Saturday, 5 March 2011

The Seed Huts

The seed huts, or agricultural merchant’s huts, used to be wheeled into the town centre on market days. They had been a familiar sight for years and it was here that the merchant’s did their trading - but not everyone liked this link to Boston’s historic past. In August 1961 the residents of Sibsey Lane were angry and worried. Angry because they were woken up at half past four every Wednesday morning by clanking, squeaking and shouting as the huts were moved from their store yard at the bottom of the lane to the Market Place and worried because recently one of the huts had caused an accident where both the driver and an assistant from the butchers shop at the top of the lane had to be taken to hospital.

The Huts in the Market Place.
In 1961 it had only been fairly recently that the huts had been kept in Sibsey Lane, they used to be stored in the Peacock and Royal Hotel yard and once upon a time they were brought up to the market along Shodfriar’s Lane, which bothered no one, so people were asking why couldn’t Shodfriars Lane be used again instead of the narrower Sibsey Lane.

The Huts, the Still pub can be seen on the right.

Mr. A. Lawton, who had an office in Sibsey Lane described the noise when the huts are brought back from the market at about half past four in the afternoon as shocking and said “The row created by unoiled wheels and creaking shafts makes it impossible to speak on the telephone”.
Mr. and Mrs. Musson, who lived in cottages opposite said they were woken up soon after four‘o’clock every Wednesday morning by an unearthly row, and the whole house and everything in it begins to tremble - including their bed! There were about thirty huts they said and what with the noise of the horses, the driver shouting and the iron wheels - which sounded as though they had never been greased - the row goes on for about three hours.
Mr. S. Swift, who had a butchers shop at the top of the lane was furious about the way the huts were moved and said that one of them had recently smashed into the front of Shodfriars Hall and both the driver Jack Goddard and one of Mr. Swift’s assistants Robert Rogers had to be taken to hospital.

Mr. Swift's butcher's shop can be seen centre right, at the top of Sibsey Lane.

Mr. and Mrs. Locking, both in their eighties, lived at the bottom of the lane and got the worse of the noise, they both agreed that it would be better if they had rubber wheels instead of iron ones.
Mr. J. O’Hara, who had a betting shop in Sibsey Lane drew up a petition signed by 11 people and sent it to the Corporation but he was told that it was not their problem and should be sent to the Highways Committee.
What the outcome was and what happened to the huts I don’t know, I remember them in the Market Place well into the late sixties but, like so much of old Boston, one day you look and it’s not there any more.


  1. Ever since I 'discovered' this fascinating website, I have been reading the entries to see if a photo of the houses in Shodfriars Lane has been submitted. The reason is that I was born in number 13 and although my parents moved to Skegness shortly afterwards, my father often spoke of his work in the billiards part of Shodfriar Hall - this was in the early 30's.
    Back to the photos - so far, no luck so perhaps I could repeat Billy's plea - any photos of the Lane would be welcome!

  2. jeff skinner
    i lived in Irby street from 1955 and the two horses which pulled the seed hut were kept on a feild wich backed onto our house.
    this is now the B T repair centre which the entry is next to the train station, i spent five years with those horses which were large black cart horses and the man in a flat cap used to come and collect them for work.

    the grass field went from Station street to Tower street and across to the bottom of Irby street and we used the field as a cricket pitch in the summer and most of the residents were out their playing after work.