SOMERSET AND DORSET RAILWAY: ‘Slow and Dirty – Swift and Delightful’

Highbridge came into being in the form we recognise today following a suggestion put forward at a meeting at Glastonbury on 16th September 1850 where it was proposed a railway line, about thirty miles in length, be laid to connect Bruton, Wells, Glastonbury and Highbridge.  Preliminary surveys followed and the Somerset Central Railway was formed… Read more here


The first railway to connect with Highbridge in 1842 was the Bristol & Exeter Railway.  Initially built as a broad gauge railway.  Many said this would have been more efficient, and arguably would have provided more comfort for passengers but would have been more expensive.  Finance prevailed and the narrower gauge system… Read more here


Following the completion of the drainage plan at the end of the 18th century ideas were formulated to provide Highbridge with a wharf.  Originally the land belonged to the Dean and Chapter of Wells Cathedral who were responsible for the sea wall repairs up until this time.  The River Brue with landing facilities at Highbridge had provided the Abbey and town of Glastonbury with a convenient link to the sea… Read more here


The earliest record of there being a market in Highbridge is 1862 when a Post Office Directory of that time stated that a market had been established and was held on the first Monday in every month.  It was apparently the largest market for cheese, oxen, sheep etc. in the neighbourhood… Read more here


The production of bricks and tiles in Somerset got under way around the 17th century. Early brick makers used limestone, sandstone and clay, all found in the area.  Initially, temporary kilns were constructed close to the area where the raw materials were…Read more here


A bacon curing business was established in 1890, the factory covering an extensive area in Highbridge, South.  The factory was situated off the Huntspill Road; its entrance was just beyond the garage over the River Brue Bridge, the premises being behind the garage with a driveway off the A38… Read more here.


One of the earliest references to this Company was in about 1881, it states that ‘the timber yards and sawmills of John Bland & Co Ltd are considerable’; previously Cuthbert Ritson who is referred to as early as 1872 had operated the yards….Read more here.


For more than 70 years Portishead Radio in Worston Road. Highbridge served the world’s shipping, providing two-way long-range communication both on long and…Read more here.


Walter William Buncombe will be remembered for Steamrollers. He was born in Highbridge on September 27th 1879 and died at Pawlett June 16th 1935. During his adult years he brought to the town a thriving business… Read more here.


E.A. Major & Sons business started in the early years of the 20th century at 11, Newtown Road, Highbridge, when Edward Arthur Major took over the carting business of a Mr. L. Channon, (his uncle). Initially work was of a local nature… Read more here.


Parlatex was established in 1936 and after the war made mallets and rollers for the flax industry; they had previously been in premises in West Huntspill. Richard Wright had come to the company at the start..Read more here.


The Morlands business started in Highbridge, at 15, Market Street in 1946; fourteen women were employed to make pram canopies from parachute silk, pram rugs were also made.  Demand for their products grew so in 1948 they moved to a purpose built factory off the Burnham Road. The Morlands Housing Estate soon followed… Read more here.


It was soon after the Second World War, that in 1948 Jack and Cecil Woodberry, together with Cecil Haines, set up their first workshops in Coronation Road. There was a need for someone to produce furniture… Read more here.


An Act of 1860 gave authority for Highbridge to provide gas lighting for the town or “hamlet” and as a result ‘ The Limited Company’ was formed during 1870 and the first supply of gas began in 1878…Read more here.


Willsher & Quick Limited was founded in 1956, with the two Directors – Mr L.G. Willsher and Mr N.S. Quick and was originally intended as a general sheet metal producing unit, working from premises in Market Street….Read more here.


This Industrial Estate was established in 1963, it is thought that Willshers & Quick were one of the first to occupy the site, they were followed by a number of companies including: – Hill Leigh Joinery Ltd, Keedwell RT Transport Ltd, Peter Evans Storage Systems Ltd, Walrow Tyre Services, Ltd, Henri Studio (Europe) Ltd, plus many other smaller businesses; the latest to arrive being Woodberry Bros & Haines.


This Business Park was set up in 1990; this includes Tycom Ltd, Yeo Valley, Brake Bros.Food Service Ltd, Jewsons Ltd Builders Merchants, Isleport Foods Ltd, David Salisbury (Conservatories) Ltd, and more recently Crabtree & Evelyn Ltd. plus a number of others companies.