Regular readers of this column, if there are any such, will recall me writing on several previous occasions over the years about the sad state of the Literary & Scientific Institute and about the splendid efforts that are being made by local volunteers to put together a comprehensive rescue plan for this marvellous old building.
When these projects start, I always find that I am strung between hope and fear – hope that the extraordinary difficulties of putting together the elements of success will be overcome, and fear that, for one reason or another, it just won’t be possible despite all the hard work.
In the case of the Literary & Scientific Institute, the obstacles are enormous – because the building is both very precious and very dilapidated. But, as I have mentioned in previous columns, the group now working to find a new and suitable future for this Bridport icon has all the energy and skill required to overcome even the greatest obstacles. The plans are ambitious and exciting – bringing together Bridport’s industrial history, the town’s economic future and an aesthetically pleasing venue for the townspeople. Miraculously, this has all been put together in a way that also satisfied the requirements of English Heritage – and I am very confident that, once the whole project is complete, it will become a celebrated landmark.
The good news is that all of these things now seem increasingly to be recognised by those who inevitably matter most of all in such projects – namely, the potential funders. It seems that the project has now moved forward into a new phase with further, major becoming available.
It would be an exaggeration to say that victory is almost achieved. But it would be no exaggeration at all to say that there is very strong light at the end of what has been a very long tunnel.