The Bridgwater Heritage Group is an informal place for Bridgwater historians to publish research and sources. The current editors are:
Tony Woolrich, retired Hon. Curator of the Blake Museum Bridgwater. Writer and editor. Expert in industrial history and biography. Contributor to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, the Biographical Dictionary of Civil Engineers and Wikipedia. Author of a series of papers on the life and times of the 19th century engineering writer and consultant, John Farey jr (1791-1851). He has recently worked for the Burney Centre at McGill University in Canada on an edition of the music articles in Rees’s Cyclopaedia, (1802-1819), for the team there editing the letters of music historian, Dr Charles Burney (1726- 1814). He is now preparing an edition of an enormous article on Canals, (1806), from Rees’s Cyclopaedia, by John Farey, Sr, (1766-1826).
Dr Miles Kerr-Peterson (webmaster) Professional historian of noble power and culture in James VI’s Scotland. Also chair, Friends of the Wembdon Road Cemetery and secretary, the Scottish Medievalists. Recent books published on Noble Power, the Earls Marischal and James VI. Dabbles in ‘clan’ histories. Currently also working on an edition of Aberdonian Thomas Cargill’s 1594 translation of Justus Lipsius’ Six Books of Politics or Civil Doctrine. Locally, has also published on Bridgwater and the First World War and Wembdon.
This website was founded by the late Dr Peter Cattermole in October 2012. The group was re-formed in March 2016 as an informal research group and online platform for publishing materials and research on the history of Bridgwater and the surrounding villages, then this new website was started in May 2020. The group aims to promote and propagate the understanding and appreciation of the rich history of the town. These efforts are intended to complement the work and collections of the Blake Museum, the Bridgwater and District Archaeological Society, the Bridgwater and District Civic Society and the Friends of the Wembdon Road Cemetery.
When this Group began much emphasis was given to publishing illustrated accounts of the historic sites and buildings of Bridgwater, but since then the scope has broadened to cover historic texts about the town. These have been digitised from original sources and edited in A4 format, and are PDF documents so that readers can download and print them for further study. The goal has been to create an educational resource for the town, of value not only for local Bridgwater historians, but also for school pupils and college students and for the enjoyment of the general public.
Aspects of the Town’s history have been well covered in recent years with books appearing on Carnival, Railways and Pubs, but there are conspicuous gaps. These include the various cultural groups: choirs, dramatics and the arts generally. Bridgwater shops. Sport. Education. Dissenting churches. Manufacturing generally. There are certainly more topics that might be added.
The site welcomes contributions from local Bridgwater historians and residents, as well as memoirs about the town. See our notes for contributors page. The site is entirely free to use, with no adverts. However, if you enjoy this site you can support us via the below link, or buy a book from the store. All proceeds go towards the cost of maintaining this website. Similar groups in other communities are very welcome to adapt this approach to recording their town’s history. Any interested in doing so are invited to make contact via the web-site to discuss methods.
Adapted from an article in the Museums in Somerset newsletter, Spring 2020