Delight as former Stamford mayor is identified

Former mayor of Stamford Frank Riley, who had the role from 1886 to 1887 and again from 1893 to 1894
Former mayor of Stamford Frank Riley, who had the role from 1886 to 1887 and again from 1893 to 1894

A name has been put to the portrait of a former mayor of Stamford that was found during renovation work at the town hall.

The picture of Frank Riley, above, was one of four discovered in the attic of the town hall in St Mary’s Hill by the town’s Heritage Committee Museum Working Group.

During recent development work at Stamford Town Hall the Heritage'Committee Museum Working Group has discovered several very ancient photographs of past Stamford Mayors, believed to date from the late 1800s

During recent development work at Stamford Town Hall the Heritage'Committee Museum Working Group has discovered several very ancient photographs of past Stamford Mayors, believed to date from the late 1800s

The portrait of Mr Riley, who was mayor from 1886 to 1887 and again from 1893 to 1894, was identified by Bourne resident John Riley, a descendent of the former mayor.

The group is still trying to identify the mayors in the three remaining portraits, pictured left.

Member Dianne MacKenzie-Ross said Frank Riley had a connection to composer Sir Malcolm Sargent, one of Stamford’s most famous sons.

Mr Riley’s nephew John Burton Riley was a godfather to Sir Malcolm. And John Riley, who identified the portrait, went to Stamford School with Sir Malcolm’s grandsons Nicholas and Simon.

One of the portraits of previous Stamford mayors discovered during renovation work at Stamford town hall

One of the portraits of previous Stamford mayors discovered during renovation work at Stamford town hall

The heritage group has been carrying out extensive work at the town hall during a renovation process designed to highlight the history of Stamford.

One room is devoted to Sir Malcolm and houses a large collection of his personal memorabilia, which was left in his will to his secretary Sylvia Darley OBE and then donated to the town council.

A number of items have also been moved from the old museum in Broad Street, including a fully-dressed replica of Daniel Lambert who is buried in Stamford.

The collection also includes a set of bronze measures, together with their accompanying brass weights and a standard yard, all embossed with the arms of Stamford. They are on display in the entrance hall.

And one find that particularly excited the group is a copy of an ancient print bearing the name of Willem Wissing, a Dutch artist who was regarded as one of the finest portrait painters of his time.

He is buried in the old part of the graveyard at St Martin’s churchyard in Stamford and the group hopes to display his own portrait in the town hall.

If you have any information about the past mayors pictured above call Dianne on 01780 753527, e-mail keith.dianne@tiscali.co.uk or call the town hall on 01780 753808.