Stamford. I visited the library to explore two research strands – both of which have strong connections with the starting point of the walk. The first the public baths on Bath Row and the other the Bull Run; an event first described in 1646, this barbaric spectacle originated on the Meadows and took place annually on the 13 November. One of the famous bull-runners was Annie Blades and the library has a small permanent exhibition showing the town’s history, part of which is devoted to the bull-run – there is also a pottery jug that celebrates Annie Blades. The bull-run lasted until the late 1830s when the SPCA, came into force.
Despite the helpful librarians, information was limited* – and replicated information found
previously on the internet, although I did find a copy of the sheet music for the Song of the Stamford Bullards.
Information relating to the baths was also difficult to find, but research showed that Bath Row was once part of the town’s notorious slums (unlike today!). There was a nice reference point in a book by Betty Clark called Stamford Memories – that sourced an advertisement from 1906 – where it was recorded that hot and cold baths for ladies and gentlemen – first class 1 shilling, second class 6d each.
Food for thought.
*I requested further information from the archives on the Baths, and a week later returned to the library to view several files and a large collection of photographic imagery. Postcards depicting the great Stamford flood of 1912 could become an interesting route to explore further.