Saturday, 26 January 2013

The Bostonian.

Above and Below: The Bostonian in Boston Dock.
In March  1967, with champagne running down her bow the "Bostonian", the port's new tug slid sideways into the water at Thorne near Doncaster. She was launched by the Mayoress of Boston Mrs. Martin Middlebrook. It was built in the yards of Richard Dunston Ltd. at a cost of £47,000 and replaced the port's 53 year old tug "Finlay".

Friday, 25 January 2013

Narrow triangle of Buildings.

This narrow triangle of buildings that formed the junction of New Street and Bank Street (next to Tates fish and chip shop) were closed in September 1967 to allow for demolition. It meant the end of the career of Mr. John Richard Brown, a printer, after nearly fifty years in the same premises. He felt at the time that he could have carried on the printing workshop for another year or two but he thought that at 74 years of age it was time to call it a day. He knew that the closure had been coming for about a year, and all his equipment (which must have been a good 150 years old) was being sold to a local Boston firm.
The business was bought by him in 1919 when he came out of the forces and up to the early 1960's he had employed a small staff but by the time of the demolition he was running the business alone.
Another business affected was the radio and television repair service of Mr. W. Mellor who after 19 years on the premises regretted that he had to move.
The newcomers to the building, the Boston and District F.C. Supporters Association who had only been there since 1965 were moving to nearby Wormgate.

Below: The two pictures show the building as it was and the same view today.

Friday, 11 January 2013

New year oddments.

Bryan Lea sent me a link to the following picture of the tug " Finlay " under construction at Scotts Bowling's yard on Clydeside  in 1913. Finlay was the resident tug at Boston Docks for many years. 

Above: The Finlay.
Below: A Victorian ribbon plate with the Stump on it.

Below: The Municipal Buildings in a traffic free West Street !!

Below: A steam engine belonging to Crawfords of Frithville, nr. Boston.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Sleeping rough, being drunk and begging.

It wasn't always the "good old days," take these 1905 cases for example.

Edmund Towell, a labourer, of no fixed abode was charged with "wandering abroad" and lodging in an outhouse. Police Constable Winter said that at 2 a.m. he was on duty in Boston West when he found the defendant asleep in a manger in a shed belonging to Mr. Dyer. He woke him up and asked him what he was doing there and he replied, "You see I am here," he had no money in his possession. The prisoner told the court he was a Boston man and he had had "a few words" with the man he had been staying with, and had nowhere to go. The chairman said these cases were getting very numerous and the prisoner would have to go to gaol for seven days hard labour.

John Haynes, a labourer from Deeping St. Nicholas, was charged with wandering abroad and sleeping in the open air. P.C. Winter stated that at 12.40 a.m. he was on duty on the Haven Bank when he found the prisoner asleep under a hedge, he asked him what he was doing there and he replied, "Where am I." The P.C. said "You are in Boston," and the prisoner replied, "I thought I was at Kirton Holme."
The prisoner said he was working at Kirton Holme and came over to Boston "to see the town." A fine of one shilling and costs was imposed, or seven days hard labour, and the prisoner was allowed until the following morning to pay the money.

Mary Keenan, a 70 year old widow, of 6, George Street, was charged with being found drunk in Strait Bargate. The charge was proved and the defendant (who said she was very sorry) was discharged with a caution.

William McGuire, a 22 year old printer of no fixed abode was charged with having been found wandering on the Witham Bank without visible means of subsistence and not able to give a proper account of himself. P.C. Whyte said that when he asked him what he was doing on Witham Bank he replied that he should not ask any questions and then he would not get any ******* lies told him. He then took a bottle out of his pocket and attempted to assault the officer, a struggle ensued and the P.C. succeeded in bringing the defendant to the Police Station. He pleaded guilty and was sent to prison for 14 days hard labour.

John Fisher, a labourer of no fixed abode was charged with begging in Frampton Place, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 days hard labour.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Boston's first railway bridge.

Below is a view of the first railway bridge in Boston over the River Witham, erected by the Great Northern Railway Company and opened for traffic on October 30th 1848. The bridge carried a single line of rails over the river in a sweeping curve. In the process of reproduction and reduction, interesting features of the original picture  have been more or less lost to view. Two trains, for instance, are seen travelling in opposite directions, on the opposite sides of the river, on a single line of rails. But as a railway official is seen waving a flag in face of the train approaching the point where the present level-crossing exists, it is to be supposed that all danger of a head on collision midway of the bridge was thus averted.
A good deal of shipping appears to be moored just beyond the Sluice Bridge, adjacent to the Railway Bridge. The old buildings on the left of the picture are old warehouses that later became Beeson's Glass Merchants and are now modernised and converted into housing accommodation. See second picture below for the warehouses at a later date.

Monday, 7 January 2013


At about 10 p.m. one evening in June 1905 two families of German Gypsies entered Boston having been moved on from Wisbech. Their arrival caused much excitement in the town and large crowds followed them through the streets. They were brought to Boston, presumably, by the Wisbech Police and encamped for the night on a piece of waste land at the High Street end of Fydell Crescent.
At daybreak, many people congregated in the vicinity of the two vans inhabited by the gypsies, watching with great curiosity the strange spectacle that met their view. It was a picturesque scene, and had the surroundings been of a more rural character, would have constituted exactly a picture that an artist would love to paint. The tumble down caravans with their low arched roofs, dilapidated windows and general suggestion of age and poverty, rendered them great objects of interest. Worn and weather-beaten it was a wonder how the gypsies, having such scanty protection, had fared during the thunderstorm through which they passed the previous day on their journey from Wisbech to Boston and the pathetic and poverty stricken appearance of the gypsies provoked a feeling of sympathy in many who saw them.
Their were two families of them, a man and woman and four children in one van, and a man and woman and five children in the other. The behaviour of the gypsy children must have shocked the strict parents of Boston when seeing that youngsters from three to twelve smoked constantly. Unkempt and poorly-clad, they flitted here and there puffing away at the stale "fag ends" of cigars and cigarettes which were tossed to them by onlookers. The women, whose tanned and pleasant faces always bore a happy smile, busied themselves with telling fortunes and begging coins whilst smoking long clay pipes.
Conversation with the male members of the band showed that one family came from Potsdam and the other from Dresden and that they had been in England for about seven months. There were five vans originally but three of them left England for Germany, via Grimsby, a few weeks before. While in London they were told that if they could reach Grimsby the Society of Friends for the Relief of Foreigners in Distress would ship them home and they were now trying to make their way there. It was seven weeks since they had left London and they had been moved from town to town by the authorities. Their object in coming to England was to make a living by playing musical instruments but had failed to do so and now wanted to get back to their own country.
During the morning the Chief Constable (Mr. A. Adcock) intimated to the visitors that they must leave the town. Some horses belonging to Mr. Walter Woodthorpe were requisitioned and the gypsies were moved on to Stickney (a village about 10 miles from Boston) where they would no doubt be attended to by more Police. It was clearly stated that Bostonians were "glad to see the back of the Gypsies who were far from clean."

Friday, 4 January 2013

Twiddy's Undertakers.

Born in Botolph Street Boston in 1878, Henry Twiddy started work at an early age cleaning boots at Rainey and Son's factory before he went to school in the mornings. At the age of 14 he became an errand boy for Messrs. Scrimshaw, house furnishers, Dolphin Lane (below) for 3 shillings and sixpence a week.

A year later he became apprenticed as a cabinet maker with Simpson and Son's and when his apprenticeship was completed he went to Newcastle and later spent a year with a firm in Louth before returning to Simpson's, of Boston, (below) with whom he spent the next 22 years, the last ten as foreman.

Mr. Twiddy had always had the ambition to start his own business, and eventually he bought the premises of Mr. W. Darby, undertaker and art dealer, in Wormgate, where he continued the business of undertaker and converted the shop into a furniture dealers emporium.  The only help he had at this time was from his brother, Mr. Sidney Twiddy, but later the showrooms were much enlarged (by 1924 he occupied numbers 41, 43 and 45 Wormgate) and modernised and his two sons entered the business, and he employed a cabinet maker, an apprentice and an upholsterer.
In 1893 Henry became a member of the Grove Street Congregational Church, became a Deacon in 1915 and became treasurer of the church (below) in 1934, he was also a member of the choir for many years.

The dredger "Jean Ingelow"

In March 1950 the Jean Ingelow, Boston's newest dredger, was launched by the Mayor of Boston (Coun. E.C. Stanwell) in a shipyard at Leith, Scotland. It was launched in the traditional way by breaking a bottle of champagne on her bows, chocks were knocked away, and as she glided into the waters of the Firth of Forth the Mayor remarked, "God bless you and all who sail in you." She was driven by a single screw diesel engine and was specially designed for dredging harbours and rivers. Her speed was seven and a half knots and her hopper capacity was 3,000 cubic feet which meant she was able to lift about 150 tons at each loading.

The Jean Ingelow in Boston dock, March 1950.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

The Black Horse.

The Black Horse Inn stood next door to the old Boston Guardian Newspaper Office (where the Pizza Hut building now is) in West Street, and although the old pub has long since gone there were reminders even in 1950 of its existence as one old employee of the Guardian recalled.
The Black Horse site, with the old Guardian offices to the left, demolished in the early 2000's.

"I had several reminders that the old inn had existed when I joined the staff of the Boston Guardian. My own particular little sanctum had a kind of alcove, with an almost straight pitched roof of glass, and should one's eyes turn to the skies for inspiration one was greeted by the vision of a cut glass or frosted window which indicated that this was the "bottle and jug department." There were one or two glass panelled doors about the place also, which had reminders in them that here one could obtain various types of liquid refreshment, which, needless to say, never materialised.
At first the presence of such quaint oddments in the construction of the building was something of a mystery, but it was cleared when I was informed that at one time the Black Horse existed next door and that the premises were owned by the same person. Evidently my little glass roof and alcove, which had been an afterthought to provide greater accommodation, was provided by materials on the job and some came from the then defunct pub."
Below: The site of The Black Horse after the demolition.