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Memorial to mill saved in redevelopment of Bishop's Stortford shopping centre Jackson Square




A stone memorial linking Jackson Square to 1,000 years of Bishop's Stortford history is set to be preserved.

The shopping mall's owner, Legal and General, has submitted plans to East Herts Council for permission to close its Bridge Street entrance to accommodate a new TK Maxx anchor store for the centre. The scheme also includes five more retail or restaurant units.

After Herts county councillor Colin Woodward, who represents the Stortford West division, raised concerns with the developer, he secured a pledge to relocate the memorial to the old town mill elsewhere in the precinct.

Commemorative stone on the Bridge Street entrance to Jackson Square. Pic: Vikki Lince (45156816)
Commemorative stone on the Bridge Street entrance to Jackson Square. Pic: Vikki Lince (45156816)

It marks the site gifted to the town in 1911, three years before his death, by Victorian wine and spirits magnate Sir Walter Gilbey, of gin fame, who was born in Windhill.

Cllr Woodward said: "The stone is now rather dirty and hasn't been cleaned for years, but it would be a shame to lose a historic placement."

The construction of Jackson Square required the diversion of the River Stort away from the town centre. Old River Lane, leading to the Causeway and Waitrose car parks, marks its original course. The bridge from which Bridge Street gets its name was close to the current pedestrian crossing. The river had powered a water mill close to the spot for a millennium.

The Bridge Street entrance to Jackson Square. Pic: Vikki Lince (45156831)
The Bridge Street entrance to Jackson Square. Pic: Vikki Lince (45156831)

According to town chronicler Paul Ailey's website www.stortfordhistory.co.uk, a mill was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. The last to stand on the site ceased production of flour in 1890 and was demolished five years later.

The first Jackson Square development was completed in 1974, with a spiral concrete ramp from Bridge Street. It was replaced in 1991 with the current lift and escalator in a glass structure designed to represent the mill.



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