River Parrett
, 10 miles (16 km) from its mouth, has been a major port and trading centre and maintains a large industrial base. It is linked to Taunton by the Bridgwater
Bridgwater
and Taunton
Taunton
Canal . Bridgwater
Bridgwater
is between two junctions of the M5 motorway
M5 motorway
and Bridgwater railway station is on the main railway line between Bristol
Bristol
and Taunton.

Historically, the town had a politically radical tendency. The Battle of Sedgemoor , where the Monmouth Rebellion was finally crushed in 1685, was fought nearby. Notable buildings include the Church of St Mary and the house in Blake Street, largely restored, which was the birthplace of Admiral Blake in 1598, and is now the Blake Museum . The town has an arts centre and plays host to the annual Bridgwater
Bridgwater
Guy Fawkes Carnival .

CONTENTS

* 1 Etymology

* 2 History
History

* 2.1 Bridgwater
Bridgwater
proper * 2.2 Port of Bridgwater

* 3 Governance

* 3.1 Members of Parliament * 3.2 Twinning * 3.3 Geology * 3.4 Climate

* 4 Demography

* 5 Economy

* 5.1 Industry

* 6 Landmarks * 7 Transport * 8 Education * 9 Religious sites

* 10 Arts

* 10.1 Annual events

* 11 Sports * 12 Notable people * 13 Notes * 14 References * 15 External links

ETYMOLOGY

It is thought that the town was originally called Brigg, meaning quay . It has been argued that the name may instead come from the Old English brycg (gang plank) or Old Norse
Old Norse
bryggja (quay), though this idea has been opposed on etymological grounds. In the Domesday Book the town is listed as Brugie, while Brugia was also used. After the Norman invasion the land was given to Walter of Douai , hence becoming known variously as Burgh-Walter, Brugg-Walter and Brigg-Walter, eventually corrupted to Bridgwater. An alternative version is that it derives from "Bridge of Walter" (i.e. Walter's Bridge).

HISTORY

BRIDGWATER PROPER

See also: Earls of Bridgewater

Bridgwater
Bridgwater
is mentioned both in the Domesday Book
Domesday Book
and in the earlier Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
dating from around 800, owing its origin as a trade centre to its position at the mouth of the chief river in Somerset. It was formerly part of the Hundred of North Petherton . In a legend of Alfred the Great
Alfred the Great
, he burnt some cakes while hiding in the marshes of Athelney near Bridgwater, after the Danish invasion in 875, while in 878 the major engagement of the Battle of Cynwit may have been at nearby Cannington .

William Briwere was granted the lordship of the Manor of Bridgwater by John of England
England
in 1201, and founded Bridgwater Friary . Through Briwere's influence, King John granted three charters in 1200; for the construction of Bridgwater
Bridgwater
Castle, for the creation of a borough , and for a market. Bridgwater Castle was a substantial structure built in Old Red Sandstone , covering a site of 8 or 9 acres (32,000 to 36,000 m²). A tidal moat , up to 65 feet (20 m) wide in places, flowed about along the line of the modern thoroughfares of Fore Street and Castle Moat, and between Northgate and Chandos Street. The main entrance opposite the Cornhill was built with a pair of adjacent gates and drawbridges . In addition to a keep , located at the south-east corner of what is now King Square, documents show that the complex included a dungeon , chapel, stables and a bell tower . Built on the only raised ground in the town, the castle controlled the crossing of the town bridge. A 12 feet (4 m) thick portion of the castle wall and water gate can still be seen on West Quay, and the remains of a wall of a building that was probably built within the castle can be viewed in Queen Street. The foundations of the tower forming the north-east corner of the castle are buried beneath Homecastle House. William Briwere also founded St John's hospital which, by the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries
Dissolution of the Monasteries
under Henry VIII , was worth the substantial sum of almost 121 pounds , as well as starting the construction of the town's first stone bridge. William Briwere also went on to found the Franciscan
Franciscan
Bridgwater Friary in the town.

During the 11th century Second Barons\' War against Henry III , Bridgwater
Bridgwater
was held by the barons against the King. Other charters were granted by Henry III in 1227 (confirmed in 1318, 1370, 1380), which gave Bridgwater
Bridgwater
a guild merchant which was important for the regulation of trade, allowing guild members to trade freely in the town, and to impose payments and restrictions upon others. Bridgwater's peasants under Nicholas Frampton took part in the Peasants\' Revolt of 1381, sacking Sydenham House , murdering the local tax collectors and destroying the records. The statue of Robert Blake at Cornhill, Bridgwater, with St Mary\'s Church in the background (1998).

Bridgwater
Bridgwater
was incorporated by charter of Edward IV (1468), confirmed in 1554, 1586, 1629 and 1684. Parliamentary representation as a borough constituency began in 1295 and continued until the Reform Act of 1870, when the original borough constituency was disenfranchised for corruption. From 4 July 1870 the town was incorporated within the county constituency of West Somerset
Somerset
. When Parliamentary seats were redistributed for the 1885 general election , a new county division of Bridgwater
Bridgwater
was created. A variety of markets were granted to the town during the Middle Ages including a Midsummer fair (on 24 June), one at the beginning of Lent was added in 1468, and one at Michaelmas. The importance of these markets and fairs for the sale of wool and wine, and later of cloth, declined after medieval times. The shipping trade of the port revived after the construction of the new dock in 1841, and corn and timber have been imported for centuries.

Gunpowder Plotter Guy Fawkes is celebrated as a local hero during the carnival season, including a grand illuminated procession through Bridgwater
Bridgwater
town centre, which culminates in the Squibbing .

In the English Civil War
English Civil War
the town and the castle were held by the Royalists under Colonel Edmund Wyndham , a personal acquaintance of the King. British history might have been very different had his wife, Lady (Crystabella) Wyndham, been a little more accurate with a musket shot that missed Cromwell but killed his aide de camp. Eventually, with many buildings destroyed in the town, the castle and its valuable contents were surrendered to the Parliamentarians on 21 July 1645. The castle itself was deliberately destroyed (slighted ) the following year, while in 1651 Colonel Wyndham made arrangements for Charles II to flee to France following the Battle of Worcester .

Following the restoration of the monarchy , in 1663 the non-conformist Reverend John Norman, vicar from 1647 to 1660, was one of several 'religious fanatics\' confined to their homes by Lord Stawell 's militia . A large religious meeting house, thought to have been Presbyterian , was demolished and its furniture burned on the Cornhill in 1683. By 1688, matters had calmed down enough for a new chapel, Christ Church, to be founded in Dampiet Street, the congregation of which became Unitarian in 1815.

In the 1685 Monmouth Rebellion , the rebel James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth was proclaimed King on the Cornhill in Bridgwater
Bridgwater
and in other local towns. He eventually led his troops on a night-time attack on the King's position near Westonzoyland . Surprise was lost when a musket was accidentally discharged, and the Battle of Sedgemoor resulted in defeat for the Duke. He later lost his head in the Tower of London , and nine locals were executed for treason.

The Chandos Glass Cone was built in 1725 as a glasswork firing kiln by James Brydges, 1st Duke of Chandos as part of an industrial development. After a short period of use for glassmaking it was converted for the production of pottery, bricks and tiles, which continued until 1939. The majority of the brickwork cone was demolished in 1943. The bottom 2.4 metres (7 ft 10 in) has been preserved and scheduled as an ancient monument .

Bridgwater
Bridgwater
became the first town in Britain to petition the government to ban slavery , in 1785. In 1896, the trade unionists of Bridgwater's brick and tile industry were involved a number of strikes. The Salisbury government sent troops to the town to clear the barricades by force after the reading of the Riot Act . A map of Bridgwater
Bridgwater
in 1946

A by-election in 1938 enabled the town to send a message to the government and Hitler , when an Independent anti-appeasement candidate, journalist Vernon Bartlett was elected.

In World War II
World War II
the Bridgwater
Bridgwater
and Taunton
Taunton
Canal formed part of the Taunton
Taunton
Stop Line , designed to prevent the advance of a German invasion. Pillboxes can still be seen along its length. The first bombs fell on Bridgwater
Bridgwater
on 24 August 1940, destroying houses on Old Taunton
Taunton
Road, and three men, three women and one child were killed. Later a prisoner of war camp was established at Colley Lane, holding Italian prisoners. During the preparations for the invasion of Europe , American troops were based in the town.

The first council estate to be built was in the 1930s at Kendale Road, followed by those at Bristol
Bristol
Road. The 1950s saw the start of a significant increase in post-war housebuilding, with council house estates being started at Sydenham and Rhode Lane and the former cooperative estate near Durleigh .

On 4 November 2011 West Quay
Quay
alongside the River Parrett
River Parrett
and 19 adjoining properties were evacuated after a 40 metres (130 ft) stretch of the retaining wall partially collapsed after heavy rain and flooding. The old hospital in Salmon Parade, which was built in 1813, closed in 2014 and has been replaced with a community hospital in Bower Laner. This provides a maternity unit and 30 inpatient beds. The old hospital site has been sold for development at a price of £1.6 million, and may be turned into a hotel.

PORT OF BRIDGWATER

Main article: Port of Bridgwater Bridgwater
Bridgwater
Town Bridge, the original highest point of navigation on the River Parrett
River Parrett
The former West Quay
Quay
within the town. Some of the buildings show Dutch architectural influence, showing how far regular trade routes led from the town

In the medieval period the River Parrett
River Parrett
was used to transport Hamstone from the quarry at Ham Hill . Bridgwater
Bridgwater
was part of the Port of Bristol
Bristol
until the Port of Bridgwater was created in 1348, covering 80 miles (130 km) of the Somerset
Somerset
coast line, from the Devon border to the mouth of the River Axe . Under an 1845 Act of Parliament the Port of Bridgwater extends from Brean Down to Hinkley Point in Bridgwater Bay , and includes parts of the River Parrett
River Parrett
(to Bridgwater), River Brue and the River Axe .

Historically, the main port on the river was at Bridgwater; the river was bridged at this point: the first bridge was built in 1200. Quays were built in 1424; another quay, the Langport slip, was built in 1488 upstream of the Town Bridge. A Customs House
Customs House
was sited at Bridgwater, on West Quay; and a dry dock , launching slips and a boat yard on East Quay. The river was navigable, with care, to Bridgwater
Bridgwater
Town Bridge by 400 to 500 tonnes (440 to 550 tons) vessels. By trans-shipping into barges at the Town Bridge the Parrett was navigable as far as Langport and (via the River Yeo ) to Ilchester
Ilchester
. After 1827, it was also possible to transfer goods to Taunton
Taunton
via the Bridgwater
Bridgwater
and Taunton
Taunton
Canal at Huntworth. A floating harbour was constructed between 1837–1841 and the canal was extended to the harbour. The harbour area contained flour mills , timber yards and chandlers .

Shipping to Bridgwater
Bridgwater
expanded with the construction of Bridgwater Docks , and reached a peak between 1880 and 1885; with an average of 3,600 ships per year entering the port. Bridgwater
Bridgwater
also built some 167 ships; the last one was the Irene, launched in 1907. Peak tonnage occurred in 1857, with 142 vessels totalling 17,800 tonnes (19,600 tons). Dunball Wharf. To the right is Dunball clyce where the King\'s Sedgemoor Drain flows into the River Parrett
River Parrett

Dunball wharf was built in 1844 by Bridgwater
Bridgwater
coal merchants, and was formerly linked to the Bristol
Bristol
and Exeter
Exeter
Railway by a rail track which crossed the A38 . In 1875, the local landowner built The Dunball Steam Pottery & Brick "> The War Memorial in King Square with the offices of Sedgemoor District Council in the background

The Local Government Act 1972 removed the historic status of Bridgwater
Bridgwater
as a Borough
Borough
, as it became part of the district of Sedgemoor , which has its headquarters in King Square .

Bridgwater
Bridgwater
Town Council was created in 2003, with sixteen elected members representing six wards of the town; Bower (three), Eastover (two), Hamp (three), Quantock (three), Sydenham (three) and Victoria (two). With powers or functions over allotments, bus shelters, making of byelaws, cemeteries, clocks, crime prevention, entertainment and arts, highways, litter, public buildings, public conveniences, recreation, street lighting, tourism, traffic calming, community transport and war memorials.

Bridgwater
Bridgwater
and West Somerset
Somerset
is a county constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
. It elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election. The current MP is Ian Liddell-Grainger , a member of the Conservative Party .

MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT

The Bridgwater
Bridgwater
constituency has been represented in Parliament since 1295. After the voting age was lowered in January 1970, Susan Wallace became the first 18-year-old to vote in the UK, during the 1970 Bridgwater
Bridgwater
by-election that elected Tom King , who took the title Baron
Baron
King of Bridgwater
Bridgwater
in 2001. At the 2010 General Election, Bridgwater
Bridgwater
became part of the new Bridgwater
Bridgwater
and West Somerset constituency .

Bridgwater
Bridgwater
is in the South West England constituency for elections to the European Parliament
European Parliament
.

TWINNING

Bridgwater
Bridgwater
is twinned with Uherské Hradiště , in the Czech Republic (since 1991), La Ciotat in France, Homberg, Efze in Germany, and Marsa in Malta.

GEOLOGY

Bridgwater
Bridgwater
is centred on an outcrop of marl in an area dominated by low-lying alluvial deposits. There are local deposits of gravels and sand. It is situated in a level and well-wooded area, on the edge of the Somerset
Somerset
Levels . To the north are the Mendip range and on the west the Quantock hills . The town lies along both sides of the River Parrett , 10 miles (16 km) from its mouth, which then flows to discharge into the Bridgwater Bay National Nature Reserve . It consists of large areas of mud flats , saltmarsh, sandflats and shingle ridges, some of which are vegetated. It has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest since 1989, and is designated as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention . The risks to wildlife are highlighted in the local Oil Spill Contingency Plan.

CLIMATE

Fore street with a rare covering of snow. Admiral Robert Blake statue and Cornhill just visible in the background

Along with the rest of South West England , Bridgwater
Bridgwater
has a temperate climate which is generally wetter and milder than the rest of the country. The annual mean temperature is approximately 10 °C (50.0 °F ). Seasonal temperature variation is less extreme than most of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
because of the adjacent sea temperatures. The summer months of July and August are the warmest with mean daily maxima of approximately 21 °C (69.8 °F). In winter mean minimum temperatures of 1 or 2 °C (34 or 36 °F) are common. In the summer the Azores
Azores
high pressure affects the south-west of England, however convective cloud sometimes forms inland, reducing the number of hours of sunshine. Annual sunshine rates are slightly less than the regional average of 1,600 hours. In December 1998 there were 20 days without sun recorded at Yeovilton. Most the rainfall in the south-west is caused by Atlantic depressions or by convection . Most of the rainfall in autumn and winter is caused by the Atlantic depressions, which is when they are most active. In summer, a large proportion of the rainfall is caused by sun heating the ground leading to convection and to showers and thunderstorms. Average rainfall is around 700 mm (28 in). About 8–15 days of snowfall is typical. November to March have the highest mean wind speeds, and June to August have the lightest winds. The predominant wind direction is from the south-west.

CLIMATE DATA FOR YEOVILTON 20M AMSL (1981-2010)

MONTH JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC YEAR

AVERAGE HIGH °C (°F) 8.3 (46.9) 8.5 (47.3) 10.9 (51.6) 13.4 (56.1) 16.8 (62.2) 19.7 (67.5) 21.8 (71.2) 21.6 (70.9) 19.0 (66.2) 15.0 (59) 11.3 (52.3) 8.6 (47.5) 14.58 (58.22)

AVERAGE LOW °C (°F) 1.7 (35.1) 1.4 (34.5) 3.0 (37.4) 4.0 (39.2) 7.2 (45) 10.0 (50) 12.1 (53.8) 12.0 (53.6) 9.9 (49.8) 7.3 (45.1) 4.0 (39.2) 1.8 (35.2) 6.2 (43.16)

AVERAGE RAINFALL MM (INCHES) 67.6 (2.661) 48.5 (1.909) 49.6 (1.953) 50.2 (1.976) 48.5 (1.909) 50.3 (1.98) 53.3 (2.098) 55.0 (2.165) 54.9 (2.161) 78.3 (3.083) 74.2 (2.921) 78.1 (3.075) 708.5 (27.891)

AVERAGE RAINY DAYS (≥ 1 MM) 12.2 9.3 10.4 10.1 9 8.3 8.2 8.9 9.4 12.2 12.1 12.1 122.2

MEAN MONTHLY SUNSHINE HOURS 55 75.6 113 166.1 193.5 195.5 202.3 192.7 143.9 104.9 70.6 50.9 1,564

Source: Met Office

DEMOGRAPHY

Bridgwater
Bridgwater
had a population of 35,800 according to the 2001 census (up from 22,718 in 1951, 3,634 in 1801, and 7,807 in 1831).

POPULATION SINCE 1801 - Source: A Vision of Britain through Time 2001 Census

YEAR 1801 1851 1901 1911 1921 1931 1941 1951 1961 1971 1981 1991 2001 2008 2011*

POPULATION SEDGEMOOR 27,205 48,575 49,907 51,263 52,082 52,917 57,964 63,497 71,684 80,933 88,544 99,317 105,867 113,500 117,300

ECONOMY

West Quay
Quay
and the River Parrett
River Parrett

As early as 1300, the port exported wheat, peas and beans to Ireland, France and Spain, and by 1400 was also exporting cloth from Somerset and the adjoining counties. By 1500 it was the largest port in Somerset, later becoming the fifth largest in England, until eclipsed by Bristol
Bristol
in the 18th century. In its heyday, imports included wine, grain, fish, hemp, coal and timber. Exports included wheat, wool, cloth, cement, bricks and tiles. Unlike Bristol, Bridgwater
Bridgwater
was never involved in the slave trade and, in 1797, was the first town in Britain to petition the government to ban it.

The Bridgwater
Bridgwater
ship the Emanuel was one of three that took part in Martin Frobisher 's 1577 search for the Northwest Passage
Northwest Passage
. In 1828, 40 ships were registered in the port, averaging 60 tons each.

INDUSTRY

Bridgwater
Bridgwater
was the leading industrial town in Somerset
Somerset
and remains a major centre for manufacturing. A major manufacturing centre for clay tiles and bricks in the 19th century, including the famous "Bath brick ", were exported through the port. In the 1890s there were a total of 16 brick and tile companies, and 24 million bricks per annum were exported during that decade alone. These industries are celebrated in the Somerset
Somerset
Brick and Tile Museum on East Quay.

These industries collapsed in the aftermath of World War II
World War II
due to the failure to introduce mechanisation , although the automated Chilton Tile Factory, which produced up to 5 million tiles each year, lasted until 1968. The importance of the Bath Brick declined with the advent of detergents and other cleaning products. Dunware ponds used to make bricks and can still be found along the paths.

During the 19th century, Castle House (originally named Portland Castle after Portland cement
Portland cement
), reputedly the first domestic house in the UK to be built from concrete , was constructed in 1851 by John Board, a local brick and tile manufacturer. The building is now Grade II* listed , and in 2004 was featured in the BBC
BBC
television programme Restoration .

In the 19th century, Bridgwater
Bridgwater
was also home to a number of iron foundries . George Hennet 's Bridgwater
Bridgwater
Iron
Iron
Works worked on bridges, railways and machinery for Brunel and Robert Stephenson
Robert Stephenson
. This location allowed the import by boat of raw materials from Wales
Wales
and the dispatch of finished work to south Devon
Devon
using the Bristol
Bristol
and Exeter
Exeter
Railway . The carriage workshops for the latter were on an adjacent site. The works passed to his son and then traded as Hennet, Spink & Else. Some of the ironwork was produced for the Royal Albert Bridge at Saltash
Saltash
, Cornwall
Cornwall
. In 1873 it became the Bridgwater Engineering Company Limited but this failed in 1878. W"> Castle House

Bridgwater
Bridgwater
is home to the Somerset
Somerset
Brick and Tile Museum , built on part of the former Barham Brothers site (brick and tile manufacturers between 1857 and 1965). Castle House was built in 1851 and was one of the first to make extensive use of concrete demonstrating "an innovative interpretation of traditional masonry features in concrete".

A house in Blake Street, largely restored, is believed to be the birthplace of Robert Blake in 1598, and is now the Blake Museum . It was built in the late 15th or early 16th century, and has been designated by English Heritage
English Heritage
as a grade II* listed building . His statue from 1898 by F. W. Pomeroy has been repositioned from the front of the Corn Exchange to face down Cornhill. The public library by E Godfrey Page dates from 1905.

Sydenham House was previously a manor estate built in the early 16th century, which was refronted and rebuilt after 1613. Its owners were on the losing side in the Civil War and again in the Monmouth Rebellion . It now stands in the grounds of the former British Cellophane plant. In 2012 EDF purchased the site, including the Grade II listed 16th century building. In 2015 the industrial site was razed to the ground. It is intended for construction of temporary accommodation for 1,000 workers involved in the construction of Hinkley Point C nuclear power station .

TRANSPORT

Railways in the Bridgwater
Bridgwater
area

Legend

Bristol
Bristol
to Exeter
Exeter
Line

to Highbridge

to Highbridge

River Parrett
River Parrett

ROF Bridgwater

DUNBALL

Dunball down line

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Dunball Wharf sidings

King\'s Sedgemoor Drain

Dunball up line

BRIDGWATER

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British Cellophane

Bridgwater
Bridgwater
Spinx Cement Works

S ; background-color:; text-align:center !important; width:0px; border: 0px !important">

Bridgwater
Bridgwater
(S&DJR )

passenger

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Bridgwater
Bridgwater
Goods(GWR )

Taunton
Taunton
and Bridgwater
Bridgwater
Canal

Bridgwater
Bridgwater
(GWR )

Carriage works

to Taunton
Taunton

Somerset
Somerset
Bridge

over River Parrett
River Parrett

Bristol
Bristol
to Exeter
Exeter
Line

to Taunton
Taunton

1. Bridgwater Docks 2. "Telescopic” bridge 3. Clink Yard 4. Bridgwater
Bridgwater
Cement, Lime, Brick "> Bridgwater railway station , on the main line from Bristol
Bristol
to Taunton
Taunton
.

As trade expanded during the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
, Bridgwater
Bridgwater
was linked to Taunton
Taunton
by the Bridgwater
Bridgwater
and Taunton
Taunton
Canal (1827), although initially it ran from a basin south of Bridgwater
Bridgwater
at Huntworth . As trade grew docks were built in the town, linked to an extension of the canal, with both opening in 1841. The docks were dredged by a scraper-dredger Bertha
Bertha
similar to the one Brunel had designed for the Bristol
Bristol
Floating Harbour. 14 June 1841 saw the opening of the Bristol and Exeter
Exeter
Railway from Bristol
Bristol
to Bridgwater. The railway also opened a coach and wagon works in the town; the last of the buildings is currently in 2005 scheduled for demolition. Bridgwater
Bridgwater
railway station , designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Isambard Kingdom Brunel
is now a Grade II listed building . An end to the unequal competition between rail and canal came in 1867 when the Bristol
Bristol
and Exeter
Exeter
Railway purchased the canal. A number of local branches were also built, for example to serve the Northgate Brewery (now replaced by a car park north of Angel Crescent) and the former British Cellophane factory. The Somerset
Somerset
and Dorset branch line to Edington was opened in 1890. Its former Bridgwater station is now occupied by J Sainsbury . Bridgwater Docks South Side in 1968

The importance of shipping and the docks started to decline after 1886, the year in which the opening of the Severn Tunnel caused a severe drop in coal imports by sea. The situation worsened as the railways were extended into Somerset
Somerset
and beyond, and ships became too big for the port. The last commercial use of the docks was when coal imports ceased on 31 July 1971, and although they now house a marina they are currently little used. The surrounding quays have been developed for housing, although the remains of wooden quays on the riverbank can still be seen. All but a small remnant of the mump (a huge mound of spoil from the original dock excavations) was removed in the 1980s to make way for the development on the north side of the dock. Due to the port, ship building was also an important industry, and around 140 ships were built in the town during the 19th century by companies including David Williams, Joseph Gough, Watsons and William Lowther. F J Carver and Son owned a small dry dock on East Quay
Quay
and constructed the last ship to be built in the town — the Irene. The former associated industry of rope making is commemorated in street furnishings and paving on East Quay
Quay
and in the name of Ropewalk street.

The Drove Bridge, which marks the current extent of the Port of Bridgwater
Bridgwater
is the nearest to the mouth and the newest road bridge to cross the river. With a span of 184 feet (56 m), the bridge was constructed as part of the Bridgwater
Bridgwater
Northern Distributor road scheme (1992), and provides a navigable channel which is 66 feet (20 m) wide with 8.2 feet (2.5 m) headroom at normal spring high tides. Upstream of this is the retractable Telescopic Bridge , built in 1871 to the design of Sir Francis Fox , the engineer for the Bristol
Bristol
and Exeter Railway . It carried a railway siding over the river to the docks, but had to be movable, to allow boats to proceed upriver. An 80-foot (24 m) section of railway track to the east of the bridge could be moved sideways, so that the main 127-foot (39 m) girders could be retracted, creating a navigable channel which was 78 feet (24 m) wide. It was manually operated for the first eight months, and then powered by a steam engine, reverting to manual operation in 1913, when the steam engine failed. The bridge was last opened in 1953, and the traverser section was demolished in 1974, but public outcry at the action resulted in the bridge being listed as a Scheduled Ancient Monument , and the rest of the bridge was kept. It was later used as a road crossing, until the construction of the Chandos road bridge alongside it, and is now only used by pedestrians. Parts of the steam engine were moved to Westonzoyland Pumping Station Museum in 1977.

The next bridge is the Town Bridge. There has been a bridge here since the 13th century, when Bridgwater
Bridgwater
was granted a charter by King John. The present bridge was designed by R. C. Else and G. B. Laffan, and the 75-foot (23 m) cast iron structure was completed in 1883. It replaced an earlier bridge, which was the first cast iron bridge to be built in Somerset
Somerset
when it was completed in 1797. The stone abutments of that bridge were reused by the later bridge, which formed the only road crossing of the river in Bridgwater
Bridgwater
until 1958. Above the bridge there were two shoals, called The Coals and The Stones, which were a hazard to barge traffic on the river, and bargees had to choose carefully when to navigate the river, to ensure that there was sufficient water to carry them over these obstructions. In March 1958 a new reinforced concrete road bridge, the Blake Bridge, was opened as part of a bypass to take traffic away from the centre of Bridgwater. It now carries the A38 and A39 roads . On the southern edge of Bridgwater
Bridgwater
there is a bridge which carries the Bristol
Bristol
and Exeter Railway across the River Parrett. Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Isambard Kingdom Brunel
designed a brick bridge, known as the Somerset
Somerset
Bridge , with a 100 feet (30 m) span but a rise of just 12 feet (3.7 m). Work started in 1838 and was completed in 1841. Brunel left the scaffold supporting the centre of the bridge in place as the foundations were still settling but was forced to remove it in 1843 to reopen the river for navigation. Brunel demolished the brick arch and had replaced it with a timber arch within six months without interrupting the traffic on the railway. This was in turn replaced in 1904 by a steel girder bridge. Slightly further east is a modern concrete bridge which carries the M5 motorway over both the river and the railway line. It was started in 1971 and opened in 1973.

EDUCATION

Haygrove School

The primary and infant schools in Bridgwater
Bridgwater
include: Eastover Community Primary School, Hamp Community Junior School, Sedgemoor Manor School, St John and St Francis Primary School, St Joseph's Catholic Primary School, St Mary's Primary School, Somerset
Somerset
Bridge Primary School, Spaxton Church of England
England
Primary School, Westover Green Primary School and Hamp Nursery and Infants School. Secondary schools include: Robert Blake Science College , Brymore Academy , Chilton Trinity School , East Bridgwater Community School which was previously known as Sydenham School and is a Performing and Visual Arts College , and Haygrove School which has specialist Language College status. Special
Special
schools in the town include: Elmwood Special School, New Horizon Centre School and Penrose School.

Bridgwater
Bridgwater
was selected as the first town in the South West, outside Bristol, to be selected for the UK government's Building Schools for the Future (BSF) initiative, which aimed to rebuild and renew nearly every secondary school in England. Within Bridgwater, BSF was to redevelop all of the four secondary schools and two special provision schools at an expected cost of around £100 million. This included the complete relocation and rebuilding of a new school combining the both Haygrove and Penrose School. In July 2010, several components of the Bridgwater
Bridgwater
BSF programme were cancelled and others were singled out for further review. Following a meeting with Education Secretary Michael Gove , Bridgwater
Bridgwater
MP Ian Liddell-Granger announced that the fate of all six affected schools would be subject to review, including the ones that were cancelled.

Further Education is provided by Bridgwater College which was formerly Bridgwater
Bridgwater
Technical School.

Schools which have since closed include: Bridgwater
Bridgwater
Grammar School For Boys (originally the Poplar School Of Engineering And Navigation, then Dr Morgan's Grammar School For Boys, which became Haygrove School with the Somerset
Somerset
County Council introduction of Comprehensive education), Bridgwater
Bridgwater
Grammar School For Girls, also in Durleigh, and Westover Senior Council School.

RELIGIOUS SITES

Among several places of worship the chief is the Church of St Mary ; this has a north porch and windows dating from the 14th century, besides a 170 feet (52 m) slender spire; but it has been much altered by restoration. It possesses a fine painted reredos, and has been designated by English Heritage
English Heritage
as a grade I listed building .

The Church of St John the Baptist in Blake Place was built by John Brown in 1843. Elim Pentecostal Church on Church Street was a public house after being used as a church and is now a shop. There is a Salvation Army
Salvation Army
Citadel located in Moorland Road, on the Sydenham Estate and St Joseph's Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic
in Binford Place. Classes in Buddhism
Buddhism
and meditation are held in the Quaker
Quaker
Meeting House on Friarn Street.

ARTS

Bridgwater
Bridgwater
Arts Centre

Nearing Bridgwater
Bridgwater
on the M5 motorway
M5 motorway
it is possible to see the Willow Man sculpture, a striding human figure constructed from willow , sometimes called the Angel of the South (see also Angel of the North ). Standing 12 metres (39 ft) tall, it was created by sculptor Serena de la Hey and is the largest known sculpture in willow, a traditional local material.

Bridgwater
Bridgwater
is the home of Music on the Quantocks, Somerset's most successful music series specialising in world-class classical music. The series also features performance poetry, jazz and folk. Most events are staged in venues such as churches, barns and halls surrounding Bridgwater
Bridgwater
and attract audiences up to 850 people at an event. Artists featured have included Sir James Galway, The Sixteen, Nigel Kennedy, The Hilliard Ensemble, The Tallis Scholars, Roger McGough and John Cooper Clarke.

The Bridgwater
Bridgwater
Arts Centre was opened on 10 October 1946, the first community arts centre opened in the UK with financial assistance from the newly established Arts Council of England
England
. It is situated in a Grade I listed building in the architecturally protected Georgian Castle Street, designed by Benjamin Holloway for the Duke of Chandos , and built over the site of the former castle. Holloway was also the architect of the Baroque Lions building on West Quay, constructed around 1730. Bridgwater
Bridgwater
Arts Centre was the venue for the first post-war meeting of the Congres Internationaux d\' Architecture
Architecture
Moderne in 1947.

Somerset
Somerset
Film (then Somerset
Somerset
Film "> "Genghis Khan" float by Wick CC, parading in the Bridgwater
Bridgwater
Guy Fawkes Carnival

Bridgwater
Bridgwater
is now best known for the illuminated " Bridgwater
Bridgwater
Guy Fawkes Carnival " that attracts around 150,000 people from around the country and overseas. Now held annually on the Saturday after the first Friday of November (i.e. - the nearest Saturday to 5 November), it was original held on the first Thursday of November, later moving to the first Friday. It consists of a display of 100 or more entries, many consisting of large vehicles ("Carnival floats") up to 100 feet (30 m) long, festooned with dancers (or team member in tableaux ) and up to 22,000 lightbulbs, that follows a 2.5-mile (4.0 km) route over 2 to 3 hours. Later in the evening of the Carnival, there is the simultaneous firing of large fireworks (known as squibs) in the street outside the town hall, known as "squibbing".

Bridgwater
Bridgwater
Fair
Fair
normally takes place in September — it starts on the last Wednesday in September and lasts four days. The fair takes place on St Matthew's Field, better known locally as the Fair
Fair
Field. The fair is now a funfair , ranked as second largest in England
England
after the Nottingham Goose Fair . It originated in 1249 as a horse and cattle fair , lasting for eight days near St Matthew\'s day (21 September), giving the venue its name. During the first weekend of July, the annual "Somerfest" arts festival is held in Bridgwater. The event includes an extensive programme of rock, jazz and classical music, dance, drama and visual arts with national and local participants.

A new annual event was launched in 2014, taking place in May each year. The Bridgwater Science Festival brings science related family entertainment and activities to town. The event takes place in the Town Hall, and works with local organisations and the University of the West of England
England
.

SPORTS

Bridgwater Town F.C. are a football club based at Fairfax Park . The original version of the club was founded in 1898. The club currently plays in the Southern League Division One South and West . Bridgwater & Albion are Somerset's highest- placed rugby team, playing in National League 3 South and are based at College Way. It was founded in 1875. The cricket club play at The Parks on Durleigh Road. Bridgwater
Bridgwater
Hockey
Hockey
Club were formed in the 1920s but now play their matches at Burnham-on-Sea .

East Bridgwater
Bridgwater
Sports Centre offers badminton courts, outside football pitches, squash courts and a fitness room.

Bridgwater
Bridgwater
had a series of swimming pools from 1890 until 2009. The first pool, in Old Taunton
Taunton
Road, was replaced by the Bridgwater
Bridgwater
Lido on Broadway, opened in 1960 by Princess Alexandra . The lido, which had three pools, a diving bay and paddling pool, was demolished in the late 1980s to make way for a supermarket, and to fund the indoor Sedgemoor Splash swimming pool in Mount Street, which opened in 1991. In 2009, after the local council were unable to raise the funds needed to upgrade the pool, it was closed and demolished to make way for another supermarket. A new pool was planned as part of the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) rebuild of Chilton Trinity School , however, the government's review of the BSF programme may result in the cancellation of the new school and pool build.

The town is both on the route of the Samaritans Way South West and the River Parrett
River Parrett
Trail .

NOTABLE PEOPLE

* Admiral Robert Blake was born in Bridgwater, and attended the local grammar school ( Bridgwater
Bridgwater
Grammar School For Boys ). His home is now the Blake Museum and contains details of his career amongst its exhibits of local history and archaeology. * John Chubb (artist) (1746-1818) He was a Bridgwater
Bridgwater
merchant and amateur artist, who painted portraits of his local contemporaries, as well as a number of paintings of Bridgwater
Bridgwater
street scenes. His work is in the collection of the Blake Museum , Bridgwater. * Donald Crowhurst (1932–69), who tried to fake a round-the-world solo yacht journey, set up his business in the town and was a Town Councillor. * Robert Dibble , England
England
rugby player. Played club rugby for Bridgwater & Albion RFC and Newport RFC . * Sir Paul Dukes was born in Bridgwater, an alumnus of Caterham School, and went on to be the premier SIS agent in pre-revolution Russia. Known as the Man with a Hundred Faces, he eluded Bolshevik capture and is still the only man to be knighted based on his exploits as a spy. * Wayne Goss , makeup artist and YouTube personality , born in Bridgwater
Bridgwater
in 1978. * Peter Haggett CBE FBA (b. 1933), eminent academic geographer and professor at University of Bristol
Bristol
, educated at Dr Morgan's Grammar School in Bridgwater
Bridgwater
* Chris Harris , English performer, director and writer who starred in Into the Labyrinth . He has starred in and directed the pantomime at the Theatre Royal, Bath since 2001. * Charles Kent , England
England
rugby player. * David Luckes MBE. England
England
and Great Britain hockey player - 1989-2000 brought up in Bridgwater. * Simon (1984) and Richard Mantell (1981), brothers and field hockey players for England, were both born in Bridgwater. * Breaker Morant
Breaker Morant
Anglo-Australian Boer War Soldier. * Kim Newman
Kim Newman
, science fiction novelist, horror film expert, TV presenter and film critic, educated at Dr Morgan's Grammar School in Bridgwater. * Henry Phillpotts , Bishop of Exeter
Exeter
, born in Bridgwater
Bridgwater
in 1778. * Jean Rees , artist and co-founder of the Bridgwater
Bridgwater
Arts Centre. b 1914. * James Sully , psychologist, born in Bridgwater
Bridgwater
in 1842. * Fanny Talbot born in Bridgwater
Bridgwater
in 1824, philanthropist and friend of John Ruskin who donated first property to the National Trust. * Tommy Woods (rugby) , England
England
rugby player. Played club rugby for Bridgwater
Bridgwater
-webkit-column-width: 30em; column-width: 30em; list-style-type: decimal;">

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REFERENCES

* Baynes, T.S., ed. (1878), "Bridgewater", Encyclopædia Britannica , 4 (9th ed.), New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, p. 342

ATTRIBUTION:

* This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911), "Bridgwater", Encyclopædia Britannica
Encyclopædia Britannica
, 4 (11th ed.), Cambridge University Press, p. 560

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