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Binford Place, Bridgwater


Binford Place on the 1929 OS 25 inch to the mile map of Bridgwater.

In August 1966 a row of old buildings along Binford Place were demolished to make way for a new development. This new structure had the aim of creating larger retail units with modern residential accommodation above, all within one comprehensively designed building. As well intentioned these ideals were, sadly the development destroyed a good deal of the historic river front, sweeping away the medieval property boundaries and erasing a local character, replaced it with a rather non descript building which could be found in any town in the country. Binford Place is one of the original medieval streets of Bridgwater. It was originally been called Frog Lane, changing over time to become the Langport Quay or Back Quay. It was eventually named Binford Place after Binford House, which was situated where the Carnegie Library stands today.

The oldest view of Bindford Place can be seen here. This watercolour by John Inigo Richards, made sometime in the second half of the eighteenth century, shows that a two storey warehouse once stood in front of the main row of buildings, splitting the street in two. This stood roughly where the road is now. Richards also shows the building known as the Arch, which was also drawn by John Chubb a few years later, after the warehouse had been demolished.


A Victorian Print after John Chubb. An earlier verion can be seen here.

The Arch, a wonderful medieval structure, with Tudor and Jacobean additions, formed part of the establishment known as the Castle Inn. The Borough Corporation of the 1790s spent a considerable amount of effort clearing away many of the old medieval properties which had adjoined the stone bridge, partially to aid traffic, but also in preparation for a new iron bridge. The Castle Inn was considerably truncated, leaving a wall facing the river in brick, with the old stone frontage facing Fore Street.


An early photograph of the Castle Inn, sometime in the 1880s perhspa, seen from an upstairs window on Salmon Parade. © Kindly supplied by Dave Bown. The Castle Inn in c.1878, showing the brick wall to the left and stone to the right. Philip J. Squibbs noted that it had been a famous hostelry for seafarers. © Blake Museum K60a.
Nelson's Family Butchers in about 1905. This building was built sometime around 1902 and had replaced the historic Castle Inn. Another view of the same, 1907. Note that the rooms above the butchers' is occupied by the delightfully named 'Bridge Toilet Saloon'.Any details on this establishment would be gratefully received! © Kindly supplied by Dave Bown.
A view of the whole of Binford Place in about 1900. A view of the buildings in the 1950s, not long before they were demolished.


The corner of Binford Place and Fore Street, 1957


The 1967 Development, showing the Langport Slipway in 2012. To the far right can be seen the surviving handsome Georgian townhouses.


References

Squibbs,P.,Squibbs' History of Bridgwater (1982)
Lawrence and Lawrence, A History of Bridgwater (2005)
Fitzhugh, R., Bridgwater and the River Parrett (1993)

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