The Bull Hotel
The beautifully restored 16th century coaching inn with its charm and character in the centre of town, has become the natural ‘hub’ of the Festival. Many of the events take place here and it is a good watering hole for audiences moving from event to event. There is an excellent restaurant and an affordable Pizza and Pie eaterie in The Stables next door. A perfect place to stay during the festival week along with the Bridge House Hotel in East Street which you will find featured on our Places to Stay page.
34 East St Bridport / 01308 422 878 / www.thebullhotel.co.uk
The Electric Palace
In 1926 the local brewing family JC and RH Palmer, took the courageous and enterprising step to build an opera house in Bridport. A new venture in every way, but particularly because it was powered by electricity, a rare commodity for many at the time. Generating its own power, it enabled the people of Bridport to experience the wonder and glamour of a new age of cinema, as well as opera and other stage shows. Bridport is fortunate to have not only a cultural gem but an architectural one too. The building retains many of its original features in the Art Deco style and the centrepiece of the building is the collection of stunning ‘art deco’ murals painted by George Biles in 1936. The Electric Palace has been operating almost continually since 1926 with great success. It has recently undergone a extensive renovation retaining and enhancing the original features and improving the cinema technology, stage equipment and other facilities to bring it into the 21st century. The building is still owned by a local family and continues to provide first-class film and live entertainment for the people of Bridport, West Dorset and beyond.
Bridlit audiences love the atmosphere and all the comforts of the Electric Palace. It has a bar for refreshments and the delightful Electric Lounge next door provides scrumptious food.
35 South St, Bridport DT6 3NY / 01308 424 901 / www.electricpalace.org.uk
The Literary and Scientific Institute
The LSI was founded as a Mechanics’ Institute in 1834 to provide education for working men by the local MP Henry Warburton. In 1863, as a result of the failure of the Mechanics’ Institute, the building was leased to a group of local gentlemen for the term of 1000 years at a peppercorn rent and reconstituted as the Literary and Scientific Institute. The objectives were to encourage “the intellectual and moral improvement of the classes and the cultivation of Literature, Science and Art”. In 1865 the Bridport School of Art was established and became an influential organisation alongside the Institute in the same building. Probably the most notable student in the School was Francis H (“Fra”) Newbery who later became the Director of the Glasgow School of Art. During WWII at least part of the Institute building was requisitioned for war purposes and used by American troops stationed in Bridport before the Normandy Landings in 1944. After the War part of the building was used by the Red Cross Recreation Centre but by 1950 the Committee concluded that its financial position was so weak that it could not continue and responsibility was assumed by the Dorset County Council on the basis that it could be used as a Library. The building served as the town’s Public Library from 1952 to 1997 when the library service was relocated to new premises. During the early part of this century, there was concern for the neglect of the building and its uncertain future as it had become a negative asset. In 2012 the Bridport Area Development Trust made a successful application to the Heritage Lottery Fund towards the capital costs of restoration with match funding already secured from the Dorset County Council, the Architectural Heritage Fund and other concerned parties.
The LSI, in its now beautifully restored building, offers facilities in which to think, work, learn and grow with a range of flexible work spaces for meetings, training and literary talks. Bridlit is delighted to have the opportunity to use its glorious salon this year to host events.
51 East St, Bridport DT6 3JX / 07780 588 007 / www.lsibridport.co.uk
Sladers Yard is one of the most popular venues in West Dorset. Housed in what was a traditional boat building yard in West Bay, it hosts regular exhibitions of painting, sculpture and the fabulous furniture of Petter Southall. The restaurant is a delight with dining indoor and out and the space is also ideal for poetry readings, live music and talks. Sladers’ reputation reaches much further afield than Dorset and is a regular destination for those with discerning taste in all aspects of the arts. The welcome is always warm and BridLit events always sell out there.
Sladers Yard, West Bay DT6 4EL / 01308 459 511 / www.sladersyard.co.uk
The Bridport Library
The Bridport Library in South Street is a state of the art new building housing a wonderfully varied collection of books for those who love reading, learning and literature. It is of enormous value to the people of Bridport and should be cherished. Its proactive Librarian, Claire Leech, is constantly looking for ways to attract young readers and we are delighted to be holding two of our BridLit Kids events here this year.
South St, Bridport DT6 3NY / 01308 422 778
The Tithe Barn
Set in one of the most beautiful parts of Dorset, the Symondsbury Estate lies within a few miles of the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site with unspoilt beaches and fabulous coastal walks. Beneath the landmark of Colmers Hill, Symondsbury is a hidden gem of both residential and holiday cottages with a school, parish church and local pub. The Estate has been owned by the Colfox family for over 100 years and the newly restored buildings at its heart provide studios and galleries for artists and ceramists, a wonderful provisions shop and the Symondsbury Kitchen which attracts visitors from all over the west country to enjoy the menu of delicious things to eat.
The Tithe Barn is the venue for this year’s George Millar Literary Dinner on Thursday 7 November with journalist and broadcaster, Matt Frei, as guest speaker.
Mill Lane, Symondsbury, Bridport, DT6 6HG / 01308 424 116 / www.symondsburyestate.co.uk