Sunday, 6 October 2013

Look and learn.

This edited article about the British town of Boston originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 920 published on 8 September 1979. 

One of the biggest cities on the East Coast of the United States is the port of Boston. But, like so many place names in the United States, Boston takes its name from a town in England.

England’s Boston is a small town situated a short distance away from the sea in the county of Lincolnshire. From here came some of the Pilgrim Fathers who sailed in the Mayflower. Today their American descendants still return to gaze in awe at this ancient town, where the only “skyscraper” to be seen is the Boston “Stump”.
This rather inappropriate name is the local term for one of the most famous landmarks in the whole county – the soaring, lantern tower of Boston’s medieval cathedral. From the top, you can see as far as Lincoln, fifty kilometres away. The summit is visible from more than a third of the county and is a useful landmark for ships at sea as well.
The money to pay for this magnificent cathedral came from the wool trade with the Continent, particularly with Belgium and Holland. During the 13th and 14th centuries, Boston was second only to London in the volume of trade it handled each year.
Over the following centuries, however, the importance of the wool trade declined, and with it went Boston’s prosperity.
Today, Boston is still an important town – several agricultural markets and fairs are held here each year – but it has been sadly left behind by its bigger, brasher offspring in the United States.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Potato Graves.

Potato riddling in 1923 on the farm of Mr. T. Hornbuckle, Fishtoft, Boston.

The men above are riddling potatoes in a field near Boston in 1923. This practise went on into the 1960's as it was one of the first jobs I had after leaving school. The potatoes would be heaped in "graves" at the edge of the field at harvest time when they were plentiful, covered in straw and topped off with a good layer of soil. In the winter a "gang" of workers would go out and riddle and sort them. It was done much the same when I was young as it always had been.
We would get there on a usually cold frosty morning, take off about two or three feet of soil and straw to expose the "tates", which would then be shovelled onto the riddle with a special fork called a "screen", designed not to pierce the potatoes (see below) riddled and sorted into good and bad bags.

A potato fork or screen.

Of course, the men of 1923 had it harder because they only had hand riddles whereas we had a diesel engined machine riddler (picture below) but the screening was the same old hard work as it had always been and of course the cold bleak conditions of Lincolnshire never changed.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Early 1920's Fire Brigade.

At a meeting of the Boston Town Council in the early 1920's a new scheme was adopted with a view to do away with the difficulties of transport of the fire engines. Accordingly the old manual engine was mounted upon a Ford lorry chassis, and the difficulty of obtaining horses was eliminated.
The members of the brigade standing outside the Municipal Buildings in West Street above are left to right.
Back row : Fireman May,  2nd. Engineer Budge,  and V. McGuire.
Front row : Capt. Wells,  Senior Fireman Jessop,  Assistant Fireman Graves,  Fireman Savage,  Wright,  1st. Officer Trevitt,  and 2nd. Officer Bradley.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

The Steam Trawler "Wyberton".

In 1923, news reached England of the safe arrival at Shanghai of the little 87 ton steam trawler "Wyberton" after an 11,000 mile voyage, for the most part through heavy seas.

The "Wyberton", pictured above, left Boston on October 25th. 1922 under the command of Captain Wallace (who knew the China coast well) and with Mr Mercer, Mr Davies, Mr Wilson and Mr Morrison, the majority of whom were Boston men. She entered Shanghai on New Years Day 1923, and as a result of her ten weeks' adventurous voyage, she underwent a refit at Yangtzepoo Dock before being handed over to her new owners.
Captain Wallace told a representative of the "North China Herald" of their experiences since leaving Boston. It was a tale of perpetual high seas, with all hands at the pump. "Our worst experience," he said, "was in the Bay of Biscay. The pumps had to be kept busily at work. The stokehold and boiler-room were flooded almost as a matter of course, and, on the fourth day out, the engine room staff were in real difficulty. The pumps were choked, and for hours the crew were baling the water by hand. The seas carried overboard 10 or 12 tons of coal."
"Even when tropical seas were reached, the weather was too rough to admit of sleeping on deck, even the skylight had to be closed in the Red Sea, and no fans were provided. But in spite of discomforts of this nature, and of being once at least on the verge of shipwreck, the crew, when they arrived at Shanghai, were in the best of spirits, for the 'Wyberton' had proved an excellent sea boat, and had behaved well on all occasions."
Captain Wallace was by no means of the opinion that the failure of previous efforts to introduce steam trawling into China would be repeated in the case of the "Wyberton." He recalled the last trawling venture out in the China Seas, and ascribed the ill-success of it to the neglect to provide the latest equipment and instruction. The 'Wyberton' had on board the latest appliances of the time he pointed out, and a very old hand in the person of the fishing master, Mr Lucas, who was to assume command of the vessel. 

Update. - Sold to Hai-Lee Steam Fishing Co. Ltd. Registered at Shanghai. Renamed "Hai-Lee".

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Some Oddments.

 An old bottle.
Thanks to Tony Pygott who informed me that William Towell was landlord at the Lord Nelson in 1841, the pub having previously been in the hands on Ann Towell in the 1820's and 30's. The pub brewed its own beer and was still brewing 30 years later. This dates the bottle to the middle of the 1800's. 
 A Steam train at the station.

 A jug with the Stump printed on it.

 A model of a Boston Deep Sea Fishing and Ice Co. goods wagon, the type that would have been used in Boston.

 A mug with the Boston Coat of Arms.

 Boston station, looking toward West Street crossing, c. 1965.

 Above and below: Boston Barracudas speedway badges.

 Below: The Boston Bowling Club badge.

Below: A postcard c. 1917.

Below: A platform ticket for Boston Station.