Downham Market

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Downham Market
UK DownhamMarket (ClockTower).jpg
Clock Tower in Downham Market
Downham Market is located in Norfolk
Downham Market
Downham Market
Location within Norfolk
Area5.20 km2 (2.01 sq mi)
Population9,994 (2011 Census)[1]
• Density1,922/km2 (4,980/sq mi)
OS grid referenceTF611032
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtPE38
Dialling code01366
AmbulanceEast of England
EU ParliamentEast of England
UK Parliament
List of places
52°36′N 0°23′E / 52.60°N 0.39°E / 52.60; 0.39Coordinates: 52°36′N 0°23′E / 52.60°N 0.39°E / 52.60; 0.39

Downham Market, sometimes simply referred to as Downham, is a market town and civil parish in Norfolk, England. It lies on the edge of the Fens, on the River Great Ouse, approximately 11 miles south of King's Lynn, 39 miles west of Norwich and 30 miles north of Cambridge.[2]

The civil parish has an area of 5.2 km² and in the 2011 census had a population of 9,994 in 4,637 households. For the purposes of local government, the parish falls within the district of King's Lynn and West Norfolk.[3] It is part of South West Norfolk parliamentary constituency.

Fire Station in 2006, now a heritage centre

It was an agricultural centre, developing as a market for the produce of the Fens with a bridge across the Ouse. During the Middle Ages, it was famed for its butter market and also hosted a notable horse fair. The market is now held Fridays and Saturdays on the town hall car park.

Notable buildings in the town include its mediaeval parish church, dedicated to St Edmund, and Victorian clock tower, constructed in 1878. The town is also known as the place where Charles I hid after the Battle of Naseby. In 2004 the town completed a regeneration project on the Market Place, moving the market to the town hall car park. The decorative town sign depicts the crown and arrows of St Edmund with horses to show the importance of the horse fairs in the town's history.

A heritage centre, Discover Downham, opened in a former fire station in 2016.[4]


The electoral ward of Downham Market exists but covers a lesser area than that of the parish. The population of this ward taken at the 2011 Census was 7,988.[5]


Downham Market railway station

Downham Market railway station, which serves the town, is on the Fen Line from London to King's Lynn. It opened in 1846.

The town signal box is one of five rare examples across the region to have been granted Grade II listed status in 2013. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport listed 26 signal boxes across the country as part of a joint project between Network Rail and English Heritage to secure the nation's railway signalling heritage. Downham's signal box was built in 1881 for the Great Eastern Railway Company[6] but will soon[when?] be decommissioned as part of a 30-year modernisation project.[citation needed]


There are two primary schools in Downham Market: Hillcrest Primary School and Nelson Academy.

Nelson Academy, situated on Nursery Road, was originally named Clackclose Community Primary School after Clackclose Hundred. The school opened in 1873 on Snape Lane. It became the first primary education academy sponsored by the CWA Academy Trust, founded by the College of West Anglia, in 2014.[7] It is named after Lord Nelson, whom, according to local folklore, attended his first school in Downham Market.[8]

Sport and leisure[edit]

Downham Market Leisure Centre is located on Bexwell Road. A Non-League football club Downham Town F.C. play at the Memorial Field.

Notable residents[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Town population 2011". Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  2. ^ Ordnance Survey (1999). OS Explorer Map 236 – King's Lynn, Downham Market & Swaffham. ISBN 0-319-21867-8.
  3. ^ Office for National Statistics & Norfolk County Council (2001). Census population and household counts for unparished urban areas and all parishes. Retrieved December 2, 2005.
  4. ^ Bale, David (29 March 2016). "West Norfolk town finally gets its own heritage centre". Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  5. ^ "Ward population 2011". Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  6. ^ Historic England. "Downham Market Signal Box (1414022)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  7. ^ Nelson Academy website About Nelson Academy, Retrieved on 6 September 2014.
  8. ^ Nelson Academy website About Nelson Academy, Retrieved on 6 September 2014.

External links[edit]