Thursday, 28 February 2013

The Scala Cinema.

The building that is todays Poundstretcher shop in the Market Place is believed to have been built in 1851, this was to become the town’s old Scala Cinema, the original features from which remain largely intact today.

Scan of the original metal lettering which marked out the stalls in the upper circle, some of the original paint remains today.

The Scala Picture-House and Cafe was the first permanent built auditorium in Boston for the showing of films. It opened on 17th March 1914, with seating for around 1,000 people. In 1917, it was taken over by George Aspland-Howden who had opened the New Electric Theatre just five doors away in 1910.
Boston's Coat of Arms above the stage.
On Saturday 29th June 1940 it closed its doors for its annual staff summer holidays after the showing of `The Chicken Wagon Family` never to reopen as a public cinema.

It was then taken over by the Armed Forces until 1945, when all the fittings had been removed.

It remained unused for a few years, until it was converted into a furniture showroom, the stage and proscenium being knocked down and replaced by a brick wall.

The only room used above the shop today is the old cafeteria on the first floor, which is used for storage now.

On the second floor is the theatre’s old gallery – minus the seats. The main seating area below the gallery is now the shop floor with the wooden stage at the rear being used for a warehouse.


Sunday, 24 February 2013

Bothamleys Clock

For many years Bothamleys (opposite the present Marks and Spencer store, in the premises now occupied by Timpson's key cutters and Thornton's chocolate shop) had a clock hung from the wall of this building. It had been in its present position for about sixty years and was still in working order when it was taken down in about 1927 when they gave up and sold off their stock.
The clock was due to be sold or scrapped but it was hoped that it would be spared and the suggestion was made that the Corporation might purchase it and erect it in the Cattle Market, Bargate Green or the Dock where it would continue a useful public service. The timepiece was operated from inside the premises, the works being operated with a rod.


Saturday, 16 February 2013


George Wilson, Grocer, on the corner of Red Lion Street and Wormgate. 1909.
Dion's butcher cart whose shop was in Pen Street.
Rona the Rat Girl at Boston May Fair.
The official opening of the Town Bridge 1913.


Thursday, 14 February 2013

Some Odd bits.

Bateman's brewery lorry parked opposite the Main Post Office in Wide Bargate.
Advert for Boston Garage.

Marshall Brothers lorry.
Holland Brothers advert.
Armes advert.
Hurst, Son and Page advert.

Monday, 11 February 2013

The Hotel the bomb destroyed.

Mr. Loveley's premises, The Albion Temperance & Commercial Hotel that stood at the corner of James Street and West Street. Mr. Loveley's two daughters were killed by a bomb dropped by a German plane in World War Two which destroyed the hotel.
For more on this story see Bombing and civilian deaths in world war two in the October 2012 section of this blog.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Freiston Shore.

Although the seaside town of Skegness is only 23 miles from Boston, most working class people with large families couldn't afford to go there on a regular basis and it was a real treat for us kids to have a day at "Skeggy." Four or five miles down the road however was Freiston Shore (the poor mans Skeggy) which was easily reached on a bike by us in the 1950's and 1960's.
There was no sandy beach there, Punch and Judy or amusements of any kind, all it consisted of was marshland, muddy creeks to bathe in, borstal boys and old gun placements designed to keep the Germans away if they tried to conquer England through Lincolnshire but it was all good fun for us and we had many a happy day playing there.
During the 1800's however, following the drainage of the fens, there was an attempt to make Freiston Shore a seaside resort.

As a result two hotels were built, the Plummers and the Marine which offered around a hundred rooms and folk would stay there for their holidays or make trips by the daily Boston omnibus to go swimming and picnicking. The picture below shows a horse race meeting there in 1844.

But the silt soon returned which made the sea retreat further from the hotels and their trade quickly declined.
In the 20th. century much of Freiston Shore was reclaimed again by embankments built by the borstal boys from the North Sea Camp. The two pictures below show the boys working and marching through Boston.

The Borstal camp is now an open prison and Freiston Shore itself is an RSPB Nature reserve, the largest example of such a project in the UK. where over 150 bird species recorded yearly.
The Picture below shows how the sea once came up to the Plummers Hotel.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Tom the horse.

This was the last horse and cart delivery vehicle in Boston, the owner was greengrocer Mr. R. Sharp and the horse (who was called Tom) was stabled at the back of Mr. Sharp's house and shop in Cheyney Street. This photo was taken in 1967 and it was reckoned at that time that for at least ten years he had been the only man in town to operate this mode of transport.

Mr. Sharp said that Tom was much cheaper to run than a van and he always started in a morning. But he wouldn't go to work without his perks, first thing in the morning it was round the front of the shop for his morning peppermints and then round the back of the house for his daily bread. Four mornings a week he went off on his rounds of the town and he knew where to be. A nod and a wink and he got sugar lumps, specially bought by his special customers, and he was not inclined to move on until he got them. New shoes were becoming a problem for Tom as he once only had to travel a few hundred yards down the road to get fitted up, but by 1967 when horse crafts were vanishing he had to plod 4 miles to Haltoft End village. Mr. Sharp had other horses before Tom (Muffin and Inky) and his Father also had horses. I don't know exactly what year Tom and his cart were retired but I remember seeing him still working in Main Ridge in the early 1970's.

Friday, 8 February 2013

The Bargate Clock.

In 1922, before setting up business on his own Mr. S.T. Hopper worked for Claypoole, jewellers, of 16 Strait Bargate. Outside Claypoole's business hung a most impressive clock in the shape of an old fob watch which can just be seen in the picture below.

Mr. Claypoole died in 1926 and Mr. Hopper took over the business premises in his own name in the same year. A clock bearing Hopper's name was eventually put on the building (see below) and until 1968 /69 when Hopper's moved to their Market Place property the clock outside the jewellers told Bostons' shoppers the time. Come sun or rain, wind or snow, the only time it let anyone down was when there was a power cut and even then it was only for a matter of  minutes.

It was perhaps the most reliable clock in the town and yet for the last 25 years of its life it had been running without a weatherproof casing ! This was damaged and cracked during the second world war and resulted in the glass facing falling off. Most clocks would have given up there and then, but not this one, it carried on, just as reliable as it was when Hopper's erected it above their then new premises. The clock though didn't go with them to the Market Place and shoppers, out of habit, looking up for the time wondered where it had gone.
Well, although it doesn't sound the sort of way to treat an old veteran, the simple answer was that the old clock was sold to a local scrap merchant. Hopper's also supplied the clock that was on a building near Bargate Bridge (which is now at the Boston Golf Club) and also the wall clock that was at Parkinsons in George Street for a number of years. Another interesting fact is that aircraft instruments were assembled above the shop during the Second World War.

The Perseverance.

This picture, taken in Boston in February 1932, shows the Perseverance which was one of the horsedrawn carrier carts in Boston. The owner, Lawrence Richardson, is sat on it driving the horses Betsy and Daisy. With the Co-operative and Gill's behind it was probably taken in West Street. Below is another photo of Lawrence Richardson.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Some oddments.


A 'gang' picking potatoes by hand in their 'mollies' in the days of the horses. It was back breaking , blister making work but they had no choice as it was the most common sort of work in the Boston area.
A 'spinner', pulled by horses and used to dig up the 'tates' and spread them on top of the soil for the 'gang' to pick into their 'mollies' or baskets.
Women pulling mangolds. Notice the child, as there were no nurseries in those days children were taken to work by their mothers until they started school and played in the fields or farmyards while the grown-ups toiled. Along with lots of other children of the 1950's I have many memories of being " brought up on the land. "
An L.N.E.R. poster
Bargate Green, before the War memorial was erected there.
Above and below: two views of the Market Place.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

The Lord Nelson.

On a winter Sunday evening in 1969 the 160 year old Lord Nelson pub in High Street opened its doors for the last time and the landlord and landlady (Tom and Kathleen Clarke) threw a farewell party to mark the event. Regulars like Bill King, George Aisthorpe, Edith Tebbs and Ellen Brackenberry were there to bid a fond farewell to the pub they had called at every week for nigh on forty years. But other old regulars George Revell and Fred Boothby chose to sit by their home fires and silently recall the pub in its heyday of community song to the jangle of a frequently out of tune piano. " Still," said Mr. Clarke, " It's not like old George to miss his Sunday night down at the Nelson, and at 87 its a bit late in life to start hunting for a new bar to prop up !"

The Lord Nelson stood in High Street.
"Old George," would surely have relished the quantity of free beer and turkey sandwiches on the final lap. About 100 customers did so and, indeed, a few lingered on to savour the last moments - long after " Time, Gentlemen Please " rang out like some death-knell at 10.30 p.m."
Said Mr. Clarke, " Most of the regulars refused to accept it was their last night at the Lord Nelson and many of them don't yet know which pub to go to next. We too were quite upset about it, although we had only been at the Nelson for a short time. The first Christmas we were here we were made to feel quite at home, they have been a really good crowd." Among the farewell gifts to the couple were a clock, a dressing table decoration, two bouquets to Mrs. Clarke and a gold cufflink and tie pin set to Mr. Clarke.
The old pub was ripped down because it stood in the way of the construction of the new John Adams Way inner relief road.

Below: Thankfully saved, the two figurines that stood above the Nelson doorway. See picture above.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Two lesser known Bostonians.

James Richardson.

James Richardson, a traveller, was born in Boston on Nov. 3, 1809 and died at Ungurutua, central Africa, March 4, 1851. He visited Algeria and the Bar-bary states, and in 1845 travelled across the Sahara desert as far as Ghadames and Ghat, and after his return published "Travels in the Great Desert of Sak'ara" (2 vols., London, 1849). The English government placed him at the head of a new expedition, and, joined by Barth and Overweg, he left Tripoli in 1850, and was the first European visitor of the stony desert of Hammadah, where he proceeded to Bornoo, where he died. Bayle St. John edited his "Narrative of a Mission to Central Africa " (2 vols., 1853). Richardson is pictured below in Ghadamsee costume.

Westland Marston.

Westland Marston, was an author, born in Boston on Jan. 30, 1819. He received a legal education in the office of his uncle, a solicitor in London, but relinquished the law for dramatic authorship. Among his best plays are the tragedies of " The Patrician's Daughter " (1841), "The Heart and the World" (1847), "Strathmore" (1849), " Philip of France " (1849), and "Anne Blake " (1852), several of which possess poetic merits of a high order. He also produced some comic dramas. His more conspicuous later works are: "Pure Gold," "Donna Diana," "The Favorite of Fortune" (1866), "A Hero of Romance " (1867), and "Life for Life " (1868). He also published some lyrics in periodicals, a volume of poems (1842), " A Lady in her own Right," a novel (I860), and a collection of his contributions to periodicals under the title of "Family Credit, and other Tales " (1861).

Friday, 1 February 2013

Old exhibition.

Round about 1854 this exhibition of a female anatomical figure made from wax was showing at the Assembly Rooms, it was used to educate the general public. Admission cost 1 shilling. The model could be taken apart to show the internal organs and muscles. The organs were modelled to show different things; for instance the liver showed "the effects produced by Intemperance and Excesses in Eating". The lectures aimed to help women take better care of the sick. "Know Thyself" was a common phrase associated with the exhibition of anatomical wax, again reinforcing the educational benefit. But there was some controversy over the display, especially as the models were shown naked. For this reason men and women had different viewing days. The wax model was created by Antonio Sarti (d. 1851), who opened a public anatomical wax museum in London in 1839.