Town’s conservation celebrations

Chris Surfleet and Mike Derbyshire of Bidwells outside Stamford Arts Centre. By Lee Hellwing
Chris Surfleet and Mike Derbyshire of Bidwells outside Stamford Arts Centre. By Lee Hellwing
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Businesses and individuals came together to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Stamfordthe country’s first conservation town.

The Stamford 50 seminar day at Stamford Arts Centre organised by Cambridge-based Bidwells property consultants last Thursday included talks by BBC TV presenter, Dan Cruickshank and Jonathan Foyle an architectural historian.

There was also an exhibition illustrating the town’s fascinating heritage at the arts centre between September 20 and yesterday, which marked the day in 1967 that Kesteven County Council agreed to the designate the town as a conservation area.

Gwyneth Gibbs, chairman of Stamford Civic Society, said: “We must pay tribute to those people in the 1950s and 60s who saw that Stamford and other places of historic interest were in danger of losing their identity through rapid change, and took action to try and prevent this.”

The exhibition also illustrated Stamford’s wonderful architectural heritage and highlighted the role of people tackling the threats to historic environments, prevalent in the 1960s, rapid development and heavy traffic.

Heritage Lincolnshire invited young people to produce films to help share what matters to them about their historic town as part of Stamford Schools Heritage Film Festival and accompanying the exhibition were screenings of short films made by young people from schools in and around Stamford.

At the Stamford 50 event, which was held in conjunction of South Kesteven District Council (SKDC), representatives from different groups in the area gave talks including Stamford Civic Society and house builders, alongside representatives from groups such as Historic England.

The event culminated with Dan Cruickshank making a toast to conservation.

Chris Surfleet, head of heritage at Bidwells, said: “I didn’t want it to be a lock-in of professionals. We have a massive range of people. We wanted to get a very local perspective to the day but also broaden it out to the national perspective as well.”

Chris said Bidwells organised the event at the request of SKDC’s strategic director Steve Ingram who believed the firm would be in a “strong position” to deliver a high-quality programme of content and speakers.