Thursday, 8 March 2012

Memories of Boston.

In 1914, Mr. James Faunt (then over eighty years old) of 10, Cornhill Lane looked back and told us of West Street in the old days.

West Street he said was largely a residential street and was one of the main arteries of the town but it also had the offices and warehouses of a great many of the business firms of Boston. The dwelling houses were frequently of great age and almost the last of them (a row of particularly old houses pictured below) were demolished and the Municipal Buildings built on the site in the early 1900's.

An old mansion house stood on the present site of the Co-operative Stores and nearby the business establishment of Mr. Norris had, in its rear, a garden forming part of a paddock from which the name of Paddock Grove arose. The paddock provided a feeding space for sheep and cattle but was also used by the children of the town as a playground.

Mr.William Mumford of 9, Tunnard Street who was 82 years old in 1914 also left us some good descriptions of the town. He was born in the neighbourhood of the Workhouse in Skirbeck Road and a few years later in about 1844 moved with his parents to West Street to a house at the rear of the shop of Mr. J.H. Clarke, a fruiterer, near the Primitive Methodist Chapel (below, near present day P.C. World).

Here his father had five acres of garden, a portion of which was destined to be the the site of the present railway of which he went to the opening of in 1848.

He also remembered seeing Queen Victoria passing through the town on a train, there were some pear trees near the station and he put a ladder against one of them and climbed it to get a good view. Passing on, he remarked that we should have seen the market when all the country lads came in the town in smock frocks or slops on, and with their braided waistcoats.

He remembered a time when there used to be dancing booths open all night, there was one at the Little Peacock he said, and they had a fiddler and a cornet player. He also said that there were some good boxers in those days recalling the names of Joe East and three of the Holden family. "Tom Holden was a little fellow of about 9 stones" he continued "and I once went down to the Scalp Marsh to see a fight between him and Joe East"

"I think Joe East had the hardest head of anyone, I have often seen him run butt at a wall with his head." He would shout "You can't hurt my head, I don't care how you hit it" "I have often seen him do it where the Rum Puncheon is (below, the present day Stump and Candle)."

There used to be some fine does at the Queens Head (just over Bargate bridge) and the London Tavern (opposite the present day Waterfront pub and both pictured below) he said.
They had a free and easy at the London Tavern every Thursday night and some good singers there were too, there was "Diggery" Pearson, he used to sing some queer songs, he was a comical card.

Finally Mr. Mumford tells us that years before he used to go down Tattershall Road to the race meeting, there were many flat races and for one event "trays" were put down for the horses to jump. He had seen hundreds of people on the high bank on one side of the course, where drinking booths were erected by various publicans.


  1. peter george maddison12 March 2012 at 15:09

    Billy, Thanks for another episode of history. Fascinating.
    How far back can you remenber?
    This is a question I often ask my grandaughter.
    For most of us, this could mean that if we had asked the right questions to the roght people the answer would be verbal history back into the 1700,s.
    Unfortunately we do not not which is a shame.
    Think about this.
    I am over 60 yrs old. My Grandfather was born on 1900. His father was born in 1870, my grat grandfather who lived to over 90.
    I remember him telling me a few stories when I was 10.
    If I had listened properly he told me stories told to him by his greatgrandfather, a direct link to the late 1700,s.
    Much history is lost by us not recording these facts, a grat pity.
    Keep up the good work and live long and prosper.
    Peter Maddison---a fan..

  2. I agree Peter, I am the same, the questions I should have asked my Mum and Dad and never did. They could have told me so much about old Boston. I just hope this little blog of mine helps the younger ones to see a bit of what Boston was like in the old days.

  3. I remember Boston between the years 1960 and 1964 when my aunt and uncle Mary and Jim Claxton used to run the Rum Puncheon pub. It seemed a b usy place. Although only a child I popped up behind the bar quite often. No one seemed to bother in those days. Seafood was a feature of the pub with sellers coming in to sell from baskets. Sometimes it was sold from the bar. I lived in Manchester at the time and Boston seemed a very remote place.

  4. Can anybody tell me anymore about Paddock Grove, Boston, Lincs around the 1840's? In the 1841 census my great great grandmother is shown, aged 2, as a 'Scrivener' at Paddock Grove alongside other young children. Her parents aren't shown there on the census but my Gt. Gt. Grandmother is shown living elsewhere with her parents in the 1851 census. Was there a workhouse or similar in Paddock Grove? Any info would be gratefully received. Thank you.