Water Street The oldest street south of the River Welland was originally called Estebythewater, part of the parish of St Martins Without. Prosperous mediaeval wool-merchants built their houses there facing the river for ease of trading with Western European ports. With the decline in the wool trade the street deteriorated until in the 19th century it was a confused mix of cottages, pubs and workshops, dominated by two major breweries, Hunts and Phillips. The finest house was Welland House (see below), built for his family by Joseph Phillips. Water Street, Stamford Welland House, Water Street, Stamford Several narrow yards opened into the street, crowded with cottages chiefly occupied by brewery workers. Poors Court, the workhouse for the poor of Stamford until 1834, became Phillips Yard in 1902 when Joseph Phillips leased it from the Burghley estate for his workforce. There was also Malting Yard and on the bank of the River Welland on the opposite side of Water Street there were Layton Court and Perkins Buildings, a small huddle of cottages. In the 1900s three families lived in the dark and damp Perkins Buildings. In the 1950s some of these yards were demolished and Water Street began a slow process of modernization and rebuilding. In 1911 apart from brewery workers the cottages were filled with the large families of bricklayers, horsekeepers, sawyers, railwaymen, gardeners and small shopkeepers. Their teenage boys were stable lads, errand boys, or unemployed. They welcomed as a great adventure the opportunity to join the army and serve their country in WW1.