The evening of 26th September saw the official opening of a new branch of Bradfords, marking the start of a new era for the company’s long association with Sherborne town.

Hundreds of guests including customers, suppliers and staff visited the site to enjoy the open evening where they were treated to demonstrations, entertainment and a chance to explore Bradfords’ newest branch.

In attendance were local councilor and residents’ representative Jill Warburton and CEO of Bradfords, David Young. The guest of honour was Sherborne resident Charlie Bartlett, who, along with his father before him, represented over 100 years of service to Bradfords.

One of the original horse-drawn coal delivery carts sits pride of place in the foyer, surrounded by images of the history of the business.

Bartlett gave an entertaining speech recalling the reality of working in a builders’ merchant back in the 1960s. Against the backdrop of Bradfords’ most modern facility the comparisons were as stark as they were entertaining:

“The cart, which has been beautifully restored, reminded me of the horses. When I started, our mess room was in the stables and the horse baskets were still on the wall. There were no forklift trucks, everything was hand offloaded. The workers nowadays ought be very pleased with this facility.”

Replacing the original Digby Road branch of the business which has been trading under Bradfords’ name for well over one hundred years, the new branch pays homage to the heritage of the business, which will celebrate its 250th anniversary in 2020.

Paul Harvey, branch manager for Sherborne explained: “With an anniversary that few businesses can claim, we understood the importance of not only demonstrating our commitment to providing valuable service to the local community through the building of this new £3M branch, but also the value we place on the heritage of this very special business.”

In addition to the entertainment and celebration, a raffle held in support of both Sherborne Primary and Sherborne Abbey Primary Schools raised over £2000.