Bridport is a market town synonymous with rope-making dating back to the 9th Century and the Port Bredy of Thomas Hardy’s fictional Wessex. In 1213, King John (1166- 1216) ordered Bridport locals to produce as much cordage as they could to aid the Navy. Rope produced was used to make the hangman’s noose so the phrase “to be stabbed by a Bridport Dagger” came into use to denote a hanging.
In 1858, 14 firms manufactured nets, cordage and canvas. In 1947 Bridport Industries Ltd. formed out of the Edwards and Hounsell groups and in 1963, Joseph Gundry and Co. Ltd., established in 1665 united with Bridport Industries Ltd. to form Bridport-Gundry Ltd. The area around Bridport has the perfect conditions for growing flax and hemp, the raw materials for rope and net manufacture and the long wide streets and garden ‘Rope walks’ are a lasting testament to its industrial heritage. Ropes, nets and canvas were shipped all over the world.