Saturday, 8 December 2012

Vehicle auctions.

I don't think it's allowed now (at least I haven't seen one for years) but among all the heaps of wood, vegetables, ladders cycles and other used goods put up for auction on Bargate Green every week, vehicles were once allowed to be bought there.
One Wednesday morning in September 1949 a double decker bus was even put up for auction. All the morning people mounted the platform, climbed the stairs, rubbed the dust from the windows to get an aerial view of the sheep market, tested the seats, tried the bell, and generally spent an amusing five minutes.

Auctioning vehicles on Bargate Green.
Then at 12 o'clock, Mr. Mather the auctioneer began to sell. Spectators waited for him to reach the bus. Twelve thirty arrived and with a cry of, "Who will have a ride with me for nothing." from Mr. Mather, the sale was on.
"This would make you two or three very good poultry houses - how much am I bid?" he called.
Thank you, I will take 20, but I can't include the boy I'm afraid," he laughed, pointing to a grimy faced child who had poked his head from an upstairs window. The bids came in steadily - 25-30-35-40-45. "Think of all the spare parts," said the auctioneer. Buyers continued to call - 50 - 55.
"Think of all you could do with this," went on Mr. Mather. At £55 he was "giving it away." but there were no more bids, and at £55 he gave it away to Mr. P. Sutton of Mareham-le-fen.
Mr. Sutton said that he intended to keep poultry on the bottom deck and use the top one for storage purposes. He thought he might take off the wheels and use them on a trolley.
It was not known how the bus came to be on the market but it was thought to have been entered for sale by a person from Long Sutton.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Madame Eva.

Miss Eva Gray was a gypsy who, for almost 17 years, lived in a brightly painted caravan in the yard of the Crown and Anchor in London Road, Boston. She was a picturesque character in her flowing black dress, brightly coloured scarf and golden ear-rings. Many were familiar with the tanned, weather beaten face and small, frail figure for she lived by selling combs, clothes pegs, ribbons and laces from door to door.

The Crown and Anchor (now demolished) in London Road.
But few knew of her private life. Even her immediate neighbours, Mrs. Holland and Mrs. Bagley who wrote her letters and did her washing knew little of her before she came to the yard. She had a fiercely independent nature that scorned the exchange of confidences.
Painted on the caravan in an ornate style was the word "Lowestoft," a single clue to her origin.
In previous years she had travelled to Skegness in the summer months and appeared as "Madame Eva," Palmist. With the end of the season she would return and take up life as if she had never been away, living quietly in the same obscurity that shrouded most of her past.
She had a strange, unpredictable nature. One day she would be dancing happily in the yard, applauded by the small children who regarded her with a mixture of awe and affection, the next she would shut herself up in the small caravan, speaking to no-one.
One fact that she did reveal to her friends was that she was the youngest, and last, of a family of 12. That, and a few faded photographs of her parents, was all the information she ever volunteered.
She had travelled all over the country and many were the wild and wonderful tales she could tell when the mood was on her.
Her age when she died in July 1949 was officially recorded as 95 but relatives believed her to be nearer 100. The few mourners at her funeral consisted of her neighbours Mrs. Holland, Mrs. Bagley and Mr. L. Bainbridge, proprietor of the Crown and Anchor and a small group of relatives who left as quietly as they came.
So ended the life of a woman who spent most of her life in the highways and by-ways of England, a woman of mystery, observing everything and speaking little. A woman who many Bostonians knew of - but never knew.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Marriage, death and murder.

In August 1653 an Act of Parliament ordained that Banns of Marriage should be published three times on three seperate Sundays in the church or, if the parties desired, it in the Market Place on three market days, between the hours of eleven and two.

It was in January 1654 that the first banns of marriage were published in Boston Market Place, although before that marriages had been solemnised before a magistrate. The banns of marriage were published in Boston between 150 couples in 1656, 48 proclaimed in the church and 102 in the Market Place.
1657 saw 104 in the Market Place and 31 in church and in 1658 the Market Place 108 and the church 52.
The last recorded proclamation in the Market Place was on 1st. July 1659. It is also recorded that banns were published in Boston Market Place between parties residing at a considerable distance from the town - Spalding, Horncastle, Louth, Leicester and Warwick.

The Church and Market Place, Boston.
Here are a few more intriguing entries on Boston's records.

1672. William Pawmer died distracted in prison.
1676. Orlin Bradley drowned in the church well.
1681. Thomas Brown slain by a beer cart.
1770. Robert Harrold of Friskney, killed in a fray. (see below)
1737. Patrick Gregory, a mariner, killed by a fall from the south west pinnacle of the steeple.
1748. Richard Everett, a joiner, deposited in a tomb in his own garden in a coffin made by himself.

The Oxford Magazine for July 1770 recorded that, "Last Wednesday ended the assizes at Lincoln, when James Kearney, a private dragoon in Bland's regiment, received sentence of death, for the wilful murder of Robert Harrold, of Friikney, in that county. The murder was perpetrated at Boston. He was executed last Thursday, and afterwards his body was delivered to the surgeons for dissection."

Monday, 3 December 2012

Television in Boston.

In December 1948 Mr. Ron Diggins of West Street, the well known wireless expert, invited a newspaper reporter to a top room of his establishment to see the latest wonder - television. Although reception was not perfect, the fact that the impulses were being picked up at all was remarkable, for Boston stood far out of the usual 40 mile radius which was supposed to be at that time the maximum extent of reception from Alexandra Palace. Sets operating around Boston had to be considerably boosted up by amplifiers but while this improved reception of the images it also magnified interference.

Mr. Diggins twiddled with various controls and tuned in the focus of the image and there appeared on the screen a lady announcer who told of what was to come and what had gone. Then followed a sequence of pictures - actually from a film - ranging from horse racing to high speed motorcycle racing. There was an opera in progress, acrobats, ballet, the launching of a ship and a French vocalist singing a song and altogether it was described as "a wonderful entertainment."
Visibility was marred by a constant succession of bright light flashes or illuminated dots, which Mr. Diggins explained were caused by cars, buses and the general traffic in West Street below. Below could be heard the noise of a bus or some other vehicle gaining speed and changing gears and every movement was recorded on the screen by a series of flashes. There were others too, constantly flickering and interfering with reception. These, Mr. Diggins said, were set up by spark plugs on cars and a score of other electrical gadgets within picking up distance. To demonstrate he asked that an electrical drill to be switched on in the room below and as soon as it started the picture disappeared.
It was thought that when the time arrived that we had a transmitter within reasonable and effective distance it would not be long before television was so perfect as to be in demand for almost every home - how trrue that statement became.