Friday, 31 December 2010


From "A collection of epitaphs and monumental inscriptions, ancient and modern, 1802"

Below is from the London Evening Post of July 1912.
From "The cyclopaedia of anecdotes of literature and the fine arts. 1853".

Thank you to Robin who wrote me saying "This event happened on an overhead walkway between two factory buildings in Witham Town, they were employees of Herman Nagele a German wig and switch maker employing 24 women. It seems that as the Royal Train was about to pass they all ran onto the overhead walkway causing part of it to collapse causing the injuries. The walkway can be made out 8 down on your post of 18/12/10 its connecting the two buildings of Newham & Co. Nagele also had a Hair Salon at 95 West Street and was married to Miss Best whos father had a large shop opposite Nageles in WestStreet. I am sure that you can remember Les Farrow the one time owner of the of license in Fydell Street (Johns TV repaires). One of the many tales Les used to tell was that when he was very young his mother heard that the King & Oueen would be passing through Boston, so she wrote to the King saying that my little boy Les has never seen a King or Queen and would they be good enough to slow the train to a stop on the Grand Sluice crossing and give her little boy a wave. I understand that she had a reply from the Palace and Les got his wave, this being only seconds before the Witham Town Accident".

Below is from the New York Times, May 1865.
At Boston, in Lincolnshire, England, it seems there is an old charter, or custom, or something or other, whereby the Mayor of the borough is at liberty, during Lent, to take a couple of eggs out of every basketful for sale in the market. Of late years the Mayor for the time being has very wisely restrained from exercising this privilege, and it was thought to be dying out. The present occupant of the chair, however, has insisted on his right, and great grumbling and indignation meetings are the result. Since his worship is so strictly legal, how would it be if the market people were to bring their eggs in in boxes? At all events, they might try the experiment, and if it failed they might still choose the Mayor by putting all their eggs in one basket.

St. Anne's Cross.
St. Anne’s Cross stood at the entrance of St. Anne’s Lane and was mentioned frequently between 1564 and 1712. In 1729 the cross was removed by the Corporation from a triangular piece of ground which was then paved, no remains of the cross exist.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Swan House

This building has been converted into flats, but it was originally built for the processing of feathers for pillow cases. Geese had been kept on the local fens for centuries, and their feathers were plucked twice a year and purified by heat in factories like this before being used to stuff the pillows of the rich.

The first feather factory on this site burned down (see below) and this building was put up in its place in 1877.

It was built by F. S. Anderson & Co., and very unusually for Victorian times this company was named after a woman. The Anderson family had been in the feather business for many years and by the time the factory was rebuilt the widowed Mrs Frances Susannah Anderson had succeeded her husband as head of the firm. In the picture below the swan has been taken down, I don’t know the reason why but it could have been just for cleaning or perhaps during World War Two for safety from bombing. The feather factory continued in use until the middle of the 20th century and was latterly run by Fogarty & Co.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

116, High Street, Boston

116 High Street, Boston is a listed townhouse built in the early 18th century. It is built in red brick with limestone dressings and has many original internal features surviving. William Garfit (1700-81) founded Lincolnshire's first private bank in this building in 1754 and it remained in use until 1891 when the bank was moved into the market place. Since then it has been the 'Lincolnshire Diocesan Home for Fallen Women', a private house and the offices of various local businesses.

It began to fall into disrepair in the late 1980's and got in an extremely poor state, with main structural timbers affected with wet and dry rot and progressive decay to internal features such as panelling, fireplaces and flooring.

The gable end of the building was gradually detaching from the front elevation and there was a danger of imminent collapse. The rear yard was also disused and in need of regeneration.
Heritage Lincolnshire began to restore the building in 2008 and have raised over £1.5 million thanks to the generous support of English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Further funds are required to ensure that the building and site to the rear can be regenerated for a new use. The Trust aims to provide facilities which can be used by a charitable organisation who will provide public access to the building and deliver economic and social benefits for the local community.

Monday, 27 December 2010


Wormgate is one of the oldest streets in the town. Its shape reflects its close association with the river, which was straightened in the early 19th century.

In the medieval period Wormgate was home to businesses run by many of the local, and not so local, monastic houses who exported their produce from their estates through the town. Fountain Lane, which connects Wormgate to Strait Bargate, was named after Fountains Abbey as the monastery owned a warehouse there.
During the 18th and early 19th centuries many grand houses were built with elaborate architectural detailing, also during this period many properties were established as schools, continuing a tradition begun in the medieval period when the Grammar school was situated in Wormgate and run by the town guilds.

Above : The former Grammar School in Wormgate.
From the end of the 18th century Red Lion Street developed and was named after the Red Lion Inn that stood on Strait Bargate. Housing began to be built along the narrow alleys that ran off the streets and this reached its zenith in the late 19th century when numerous small dwellings were constructed in the gaps behind the terraces occupying the street frontages.
Wormgate has always been an important commercial area and many of the buildings were used as shops or warehouses throughout its history. Inns, taverns and pubs have also been a common feature; the Wormgate Inn can trace its origins back to the 16th century when it was known as the Dog and Duck and the Little Peacock Inn was originally a waggoner's inn, frequented by wagon drivers bringing in produce from the northern fens.
Excavations on the corner of Fountain Lane in 1989 (below) revealed medieval buildings that may have been owned by Fountains Abbey.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Boston man in U.S. Civil war

On Sunday October 25th 1925, precisely as the clock was striking midnight, Mr. William Edward Newton, eighty years of age, of 7, Colley Street Boston, passed away. For a number of years he had suffered from gout and in his later years from total blindness but when he died he left a remarkable story.
He was born in Boston in 1845 and, after bearing what he considered the drudgery of school life until he had reached the age of 13, he decided to run away. He loved the sea, and at once decided to head for Liverpool, where he was successful in gaining a position with a Mr. Moss, a merchantman. Mr Newton was apprenticed to this merchantman, and he visited many parts of the world in his ships.
The spirit of adventure in this Bostonian could not be quenched, and on one visit to San Francisco he was enamoured with the sights of the town and decided to “give his ship a miss” and earn a living in America. He secured a position in some big lumber mills at Seattle, and he was employed there when the American Civil War broke out in 1861. The nationality of a man did not exempt him from fighting and it was not long before Mr. Newton was in the ranks of the American Navy.

Above : The "North Carolina", one of the ships that Mr. Newton served on.
His knowledge of the sea stood him in good stead, and he very quickly worked his way up to the position of quartermaster. The ships he served on were the “North Carolina”, the “Vermont” and the “Corwin”, and whilst serving on one of these vessels he met another Bostonian a Mr. Hodgson.
Both returned to England and their native town, Boston, and both were somewhat surprised in 1910 to receive a notification from the U.S. President that they would receive a pension. Mr. Newton’s amounted to 12 dollars a month and Mr. Hodgson, as he had received a wound to his foot, got a larger amount. However when President Wilson was in control in 1915 this pension was, for some unknown reason stopped.
When Mr. Newton returned to Boston he continued his life as a sea-faring man, and for many years he was employed as a wire splicer with the Boston Deep Sea Fishing Company.
He had many friends in Boston and earned the nickname of “Cody” because he could relate all his American stories.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Royal Mail from Boston

Letters from Boston to London were first conveyed by coach on 5th July 1807, before that date they were carried by a man on horseback to Stilton (near Peterborough) from where they were forwarded by one of the Northern Mails.
Many coaches were subsequently run from and through Boston to London and elsewhere, carrying passengers and goods. The Red Lion and Peacock were famous posting houses and the White Hart and the White Horse also had their share of the business.
The coaches advertised in the period included the “Perseverance” the “Undaunted Perseverance” the “New Resolution” the “True Briton”, the “Prince Blucher” and “Tally Ho”, running from Boston in all directions except perhaps Lincoln which was served by the river packets.
It is possible to approximately fix the date of the Boston Market Place scene shown below. The Royal Arms appear on the door of the coach, and the Royal cypher, “W.R.”, under the driver’s box, indicates William IV, whose reign terminated in 1837.

Whipping Posts and Ducking Stools

In the Market Place (near where Marks and Spencer’s is now) stood the Corn Cross or as it was more commonly called the Meal Cross, it was a high, elegant building, raised three steps above the surrounding level, and supporting a flat roof upon fourteen square stone pillars. In the centre of the roof was a small cupola, protecting from the weather a large bell, by the sound of which the Corn Market was opened and closed. On the western side of this Corn Cross stood the Pillory, and on the south west corner the Whipping Post.
To the south of the Corn Cross (about where the opening at the end of the M&S building is now) was a horse pond, in which the tanners of the town also washed their skins, also erected here was a Ducking Stool and any unfortunate would be immersed in the murky waters of the pond.
From the horse pond to Dolphin Lane was an open space but in the centre of this piece of ground, securely fixed in the earth, was a heavy metal bull ring to which on high days and holidays the old time Bostonians would tether a bull and bait him to madness with fierce dogs.
On the other side of the Market Place was the Butchery and on its north eastern corner the Stocks were fixed, these were later moved (see below) to Bargate Green.
Another punishment was the Hurry Cart. The wrong-doer was taken around the town attached to this cart and received a portion of his punishment at the door of every alderman, a portion of one of these carts is stated to have remained in the town stores as late as 1795.
As if these things were not enough, in 1670 the Town Gaoler brought in the following list of articles belonging to the gaol:—3 locks and keys for the windows and chimneys, 10 horse-locks, 4 pairs of cross fetters, 2 chains, 3 pairs of handcuffs, a pair of pothooks with two rivets and shackles, 5 pairs of iron fetters and shackles, and a U brand to burn persons in the hand, to this pleasant list of articles another burning iron was added in 1703, and in 1722 a pair of thumb-screws!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

The Flesh Market

This was the old Boston Flesh Market, or Butchery, it was drawn by William Brand and dated June 1806.

The Flesh Market was where all meat was bought and sold in those days, before the coming of butcher’s shops. The building was erected in 1707, and taken down in 1790. It stood near the Town Gaol forward of the present churchyard railings as can be seen on the extreme left of the picture below. Over the doorway was a symbolical coat of arms with poleaxes crossed , and a beast and sheep as supporters. Over the South entrance (to the left) was sculptured the Boston Borough Arms with the name Robert Vent, Mayor, 1707. The town stocks can be seen at the corner of the building.

Castle on the The Town Bridge

This unique picture of a busy shipping scene near the Town Bridge was the work of William Brand and was published in 1795. The Corporation Buildings on the right were erected in 1772 and the Assembly Rooms had not yet been built. It also shows the old wooden bridge with its lamp standards, but the most remarkable thing about the picture is the appearance in it of the castle like tower at the West end of the bridge , from which Stanbow, or “Stonebow” Lane probably derived its name. This is the only known picture to show this structure. On page 251 of Pishey Thompson's History of Boston he writes "The bridge being in a very ruinous state, and in danger of falling, was taken down in 1629, and a new one erected. This bridge had a stone gateway standing across it, and it is probable from this circumstance, that the lane called Stanbow Lane, which would be very near the western extremity of the bridge, has derived its name."

Monday, 20 December 2010

The General Hospital

I was asked if I had any pictures of the General Hospital, here are the few I found.

Boston General Hospital was down South Terrace, it looked out onto the Bath Gardens, or "Old Park" as we called it when we were kids, it was established in 1871 in temporary premises as the Boston Cottage Hospital.

A new building was erected in 1874 and was extended on several occasions.

The name was changed to Boston Hospital in about 1887, and Boston General Hospital around 1937.

The Hospital was administered from 1948 by the Boston Group Hospital Management Committee of the Sheffield Regional Hospital Board.

The Hospital was replaced by the new Boston Pilgrim Hospital, opened in 1971, and this is the site today, a housing estate.

Mill Hill

There used to be a cluster of buildings down Wide Bargate known as Mill Hill.

They were situated roughly opposite the Red Cow on what is now a Car Park.

Above : "Robin" informs me that the white curved part of the building was up to 1908 a Pub known as the North Pole.
Mill Hill in Bargate, and the waste land beyond it, are mentioned in Corporation records in 1676.

I am told by Mr. John Clayton that the building on the right above, with the name sign over the window was a fish and chip shop.

The map below shows the site of Mill Hill. The Red Cow is on the left and the old Three Crowns is next to the present day Holland House Dentists.

Below : The site as it is today, the New England Hotel is far right of the picture.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Lord Nelson figurines

These two figures were removed from the facade of the Lord Nelson Public house in High Street, Boston, in the 1960‘s.

They were auctioned at Summers Place Auctions in Billingshurst, West Sussex in October 2009 and fetched £12,000. The figurines can be seen on the original building below each side of the second upstairs window to the left of the picture. It wasn't unusual for Boston to have two pubs side by side, the Rumpuncheon and the Angel in the Market Place were also neighbours.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Some Boston Factories

A few of Boston's long gone factories.

Beaulahs, Bargate End.

Beaulahs, Tawney Street.

Hursts, South Square.

John Fishers label factory, Sleaford Road.

Johnson's, South Square.
Ladies sorting peas at Beaulahs.

Lin-Can, London Road.

Newham's feather factory, Witham Town.

Ladies working at Whittle and Copes cigar factory, Norfolk Street.

Willer and Riley, London Road.

Willer and Riley.