Thursday, 19 April 2012

Boston and J.B. Priestley

J.B. Priestley visited Boston in December 1933 and in his book "English Journey" describes the town as follows.

"...........The train curved round and then I saw, for the first time, that astonishing church tower known as Boston Stump. This tower is not quite three hundred feet high but nevertheless, situated as it is, it looked to me more impressive, not as a piece of architecture, but simply as a skyscraper, than the Empire State Building in New York, with its eleven hundred feet. It is all a matter of contrast. Here the country is flat, you have seen nothing raised more than twenty or thirty feet from the ground for miles and miles and then suddenly this tower shoots up to nearly three hundred feet. The result is that at first it looks as high as a moutain..........."
Mr. Priestley then goes on to describe market day in Boston:-

"The square was filled with stalls, and any remaining space in the centre of the town was occupied by either broad faced beefy farmers and their men, or enormous bullocks. My hotel was in the Market Square and it was so crowded with farmers and farm hands clamouring for beer, that it was not easy to get in at all. Never have I seen more broad red faces in a given cubic capacity".
Next he visited the Scala Cinema's cafe.

"......I went into the cinema cafe for tea. There were some rural folk in there and as I waited for tea I wondered why countrymen should so often have such high pitched voices. Two tables near me were occupied by girls and it was curious to see how carefully they had modelled their appearences on those of certain film stars. It was only the girls here, however, who had this cosmopolitan appearence, the young men looked their honest, broad, red-faced, East Anglian selves. What a mad mixture it all is, in this remote and decayed little town, the tremendous church tower, the chandlers and corn merchants, the farmers and bullocks, floods of beer, the imitation Greta Garbos alongside the time-old rural figures."

1 comment:

  1. Hello Billy - I tried to contact your email address but the message bounced back

    I have been reading with interest your blog about Old Boston.

    I am from a theatre company based in Nottingham and serving the East

    We are interested in hearing stories from the people of Boston and I was hoping
    that I might meet with you to chat about Boston's fantastic history and how it influences people today. I am around in Boston this week and next it would be lovely to meet you

    Very best wishes


    Alan Lyddiard
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    *The Performance Ensemble*

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