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Early 20th Century

Introduction

The twentieth century for Bridgwater was dominated by matters both local and national. It was a century which saw two world wars and was dominated by the decline of the docks and brick and tile trade and the rise and fall of the local Cellophane plant...
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Introduction of Electricity

In 1903 the Board of Trade granted a licence to the Bridgwater and District Electricity Supply and Traction Engine Company to supply Bridgwater, Durleigh and Wembdon with electricity.  The work had to be complete within two years and a generating sta...
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The New Fire Stations

The earliest reference to a fire engine in Bridgwater was in 1725 when the controversial George Bubb Doddington donated one to the town. In 1830 the engine, almost certainly not the 1725 version, was kept near the south gate. By 1880, the brigade was...
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The Launch of the Irene

On the East Quay was once the Carver’s Yard, a ship-building yard complete with dry dock.  It was here that the Irene was built and launched in 1907.  She was especially designed to work the channel ports for the Colthurst and Symons Company.  At the ...
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An Unwanted Suffragette

In June 1914, a young woman suspected of being a Suffragette stayed in the town, in accommodation in King Square.  The police kept a vigilant eye on her, suspecting her of having an explosive device in the Dorothy bag which she always carried.  On one ...
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First World War

When the war against Germany began in 1914, there was a feeling of euphoria. “It’ll all be over by Christmas” was the general belief and hundreds signed up to serve their country. Hundreds of Bridgwater men were destined never to return and their names...
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Changes in Transport

Perhaps the most significant change in the town came in the 1920s and 1930s with motorised vehicles replacing horse-drawn carriages.  By 1925 it was necessary to introduce Trinidadian Asphalt and then later Tar MacAdam. This greatly improved conditions for...
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Swimming Club

There has been a swimming club in Bridgwater for well over 100 years. The first meeting held to gain interest in the forming of a swimming club and to express intent to do so took place on the 11th May 1894. Later that May, on the 23rd a second meeting...
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Between the Wars

The 1930s proved a desperate time for the working community In 1933 over two thousand were unemployed in the town and massive queues formed around King Square leading to the Labour Exchange. Children scavenged around waste bins, looking for food and...
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