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Campers may wonder what the small white building attached to the double garage is. (1) The original plan was to have a disabled toilet built ready for the Jubilee weekend in June 2012. Unfortunately there were so many delays on every front during its planning and construction that it wasn’t started until November 2012. (2, 3, 4, 5, 6) I decided to cut my losses once the building had a roof on it and halt proceedings so there is still electric wires dangling inside the garage waiting to be connected to the mains! (7) Over the years since that time, the door has expanded because it wasn’t seasoned properly when it was put in so we have had to plane and saw off bits to get it to shut. About six weeks ago we took the door off and discovered that it was full of water. After draining that off we put plastic over the top to make it waterproof (8) and rehung the door. (9) It is now used for dumping and storing things and will probably never be a disabled toilet!

I have had a few brave souls staying on the campsite this winter including this lovely man with his dog who stayed in his foldaway caravan. (10, 11)


I first started researching for my exhibition about the fallen service men on the Whitchurch War Memorial at the beginning of 2014, being the 100 anniversary of the start of WW1. Initially I found all the Commonwealth War Grave and Forces War records for each of the 18 remembered. (12) I also tracked down all the census records covering 1891, 1901 and 1911 to see where each man was living at the time during his short life.

I already had a few photos of some of the men. After putting an article in the “Bridport News” several people contacted me about photos of their great uncles who had lost their lives in the Great War. Fortunately I have had the help from fellow family historians who managed to track down some of the men who had very tenuous links with Whitchurch. After WW1 relatives of the fallen had to apply for names to be put on the War Memorial. Unfortunately I have had to shelve the project several times but I am trying to finish it now with the help of other genealogists for an exhibition to be held on 24th and 25th March. (13)

It has been a very interesting experience getting all the material together. My sitting room has been completely taken over by boards (14, 15), bits of paper and glue. Probably the most interesting serviceman was Lt Commander Cookson (16, 17) who gained a DSO and VC for his exploits during WW1 but was killed near Kut, which is in modern day Iraq. There is a plaque dedicated to him in Whitchurch church. (18) I have been in contact with the son of a seaman who served with Cookson, who has written a book about his time in the Navy and who witnessed Cookson’s death. (19) It has also been fascinating tracing great nieces and nephews of the fallen who are still living in West Dorset. (20, 21, 22, 23) or even distant cousins (24, 25). If I have time I would like to write something on one or two of the serviceman who came back (26, 27).


There is always maintenance to be done somewhere. This month it has been the rewiring from the farm house to the old dairy and cider cellar. (28, 29, 30). I have also had a new light and fitting put on the end of the garage specifically for campers coming down to the house in the dark. (31) The previous one kept tripping the supply. I hope this one is better behaved. I have had the supply cut off from the buildings in the farm yard, until I can afford to have that area rewired later on.


We have done some pruning of the apples trees that I grafted onto root stocks over the last 20 years. The system is to cut out the dead, diseased or damaged. Any branches growing up in the middle need to be also cut out to let light in. (32, 33) We didn’t have the sheep out in the second orchard this winter to eat the grass off so have had to use the strimmer to get the grass under control, making sure that the snowdrops and emerging daffodils are not cut down. (34) Mountains of garden waste were put on the garden side of the campsite. This would normally be moved by tractor to the bonfire, but it has been too wet to do this. Unfortunately it had to be all taken by pitchfork. (35) Snowdrops have been in abundance this year, (36) and the variegated branches of the cornus shrubs (dog wood) (37, 38) add colour at this time of year. I have bought some plants suitable for greenery to go with the cut flowers I will be selling next summer (39)


I belong to the Lyme Regis and Bridport branches of the U3A but because I am not retired I only seem to have time to attend a lunch club organised by the Bridport branch. This has been running since 2012. Individuals organise a different venue each month (40) at pubs and restaurants all over West Dorset, but the following are ones we have frequented in Bridport: The George Inn, (41) The Taj Mahal, (42) Pickled Ginger, (43) The Rakhang (Thai food) (44) and the Market House. (45)


Bridport Antiques, owned and run by Richard and Sam Payne-Withers, (46) has a new showroom in the heart of Bridport on West Street. (47) Having expanded The Alleyways Antiques Centre to its current size on the St Michael’s Estate, and years of planning their 15 months’ refurbishment of the Old Court in West Street was completed. The business had a “soft” opening in April 2017 but held its major opening in December with a fanfare and town crier to boot! (48, 49) Invited guests were given a delicious buffet. (50)

There are an assortment of cabinets displaying everything from antique glass and silver ornaments to vintage jewellery, first edition books, militaria, China tea service and Victorian kitchenalia. (51-56)

The furniture dates back to the 1600’s so whether it’s Edwardian or the Stuarts, Georgian or Regency, country or formal, the growing range is constantly changing. Their website has been redesigned to incorporate a catalogue of items available to Bridport Antiques and The Alleyways Antique Centre

The West Street premises is a beautiful listed building which used to belong to Gundry/Amsafe as their head office, world famous for their nets and ropes.

The business is open every morning from 10 am until 5 pm, Thursday afternoons closes at 2 pm, and is closed on Sundays. Appointments for viewing can be arranged for outside the regular opening hours.

Bridport Antiques, The Old Court, 41 West Street, Bridport, Dorset DT6 3QU

Telephone 01308 455646, email:


Thank you to all the people who have helped me with this newsletter: Richard Payne-Withers, David Gunn, Carol Lee and Jane Stubbs.

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