Bridport Heritage & Streetscape Interpretation Strategy: Streamlining and storytelling
|Bridport Town Council
|Feria Urbanism, Wolfströme Design
The Bridport Neighbourhood Plan passed referendum in 2020, following support from Feria Urbanism at the pre-submission stage. The made plan contains a specific project recommendation, to review the town’s current streetscape as well as to audit and develop current heritage interpretations. Focused on the thriving market town of Bridport, the project also extended out to include the ambitions of the surrounding parishes. This brief had big ambitions, exploring how Bridport could reinforce a distinct sense of place while connecting locals and visitors with its heritage and landscape.
Auditing the existing street furniture and signs in the public realm became our starting point, followed by hosting a number of walking tours with local people to uncover what lies beyond the visible heritage displayed today. Through conversations with locals and the museum, we were able to decipher points of interest, areas of concern and hidden stories of Bridport’s past. It quickly became apparent that there was a wealth of information that would be of interest to locals and tourists alike, it was a matter of considering how all these stories could be made accessible under one heritage identity.
We designed a strategy with a four layered approach. The first layer is about mapping and streamlining the area’s existing walking routes into three concentric trails, key routes for the new heritage project. Each route offering a different type of landscape, the largest loop encompassing the wider parishes.
Adding illustrative and informative wayfinding under one visual identity to the trails would become the second layer. We worked with designer Richard Wolfstrome on this aspect. The geographical location of Bridport at the confluence of three rivers, and Bridport’s historical tie to the rope making industry formed the foundations for the interpretation concepts. From there we explored wayfinding posts as well as more subtle illustrative tiles.
The third layer offer the opportunity for programmable audio guides to the routes, a chance to share the untold stories and involve local community groups. Users would be prompted to listen to different audio clips depending on their location along the trails.
Finally, the fourth layer aims bring people together to talk about the heritage, with curved seating, performance stages, and community notice boards at selected intersections along the trails. These types of street furniture would enable more conversations about both the past and the future of Bridport.
Equipped with the four layer approach, all captured in a richly illustrated and well-written report, Bridport will be able to implement our interpretations over time in accordance with their budget. With a clear view on the town’s street clutter, the council is able to make decisions on what items can be removed or replaced at a later date. The flexibility of our approach allows them to start by marketing the three new trails without the need for any immediate physical interventions.