The Mount Street Day Centre tucked behind the Cinema and along from the Ford Repair shop is one of the places to see the face of modern poverty in the UK. Housed in two low slung buildings, one a pre-fab add-on to the former day centre, this place became home to The Bridgwater Foodbank in 2015. The original Foodbank was set up in the Northgate Enterprise Centre in 2013 but forced to move on to make room for a Tesco’s that never happened. In fact were it not for the offer of these buildings by Somerset County Council under the Community Asset Transfer Scheme (CAT), the Foodbank could have been as homeless as some of its clients.
For the third year running the Town Council sponsored Bridgwater History Day held at the Bridgwater Arts Centre was packed out. Chaired by Bridgwater Historian and Town Council Leader, Westover Councillor Brian Smedley, the event boasted 7 other local historians and a range of subjects covering almost 2,000 years. For local resident Anthony Lipmann, this was his first ever ‘Bridgwater History Day’. So we asked him to review it.
In 1851, Mid-Victorian Bridgwater had a population of not quite 10,000 but it was a thriving port with tall masted ships sailing right up to the town bridge and a dominating industry of brick and tile making. The new docks had only been completed 10 years earlier (built between 1837-1841) but this and the towns connection to Taunton by the Canal (completed in 1827) made Bridgwater an industrial hub of the first degree in 19th century Somerset. Bridgwater businesses competed to drive their industrial revolution forward and it was one of their number, John Board, who was an innovator and experimental pioneer in the development of reinforced concrete, which would later change the world. In 1851 , as a showcase for this new model of construction, he designed and built what became known as Castle House in Queen Street, but was then known as Portland House, due to the cement used.
Bridgwater Together is dedicated to bringing together the many and varied international communities in and around the town and sharing our cultural diversity in a spirit of unity and peace on earth loveliness. So it’s no surprise that they’re taking the lead in promoting a seasonal festival of internationalism at the Bridgwater Arts Centre on Saturday 1st December with Irish touring band The Eskies, fronting the line up.
The show will start at 8pm and will be hosted by Somerset singer Yvette Staelens, who’s Voice of the People Choir annually tours Europe linking up with other choirs. While presenting each act she will be performing songs from around the globe, backed on guitar by Westover councillor Brian Smedley.
Tickets can be bought from the ART CENTRE or THE ENGINE ROOM for £5. Or online via Midnight Mango (£6)
Polish Pianist Mariusz will open the evening and swiftly followed by Musica de Timor-Leste – who will play a set of folk songs from East Timor. Portuguese accordionist, Natalia Cerqueira, will sing songs from both Portugal and the British isles and then Somerset singer -songwriter Reuben Vowles, will take things up a gear with some of his own material played on electric guitar. Continue reading “‘Bridgwater Together’ Hosts International Musical Evening”
For the third year running Bridgwater Town Council will be celebrating local history with a special event at Bridgwater Arts Centre. The event will run from 10am to 4pm and will be free.
Organiser and Town Council Leader, Cllr Brian Smedley, said “Bridgwater people have always been proud of their history whether it’s the first town to petition against the slave trade or the last battle on English soil. Throughout the day the Arts Centre -the first in the country – will be home to a selection of 7 topics from 700 years of Bridgwater history presented by 7 local historians using photos, film, music and short talks. The last two years have seen full houses and we expect the same this year. There will also be food provided. “
The Art Centre will be open from 10am and refreshments are available. The bar area will feature an exhibition by Blake Museum and a rolling slide show of old Bridgwater photos.