Fair Bridport Fair

charter fairAnnual Charter Fair
Saturday 4 July

By Alison Lang

‘Happiest place to live in Britain,’ – The Times
‘Third best market town,’ – BBC Countryfile
‘Top 10 market town’ – Daily Telegraph

Our market town is indeed accolade-laden, thanks in large part to the provisions and pleasures of our markets.

On Saturday, Bridport’s annual Charter Fair takes place in South Street, the Arts Centre and the Borough Gardens with entertainment and stalls from 9am until 3pm.

The Charter Fair celebrates the granting of our charter in 1253 by Henry III: “Know ye that we have granted and by this our charter confirm to our worthy men of Bridport that our town of Bridport shall in future be a free Borough…” with all the rights that entailed, including the right to hold a market.

Bridport’s early market was literally a shambles. That means it was a butcher’s slaughterhouse and meat market where the Town Hall now stands. It is a little more sophisticated these days: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has sold soups and chutneys in the farmers’ market.

Bridport (including West Bay) has 10 markets, including a car boot sale in West Bay and a monthly vintage market. If you don’t know them all, there are some splendid new market pamphlets available in the Information Centre. Only three of the markets are run by Bridport Town Council, but while the town surveyor, Daryl Chambers, praises them all, it is the street markets every Wednesday and Saturday that he considers the jewels in the crown.

Chambers and Ken Hussey jointly run the street markets, playing good cop (Hussey), bad cop (Chambers) to keep matters under control. Chambers is also one of 12 advisers to the National Association of British Market Authorities.

The town’s income from market-stall pitch payments last year was some £ 58,000 after expenses. That money stays in the town and is used to pay for projects such as new streetlights and banners, planting and maintaining green spaces and children’s play areas, bunting and Christmas lights.

Unfortunately the town pays 16% of market income to West Dorset Council as they own the market and licence it to us. Bridport relinquished control of its market in the mid-1970s but Chambers and the town council are currently negotiating to win it back.

From 18 July to 5 September, a park-and-ride service at £2 per car or £ 2 per pedestrian will run every 20 minutes between West Bay Car Park and Spar on East Street between 9.15am and 3pm every Wednesday and Saturday. Good for the market, good for the beach!

Click on our Bridport Review links to read more about our market traders.

By |July 3rd, 2015|Markets|0 Comments

Limited Edition Bridport Tea Towel

Illustrator Alison Lang has designed a limited- edition tea towel which encapsulates Bridport. On sale now at the Tourist Information Centre, Buckydoo Square.Alison Tea Towel

By |December 2nd, 2014|Markets|0 Comments