Legacy 2021-12-17T18:04:00+00:00

St Michael’s Legacy

The Haywards at St Michael’s

Clive Hayward

Norman Hayward

Norman Hayward Sr.

One thing that has not changed on the St Michael’s Estate in the last 46 years is the policy of providing affordable rents for the many fledgling small businesses – ‘start ups’ as they would be known today.

Norman Hayward Senior was a Londoner but moved to the Boscombe area when still a lad. He had run his own small business that he founded just before the war in Bournemouth so he knew first hand the problems small businesses faced well before arriving in Bridport with his two sons, Clive and Norman Junior. What they saw on arrival was very different than the estate we see today. Many buildings were partially derelict – net and rope making production had ceased some years before and transferred to other parts of the town. So the Haywards set about transforming the estate into a number of small and not so small units – a significant task that kept the family occupied for several years, undertaking much of the work themselves.

For Norman Senior this all began at a time when most people are considering retirement; he was 60 when the purchase of the 6 acres of land and buildings was completed.

His two sons continued those traditions. Today Norman Hayward is still meeting the needs of a variety of tenants and over the years many hundreds of businesses have benefitted from this approach.

Some of course have gone on to outgrow St Michael’s – Par Acoustics, Top Gear, Clipper Teas, Lilliput Textiles, Coastal Nets. And there will be more in the future – businesses that continue to sow their seeds at St Michael’s and have been nurtured over the years.

But not all businesses here seek to grow and expand – many are just happy to survive and continue as they are; family businesses in particular. They are just as important to St Michael’s and just as welcome.

St Michael’s Foundry showing a much smaller working factory estate circa 1820

Farewell to Gentleman Clive

Clive Haywood, who along with his brother and their father Norman senior, was responsible for creating the trading estate from the remains of a disused netmaking and rope making factory in 1968 sadly passed away in 2019.

The family almost single-handedly took down old buildings and built new replacements and have maintained the buildings now for more than 50 years.

St Michael’s now has a unique reputation and character and Clive made an outstanding contribution through his commitment which continued right up to a few days prior to his passing. As Norman Hayward commented to the local press and at Clive’s service:

“His dedication to the estate and its tenants over 30 years was the main reason it has somehow survived through many ups and downs, in particular the diverse mix of traders that has taken its reputation way beyond West Dorset.’

Some 40 tenants travelled from Bridport to pay their respects at the service in Poole on the 29th January. A flag continues to fly at half mast over the Tower Building on the estate.