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Delve into the past of Stamford, Rutland, Bourne and The Deepings with Mercury Memories

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A fight to save a railway station, the death of a man who fell through a trap door and Stamford’s horse racing history, read about what happened in years gone by.

Every week we delve into the Mercury archives thanks to the support of the Mercury Archive Trust.

10 years ago

50 years ago: October 22, 1971 – Headmaster of St George’s School, Stamford, Mr A. T. Kirk, conducted the school’s annual harvest festival service in the school hall on Thursday. Pictured are the Class Two recorder group and lesson readers.
50 years ago: October 22, 1971 – Headmaster of St George’s School, Stamford, Mr A. T. Kirk, conducted the school’s annual harvest festival service in the school hall on Thursday. Pictured are the Class Two recorder group and lesson readers.

Business leaders have issued a detailed argument against the district council’s decision to allocate land in the west of Stamford for new homes.

They say the thinking behind South Kesteven District Council’s action is unsound – and say it makes much more sense to develop the east of the town.

Seventy acres of land between Tinwell Road and Empingham Road were included by the council in its site allocation and policies development plan at a meeting in September. One developer, Commercial Estates Group, has already said it wants to build 400 homes there.

25 years ago: October 18, 1996 – Prizewinning poems at Stamford High School. Pictured are (back): Emily McGregor, Felicity McLean, Michael Carter and Lucy Goodman; (middle): Katie Womack, Gillian Achurch, Emma-Louise Rutter; front: Sam Waudby, Clare Saunders, Donna Clapton and Vicky Griffin.
25 years ago: October 18, 1996 – Prizewinning poems at Stamford High School. Pictured are (back): Emily McGregor, Felicity McLean, Michael Carter and Lucy Goodman; (middle): Katie Womack, Gillian Achurch, Emma-Louise Rutter; front: Sam Waudby, Clare Saunders, Donna Clapton and Vicky Griffin.

The land will provide the majority of housing in the town until 2026, along with employment opportunities, neighbourhood shops and a park.

But Stamford Chamber of Trade and Commerce says its suggestion of a 60-acre site to the east of the town is a far better idea.

In a letter to the Mercury chamber president Tim Lee said: “Those living at our proposed 60-acre development on the east will have three supermarkets in walking distance of say 30 minutes. Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Lidl.

“Those living at the western development near the A1 will have no supermarket in walking distance.

A taxi driver is calling for more spaces to be created on the cab rank in Stamford.

Imran Siddique has made the call following last week’s announcement that police would be reminding drivers from Monday this week that taxis are only allowed to park on the south side of Broad Street between 10.30pm and 4am from Wednesdays to Saturdays.

Mr Siddique, who has been driving for Silver Cabs for about 10 months, said there are too many taxis in the town and not enough rank spaces.

He said: “There are about 60 to 100 taxis working in the Broad Street area and only about 10 to 12 spaces for us.”

A spokesman for South Kesteven District Council, which is responsible for issuing taxi licences, said they are working with the county council and the drivers to look at how more spaces can be made available on Friday, which is market day.

Campaigners who fight for the upkeep of England’s rich heritage have listed a railway station as one of the most threatened buildings in the country.

The main building of Wansford Station in Sibson-cum-Stibbington has been included on the Victorian Society’s list of the 10 most threatened buildings in England and Wales. The Grade II listed station was opened in 1842 and closed in 1957. over the years its condition has deteriorated, with cracks in the stone and floors that have collapsed.

The neighbouring Nene Valley Railway is keen to buy it from the building’s current owners, the haulage company Hutchinsons. But the two parties have been unable to agree a price.

Nene Valley Railway’s platform 3 backs on to the building and the charity is running a campaign to raise the money needed to buy the station and use it to house a railway heritage centre.

General manager of the Nene Valley Railway, Chris Rees, said: “It is very necessary that repair work is done and we would like to take over the station and do that.

“It is not in danger of falling down immediately, but if it continues to be neglected that would be a very real danger.”

25 years ago

Stamford traders are to make an attempt to get European money for a CCTV scheme in town to combat the worsening problem of vandalism and theft.

A survey by Stamford Chamber of Trade on the cost of crime in the town shows that businesses have had to pay out £160,000 in the last three years to repair damage and replace stolen stock.

A bid is now being prepared for cash to finance the scheme. Stamford town councillors have given their backing to CCTV and Euro-MP Sue Waddington has agreed to visit the town to hear traders’ views.

She said: “I have yet to see the bid, but if it’s eligible for European funding I will support it and lobby the appropriate commissioner to provide the money.”

A possible source is the single regeneration budget.

The meeting is due to take place on November 1 at lady Anne’s Hotel.

Chamber of Trade member Brian Montgomery told a Stamford Town Council amenities meeting on Tuesday: “Crime is one of the biggest problems facing traders in the town. The level of policing is well below what the town needs and something has to be done before the town gets into real difficulties concerning crime.”

A “larger-than-life” girl who runs a stall on Stamford market is the star of a painting just acquired by Stamford Museum.

Nicola Price, who runs a stall near the museum, is the subject of the picture by famous artist Barbara Balmer.

Stamford Museum curator John Smith said: “We are extremely pleased to have acquired this painting by such a famous artist who lives locally. It makes a valuable addition to the collection we already have.”

Barbara Balmer painted the picture, called Nicola Bedecked, in 1994 and it was on display at Lincoln’s Usher Gallery last year.

A spokesman for the museum said: “Nicola, although short in stature, is a larger-than-life girl who runs a stall on Stamford market.

“She attracted Barbara as a subject because of her flamboyant style and dress sense and seemed to sum up all that is living and vibrant in the town. All this is portrayed in the painting.”

A unique piece of Stamford’s horse racing history has been saved from destruction to go on the market as one of Britain’s most unusual properties.

The 18th Century grandstand at Wothorpe, which stands on what was the Burghley estate racecourse, has been transformed into a £135,000 “home” by Freeman Historic Properties.

Its company chairman Jenny Freeman, who is married to MP Roger Freeman, has spent 15 months restoring the 1766 building into a shell ready for a buyer to fit out.

“It is immensely exciting. You can almost hear the thundering hooves. The building was very close to collapse and we got there in the nick of time. When we started it was entirely derelict and there were just three walls standing,” she said.

Workmen discovered a stone featuring the building’s date in the cellar and now it has been reset in the building.

Mrs Freeman, and architectural historian, explained that they used stone from local quarries for the renovation after getting an “exact match”.

The grandstand was built for the Marquess of Exeter and is thought to be the oldest remaining in the country. It was at the course that legendary jockey Fred Archer rode his first winner and he also made his final appearance in the last race of the last meeting of the course on July 22, 1873.

50 years ago

Dow-Mac Concrete Ltd, of Tallington, waved their newest venture off on a thousand mile journey on Tuesday – a ten-storey hotel built in pieces of pre-cast concrete and due to be erected in Gibraltar.

The hotel, which includes a swimming pool, 230 bedrooms and several restaurants, will cater for tourists next season,

It will be known as the Queensway Hotel, and will travel to the island by sea, after going by rail for the firm’s workshops to Boston.

Dow-Mac’s publicity manager Mr F. K. Browne, said that the structure was entirely made of pre-cast concrete.

Overall cost of the project is £1¼ million.

“Everything is being exported from this country in 12 ship-loads,” he said.

“This is a very advanced form of construction, and the concrete components will enable it to be built very quickly.

“The hotel is being built this way because of the lack of raw materials in Gibraltar itself.”

And Doc-Mac Concrete Ltd are supplying massive 114 ft-long concrete box beams for bridges on the M53 Mid-Wirral motorway, which opens in two years.

The giant beams go on a 120-mile rail journy to the Wirral peninsula in Cheshire when they leave the firm’s factory at Tallington.

The annual open-air Shakespeare production at the George Hotel, Stamford, is becoming not only a local event but a national one, the Stamford Shakespeare Company heard on Monday.

Speaking at their first annual meeting, at the London Inn, chairman Mr George Bentley said he knew it was so because of the letters from all over the country which has been received after this summer’s production of “The Taming of the Shrew”

He added that the number of bus parties who came was also an indication of the show’s popularity.

“The show once again exceeded our expectations as far as finances are concerned,” said Mr Bentley.

“Last year, with the expenses so high it was a real achievement to come out of it with the figures we did.”

Treasurer Mr Colin Turnbull told the company that they had been very lucky that year in being backed by the Arts Festival Committee.

He said the production had run at a loss of £183.80, but it had been covered by the Committee so that the company were able to start with a clean sheet again this year.

Bourne Urban Council is to take drastic action against J. C. Firth, the vegetable processing company, which is alleged to have broken its Trade Effluent Agreement with council.

At a special meeting, on Monday, council decided to apply to the magistrates, to enforce a Prohibition Notice because of an alleged recurring nuisance caused by the factory. And, if by October 31, Firth’s are not complying with the Agreement, the public health committee will have power to stop the company’s trade effluent flowing into council’s sewers.

These two recommendations from the public health committee were both carried by 11-1 majorities.

100 years ago

Starving Children – A sum of £6 12s. 6d., contributed by members of the Stamford Congregational Church towards the Russian Starving Children fund, has been forwarded to Lord Weardale, the treasurer of the fund.

New Agricultural Device – Mr. W. E. Martin, of Rock House (managing director of Martin Cultivator Company) has secured patent rights for a device for the adjustment of the land and furrow wheels of a tractor plough.

Cheap Meat – In view of the high price of meat, it is understood that the Marquess of Exeter has during the past fortnight ordered a number of sheep and beast to be killed, and has sold the meat to employees on the Burghley estate at prices much below those of local butchers. Several farmers in the neighbourhood have taken similar steps.

Jumble Sale – In aid of the Stamford Athletic Football Club, a successful jumble sale was held at the Red Triangle hut on Thursday week. There was a good number present, and a brisk trade was done. The proceeds amounted to over £8.

Stamford Guardians’ Meeting – The bulk of the business at the fortnightly meeting of the Board of Guardians on Monday was transacted in private, and what transpired in the presence of the Press was of little public interest. It was decided to order 100 tons of old sleepers. The Master (Mr. F. W. Everdell) reported that Hilda Wade, an inmate of the Children’s Home, had been presented with a certificate for proficiency in swimming by the Kesteven Education Committee. The Chairman (the Marquess of Exeter) remarked that all their girls did well and were favourably reported upon.

Maiden Sessions – There were no cases for trail at the Stamford Borough Quarter Sessions fixed for Wednesday.

St. John’s Architecture – At a meeting of the Stamford and District Federation of C.E.M.S., held in St. John’s church on Wednesday evening, Mr. H. F. Traylen delivered a lecture descriptive of the architecture of the ancient edifice. At the conclusion the Rev. E. Louis C.Clapton thanked the speaker for his instructive remarks.

Bourne Guardians – the fortnightly meeting of the Bourne Board of Guardians was held on Thursday in last week at the Board-room of the Workhouse, Rev. F. F. Taylor presiding. The Ministry of Health wrote approving, with some hesitation, the proposal of the Board to have one relieving officer for the whole of the Union, and asking that they might be furnished with further reports as to the working of the proposal before the expiration of the six months’ period for which the present arrangement was sanctioned. A further letter was received from the Ministry with reference to further appointments of rate collectors for the parishes of Market Deeping, Deeping St. James, and Edenham, which officers are at present appointed by the Guardians. The Board decided to make application for a order transferring the appointments to the Parish Councils.

150 years ago

Stamford Infirmary – Harvest thanksgiving at Edenham church, £5 5s.; ditto at Tinwell, £4 10s. 6d.; ditto at Sempringham, £3 8s.

There was a large attendance of Guardians at the Stamford Union Board on Wednesday, it being the day appointed for the election of a master in the room of the late Mr. Rollinson. Four candidates appeared, viz., Messrs. Morgan from Hereford, Ross from West Ham, Platts from Stafford, and Fisk from St. Pancras School at Watford; all schoolmasters. At the first ballot there were 12 for Ross, 9 for Platts, 3 for Morgan, and 1 for Fisk. At the second ballot there were 15 for Ross and 10 for Fisk. Mr. Ross was therefore elected.

Burghley House - Among the guests of the Marquis and Marchioness of Exeter this week have been Viscount and Viscountess Falmouth and the Hon Miss Boscawen, the Earl and Countess of Stradbroke, the Earl of Angesley, H. S. H. Prince Soltykoff, the Hon. Admiral Rous, Lord and Lady Conyers, Mr. G. Payne. Mr., Mrs., and Miss Alexander, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Sutton and Miss Sutton, Colonel and Mrs Lowther, the Hon. Ed. O’Brien, Mr. Popham, the Hon. G. Leigh, Lord Burghley, Lady Catherine Freke, the Hon. Colonel Freke, Miss Freke, Lady Victoria Evans Freke, and the Hon. Mr.

Casewick Hall – Lord Kesteven has entertained this week the Dowager Marchioness of Huntly and Lady Grace Gordon, Sir Philip, Lady, and Mr. and Miss Pauncefort Duncombe, Captain H. and Miss Cist, Mr. Stopford Sackville, M.P., the Hon. J. H. and Miss Trollope, &c.

At Stamford petty sessions on Saturday last the following poor rates were granted: St. Michael and St. George 9d. each in the pound, and All Saints 1s.

Religious Tract Society – The nineteenth annual meeting of the Stamford auxiliary of this society was held in the Assembly-rooms, Stamford, on Monday evening. There was a good attendance. The chairman, the Rev. C. Oldfield, in a lucid and practical speech, referred, at some length, to the low periodical literature of the day, and lamented the immense circulation which many of these serials possessed. Now it was to counteract such publications as these that the Religious Tract Society 20 years ago started the Leisure Hours, and since that the Sunday at Home, which had been followed by the issue, by other societies and private publishers, of Good Words, Golden Hours, The Children’s Prize, Our Own Fireside, and many others.

Bourn – The harvest thanksgiving services commenced in the Baptist Chapel, Hacconby, on Sunday last, the chapel being tastefully decorated for the occasion, when two sermons were preached, that in the afternoon by the Rev. W. Orton, and that in the evening by Mr. W. R. Wherry. On Monday evening a social tea meeting was held, after which interesting addresses were delivered by the Rev. W. Orton, Mr. Bishop, Mr. Swift, and other friends.

Market Deeping – A vestry meeting was held in Mr. Buzzard’s school-room on the 12th inst., (J. B Mawby, Esq., in the chair,) when a poor rate of 1s. in the pound was laid. The accounts for the surveyor of the highways were examined and found correct, and a highway rate was laid of 4d. in the pound.

200 years ago

We are happy to state that the injury sustained by Joseph Brightmore, by the overturning of the Lincoln coach in Bourn on Wednesday se’nnight, was not so severe as was reported to us last week: he had only one of this thighs fractured. He was driving the coach which taking too much ground in the Market-place, was overturned by some materials which lay there. Those materials had no connection with the new and elegant Town-hall, which has been for some time completed, and is one of the greatest improvements ever made to a town. By the removal of the cumbrous old building from the Market-place, and the erection of this new one in a better situation, Bourn is wonderfully altered: its appearance of closeness and heaviness is removed as it by the hand of a magician, and the town puts on a “janty air” of a lively and prosperous place.

On Thursday the 11th inst. an inquest was held, by Mr Mastin, coroner, at the Wellington in Skirbeck, on the body of John Jackman, servant of Mr. Tuxford, miller and baker, of Boston. The deceased had the day before taken a cart load of flour from the new mill in Skirbeck, to a warehouse in Boston, and having opened a trap door, was going to adjust the tackle in order to draw up the sacks, when he unhappily fell through the door upon a pavement in the passage beneath, suffering a head wound which terminated his existence in about eight hours. The unfortunate man had been asked in church the preceding Sunday to a respectable farmer’s daughter in the neighbourhood; but so inscrutable are the ways of Providence, his nuptial dress was exchanged for a winding sheet. Verdict, accidental death.

James Deeping, Oct. 22, 1821.

John Ranby, Linen and Woollen Draper, Grocer, &c., having taken the Shop and premises lately occupied by Mr. Thos. Butler, most respectfully takes leave to inform the friends of his predecessor and the public in general, that he proposes opening the same on Monday the 22d instant, with an entire new Stock in the above branches, purchased from the best markets for ready money; and, as he means to adhere to this system principally in selling as well as buying, he trusts he shall be enabled to offer every article at such prices as will ensure to offer every article at such prices as will ensure him a liberal share of the public favors, which it will ever be his most earnest study to merit.

Caution – A young man travelling with a petition, which sets forth that his name is John Wood, a native of Hessle, by trade a carpenter, has been levying his contributions on the charitable in the vicinity of Spalding. He is a well known imposter, who has for a long time imposed on the public in various characters.

On Friday se’nnight were committed to Falkingham gaol, William Harrison and Thomas Nicks, boys about 14 years of age, for taking out of the coat-pocket of Mr. Reynolds, landlord of the public-house at Threekingham, a £5

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