Monday, 14 May 2012

Good neighbours.

Robin Smith sent me this amusing story written by John Geoffrey Horton (1900/2002)who as a boy lived in Cheyney Street and was educated at Tower Road School. He says that on Market days in the 1990s Geoff used to hold court in the Still where a stream of people would come up to him and ask him all manner of questions about old Boston and to identify people and places on old photographs of the town, although a modest man he did this with ease due to his vast knowledge of the subject.

A Bullock in the Bedroom
by J.G.Horton.

On a very hot summer afternoon around 1910 all was quiet in Bargate End. It was hot and sultry and everyone who could had put work to one side. Fred Staniland the Barber was sitting in his shop doorway reading his newspaper. Tubby Wright the Butcher and his man Bill Raithby were sitting in the shop with the window and door wide open and the meat in the Ice Box. The Ram doors were wide open,in those far off days the pubs could open from 6am to midnight. The Vet Walter Dickinson had taken off his morning coat and was fanning himself. His coachman Tom Harrison was standing talking to Tom Foreman at the Smithy and there were others taking their ease.It was even to hot for us boys to play at anything energetic. In those days there were trees and grass around Mill Hill.
Mill Hill.

One lady who lived there was frequently taken with the "vapours" as she put it and had to have another little tot of brandy. This trouble often occurred several times a day. Her house had iron railings around the little garden and as she crossed over to the Ram for another little tonic she left the house door and garden gate wide open, it was of no real concern, as from her seat in the Ram she could see the house.
The Ram.

Suddenly the scene changed, a few bullocks were being driven from the Bargate Bridge direction and the drover stayed to have a word with the Smithy, the beasts seeing a small patch of grass went to it and after a moment the drover rather noisily tried to round up his small herd and they scattered. One of them bolted through the garden gate and house door and up the stairs, it came to a standstill wedged between wardrobe and the bed. "Here was a pretty kettle of fish". Everyone suddenly aroused from their rest and ran across to the scene and a plan of action was generally approved. Tom Harrison fetched a long ladder from Dickinsons yard, Bill Raithby fetched a big rope from the slaughter house in the Ram Yard. Tom Harrison broke the bedroom window and got in, Bill Raithby climbed the stairs and threw the loop of the rope to Tom Harrison who was standing on the bed and he slipped the loop over the animals horns, a light rope was also attached to one of the beasts hind legs to encourage it to walk backwards, meanwhile the frenzied animal was struggling to get free and broke many things in the process. When all was ready gentle pulling was exerted on the ropes and the animal very slowly responded and backed down the stairs. The filth and damage was indescribable. Meanwhile our lady had had to have a little more revival spirit and was by this time in no fit state for anything, she was helped into Mrs Gooses shop to sleep it off. Meanwhile willing hands with buckets of water and brushes cleaned up the worst of the mess and various ladies around and about helped clean up the house and so ended a hot summer afternoon.


  1. Peter Davidson15 May 2012 at 22:27


    1. Absolutely! great story ,great pictures,made my day.Thanks Billy,and Robin