Sunday was very well named for once. I decided I would have a look around Bridgwater, but with my camera in mind rather than just for the experience. Bridgwater is my home town. I was born there, endured most of my education there and have quite a lot of friends who live there. But I don't really see it in that 'hometown light'. It's not exactly an edifying place, though I do quite like the 'couldn't give a toss' attitude of most of the residents! I rarely go there these days, working in Taunton I can get my urban fix without resorting to what Bridgwater has to offer.
Having said that, Bridgwater does have some things of merit that redeem it if you look very hard. It's historically very important and has been the seat of rebellion, at various times and on varying scales, which is always good. It's the sort of place that makes other towns happy to be what they are while still being slightly anarchic, anti-royalist and swimming against the tide. Those are qualities I like. Bridgwater still celebrates the 1605 gunpowder plot with great gusto, it was the focus for the Monmouth Rebellion to try to depose James the second, it was the birthplace of Breaker Morant - the famous Australian bushman with a huge rebellious streak, it has had various MPs who have bucked trends and caused minor havoc - though sadly not in my time.
Edit. Oh, and Joe Strummer used to live there, which is another good thing.
So, on to the town's redeeming features. There are some architecturally stunning backstreets. There is a fabulous statue of Robert Blake, Bridgwater's most famous son. There's a big bonus to be gained by going there relatively early on a Sunday morning when most of the population still believe that it's the end of Saturday evening.
Here's some pictures.
A lot of people from Poland have moved to Bridgwater in recent years and this is reflected in the shops.
Angel Crescent, a delightful row of houses built from the world-famous red Bridgwater brick.
West Quay from the town bridge
And from the other side of the river.
The centre of town, The Cornhill. The domed building on the right used to be a market place, the church with the spire is St Mary's.
The statue of Bridgwater's most accomplished son, Robert Blake. Bridgwater is full of places and things bearing his name, from Blake Street, Blake Bridge, Blake Gardens and Blake School to the Admiral Blake Fish and Chip Bar!
He may have been an 'old sea dog' but the gulls haven't looked on him kindly!
His statue is supposedly pointing towards the house he was born in but to me he's pointing at Burton's the Tailors.
Or perhaps he's pointing at Smith's!
This is Castle Street, the street I was born in. I was actually born in the building that has the cars outside. Castle Street is one of those little side streets that has genuine architectural merit. In the early 1960s, when the film Tom Jones was being made, this street was used as the location for a generic London Georgian street because it was the best example anywhere.
Although it's now offices, it's nice to see that the building I was born in, then a nursing home, is still recognised for what it once was on the name plate.
Finally, a couple of photos of King Square and it's war memorial.