Stamford bridal shop to close after 30 years

Matchmaker of Stamford is set to close after 30 years
Photo: Lee Hellwing
Matchmaker of Stamford is set to close after 30 years Photo: Lee Hellwing

A bridal shop that initially started as a “retirement hobby” is set to close after 30 years of business in Stamford.

After a career working in the theatre trade, Margaret Butchart decided to open Matchmaker of Stamford, as a “retirement hobby” when she was 58.

Now at the age of 88 - she’s decided she’s finally ready to actually retire - and the doors will close for good at the end of the month.

Over the years, the shop has clothed hundreds of brides ready for their dream day, many of whom have shed tears when finding that perfect dress, but Margaret herself has always thought of it as just a business.

She said: “I’m not a sentimental person at all. For me, it has always been just a business. I imagine a lot of people will be sad to see the shop close - lots of people have been saying ‘where will we go?’ But I don’t really feel sad.”

Margaret has seen the wedding business change over the years. She initially opened in Red Lion Street and with £1,000, she was able to buy half a dozen dresses from a supplier in London, where she was “treated like royalty”. Then she and her small team made most of the dresses but today, most are supplied.

“Styles have changed a lot. Today, there is a lot more choice and a lot more fuss,” she said.

The shop relocated to the corner of Star Lane and Broad Street about 25 years ago, where it has remained since, stocking bridal accessories, bridesmaid and prom dresses, as well as the gowns themselves.

A painting of Queensgate Shopping Centre takes pride of place in the reception - painted by her late husband Roy, who worked as an art teacher at Arthur Mellows Village College in Glinton. He retired when Margaret set up the shop. Roy died last year.

Margaret, who has worked nearly full-time in the shop, says she plans to spend her retirement at home in Baston taking care of her much-loved Jack Russell Princess - a rescue from Three Counties Dog Rescue in Bourne.

“I’ve always felt guilty when I’ve left her at home. My dog needs me more than the shop does now,” Margaret said. “It’s time to say goodbye.”