It must be obvious that a town called Bridgwater would have a bridge over a river, this is the old Town Bridge over the River Parrett, not the original but a 19th. Century replacement. These days there are 3 other bridges but until the 60's, apart from the Town Bridge there was only a railway bridge leading to the docks.
A contrasting view showing the height of the river after heavy rain in January 2002. I'm very glad of the flood defences along the Parrett at times like this. Bridgwater hasn't been flooded since the walls were built, but some of the rural areas nearby get inundated almost every winter.
In November 2011 heavy rain caused part of the flood wall along the river to partly collapse, this view is in June 2012 when repairs were underway.
By mid-August the old wall had been dismantled - materials saved for reuse - and the repaired area can be seen as new concrete. A study failed to find any single reason for the collapse.
The town centre is around the Cornhill, an old market building originally a Corn Exchange it now hosts a daily indoor market. Leading to it from the Town Bridge is Fore Street, one of the main shopping streets, High Street leads off to the right past the Cornhill.
Another, closer view of the Cornhill, showing the statue of Admiral Blake, Bridgwater's most famous son, an Elizabethan "sea dog" and explorer.
Kings Square in the centre of town just off the Cornhill is an oasis of green and peace. The towns war memorial is in the centre, the square is surrounded by grand houses now converted to offices, including the district council's headquarters.
The view looking up Georgian Castle Street towards Kings Square. This photo was taken from the bank of the Parrett. Again, these grand houses are now offices or surgeries (vets, doctors and dentists), on the left, about midway up, is Bridgwater Arts Centre, which was the first such centre in the country.
Bridgwater has two major events each year, the St. Matthews Day Fair, starting on the last Wednesday in September until the Saturday. The first photo shows the view over part of the modern fun fair, which is very large as it is an end of season get together for the showmen.
A more traditional part of the fair is the market stalls which fill West Street for the four days of fair. Being in September it can be wet weather, but that doesn't deter the bargain hunters or the fun seekers at the fun fair in the field at the top of West Street.
The roots of the fair go back hundreds of years, there are still the traditional sheep and horse sales next to the fun fair, and also many extra market stalls just for the one day on the Wednesday. Fair takes over the town for the four days, we seem to go there at some time on all of them !
The other great event is Bridgwater Carnival, on a Friday night in November. This massive parade takes over two hours to pass, much of it is giant carts (or floats) such as the Gremlin's Hellfire in 2002. Just about everything on it was rotating as well as being lit by about 20,000 bulbs !!
Back to the river and one of Bridgwater's other bridges, the "Black Bridge". Originally a railway bridge it opened to allow ships to pass to the quays further up.
Two more views of Black Bridge, it was used as a single track road after the railway closed, now superseded by a new bridge it is now used by pedestrians and cyclists.
The opening mechanism was unusual, a section over the land slid to one side then the main span was pulled in running on the rollers seen in this photo.
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This site was last updated 16/08/2012
Photos not otherwise credited are ©2001-2012 S G J Huddy. Other photos are included with permission of the copyright holders.