St Michael’s Blue Plaques Bring Estate History Alive
Three commemorative blue plaques have been unveiled here at St Michael’s. It would of course be unusual to have one blue plaque on a trading estate let alone 3 but why have historic plaques on a trading estate at all?
St Michael’s has a proud track record of providing affordable commercial trading space to small businesses for 53 years. But we have always been conscious that the estate had an industrial life for hundreds of years before as a net and rope making factory employing hundreds of local people. We are also conscious of being the largest part of Bridport’s South West Quadrant conservation zone. The first plaque unveiled was to William Saunders Edwards and it was unveiled by his great granddaughter Amanda Streatfeild who still lives in the town. William broke the mould by taking nets from St Michael’s into the world of sport; lawn tennis- the All England Club and then to the Football Association for the first goal nets, then cricket nets, and of course almost every village hall in the country has a badminton net or two.
The second plaque to William Gale and his family was unveiled by His Worship the Mayor Councillor Ian Bark who said that just looking around St Michael’s it was obvious that this was once a thriving hub of industrial activity. ’These buildings still stand as a mark of respect to the entrepreneurs and workers who created and worked in them.” In unveiling the third plaque to commemorate the creation of Bridport Industries, Karen Hunt Chair of the Bridport Museum trustees, agreed with Councillor Bark that Bridport’s heritage is ‘not just about these buildings we see around but about the people who shaped them, worked in them and lived in the surrounding streets.’ We are proud to commemorate their contribution to St Michael’s and Bridport’s industrial past.