Originally published in Chasing Vintage magazine, September 2013.
As you approach Bridport for the first time you could be mistaken for thinking it was an ordinary town. The outskirts don’t give any clues as to what lies ahead, but then you see a sign that says “Vintage Quarter” and you start to realise that this is a very special place indeed.
Radiating out from St. Michael’s Trading Estate, the Art & Vintage Quarter is home to workshops, studios and an array of emporia, only a stone’s throw from one another, offering everything from vintage clothes to antique furniture, plus just about everything in between. The setting is also truly vintage, dominated by the beautiful red brick buildings where local craftsmen once produced the rope and fishing nets for which the town became famous.
As you explore, you are sure to come across Cox’s Corner. In this long-established emporium you’ll witness a duel between classic antiques and super-cool vintage finds, battling it out for a place in our affections and our homes. It’s no good betting on one side or the other though; by the time you leave, you’ll be convinced that the two were made to live together.
The Old Assembly Rooms on Gundry Lane are home to The Loft Antiques, another established business with an incredible list of specialities. On sale at The Loft you will find Buddhist artefacts, including a unique collection of antique Buddha statues; stunning antique Chinese furniture and a large choice of classic and vintage wallpaper, from the Victorian era to the 1980s.
You could easily lose yourself for hours in The Alleyways, where over 35 traders have got together to offer a wealth of antique and vintage items under one roof. Giving the impression of a series of “rooms”, you’ll find furniture, mirrors and a whole host of other period accessories to beautify your life.
Not too far away, Ruby in the Dust is filled with a mix of furniture and home accessories guaranteed to give any house a vintage feel. Be warned, however; the shop is a beautifully dressed temptress, illustrating how different pieces complement each other, and will make you want to recreate those combinations at home.
If seeing all this antique and vintage furniture brings out the artisan in you, Bridport Timber and Flooring should be your next port of call. From a great choice of timber to Farrow & Ball paint, they’ve got all the ingredients necessary for any project; whether you’re planning to fix up an old table or build your own dresser.
No visit to Bridport is complete without a visit to Pam’s Secondhand Shop, a vast building containing a huge range of pre-owned items covering all eras. Once inside you will find yourself literally surrounded by once-loved objects ripe for re-use or upcycling. Whether you’re looking for a brass door knob, a chest of drawers or a bicycle lamp, you will almost certainly find what you need at Pam’s.
The last Sunday of each month is Antique & Vintage Sunday in the Art & Vintage Quarter, when you can expect to find Bridport’s love of days-gone-by spilling out onto the streets and old rope walks, and where the usual vintage buzz is accompanied by live music. If you’ve not visited Bridport before, this is the time to do so.
Bridport is certainly no ordinary town.
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