LSI work begins

After more than 6 years of planning, Bridport Area Development Trust is about to start work on the restoration of the Literary and Scientific Institute building in East Street.  The Grade 2* listed building in East Street has been empty since 1997 and is currently on the national At Risk register.

A £2m building contract has been awarded to RG Spiller of Chard after a formal tendering process and the Trust is scheduled to grant possession of the site to the contractor on the 22nd August. It is estimated that the restoration work will span a year with the LSI building complete and ready for business in the Autumn of 2017.

Mike Carter, Chair of the LSI working group said “Access to the building to carry out the refurbishment is very limited due to the restricted nature of the site.  We have reached an agreement with Highways and the Town Council to close the pavement outside the building and a portion of the local car parking on the South side of the road to allow for a contractor’s compound outside the building and to ensure that two-way traffic is maintained in East Street.  Pedestrian access will remain open to all premises along the street.”

The appointment of the contractor signals the Trust’s success in securing the final funding for the capital phase of restoration work which has been achieved with the help and support of HLF and Historic England who together have underpinned the valued contributions of other Trust organisations and stakeholders.

Whilst the construction work takes place, the Trust will move forward to assemble an operational management committee to run the building.  When reopened the building will include training, meeting and flexible workspace to meet the needs of new and existing small businesses in the area and the local community.  A café will cater for users of the building and be open to the public.

Alongside the building work a programme of activities will explore the history of the building.  Activities Coordinator Crystal Johnson said, “It is incredibly exciting that, at last, this really important building is being saved.  Its purpose has always been to support the growth and prosperity of the town and provide amenity for its residents.  Its new use will reflect its original aims and safeguard it for the people of Bridport in the future.”

“We have developed a programme of events and activities that we hope will help us understand more about the building and celebrate its heritage significance.  We have just appointed an Oral History coordinator to record local memories about the building and would love to hear from anyone who would be willing to share their stories – it might be a small snippet of information or a more detailed recount of something that happened at the building.”

If you have a story to share, would like to get involved or simply join our mailing list for progress updates, please contact Crystal Johnson:

A catering opportunity in partnership with Bridport Area Development Trust

BADT is keen to invite expressions of interest from local commercial operators to run a new café/restaurant to be launched in the second quarter of 2017.  This opportunity forms a key part of the Trust’s plans for the restoration and regeneration of a historic landmark in the centre of Bridport.

For more information, please download the brief from here.

Closing date Friday 4 March 2016

Girt Big Barn Dance raises girt big money

The Bridport Area Development Trust issued the following press release today:

A barn dance organised by Creeds Design and Print has raised £1,700 to support the restoration of Bridport Literary and Scientific Institute.

Held at The Tithe Barn by kind permission of Symondsbury Estate, the event was a sell out with over 200 people attending. Dancers enjoyed a light supper with bread and cheese supplied by Leakers Bakery and Ford Farm, and some mouth-watering tray bakes from Jessica’s Farmhouse Cakes, before dancing the night away to local group ‘Up and Running’.



Harry of Creeds Design and Print said, “the evening was fantastic and everyone attending had a great time. We are thrilled that it was such a success and that we were able to raise such a large amount to support the restoration of this important local community building.”

Crystal Johnson, Activities Coordinator for the LSI project said, “we are enormously grateful to Creeds for organising this event which will makes a big contribution towards our current fundraising target. It is this kind of support that will really help in our last push to raise all the funds necessary to bring the LSI back into use and save it as a community building for the future”.

The majority of the £2.6m needed to restore the LSI has already been secured, with major grants received from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic England and various other bodies. The project has about £125k left to raise. It was recently awarded £10k from the Wolfson Foundation and further fundraising will continue throughout 2016. It is anticipated that work will begin on site after Easter this year, with a view to reopening the building in early Summer 2017.

If you would like to be kept informed about the project and future developments please contact Crystal Johnson to join the mailing list:

If you would like to make a donation to the project please visit:


Opportunities for artists, designers and consultants to work on the LSI restoration project

Be a part of it…

The project to restore Bridport Literary and Scientific Institute is getting underway and we have a number of opportunities for artists, designers and consultants to work on specific elements of the project.

Information on each opportunity can be downloaded from here. The closing date for submissions for all these contracts is Friday 19 February 2016.

If you have any questions please contact Crystal Johnson, Activities Coordinator:

West Bay Methodist Church – what happens next?

Bridport Area Development Trust which now owns the West Bay Methodist Church (“The Chapel on the Beach”) is developing plans to convert it into a Visitor Centre providing information about the history and environment of West Bay and the surrounding area. The Trust has recently submitted a Listed Building application WD/D/15/001833 to West Dorset District Council for permission to proceed with the necessary conservation works to this historic Grade II Listed building.

Last year, the Trust opened the Methodist Church during August and September when a number of display boards, and exhibits loaned by Bridport Museum, explored a number of topics relating to West Bay and the Church building itself. The Church had over 1600 visitors during this summer period who provided some very positive and useful comments.

The Trust has now developed a questionnaire to consult Bridport area residents and visitors on what they would find attractive in the converted Church, and launched this questionnaire at the Melplash Show.

The Trust will also be holding a public consultation session at the Salt House, West Bay during Architectural Heritage Week. This session will run from 2.00pm to 7.00pm on Wednesday 9 September 2015. Please come along on the day to look at the Trust’s plans for the Church, let us have your views and feedback via the questionnaire, and see how you may be able to help.

Your views are very important to the success of this project.

The questionnaire can also be completed online here.

Coming to Bridport this Autumn…

McCall Smith poster    Lewis Dartnell poster

We are delighted and excited to announce that Alexander McCall Smith and Dr Lewis Dartnell are coming to Bridport this Autumn thanks to two events organised by Bridport Literary Festival, which will support the fundraising efforts for the restoration of the Literary and Scientific Institute.

Both events will be held at The Electric Palace. Tickets for the Alexander McCall Smith talk are now on sale at Bridport Tourist Information Centre: £12 in advance, £15 on the door.  Tickets for the Dr Dartnell event (£12) will be on sale from 11 September.

Bridport TIC, Bucky Doo Square, South Street, Bridport. Tel: 01308 424901. Open: Monday – Saturday 9.00am – 5.00pm.

Tanya Bruce-Lockhart, Festival Director said “With such high profile speakers, we expect both of these events to be very popular so strongly urge people to get their tickets as soon as possible.”

Crystal Johnson, Activities Coordinator for the LSI restoration project said, “We are hugely grateful for the support of Bridport Literary Festival and the amount of time that Tanya has put into organising these events. The restoration of the Literary and Scientific Institute is a major project for Bridport and we hope that work will begin on site early next year. We have very nearly raised the £2.6m required to fund the project, and with just £140k left to find we greatly appreciate the support of the Literary Festival in helping us reach that target.”

Alexander McCall Smith – talk at 11.00am on 6 October 2015, Electric Palace, Bridport
Alexander McCall Smith is one of the world’s most prolific and most popular authors. His career has been a varied one: for many years he was a professor of Medical Law and worked in universities in the United Kingdom and abroad.

Then, after the publication of his highly successful No 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, which has sold over twenty million copies, he devoted his time to the writing of fiction and has seen his various series of books translated into over forty languages and become bestsellers through the world.

Dr Lewis Dartnell – talk at 2.30pm on 14 November 2015, Electric Palace, Bridport
Dr. Lewis Dartnell is a research scientist at University of Leicester, currently holding fellowships for both research and science popularisation.  After a first class degree in biology at the University of Oxford he completed a PhD in the field of astrobiology and the search for life beyond Earth.

Alongside his research, Lewis writes regularly about science and technology for New Scientist, BBC Focus, Cosmos, and national newspapers, has a monthly column in BBC Sky at Night magazine and has won several awards for his science writing.