Rummage in the attic to help Bridport's Literary and Scientific Institute

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Crystal Johnson Crystal Johnson

SUPPORTERS of Bridport’s Literary and Scientific Institute are holding a charity auction to help raise funds to refurbish and re-open the Georgian building in East Street.

Busby Auctioneers has offered to run a charity auction called Loot from the Loft on March 22.

This won’t be a specialist sale and organisers are looking for donations of everything from household goods and furniture to collectables.

Project co-ordinator Crystal Johnson said: “Of course if you do have the odd antique or high value item that you’d like to give, that could make a huge difference to the amount we can raise.

“Having said that, success will be about quantity as much as quality of the items we have to sell so if you’ve been thinking of having a clear out here’s your opportunity. “Help us save the LSI with your unloved items.”

Volunteers have already managed to find nearly all the funding for the £2.4million restoration of the institute but only if they can raise £200,000 from the community.

The Grade II-listed institute has been empty – and deteriorating – since 1997 when Dorset County Council moved the library to South Street. The volunteers formed the Bridport Area Development Trust in 2010 to take on the challenge of restoring the iconic Georgian building for community use.

The trust already has initial approval for a £1.2m Heritage Lottery grant and commitments from the county, district and town councils, English Heritage and the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation.

Plans so far include a ground floor café, with interpretation related to the industrial heritage and present-day story of the building and the town.

This will also be used as a venue for talks and lectures in the traditions of the institute.

The distinctive very high ceilinged rooms with their tall windows will be kept retained and restored.

The idea is to let space to community groups, education providers and creative businesses – because the restored building will need to operate without public subsidy and will need to cover its significant running costs, said Ms Johnson.

For the first time there will be full disabled access through the basement to lifts which means the ramp at the front of the building will go and the steps be restored.

Lots for the auction are being accepted until the end of February and they can be dropped of at Busby Salerooms at The Old Hemp Store, North Mills, telephone 01308 420100 Email: info@busby.co.uk

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