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Chapter 2: East Street, Bridport, 1822

The landscape artist Arthur Edwin Champ (1865-1926) was born in Bradpole, Dorset, a small town just one mile northeast of Bridport. When Ananias was born, Bradpole had a population of 575 people - in contrast to the market town of Bridport which had a population of just over 3100 (ref. Axminster Heritage Ltd.).

Why bring up Champ and Bradpole in the context of “Ananias”?

First, I was looking for a picture that would best capture the mood of East Street in the 19th century, and thanks to Arthur Champ, I have just the image.

Champ also painted West Bay. Again, the imagery that this work conveys is perfect for me.

Secondly, in my search for pictures I came across a remarkable image on the website, and its purely speculative explanation created somewhat of a mystery for me. There is a district of workers cottages in Bradpole simply called “Newfoundland”. The site suggests that this was because of the export of sailcloth direct to the colony. Further investigation is definitely required.

(Photo Credits: Bridport Museum Trust / Bridport Museum Local History Centre)

The critical history of Bridport as it pertains to my novel’s setting is given in the book – so I shan’t give this away, suffice it to say that the Bridport-Newfoundland connection is very tangible.

Joseph Gundry established his cordage and canvas making business in 1665. It remained an independent business venture until 1963 when it amalgamated with Bridport industries. Please allow me to “do the math” as they say: that’s just two years short of three centuries! The same year that Gundry formed his startup, the Dutch admiral De Ruyter attacked and plundered St. John’s, but decided not to burn it to the ground because of its poverty (ref. I can’t even begin to get my head around this.

Gundry Lane, Briport

You may be familiar with the British detective series "Broadchurch". What you may not know is that it was filmed in Bridport and West Bay. Ananias would be proud...

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