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Bury St Edmunds historian Martyn Taylor reveals the secrets of Durbar Terrace





Now a no through route for vehicles, Durbar Terrace, is still a handy short cut between Springfield Road and Spring Lane for pedestrians.

It was once part of ancient Pudding Lane which carried across Springfield Road and then ran parallel with Risbygate Street; now an unmade track leading to garages and forecourts at the rear of the fire station in Parkway North.

The five red brick terrace houses from 1904 were named after a Durbar, which was a court of an Indian prince where a public reception was held.

Durbar Terrace in Bury St Edmunds
Durbar Terrace in Bury St Edmunds

There were three Durbars held between 1877 and 1911.

The first was to celebrate Queen Victoria being given the title of Empress of India.

The second was in 1903 when it was held in honour of Edward VII.

Lord and Lady Curzon at the 1903 Durbar
Lord and Lady Curzon at the 1903 Durbar

He did not attend but sent his brother Arthur, Duke of Connaught, to represent him.

It was a splendid affair well organised by Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India. Lord Curzon has an interesting connection with Bury St Edmunds via a Victorian writer, Ouida, to whom a memorial was erected at Stamford Court in 1910 by subscriptions raised by readers of the Daily Mirror.

On a bronze panel on this drinking fountain/trough part of her epitaph says ‘Her friends have erected this fountain in the place of her birth.

Here may God’s creatures whom she loved assuage her tender soul, as they drink’, Curzon of Kedleston.

Bury St Edmunds historian Martyn Taylor. Picture: Mecha Morton
Bury St Edmunds historian Martyn Taylor. Picture: Mecha Morton

He was reputably a friend, though Kedleston, Derbyshire, is miles from Bury.

The third Durbar was held to celebrate King George V and Queen Mary’s visit to be proclaimed Emperor and Empress of India and also to announce that New Delhi was to be the capital of India instead of Calcutta. Over half a million people joined in the celebrations.

In 1916 Durbar Terrace narrowly escaped destruction from a Zeppelin, nearby houses in Springfield Road receiving most damage though a horse in stables at their rear received terrible injuries and had to be destroyed.

— Martyn Taylor is a local historian, author and Bury Tour Guide. His latest book, Bury St Edmunds Through Time Revisited, is widely available.