preserving the past for the future
Old Paper Mill and Bridge Cottage
There was a mill at Bemerton at the time of the Domesday survey. A map of 1773 by Andrew and Dury shows a paper mill near Broken Bridges. Harnham Mill, also shown on the same map, was working from the 16th to the 19th centuries and was often described as being in Bemerton but in fact lay just outside the boundary in West Harnham in the building now occupied by the Old Mill Hotel.
In the 1930s the Shepherd family lived in a dilapidated property known locally as the Old Paper Mill. The accommodation was very rundown and damp. The Shepherds were poor and one of their babies died from the effects of the cold damp atmosphere. You can read here how difficult life was for the Sheppard family from one of the children, Peter Sheppard.
The family was evicted from the property in 1944, probably so that it could be upgraded or replaced. The property was then occupied by 1947 by Bertie and Annie Puckett, who were of farming stock from Broughton. A 1947 Street Directory lists Bertie Puckett, a farmer, occupying Broken Bridges Cottage. However, when his wife Annie died in 1954 her address in the Burial Register was shown as the Paper Mill, Bemerton. An examination of maps from 1881 reveals only one property on this site, so it seems probable that the Paper Mill and Broken Bridges Cottage were one and the same property. The area is also known as Fitzgerald's Farm, although the relevance of the name Fitzgerald is unknown.
The present occupants moved into the property in 2016 when it was renamed Bridge Cottage.