From the Chairman
It was very satisfying to be able to get back to some kind of familiar Society monthly social routine with our talks at our ‘winter home’ of Browne’s Hospital. The January, February and March talks all covered local history interest and were very well received (see ‘Recent Events’ section).
Whilst our current major projects concern the care and supplement of our Town Plaques & Information Boards, Church Lighting, and addressing the state of the Town Paving, we are in the early stages of contributing to plans for the ‘rescue’ of the Bastion historic site in West Street. The District Council own the site and have offered it up for public sale but we are of the view that this ancient monument, the remnents of which represent the very foundation of our unique historic town, should be retained by some kind of local ‘town ownership’.
As you will likely recall, the Society has been developing, with the assistance of New College Stamford, a Stamford Historic Sites mobile ‘phone App. and I am delighted to be able to tell you that, after vaulting a number of hurdles in the last pandemic restricted months concerning our method of easy access to our App for both Apple and Android devices, we have ended up with a PMA (Progressive Web App). In practice this means you enter the ‘url’ https://stamford.wdimobi.co.uk/ into your preferred web browser and the Historic Sites App comes up. You can then save the App in your App Store or however it suits you. It is an extremely useful pocket information source covering 45 Stamford historic sites in alphabetical order with a map showing their location – ideal for speedy reference on impulse for residents and visitors alike. We think it fitting that Stamford Civic Society should be the ‘go-to’ credible source for information concerning the historic sites of our conservation town. Tell your friends about it - we’re sure they’ll be highly appreciative.
- Blue Plaques erection recognising Jack Pick (early car manufacturer); Colin Dexter (writer, creator of ‘Inspector Morse’); and Harry Burton (international photographer at the opening of Tutankhamun’s tomb). All the erection permissions needed have recently been completed (these included input from relatives, building owners, lease holders, SKDC Planning Office) and funding has been secured. Specialised manufacture of the Plaques can now commence and lead times suggest availability of mid to late summer.
- Church Lighting installations at St. Martin’s and St. John’s being surveyed.
- Pavement Survey compiled by the Society some time ago recently reviewed with LCC Highways Inspector and SKDC Leader with a view to prioritising the repair of major trip hazards.
- Sheepmarket Enhancement proceeding with new bench arrangements, large planters and parasols accommodating outdoor dining in front of the recently established Italian restaurant.
- General Maintenance of High Street Benches and restoration of pavement lighting in Red Lion Square, Horse Shoe Lane and Sheepmarket.
Despite a distinctly chilly evening, a sizeable group of Members and Guests turned out to attend our first Event of our 2022 ‘bounce–back’ Programme. Following the fading Covid-19 restrictions on our lives, there was an air of quiet satisfaction and relief to be back at our ‘winter home’ of Browne’s Hospital with its blazing open fire and characterful surroundings. With the aid of some fascinating slides, Ex-Postman Keith Hansell gave us an easy to listen to history lecture taking us gently through the various stages in paper communications delivery over the centuries influenced by the developing transport facilities from individual Horse Riders through Coaching, Rail and Road. Keith commented on the really outstanding service that the postal organisation developed citing as examples the single charge for any UK destination, with the introduction of the penny-black stamp, and the social integration of the rural postman into village communities, wryly comparing this with today’s service. After a brief Q&A session the evening was brought to a close with a glass of wine and some ‘nibbles’.
17 February 2022 - History of Stamford Hospital - David Baxter
The sustainability of Stamford’s treasured local hospital has been somewhat of an emotive issue with Stamfordians over a number of years so it was of no surprise that David Baxter attracted a sizeable audience to Browne’s Hospital to listen to his talk on ‘The History of Stamford Hospital’. David’s enthusiasm regarding the heritage of the Hospital was evident right from the start with his wide knowledge and some fascinating early sketches and photographs he had ‘unearthed’ during his many hours of research. He had worked for the NHS for some thirty years and in retirement had been a leading figure in establishing the Stamford Hospital Museum. So, with the authority of that background, he took us on a journey from the build of the ‘Infirmary’ in 1828 with its ‘provide your own horse and driver’ ambulance and Tuesday only ‘admission’ and ‘discharge’ through various changes in ownership and financial crises to the present day ‘for sale’ status of the original building and surrounding land. All found the talk captivating and David responded to many quests for further information after his talk whilst the usual liquid refreshment and nibbles were enjoyed.
17 March 2022 - The Life of Sir Malcolm Sargent - Penny Rowley
Members gathered together on the evening of Thursday 17th. March 2022 at Browne’s Hospital to listen to a very comprehensive presentation by Civic Society Committee Member Penny Rowley titled ‘The Life of Sir Malcolm Sargent’. Penny, a Town Hall guide, revealed that she had been inspired to research Dr. Sargent by the room dedicated to him within the Town Hall. With the aid of some fascinating slides of past people and buildings she recounted a number of entertaining aspects of Sir Malcolm’s behaviour that did not always align with the photographic portraits we are all familiar with that give the impression of a suave sophisticate with impeccable credentials. Penny observed that he was a handsome and generous man and had little difficulty in attracting the ladies but was a controversial and hard task master. He was not universally popular within his profession and was referred to as ‘Flash Harry’ in some quarters but his flair and passion for music from an early age saw him achieve the highest level of appointments including leader of the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company, Conductor of The Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Chief Conductor of the Henry Wood Promenade Concerts. Although from a modest Stamford background he was Knighted in 1947 and made a Freeman of the Town in 1948. Following a short Q&A session Members enjoyed a social period helped along with a glass of wine and some nibbles.
This will be followed up with a visit to Woolsthorpe Manor, the birth place and family home of Isaac Newton, on Thursday May 12th.
Also in May we plan to visit the Town Hall for a presentation of the Town Regalia by Mark Murtagh, Civic Officer. Date to be confirmed
June 18th will see us in the grounds of St. Leonard’s Priory for our annual evening Summer Party.
Stamford Conservation Area planning matters
- Proposals for Outbuildings and Extensions #7
- Exterior/Interior Decoration/Maintenance #5
- Revisions to Shop Fronts and Signage #5
- Change-of-Use of Land-parcels and Premises #4