At the beginning of the 21st century, it may be difficult to picture Highbridge as it was at the start of the 20th century.
Highbridge became a busy industrial town between the 1840’s and 1960’s; this was due to the arrival of the railway. In Victorian times there were aspirations that Highbridge would have a great future.
During this period the town grew and became not only a railway town, but also a typical Somerset Market Town. It was a vibrant, bustling community supplying the needs of the surrounding area. An open-air market in the Town Square provided a place where local produce could be offered for sale and this, together, with the thriving commercial centre with its shops and businesses, attracted the inhabitants of the surrounding villages. Large cattle and cheese markets helped make the town into a real market town with people regularly going about their business.
By the mid-sixties, as you will note, the bubble had burst and the inertia in the town had disappeared. At the start of the 21st Century the outlook is brighter, there are Business and Industrial Parks that offer employment and the town itself is undergoing a regeneration programme.
It was in 1999,under the auspices of the Local Community Education, a group was set up to look into the history of the town. This group called itself the Highbridge Express, the name of an old local newspaper. The research team comprised volunteers and retired persons; they started to dig into past records and gradually accumulated sufficient information about the town to organise and present an exhibition. This proved to be a success and encouraged the team to press on in order to complete the project by staging a larger exhibition in March 2002. The funding for the project ceased at the end of March 2002 but the team decided to continue; to raise their own funding and publish a book that would present the history of Highbridge to future generations.
The book is a potted history of the town and its contents are the foundation for this site. We trust readers will enjoy learning something about this Somerset Market Town. With the resources available we were unable to verify all the information supplied; it came from many sources and we could not, therefore, vouch for the authenticity or veracity of every detail. We apologise for anything we may have forgotten or missed out.