A BRAND new event celebrating Bridport’s ropemaking heritage has been hailed a success.

Hundreds of people turned out to take part in the Ropewalk Fair, which had events and activities running across the weekend.

Emily Hicks, curator of Bridport Museum and organiser of the fair, said: “It was just brilliant. We had young and old taking part in everything from tug-of-war competitions to guided tours of the modern-day industry leaders.”

The main event was held at the Millennium Green on Sunday with plenty taking part in mass skipping or trying their hand at maypole dancing.

Emily said: “The tug-of-war competition was a great success. We had young farmers groups, American football players and a special one for the kids.”

The event began as a fundraiser for the Literary and Scientific Institute and redevelopment projects at Bridport Museum as well as a chance for the town to focus on its unique history.

Emily said: “It’s all about bringing the history of net and ropemaking – as well as the current industries – to the forefront of people’s minds.

“It’s almost a hidden thing in the town, but it does still go on and it was great to have some local companies showing what they do. They are still world leaders in the industry.”

Residents got the chance to tour Huck Nets and AmSafe as well as take part in guided walks around the town led by local historian Richard Sims, to discover significant sites.

Emily said: “These were a great success as they were all fully booked. I think it’s something people are very interested in, because it’s their personal history as well as the town’s history.

“I had a lady come into the Local History Centre recently whose mum had been an outworker and we looked up the name in the ledger, which showed what kind and how many nets she made.

“All of this information is slowly becoming accessible to everyone.”
Emily added that the event will take place again next year.

Shops celebrate ropemaking heritage with window displays

SHOPS in Bridport also got into the ropemaking spirit by taking part in a window dressing competition.

Each shop that took part was given a bag of assorted nets and ropes to help with the display and the winners were selected by Richard Connolly, chairman of Huck Nets.

Julia’s House fundraising store came first, with IJ Brown Opticians in second place and Lavender Blue in third place.

Two shops put together their own historical display and so it was decided to run a separate competition for them.

The RSPCA store was the winner and Naturalife came second.