Bridgwater’s Heritage
Bridgwater Museum
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The Opening, 15th April 1926
The Mayor, Alderman Walter Deacon, addressing the crowd outside the museum. Others present included Colonel M. Locke Blake, of South Petherton, a co-lateral descendant of the famous Admiral. Also included: Mr. W. H. Blake, Dr. Herbert Bolton (director of Bristol Museum and Art Gallery), and the Deputy-Mayor (Mr. H. M. B Ker). Among others present were the Mayoress, Dr. W. G. Harvey Bird, the Rev. P. M. Lee, Aldermen F. H. Allen. F. G. Haggett, Berry, W. Stiling, and W. H. J. Masding, Messrs. A. Berry, H. Corder, F. C. Foster, M. J. King, E. Cook, A. Dewhurst, G. A. Tavener, P. Sturdy, E. J. Waddon, T. Eveleigh, F. O. Symons, A. J. Paul, F. Parr, H. P. Bishop, and J. M. Bolts. Two of the children shown in the photograph attended the Museum's 70th Anniversary celebration in 1996. Alderman Deacon had been the prime mover in the project, as well as the Bridgwater Pageant, in the following year.
The origins of the museum are obscure, but the opening coincided with two other events celebrating the town's illustrious past. Blake house had been purchased for a museum in 1924, and the museum opened in it in April 1926. In June of that year a ceremony was held on Cornhill to celebrate the awarding of the first Royal Charter by King John in 1200. A Charter Song was written by T. Bruce Dilks, with music by Martin Shaw. The ceremony was filmed by Pathe News and may be seen online. The following year, 1927, saw the performance of the Bridgwater Pageant at Sydenham Manor. This had required months of planning and involved around 1000 performers. Again, this was filmed by Pathe News and may be seen on-line. The idea of the Pageant evidently came to being at the end of 1925, soon after the Muchelney Pageant in the summer of that year. Mayor Deacon, whose Mayorality, (1925-1927), covered all three events, was the instigator of the Brighter Bridgwater movement, designed to boost the town’s self-esteem and trade.
Origins
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