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Stamford's historic streets and buildings 


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The Library: Romans, the market, and the police station!

Stamford Library, recently refurbished, is housed within a closed Roman-style portico with colonnades. The building once operated as a covered open-sided fish, meat and butter market becoming the library in 1906.

The tiny building on the left with the clock was the former town police station.

Browne's Hospital: one of many medieval almshouses

This lovely building in Broad Street is an almshouse founded by William Browne, a Stamford-dwelling wool merchant, and was opened in 1475. It was created to house 10 poor men, although originally it was a lesser building than you see today. Modifications including the clock tower were added in the 1870s. There are old photographs of eel sellers standing beneath external arches on the almshouse frontage. The arches were removed and used elsewhere in the town. See one at 

The Masonic Hall in St. Peter's street, and one at The United Reformed Church in Star Lane. 

Browne's Hospital has an audit hall, a chapel and a flag-stoned interior portion which was originally used to house the poor and ill. In the BBC television series  "Middlemarch" it can be seen being utilised as such. Today, the pretty cloistered garden within the confines of the grounds is surrounded by 13 occupied almshouses.

Browne's Hospital is known affectionately, by older residents of the town, as "The Bedehouse".


A variety of Churches

The large, stately church of St. Michael in High Street has had many renovations over the years. Originally it had a wooden tower which was said to shake when the bells rang! It closed as a functioning church in 1960. 

In 1982, its interior was replaced with shops and offices. Although this was not fully appreciated by the people of Stamford, there are retained stone arches, windows, and some great views from above the current shops. The former graveyard to one side of the church has been rejuvenated in recent years and is a pleasant flower garden with seats for weary shoppers.

Stamford had many churches and religious institutions, some of which still show tell tale signs of their existence.  A chapel building in the grounds of Stamford School in 

St. Paul's Street is a remaining section of the medieval church of St. Paul. In St. Peter's Street, the mound of earth surrounded by railings is the former site of St. Peter's Church.

Functioning churches today include St. Mary's with the much-photographed tall spire, All Saints in Red Lion Square, St. John's, St. Martin's and St. George's, all within streets of the same name.

Little lanes and Alleys: historical thoroughfares

Stamford has many quaint passages and lanes giving access between the main streets. Some have shops and businesses along their course, others make an interesting visit purely for their historical markers. Mostly, the lanes would have formed an integral part in the movement of people around the town during the middle ages, their names being changed over the years. Cheyne Lane joins High Street with St. Mary's Street and has shops and services for all to enjoy. Goldsmith's lane is a narrow passage joining High street with Broad Street. Together with Cheyne Lane, Goldsmith's Passage is worth a visit to view the medieval over-hanging buildings. Imagine the cries of "Watch under" when slops were thrown out into the street!

Wellington Lane was once known as "Racoun Row" which is thought to refer to "drying", perhaps by hanging one's laundry across the street! This, and Silver Lane, affectionately known as Cinema Lane due to its proximity to the original town picture house, are well known for their quaint appearance. There are businesses in both lanes.

"Woolie's Passage" is the Stamfordian's name for a wider lane running down from High Street to 

St. Mary's Street between the shops. It gets its colloquial name from Woolworth's store which stood in close proximity. You can find this lane between Hinds the Jeweller and Holland and Barrett. It forms access to St. Mary's Street and was probably a reserved right-of-way for the form Pineapple Inn located to its right. It also leads shoppers through to a little courtyard of shops called Stamford Walk, linking with Cheyne Lane. Looking upwards in Stamford Walk, the stone tower at the far end is part of the former Stamford Hotel and is the exterior of the main staircase from the lobby. The grand Georgian frontage can be viewed on St. Mary's Street. The adjacent "Black Bull" is just part of a much grander coaching inn, Stamford Walk itself being the original stabling yards for both hotels. The yard had numerous stabling facilities and a horse exercising ring which can be seen on old maps.

Bugle Lane, Olde Barn Passage, Cross Keys Lane, and

St. John's Lane are quaint, narrow thoroughfares that run from St. Mary's Street to the meadows (and the modern day car parks).  These lanes carry the names of the churches or Inns to which they were proximitous.

St. Mary's Passage, which can be found on 

St. Mary's Hill opposite the Town Hall, has a Medieval decorated Norman arch at its entrance and runs down to the Meadows and former working Wharf.

Castle Remains: our town's fortifications

The 11th century castle was built on the rise above Sheepmarket, now the bus station. It was destroyed as early as the 1400s. The largest section remaining is that in Castle Dyke next to the meadows. There are other tell tale signs around the town of the castle's existence. 

POSTERN GATES: getting out of town!

As Stamford was built as a walled town there had to be gates to allow entrance and exit of people, goods, livestock and travellers. These were known as Postern gates and were situated at certain intervals around the town wall. There are some interesting signs of their existence including earth mounds, street names, gatehouses and tower bases.