After several years of planning and fundraising the West Bay Discovery Centre throws opens its doors to the public on Wednesday 1st August.
The Deputy Bridport Town Mayor will perform the opening at 11am, accompanied by the Town Crier.
Bringing the Grade II listed building back to life and giving a fresh and exciting new purpose has been the work of the Bridport Area Development Trust (BADT), supported by a professional construction team that included Kim Sankey of Angel Architecture and Project Manager Daryl Chambers.
The Centre aims to take its visitors on a voyage of discovery around West Bay past and present using images, audio, videos and interactive displays. BADT Director John West said “We will provide interactive experiences for all ages, enabling people to learn about West Bay in a fun way. We’ll challenge our visitors to go out and make their own discoveries and come back to the Centre to learn more. They’ll be able to learn how over 300 ships were once built in a shipyard of which there is no trace today, how and why West Bay became a trading and fishing port and then finally a popular tourist destination.”
“Our designers have done a fantastic job bringing these stories to life, and with oral history and old pictures, but it’s certainly not all history and one of the highlights of the Centre is a unique display where today’s residents and visitors explain why West Bay is special for them.”
The Centre also features the story of the area’s geological past and its place in the World Heritage Coast and will also be a hub of information for visitors and locals alike on all there is to do in this part of West Dorset.
John West added “West Bay is a special place of fascinating contrasts, that draws people back again and again. We want to help people make the most of their time here, as well as enabling regular visitors to relive their memories of West Bay past and create new ones too. We’re a community orientated venture and we’ve had so much help from local people who have shared their memories, photos, etc. with us.”
“The Centre is still very much work in progress and we’ll learn from our visitors and our early experiences. We have a part-time manager, but our volunteers are at the heart of the Centre and people who could perhaps spare an hour or two on regular basis welcoming visitors are invited to contact us.”
Anyone who is interested in finding out more should contact John West at email@example.com.