Bridgnorth as you've never seen it before as historian produces stunning 1/750 scale model

Bridgnorth super modeller Gerry West has been at it again, re-imagining and constructing an image of the castle and town from what it may have looked like in 1275.

LAST COPYRIGHT SHROPSHIRE STAR JAMIE RICKETTS 09/05/2022 - Gerry West from Bridgnorth has spent the last 10 months creating a 1/1750 scale model of what Bridgnorth Castle and Town may have looked like in 1275..
LAST COPYRIGHT SHROPSHIRE STAR JAMIE RICKETTS 09/05/2022 - Gerry West from Bridgnorth has spent the last 10 months creating a 1/1750 scale model of what Bridgnorth Castle and Town may have looked like in 1275..

The 70-year-old amateur historian started making the model in July last year, painstakingly putting together the buildings and landscapes made mainly out of balsa wood.

The 1/750 scale model which is 1,200 x 960 mm in diameter will now be featured at Bridgnorth Library on the weekend of May 20-21 before it is kept for posterity in the town's Northgate museum with his other creation.

Gerry West with his model of Bridgnorth

In 2019, after years of creating military scale models, he made one of Bridgnorth Castle as it looked in 1646 before it was destroyed by parliamentary forces the following year.

Gerry said in both cases he had to partly imagine what the castle may have looked like as there are very few records and no photographic evidence available.

The 70-year-old amateur historian started making the model in July last year

He said: "The emphasis is on the word ‘may’ as essentially what the picture was is unknown except for a few elements, principally that part of the castle keep still standing, the ground plan of the main castle gate where the Post Office now stands, the town wall opposite Sainsbury’s and the general line of the castle wall.

"But almost uniquely across England, there exists so far not one written description or drawing of the castle before its demolition in 1647. A similar situation applies to the town.

Gerry has created some parts of the model from his imagination due to lack of evidence

"What I have done is look at trends and evidence from other castles and towns to piece together a reasonable guess. For instance, castles such as Bridgnorth built before 1200 rarely had wall towers, a characteristic of the ‘classic’ castle of popular imagination. Although none still exist anywhere, we know that 1275 county town houses were almost all simple affairs of wood and thatch.

"The houses are made of balsa-foam with “thatched” roofs of tile grout but almost everything else is made from balsa wood. The original timber bridge, crossing the river via The Bylet, the then well established castle church, St Mary’s, the newcomer St Leonard’s, the Priory, the two low town hospitals of St John’s and St James’, the town gates and the walls.

The model will now be featured at Bridgnorth Library later this month

"I am pleased this second model will again find a place in the library for two days then permanently in the town's museum at the end of the month where people can see it from then on."

Gerry is working on a book featuring the history of the castle which he hopes to finish by Christmas.

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