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|OS grid reference|
|• London||120 mi (190 km) SSW|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||East Midlands|
Alford (pronounced "Olford") is a town in Lincolnshire, England, about 11 miles (18 km) north-west of the coastal resort of Skegness. It lies at the foot of the Lincolnshire Wolds, which is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The population of the town was recorded as 3,459 in the 2011 Census.
Alford's retail outlets cater mainly for local demand. Shops include a pharmacy, a grocery, two butchers (the latest one opened in November 2016) and DIY and homeware stores. There are three supermarkets, in Church Street, West Street and Hamilton Road. The five public houses are the Half Moon Hotel, Windmill Hotel, George, Anchor and White Hart. Four of these still operate – the Half Moon has an attached tea shop and is the venue for many local activities. The Anchor has been renovated and is now a bed-and-breakfast establishment. The Windmill is also a hotel, while the White Hart is still a traditional pub.
The town has no banks as the last one, Lloyds Bank, closed in September 2018. There is still a Yorkshire Building Society office. Banking facilities are available at the Post Office, which is now in the Quicky Supermaket in West Street and open from 7 am to 10 pm on weekdays.
H & M Ducos Pottery, established in London in 1972 moved to Alford in 1973, became the Alford Pottery and acquired premises in Commercial Road in 1978, where it has been manufacturing tableware to this day and exporting worldwide. It was responsible for establishing the Alford Craft Market, the Alford Festivals of arts and crafts, the Alford Folk Club (now an acoustic club), the Alford Morris Dancing club, the Alford Jazz Festival (now closed), the Alford Film Society (now closed) and many other organisations. The Alford Craft Market Centre is a Co-operative shop selling works from local and regional craftsmen, and with the help of a substantial grant from the National Lottery, providing many different classes and workshops to give opportunities to the public to experience art and craft activities on a regular basis.
Market day in Alford is Tuesday. It is a charter market. The main market is organised by Alford Town Council and held in the Market Place, with stalls of groceries, greengrocery and a long-established fishmonger and other small items, as well as a popular auction. The Alford Craft Market has been held on the Market Place since 1974 and every late Spring Bank Holiday and August bank holiday since 1975 in the grounds of the Alford Manor House. The summer weekly Craft Market is now held in the Corn Exchange. The cattle market closed in 1987..
The main interesting buildings in the Town are the Manor House, the largest thatched Manor House, property of the Alford and District Civic Trust, housing a Museum and community facility in the House and a Folk Museum in the barns and the windmill, Hoyles Mill, the tallest 5 sailed windmill still grinding different grains and now a successful tearoom. The Alford Corn Exchange was handed over by the East Lindsey District Council to a specially instituted CIC composed solely of volunteers, and is now a thriving centre of cultural, social and community activities.
Alford has one of the few remaining grammar schools, the highly praised Queen Elizabeth Grammar School.
Primary education is provided by Alford Primary School.
The Alford secondary schools are Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School and John Spendluffe Technology College. The grammar school was judged as "Outstanding" in the Ofsted inspection of 2007; the Technology College received an "Outstanding" report from Ofsted in 2010.
Most factories have closed over the last few years. The main sources of employment are a thriving number of businesses on the industrial estate, as well as Safelincs in West Street, and the schools, nursing homes and other smaller firms.
Economy and transport
Beeching's Way Industrial Estate in the south-west of the town includes companies for printing and manufacturing, a builders' merchant, and a postal sorting office.
The estate is built on the right-of-way of the East Lincolnshire Railway line from Grimsby to Boston, which closed on 5 October 1970 along with the local station. The naming of the industrial estate as Beeching's Way is a wry reminder of Richard Beeching, who masterminded the nationwide cutbacks in the then publicly owned British Railways.
The town's former largest employer, known as C. S. Martin and later Finnveden Powertrain Ltd, closed its doors in 2010. Following redundancies, the factory now operates as Gnutti Carlo UK Ltd.
|Population of Alford Civil Parish|
Alford is known for its Grade I listed five-sailed windmill, a tower mill built in 1837 by Sam Oxley, an Alford millwright. In its heyday it was capable of grinding 4 to 5 tons of corn per day. The mill operated until 1955.
After two years' standing idle, it was restored to full working order in 1957. It is used commercially to produce stone-ground organic flour and cereal. It is the only windmill surviving in Alford. In 1932 there were three, each with a different number of sails (four, five and six).
Alford Manor House
The town's Manor House is one of the largest thatched manor houses in the country. In 2006 it was refurbished through National Lottery funding in association with English Heritage; interactive exhibits were installed and accessibility increased for disabled visitors. The manor house has a tea room and open gardens. The Manor House has two standing exhibitions. These are: Alford Remembers which has First World War memorabilia and a photography exhibition by Edwin Nainby who was born in Gedney in January 1842 and died in Alford in July 1908. The youngest son of a Quaker he was first in business as a photographer in Long Sutton and then in 1873 moved to Alford. There are over 750 glass photography plates exhibited. There are a number of annual events such as the Christmas Tree exhibition, a tractor rally and a threshing day. There is a local museum at the back of the Manor House (Hackett's barn) which has many exhibits from the time when Alford was a thriving Victorian market town.
The medieval Anglican parish church of Alford is dedicated to St Wilfrid. Built in the 14th century, with restoration and additions from 1860, it is situated at the junction between Church, South and West Streets. It includes St Lawrence Chapel. Original features include a 14th-century screen, a Jacobean pulpit, traces of 16th-century glass, and a 17th-century tomb in the chancel. In the Elizabethan era, it hosted a local primary school.
The church holds a variety of worship services, and annual community events such as a flower show. There is a war memorial in the churchyard for local people who died in the two world wars and in Northern Ireland.
- Susanna Cole (1633 – c. 1713), born in Alford, captured and raised by American Indians after family massacred at New Netherland
- Elizabeth Dawbarn (died 1839), born in Alford, was a religious pamphleteer.
- William Charles Ellis (1780–1839), born in Alford, pioneer in the treatment of mental illness
- George Manville Fenn (1831–1909), novelist, taught in Alford.
- John Comyn Higgins, who worked for the Indian Civil Service between 1910 and 1933, and was political agent and president of the Manipur Darbar, whose family lived at Alford Manor House.
- Anne Hutchinson, born Anne Marbury (1591–1643), Puritan settler and religious reformer in New England
- Captain John Smith (1580–1631), explorer, lived in Great Carlton, 4 miles (6.4 km) to the north and went to school in Alford.
- William Wentworth (1616–1697), born in Alford, was a follower of the Puritan John Wheelwright and an early settler in New Hampshire.
- "Parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
- "Ward population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
- Photograph of the Market Place
- Alford Town Retrieved 22 August 2016.
- Alford Primary School
- John Spendluffe Technology College
- Bus Times Retrieved 22 August 2016.
- Hunt's Retrieved 22 August 2016. Archived 23 August 2016 at the Wayback Machine.
- Hunt's Retrieved 22 August 2016. Archived 23 August 2016 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Vision of Britain". Retrieved 23 August 2011.
- "St Wilfrid's Church, Alford" (includes photos), Alford Group of Parishes, 2010-2014, accessed 7 August 2014
- Roll of Honour Retrieved 22 August 2016.
- Retrieved 11 October 2018. Short history of Markby Church with photographs.
- ODNB. Retrieved 15 May 2014, pay-walled.
- Sonwalkar, Prasun (21 August 2016). "A corner of England cherishes links with Manipur". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
- Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1963.
- Barbour, Philip L: The Three Worlds of Captain John Smith, pp. 5-7. Houghton Mifflin Company Boston, 1964.
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Alford (Lincolnshire).|
Media related to Alford, Lincolnshire at Wikimedia Commons