Monday, 31 January 2011


Boston Adverts.

Morton's of Blue Street.

The Scala, Market Place.

Above and below: British Railways posters.

Above and below: Tourist nik nak's.

Anatomical exhibition at the Assembly Rooms.

Status Quo 'down the dance' in 1968.

Ridlington's 2 gallon flagon.

Boston made water filter.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

The Five Lamps

The Market Cross (below) stood in the Market Place until 1730 when it was taken down

and the Buttercross (below) erected in its place in 1732. The Buttercross itself was demolished in 1822.
The first set of Lamps were presented to the town (and erected on the Buttercross site) in 1842 by Mr. Henry Rogers who was Town Clerk of Boston from 1816 to 1831. At first there was only a solitary light (see below in this 1842 print)

described by Pishey Thompson as ‘an ornamental and very useful lamp’ but four more lights were added by the Lighting Commissioners in 1848.

By 1927 the Lincolnshire Standard was saying ‘They have had their day, and now their bulky base is a hindrance to the increasing road traffic’, also in the same issue Mr. Thomas Kent said that ‘the old standard was modelled by his Grandfather, when the lamps were cast at that once flourishing local works, Tuxford’s foundry’
So it was that in 1927 a new column of electric lights (below)

was erected and the tradition of the old lamps was preserved by having three smaller lights on the column in addition to the two main bracket lamps above.
By the time the photograph below was taken in the 1960's the three smaller lamps had disappeared, presumably to make room for the road signs.

These lamps were themselves taken up and repositioned (below)

in front of the old Elephant and Castle pub in Liqourpond Street (which then changed its name to the Five Lamps but is now a Chinese Restaurant) where they can still be seen today.
For many years on New Years Eve the young (and the not so young I remember) tried to climb to the top of the lamps but the tradition seems to have died off now.
Since their removal various modern lamp standards have been erected and we are left with the characterless view we see today (2011 below) with even the traffic roundabout gone.
On a brighter note at the present time (2011) there is a plan to re-install a replica of the old Five Lamps or move the 1927 lamps back to their original position in the town centre.

UPDATE. Finally on July 6th. 2012, the replica of the old five lamps (below) is erected in the Market Place and the story has turned full circle.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Boston Pranksters

Prior to the Municipal Corporations Act of 1835, towns were guarded (more or less) during the day by constables and at night by watchmen. At Boston a watch house stood at one end of the old Town bridge (see below) which was demolished in 1913 and, according to an old diary, the watchmen were called ‘Charlies’ who in the winter wore ‘three decker’ topcoats, and carried big rattles and lanterns lit by tallow candles.

The watch house that stood on the old Town Bridge.

Boston had its fair share of young men who, with the absence of a modern Police Force, delighted in playing pranks under cover of the night and here are two examples.
On one occasion a ball was being held in the rooms above the old Butter Market (below) and a certain Miss Tunnard who lived in Wide Bargate was to attend.

The old Butter Market.

The house in Wide Bargate where Miss Tunnard lived.

She ordered a sedan chair and when the bearers arrived they were invited indoors out of the frost and snow. After a short interval the lady appeared, and the bearers, having refreshed, were prepared to resume their duty but to their amazement the sedan chair had disappeared! A search was made in vain, and the lady missed the ball. The chair was not discovered for many days until it was seen in a pond of the adjoining paddock (now the Central Park) where it had been thrown by the ‘Jokers’ and become covered with ice and snow.
But the best ever prank must be the following. A waggon laden with wool arrived opposite the Red House in the Market Place too late for delivery, and the horses were taken out and the vehicle left there for the night. Then the pranksters came along and saw their opportunity, the waggon was unloaded and taken to pieces, and both vehicle and wool were then carried through the narrow passage to Crown Courtyard, and there re-erected and re-loaded in the courtyard. Next morning when the waggoner and the residents of the locality found the waggon and its load standing in the back court they declared it was the work of the devil.

The brick building on the left below was known as the Red House and the passageway on the extreme left is the narrow passage that the dismantled waggon was taken down to be re-assembled in the courtyard at the bottom.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Indian Queen and Bull and Magpie

A letter from Pishey Thompson in a book entitled “Notes and Queries” published in 1860.

There is, at this time, a public-house in Boston, Lincolnshire, called the Indian Queen, it probably took its name from some fancifully dressed figures which I well remember were painted on its ancient sign-board. There were three figures, and these were so uncouth, and unlike anything known at that time, that the house had borne the name of "The Three Merry Devils." This tavern originally bore the name and sign of "The Three Kings of Cologne," but the sign faded, and the title became obsolete, and the medieval designation of the house was desecrated and degraded as I have stated.

Another tavern in Boston has, at present, for its name the curious combination of "The Bull and Magpye," and bears for its sign a literal bull and as literal a magpye. This name and sign has also mediaeval origin. The ancient title of the house was the " Bull and Pie," both words having a reference to the Roman Catholic faith; the bull being the Pope's Bull, and Pie or Pye being the familiar name in English for the Popish Ordinal; that is, the book which contained the ordinances for solemnising the offices of the Church.
Pishey Thompson .
Boston Taverns and Public Houses (showing the Bull and Magpie) from Slater’s directory of 1852.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Description of The Peacock and the Red Lion (1904)

A description of the Peacock and Royal and the Red Lion in 1904 by an American visitor Josephine Tozier.

The Peacock and Royal.

The front is decorated by bright flowers and long trailing vines growing from the window-boxes on the balconies, and above all is a most gorgeous sign of the most gorgeous of birds, from which it takes its name. We ate our comfortable little dinner in the coffee-room……it was nine o'clock before we left the table. We were too tired to explore Boston's winding ways, and, as it was too early for bed, I had this time secured a large front room looking over the market-place, and my sleepy friends soon found entertainment there.

The sound of a twanging banjo, which came from beneath our window, gathered the few stragglers in the market-place into a circle around the door of the Peacock. We could not see the musician from our window, but he broke forth as soon as the audience had gathered into the usual sentimental ballad dear to English ears. Some boys, with dogs at their heels, formed the outside of the meagre crowd, and then from a side street came belated mothers, pushing their babies home in perambulators. Polly says that at no hour in the twenty-four are English streets entirely free from perambulators, and, late as it was, three of these useful carriages joined the circle, the mothers, in true Boston fashion, being unable to resist music. The audience grew larger and the circle wider; the songs were succeeded by dialogues, and coppers rained plentifully into the collector's hand, until a baby set up an opposition concert, and an enterprising dog was encouraged by the noise to fight his four-legged neighbour. During the rumpus which succeeded, the musicians vanished. The dog riot was finally quelled, the babies trundled home, and the market-place in a few minutes was absolutely deserted for the night.

The Red Lion.

The Red Lion Inn, which faces the Narrow Bargate, has a more venerable exterior than the Peacock, but a decidedly decayed interior. It owns to the age of four hundred years, so no wonder that it is neither very clean nor very modern at the present time. It was formerly the property of one of the Boston guilds, and in the inn yard strolling players were wont to perform for the delight of all Boston.
There is still a very stern, solemn, Puritanical look about the dull little Holland-like city, in spite of the numerous houses of entertainment. Some of these rejoice in extraordinary names. There is "The Axe and Cleaver," "The Loggerhead," "The Indian Queen," "The Ram," "The Whale," "The Unicorn," "The Red Cow," "The Blue Lion," and "The Black Bull." They all furnish abundant liquid refreshment, with our favourite "The Rum Puncheon," and the picturesque "Angel." Even the streets have delicious names: "Paradise Lane," and "Pinfold Alley," "Liquor Pond Street" and "Silver Street," "The Worm Gate," "The Bar Gate," Wide, and Narrow, and "Robin Hood's Walk." There is "Pump Square," there is "Fish Toft Road," and in quaint "Spain Lane," in a house since demolished, until she was fourteen years old, lived Jean Ingelow, the writer. Boston is proud of its literary celebrities, and has erected a statue to Herbert Ingram, the founder of the London Illustrated News.

Thursday, 20 January 2011


In December 1922 Olive Chester, a 25 year old single girl of 2, Black Tile Yard, Rosegarth Street Boston and Henry Yates, a 22 year old farm labourer from Gypsy Bridge were charged with indecent conduct on the Witham Bank (below) they both pleaded guilty.
The Chief Constable (Mr. Johnson) said the female prisoner had been repeatedly warned. The girls Mother said the Salvation Army Officer had offered to get her into a home and that the girl was weak minded.
The girl was sent to prison for a month with hard labour (the Chairman stating that she had declined to go into a home) and Yates was fined 20 shillings, or 14 days.

Witham Bank, Boston.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Trains in Boston

Some old Boston railway pics.

A train in Boston Goods Yard, the man crouching on top of the engine near the funnel is Arthur Elston, his Grandaughter Ann kindly sent this picture to me. The wagon in front of the engine has Boston Deep Sea Fishing Company written on it.

The Railway Mission Hall stood in Fydell Crescent, it was demolished and Marriott's Motors built an extension to their garage on the site.This stone was saved and Marriott's had it built into their reception area.

An early picture of an engine heading toward the Grand Sluice.

An engine near the footbridge in Boston Station.

A passenger train in Boston Station.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Homes of our Forefathers

I came across an old book entitled “Homes of our Forefathers” which was printed in 1889. It was written by an American called Edwin Whitefield from Boston Massachusetts who visited Boston U.K. for the special purpose of “sketching and hunting up whatever there might be of interest in the Boston which gave its name to our own city” Below are the 21 sketches he made.
An old house in Archer Lane, off Wormgate. Now demolished.

The Bell Inn, on the site of the present Stump and Candle pub.

Blackfriars, now a theatre.

Burton Corner is at the junction of Sibsey Road / Wainfleet Road.

At the end of Wormgate, opposite the Stump.

Near the Stump, building is now vacant, its last use was a shop called "Spooky's"

Now demolished.

The Grammar school.

The Guildhall.

Better known as Gysors Hall, was next to the Magnet Tavern in South Square. Now demolished.

Formerly stood on the west side of the road leading to the sluice near the west end of North Street.
Tradition reports this building to have been erected with the stones taken from the church of St. John of Jerusalem; a stone in the northern gable of the house bore the date 1659, and the initials W.E.R.
Heron's Hall was taken down in 1811.(Pishey Thompson). Now demolished.

or HusseyTower as it is better known.

The caption for this picture said, "This is a portion of a large house which is believed to have been built by a Flemish merchant in the reign of Edward I. The initials E.R. (Edward Rex) are plainly marked on the gable."
I think this may be Pescod Hall.

Pishey Thompson says "The site of the hospital of St John was on the west side of Maud Foster or Bargate Drain, immediately opposite to Hospital Bridge. There is nothing remaining of the hospital, except an old house, called Jerusalem House, but which appears to have been built from the materials of the ancient hospital, rather than to have formed a portion of the original buildings". Now demolished.

Rochford Tower.

Shodfriars Hall.

The caption in the book said this house belonged to the Robinson family and Pishey Thompson says "There are several ancient brick houses in Stanbow Lane among others one which belonged to the Robinson family, formerly of great distinction and influence in this place. An immense open fireplace, and other marks of antiquity, yet remain in a room at the back of this house". Now demolished.
The Stump.

The ThreeTuns in the Market Place, Oliver Cromwell is said to have slept here the night before the Battle of Winceby in the English Civil war. Now demolished.

The old Town Bridge.

The White Horse, White Horse Lane, Now demolished.