James Bridges was clearly a versatile and talented character; it seems that talent ran in his family. Following on from his father, the creator of a marvellous invention which is celebrated today at the British Museum, James Bridges was a skilled surveyor, architect and travelling showman with a keen interest in science. Bridges took on many projects throughout his lifetime, including the Bristol bridge, to name but one. In this article, Barb Drummond follows the story of this intriguing character - although the end of his story remains elusive.
During the late nineteenth century a quiet revolution was going on in the teaching of agriculture. Growing foreign competition along with economic depression in the agricultural sector, and the increasing demands of an urban population for more standard, high quality food products, all contributed to the development of a more scientific approach to farming. Agricultural societies, prominent individuals from the fanning world, and latterly the state, came to see the promotion of better education as a way of helping a struggling agricultural sector. In this article, Janet Tall provides just one example of an educational movement which was sweeping across the country, and the impact it had on rural Somerset.