formally twinned with the Czech-Moravian town of UHERSKE HRADISTE on June
18th 1992 becoming the first British town to twin with a Czech town after the Velvet
Revolution of 1989 which brought to an end the Communist system in that Country.
The Bridgwater-Czech/Slovak Friendship Society was formed in September 1991 to promote
understanding , friendship and mutual co-operation of the peoples of Somerset and the
former Czechoslovakia, in the wake of the ending of the cold war.
The Czech link was formed by Sedgemoor Labour Councillor,
Brian Smedley (Bridgwater,Hamp-pictured left) who had written a stage play and
book based on Bridgwaters 1938 Czech links. THE MUNICH AGREEMENT ;- In
September 1938 Britain and France badly let down Czechoslovakia when they agreed to the
terms of the Munich agreement which surrendered the Czech Sudetenland to Hitlers Germany .
On November 17th 1938 a by-election in Bridgwater was won by the Independent candidate Vernon
Bartlett (pictured below right) - a journalist with the News Chronicle-who fought
on the issues of opposing the Munich agreement, standing up to Fascism and Defending
Czechoslovakia. The Bridgwater victory sent a message to the coalition government of the
day clearly condemning the policy of 'appeasement'.
the Velvet Revolution in 1989, the collapse of Communism was presented as
bringing a 'new world order' of peace and stability, yet within a year civil war had
broken out on mainland Europe-in the former Yugoslavia, and in the Persian Gulf massive
armies faced each other across the desert contesting land and access to raw
materials-nothing had changed.
The aim of the Bridgwater-Czech/Slovak Friendship Society, in this
context, was to bring together peoples who were technically former enemies, to break down
barriers of misunderstanding , to learn to respect each others culture, traditions and
perspective and to work together to build peace and understanding based on links ranging
from educational to cultural to business.
The members of the Bridgwater-Czech/Slovak Link have devoted
themselves energetically to this task organising link ups by numerous groups and
individuals to such an extent that by the end of the century almost 3000 Czechs and
Slovaks had visited Somerset and about 1500 people from the UK visited the former
Czechoslovakia with a multitude of projects.
Origins, Programme, Round Britain Trips, Business opportunities,
English courses, Application
form, News, Contacts, Home,
Bridgwater, Somerset, Prague, High
Tatras, Uherske Hradiste, Ceske Budejovice, Bratislava, Links