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Wessex FM News

West Dorset town a 'National Ulcer'!

Bridport Causes A Stink

Published at 1:07pm 8th October 2018.

Let's start by agreeing that Bridport is lovely and absolutely one of my favourite places to visit BUT back in 1861 a certain London newspaper described the town as a 'National Ulcer'.

You now have your chance to explore the less fragrant (or should that be more fragrant?) past of the town in a new trail at Bridport Museum.

Museum Director Emily Hicks explains “It’s hard to believe that Bridport was once such a dirty and diseased place it was described in London newspapers as a ‘National Ulcer’. A report from 1861 described the cramped conditions, with as many as 15 houses sharing just two outside toilets. Worse still, the toilets emptied into cesspits which often overflowed – into the drinking water wells! At one point in the 19th Century Bridport was rapidly gaining a reputation of being one of the smelliest towns in Britain.  Toilet waste often overflows into the streets, the smell mingling with that of putrid pig dung!”

Intrigued by the revelation of the town being likened to a National Ulcer I popped along to speak to Emily, happily in the very fresh and recently renovated surroundings of Bridport Museum.

Emily Hicks - Bridport Museum

The Museum will be asking families to sniff their way around the Museum and use their imaginations to sketch to illustrate real reporters' disgust of stinking fish and filth!

The trail runs from Saturday 20 to Saturday 27 October and is free, with donations hugely appreciated to support the Museum’s work as a charity.

Half Term also marks the last week of the Museum’s full-time opening hours. From then on it goes into Winter opening: Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 11-2pm, and Saturdays 10-1pm. The popular ropemaking demonstrations will be running on Wednesday and Saturday mornings at 11am.

For more details about what’s on during Autumn and Winter, visit the website www.bridportmuseum.co.uk or Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BridportMuseum

These events and more have all been made possible made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project was funded by a £841,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

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