Bridport has seen many pubs in its long history, and at one time was the only town in England with more pubs per head of population.  

The town’s museum has now published a booklet that both lists the names of the pubs and where in Bridport they were.

In a fascinating history, the large number of drinking establishments in the town dropped due to a change in law and a reduced population.

In 1903, a bench of Magistrates visited all 63 pubs and beer houses in the town to assess both sanitation and accommodation.

Following their ‘pub crawl,’ the Magistrates concluded that Bridport was ‘overburdened with licensed houses, and therefore felt compelled to reduce the number’.

The closures saw the number slashed to 34, but this still meant that there was one pub for every 168 inhabitants.

Author of the booklet, Tegwyn Jones, said: “Last spring, we ran a series of talks at the Museum and Bruce Upton gave a fascinating talk on Boozy Bridport.

“Such was the interest that he kindly let us have his research, and we also delved into museum archives to produce this booklet. It lists all the pubs were know about, their names, and where they were.”

Mr Jones said that South Street was the centre of the town’s social scene through history, and that the area between St Mary’s Church and South Bridge ‘had a high concentration of drinking establishments.’ The author went on to say that most of the establishments were beer houses with ‘basic’ facilities.  

Emma Luckcraft, Co-Director of the museum said “This list of Bridport pubs is long, but probably not comprehensive. Our volunteers trawled through museum archives and turned up many that have closed or changed name over the years.

“Our information will always be incomplete. Where was the Punch Bowl in South Street, for example? I'd encourage anyone to take a self-guided stroll with the booklet  through the town and let us know what has been missed so that we can improve future editions.” 


The booklet is available from the shop in Bridport Museum on South Street for £1.