Saturday, 31 March 2012

Some Shops and traders

Callabys shop was on the corner of Brothertoft Road and Granville Street and was closed in 1989 and turned into residential premises. A bit further down Granville Street, to the left of this picture, was Syd Guests barber shop which was actually the front room of his house.

The Co-op opened a butchery in Laughton Road in 1938, it backed up to the original grocery store that faced onto Argyle Street (which is now Fenland Fastenings).I also remember Mr. Lee who had another butchers shop in Laughton Road and Mr. Chester who had a General Store down there.

Simpson and Son had a House and Furnishers shop at 22 Market Place near the Still pub and, according to the advert below, sold prams as well.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Artists inspired by Boston.

Boston has inspired many artists over the years, here are just a few of them.

The Stump by Arthur Huston

The Gallows Mills (demolished when the dock was built) by James Rowell.

The Stump and riverside by J.M.W. Turner.

Spitfires flying over Boston, signed "Tovey".

The Stump from Haven Bank by Jim Sorrell.

The Maud Foster Windmill by an unknown artist.

The Stump by William Willoughby.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Some Boston folk.

Mr Wortleys Dairy retail shop was at the top of Portland Street, the shop was later a laundrette for a number of years.

This photo sent to me by Gary Halliday was taken in 1945 in the graveyard down Skirbeck Road (nearly opposite Hussey Tower) and shows a seven year old Janice Cochrane, far right, turning the skipping rope, with Barbara Harriett, Peter Taylor, Mavis Lawe, Maureen Adcock, Shirley Thirkell, Ted Stow, George West, Audrey Sherman, Barry Norton, and Keith Norton.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Carlton Road pupils.

Thanks again to Robin Smith for this photo and info who tells us :

"This photo of pupils at Carlton Road School was taken in 1949 or 1950. Front row L/R Robin Smith. Alan Pout. Eddie MacCabe. Steve Shaw. Gregory Sharp. Graham Boyce. Colin Broughton. Ken or Ray? Matson. Peter Worrill and Kenny Scoot. Second row. Walter Hay (standing) Sandra Pancott. Jill Brown. Ann Cannon. Irene Fendyke. ------?. Teacher Mr Dutton. Head Master H.G.Woods. -------?. Pam? Chester. Marion Swift. Nancy Dunmore. -------?. Third row. Lena Hewitt. -------?. Ann Baxter. Pam Maltby. June Hornigold. Linda Medlock. Judy Newton. Linda Marsh. Jenny Raven. ------?. Alan Atkinson. Back Row. Sally Chapman. Ann Gill. Irene Dawson. Ann Brown. Margaret Mitchell. Margaret Driver. Jane Anderson. Margaret Ibbitson. ? Ward. ------?. Dave Charlton.  Anyone out there remember H.G. Woods he was much more than a bit cane happy and gave it to the girls just as hard as he did to the boys, always without mercy".

Thanks again to Robin. By the time I started Carlton Road School in 1955 the headmaster Mr. Woods had gone and Mr. Stephenson had taken his place. He was just as cane happy I can assure you!!
I remember he had a little Welsh woman as his wife. My first teacher was Miss Watling and I also remember Miss Patterson and Mrs. Pape who was very frightening to a small 5 year old.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Thanks once again to Robin Smith for the following pictures and information.

The Headquarters of Holland County Council's Ambulance Service was at Boston Ambulance Station at "Allan House" in Carlton Road where the new Carlton Road School now stands.
Because it was only a large rough old wooden building with hitching rails outside for the horses, the staff called it "The Ranch" the following photos will show you why. It was a very efficient and well run service and a very high standard of expertise and comitment was expected of the staff even in those far off times. The service was moved to the Pilgrim Hospital site on 16th December 1979 when the new Ambulance station was opened

Above and below: The "Ranch"

Above: One of the ambulances. Note the old gas storage tank in the distance which, to help you get your bearings, stood on the site of the present Asda store.

Above and below: Some more of the old ambulances.

Sunday, 25 March 2012


This photograph shows some of the Sunday school children from the Boston Free Churches about to start their annual outing to Skegness in 1926. It was taken in Wide Bargate, the Lincolnshire Standard offices can be seen centre left and on the extreme right is the General Post Office.

The journey was usually made by rail but due to what was described as the "coal troubles" they had to go by road, I assume this meant due to the General Strike of 1926.

Over 500 children, along with teachers, parents and friends were reported to have had a very enjoyable day.

Saturday, 24 March 2012


Today we have a very good Fire Service in Boston but it wasn't always so as you'll see from this almost farcical description from the Illustrated London News of a fire that occured in South Street In June 1844.

The six engines of the town were speedily on the spot along with hundreds of people ready to give help if they were needed, the tide was high so there was no shortage of water and it appeared the fire would be short lived and soon put out. It was only then that it was realised that all the engines except one had no suction pipes and the one they had was only 12 feet long and too short to reach the water!!!
Buckets were obtained from every direction and lines formed to supply the engines but by the time the engines were got into efficient play the fire had well taken hold and one house was a mass of flames which appeared to be rapidly extending to a sacking warehouse to the left of it and the Custom-House and other premises to the right.
The people with the buckets carried on their work through intense heat when suddenly an explosion of gunpowder took place and blew the whole of the front of the burning house out, some of the bricks being actually propelled across the river, and a mass of ruins and burning embers falling among the crowd, it was a miracle that no one was hurt in the explosion.

                                 The big fire in South Street, Boston in June 1844.

Then a false rumour started that there was an enormous stack of gunpowder in the building that the fire was rapidly approaching, the ignition of which would blow up half of Boston. The hardy workers at the engines looked terrified and it seemed for a moment that their efforts would be abandoned until they were positively assured that all gunpowder had already exploded and there was no danger from this source. It was reported that it was a meloncholy sight to see the poor effect that the town engines had upon the flames, the hose was full of holes and far more water was wasted than reached the fire.
Eventually the whole frontage extending from Custom House Lane to Spain Lane was a mass of fire, the Ship Tavern was rapidly consuming and the connection between that, the bond yard, the London Tavern, and the numerous tenements in Shrodfriars Lane presented an appalling aspect.
The flames now extended over an enormous area (at least 50 yards square) but were prevented from spreading to the other side of Spain Lane by an unceasing play upon them, although the windows broke and paint blistered due to the intense heat.
On the other side the greatest danger existed from the closeness of the Ship Tavern whose roof was in many places in flames and the out-buildings and stables of the London Tavern so an engine was sent round to the London Tavern yard and every well was quickly drained, a line formed and water conveyed in buckets from a pump in the stable-yard. This pump continued for an hour and half and the saving of all property in this area was attributed to it.

Friday, 23 March 2012


At the present time (March 2012) the Guildhall museum has an exhibition featuring the painter William Bartol Thomas (1887-1947) who was born in Boston. Here are a few of his paintings.

The Market Place.

Above and below: Two views of the Dock.

Above and below: Two river views.

The Stump from out of town.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012


I am thankful to Robin Smith who was born in Argyle St., Boston in 1939 for sending me these pictures and the information to go with them.

Mr Lammie was the Argyle Street Baker well before Tommy Sands took the business over. In the wartime a coach archway leading through the left hand side of building was designated as a public air raid shelter but I dont think it would have been of very much use if it had been bombed. The photo shows the founder of the business Mr W.H. Lammie outside his shop in about 1909/10.

Lammie's, Baker in Argyle St.

Jessie Jackson Taylor's grocers shop is now occupied by Bruces Ladies Hairdresser, Jessie worked for the gas works and the shop was run by his wife Louie and a Miss Alice Newton. The photo was taken in 1931 the two children are splashing about outside Taylors shop, just after a cloud burst had occured and overcome all the drains in the West side of the town.
 Carlton Rd. at the crossroads with Argyle St. and Fydell St.

Well down Fenside Road was a large house called Viatoris which was the home of Mr J.H.Simpson, I think that it may now be known as the Grange?. In 1899/1900 Mr Simpson and a small group of like minded people began to worship in the large greenhouse in his garden at the side of his house, They called it the Boston West Wesleyan Mission, here they also held well attended Sunday School classes. The congregation soon increased and in 1906 they built a new Mission Hall on Brothertoft Road on land at the end of Granville Street which was known locally as the Tin Tabernacle. In the 1940s the Congregation placed the Tin Tabernacle Mission Hall on rollers and pushed it down Brothertoft Road to the Zion site where it remained as the Church Hall for a number of years.
 Boston West Wesleyan Mission down Fenside Rd.

You never see Tates in Graves along the sides of the fields anymore like the picture of Cannons in Punchbowl Lane shows.
A potato grave down Punchbowl Lane.

Robin's pictures set my memory in gear and I remembered often as a teenager in the 1960's going out with a load of local lads in a gangers van in the freezing cold to the nearby fields where we would open up the "grave". This meant taking off firstly about a 12 inch thickness of soil and then a thickness of straw to get to the actual potatoes, we would then shovel them out with a screen (the forklike tools that the men are holding in the picture) riddle them on an old "Hurdy Gurdy" machine and bag them up at the end. The old machine had a large wheel with a massive strap connected to a smaller wheel (without a guard) and often came off and flew about dangerously. It's a wonder no-one was killed and we'd never heard of Health and Safety. Good old days.......
I also thought of Mr. Lee's Butcher's in Laughton Road, Mr Chester's shop in the same street, Tommy Emmerson's chip shop on the corner opposite to where the kids are paddling in the water and Mr. Berry's shop opposite that. Further up Fydell St. was Listers chip shop and opposite that Wade's Post Office, they've all gone now but the new road that leads from Fydell Street past Asda's to Sleaford Rd. is named Lister Way in memory of old Mr. Lister at least. Thanks again for some wonderful memories Robin.

Saturday, 17 March 2012


Here are a few Boston items that are held in the British Museum in London.

Above and below: Boston Banknotes.

There have been a lot of watchmakers in Boston over the years. They put watch paper in the cases of the watches they sold, here are a few of their designs.

Below: A Trade card of  Bellamy, of the Peacock Inn (later called the Peacock and Royal).

Below: Tokens from Wilkinson & Wright & Co Boston and the Grand Sluice Iron Works.

And finally, 3 views of the Stump.

Friday, 16 March 2012


William Wedd Tuxford was a miller and baker. He designed and produced a reeing (corn screening) machine, which led him into engineering. It is said that the engineering business started in 1826, but it is most likely to have been somewhat later than that (the patent for the reeing machine is dated 1830).
From these beginnings a fairly large business grew based at the Boston and Skirbeck Ironworks alongside Tuxford's windmill (the milling and baking business was continued by the Tuxfords).

Tuxford's, with Mount Bridge in the foreground and Skirbeck Church in the distance.

Above: A steeple engine of 1850. 

 Tuxfords were among the pioneers in the development of agricultural steam engines. Weston Tuxford (W. W.'s son) was probably influential in this. Their first portable engine was made in 1842, and they made a traction engine in 1857, following that with an improved design in 1861.

Above: One of Tuxford's traction engines. Below: Tuxford's exhibiting a portable steam engine at the Royal Agricultural Show at Newcastle in 1864.

The firm employed about 300 at its height, but faced difficulties as agricultural depression from the 1870s onwards reduced demand from British farmers. When Weston Tuxford, sole surviving partner, died in 1885 the business was closed. Much of the ironworks was taken over by a new firm, Collitt & Co., who seem to have continued making some of the Tuxford products. But that only lasted until 1891. The eight sails from Tuxford's mill were later taken and put on the mill at Heckington (a village between Boston and Sleaford) where they can still be seen today.

Below: Heckington mill, where Tuxford's sails ended up.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012


The Gliderdrome was opened in 1939 as a skating rink and the management began holding Wednesday night dances but it wasn’t until the 1950s that it became a top spot for big bands such as Joe Loss and Ted Heath. The Gliderdrome moved with the times, and when the rock’n’roll era arrived it continued booking the big names of the day. Among these were rock’n’rollers such as Billy Fury, Johnny Burnette, Joe Brown, Marty Wilde, and John Leyton. It was re-built after a fire in 1959 and was refurbished in November 1964 when the Starlight Rooms were opened with its celebrated revolving stage. Guests were Juke Box Jury presenter and DJ David Jacobs, Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders (who failed to appear in time to play), Heinz and the Wild Boys and London band The Federals and the evening was even topped off with a drum roll from the then Boston Mayor Councillor Bert Eyre!

Above:  After the fire of 1959 it was dancing again by the time this photo was taken in Jauary 1960.

Above: The building of the Starlight Rooms.

Above: The opening night of the Starlight Rooms, November 1964.

Additions to the Gliderdrome included the now famous revolving stage, a coffee bar on the balcony a 50ft by 70ft sprung dance floor and 24,000 minute fairy lights in the ceiling.
For the next ten years or so Boston was the destination of everyone from Jimi Hendrix to Otis Redding and Elton John to Stevie Wonder and only a few big names slipped through the net.
These included The Beatles. Brian Epstein phoned the Glider in 1962 asking for a booking for his new band and agreeing a date. He then wanted to re-arrange the date, but with the contract still unsigned and with little response from the public, the management decided to cancel. It was quite ironic that in the meantime Beatlemania had hit Britain and it would have been the biggest coup
Boston had seen, especially as they were booked for the bargain price of £50, and the week they were due they were number one with ‘Love Me Do’.

Above: Otis Redding performing at the Glider.

The biggest attendances were for Otis Redding, Stevie Wonder and Elton John, while T.Rex
broke all attendance records with an ecstatic 5,000. The concert, on 15th January, 1972,
attracted the national press for the fact it was a one off, following the band’s successful tour of the previous year. It was also filmed for an ATV documentary,‘Whatever Happened to Tin Pan Alley?’,
which included a backstage interview with Marc Bolan. T.Rex were at the height of their success and fans travelled and hitchhiked from all over the country to see them. Reports said there were sixty policemen on duty, and T.Rex manager Tony Secunda said thirty-three girls fainted.

Above: T. Rex on stage.

The Walker Brothers appeared three or four times, and it seems many other bands were happy to return. Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich used to come a lot, and Emerson, Lake and Palmer came twice. The Equals came about once every two months and Alvin Stardust, who was originally Shane Fenton and the Fentones were regulars and Amen Corner gave their farewell performance here.
The soul-oriented Glider crowd were privileged to witness appearances from the likes of Smokey Robinson, Ike and Tina Turner, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, and Otis Redding. When Stevie Wonder appeared people queued all the way along Shodfriars Lane (in those days John Adams Way was not there) and into the Market Place, people stood on chairs, tables everything.
The golden years came to an end on 25th May, 1973, just months after Elton John’s show.
Issuing a press statement the management laid the blame with the mindless minority
with the comment that audiences ‘are unwilling to accept reasonable disciplinary rules and ordinary standards of behaviour’ the Gliderdrome became a bingo hall and the big-name artists disappeared
from Boston’s entertainment scene. What a sad day for Boston.