I see that there is to be a meeting about the future of the Literary & Scientific Institute on 11 April from 6 to 8 pm at Bridport Town Hall.
This is being organised by the admirable Trust which is taking forward the rescue of the Institute – and it marks another very considerable step forward in what has been remarkable progress over the last few years since the Trust took on this job.
The wonderful design for the revival of this marvellous old building will cost, I understand, about £2.4m to implement – and, amazingly, the Trust has now secured all but the last £200,000 of this.
To unlock the money that has been promised, including a hefty grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Bridport now has to come up with that £200,000 and, in a way, that shows the participation of the community as a whole.
I haven’t any doubt that this will happen – because this building really is an icon, which provides both a testimony to the town’s very considerable industrial history and also, fittingly, a splendid venue for activities and events that will help to give the town’s economy a prosperous future.
One of the very best things about Dorset is the propensity for people to work together if given half a chance – and this is a project which has engaged interest and support at every level – national, county, district and town. So it represents something even more important than the restoration of the building itself (important as that is). It symbolises the willingness and ability of people to invest in their history and in their future – and the ability of different levels of government to work with people to make these investments a reality.
At a time when it’s fashionable to dwell on discord and difficulty, it is as well to remind ourselves that the spirit of co-operation and social endeavour is alive and well in West Dorset.