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Mercury Memories this week includes a call to clean up the River Welland in Stamford, a concert at Burghley House, and a burial near Bourne which took place without consent

Britain's oldest continuously published newspaper has an amazing archive managed by the Stamford Mercury Archive Trust.

10 years ago

There needs to be a mass clean-up of the River Welland in Stamford, according to an RSPCA officer.

Justin Stubbs says organisations and individuals need to join up before the pollution and levels of rubbish get worse.

“The scale of the task is going to be huge, but there is a desperate need for something to be done as the river pollution is just getting worse.”

Last week Mr Stubbs rescued two swans from the river which runs by The Meadows. One had to be freed after getting tangled in some fishing tackle, and the other was a male who was either suffering from lead poisoning or from litter thrown in the water.

Mr Stubbs, 36, said the threat to wildlife was a major problem, which is why he wants to organise the clean-up operation as soon as possible.

He said: “I feel a day on and near the river with the town’s Rivercare group, the Environment Agency, council, police and other volunteers could be extremely healthy for the river and the town.”

25 years ago: July 28, 1995 – Relaxing together: Mums and youngsters from Rutland branch of the National Childbirth Trust get together at an open-house meeting in Oakham.
25 years ago: July 28, 1995 – Relaxing together: Mums and youngsters from Rutland branch of the National Childbirth Trust get together at an open-house meeting in Oakham.

Police chiefs say they are well placed to protect front-line services in the area ahead of expected budget cuts.

Forces across the country are preparing for a drop in funding from the Government as it tackles the national deficit.

Lincolnshire’s assistant chief constable Peter Davies, who visited Stamford on Friday, said front-line policing would be the “last thing to go.”

Two years ago Lincolnshire Police Authority said it had a £6m deficit and tried – but failed – to raise its share of the council tax bill by 79 per cent.

Mr Davies said the force’s previous problems of policing on a tight budget would help.

He said: “We have always had to manage a service with less resources than other forces but actually I think that is a positive in an environment like this as we know how to police effectively, and we know how to reduce costs without reducing services.”

He added: “We are determined that front-line policing and local policing that people value in Stamford and elsewhere will be the last thing to go and I believe that we have got a sensible careful approach to the financial difficulty we are going to have in the next few years.”

50 years ago: July 31, 1970 – Over 1,500 people visited Molecey Mill House, West Deeping, the home of Mr and Mrs John Van Geest, when the gardens were opened to the public on Sunday afternoon, in aid of the Lincolnshire Red Cross Society. It was a great success raising a profit of £223 15s. Pictured in the greenhouses of Molecey Mill House are (left to right) Mr and Mrs Harrison and Mr and Mrs England, Spalding.
50 years ago: July 31, 1970 – Over 1,500 people visited Molecey Mill House, West Deeping, the home of Mr and Mrs John Van Geest, when the gardens were opened to the public on Sunday afternoon, in aid of the Lincolnshire Red Cross Society. It was a great success raising a profit of £223 15s. Pictured in the greenhouses of Molecey Mill House are (left to right) Mr and Mrs Harrison and Mr and Mrs England, Spalding.

A town council is looking into the idea of creating a trust in its bid to save Stamford Museum.

Stamford Town Council held a meeting on Thursday last week at the museum in Broad Street, Stamford, which was attended by councillors, representatives from Lincolnshire County Council, museum staff and people interested in creating a trust.

The museum is one of three facing the axe as the county council bids to save £150,000.

The county council has proposed closing museums in Stamford, Grantham and Church Farm, Skegness, which have low visitor numbers. If the proposals get the go-ahead, the museums would close on June 30, next year.

One of the ideas that has come forward to save Stamford Museum is to create a trust, which would be responsible for running the facility. Former curator John Smith put forward the formal suggestion.

Town clerk Patricia Stuart-Mogg said: “It was a very positive meeting. We appreciate that time isn’t on our side but we are trying our level best to come up with a solution that keeps the museum as it is.”

25 years ago

Police throughout Leicestershire are stepping up their advice to businesses following mounting concern over the number of computer related thefts.

Computer equipment has found its way on to the thriving second-hand market with good prices being paid for memory chips and other components.

Police have looked closely at crime statistics regarding these types of offences and have found a high proportion of commercial burglaries have computer equipment as the target, with 21 per cent of all premises becoming a victim more than once.

On a national basis, computers now account for 29 per cent of major insurance claims against the Association of British Insurer companies, and insured losses of computer equipment are estimated at £170 million per year.

A descendant of a former Mercury owner has travelled thousands of miles from the Southern Hemisphere to visit the newspaper which his family ran in the 17 and 1800s.

New Zealand biologist Richard Newcomb’s family owned the Mercury between the late 18th and mid-19th Century, has been on a world tour attending scientific conferences.

But the 30-year-old from Auckland and his fiancee Dianne Gleeson, also a biologist, took time out to visit the Stamford area.

He saw the Rutland and Stamford Mercury archives and said: “It is the first time we have been to the area and it is pretty amazing. Just to think how much history there is in this room..”

He is a descendant of three brothers who travelled from the Stamford area to New Zealand around the turn of the century.

They set up a printing firm called Stamford Stationery which grew to be so successful it was bought out by a large newspaper groups in New Zealand.

Around 35 bikers from across the region rode from Ketton through Stamford to Peterborough without crash helmets on Saturday in a protest about proposed anti-bike laws.

Members of Stamford and Rutland Motorcycle Action Group, plus others from Bourne, Deepings and even Melton, broke the law in an effort to draw attention to the “endless flow of anti-motorcycle legislation” coming from Whitehall and Europe.

A MAG spokesman said “ “The wide assortment of motorcycles attending shows that all riders will be affected in the near future by this legislation and are starting to think it’s time something is done.”

No police action was reported.

The proposed legislation includes:

  • Moves to cut engine power
  • To effectively outlaw owner maintenance
  • Reduce noise limits, therefore banishing air-cooled machines
  • Prevent customising motorcycles
  • An all-year road tax for bikes and cars, whether they are used or not.

A park and ride scheme at the former Exeter School site in Empingham Road could be the solution to Stamford’s traffic problems.

Stamford Chamber of Trade president Sue Gray believes visitors to the town would park their cars and catch buses at the site into the town centre.

Miss Gray said at a Chamber of Trade meeting on Wednesday: “The Exeter School site at the moment is in ruins. A park and ride scheme would be excellent for visitors coming off the A1, saving them the hassle of finding a parking space in the town centre.”

Fellow Chamber of Trade member Don Lambert backs the idea in principal but has raised doubt about the reaction for the neighbouring Malcolm Sargent School and residents.

“The people opposite will be up in arms because of fears of increased traffic outside their homes and increased danger to school children,” he said

50 years ago

Over 160 production line workers at the Essendine firm of Allis Chalmers will get an extra week’s holiday because of the docks strike.

It is estimated that this closure will cost the company about £250,000. All the men will be on full basic pay during their week off.

The company has been forced into this because it has been unable to ship orders of earth-moving equipment to overseas customers. It is hoped that full production will be started after the annual holidays next month.

Managing director Mr Roy Bates said on Wednesday that he didn’t think the closure could be avoided, despite the docks settlement.

As the result of a letter of protest from the Chief Education Officer, Mr. J. A. Simmonds, the Department of Education and Science have had second thoughts about delaying the building of Rutland County Council’s proposed new library headquarters on the Catmos Street site at Oakham.

A few weeks ago the County Council learned that the new library was definitely not included in the 1970-71 building programme sanctioned by the Department and it was feared that it was the Department’s intention not to include it in the 1971-72 programme.

On receiving what he described as “this very disappointed decision of the Department,” Mr Simmonds immediately wrote a letter of protest and contacted the MP for Rutland and Stamford, Mr Kenneth Lewis.

When the matter was reported to the library and museum committee, the chairman (Coun Mrs. B. B. Clark) drew attention to the inadequacy of the present headquarters library at Oakham, especially on Saturdays, and expressed the hope that everything possible would be done to achieve the go-ahead for the new library.

The committee fully endorsed Mr Simmonds’ action in lodging a protest with the Department.

At yesterday;s meeting of the County Council it was reported that, as a result of the protest, the Department were prepared to recommend the inclusion of the library project in the 1971-72 building programme at a cost of £57,700.

Market Deeping Parish Council, at its meeting last week, deplored the fact that the statement issued by the South Kesteven RDC, following its meeting to discuss the question of a car park for the village, might have given a false impression to members of the public.

Councillor J. Heywood said he hoped the public would not be misled into thinking that the parish council wished to impede the project. There was no doubt, he said, about the urgent need for a car park.

100 years ago

Flower Service at St. John’s church, Stamford, on Sunday afternoon, a children’s flower and egg service was held and was fairly well attended. The Rev. Canon Moore officiated. A liberal offering of eggs and flowers was divided between Stamford and Whitechapel infirmaries. The collection was on behalf of Stamford Nursing Society.

Instrumental Concert at Burghley House – On Sunday afternoon, despite the unfavourable weather, a large company visited the delightful grounds of Burghley House, by kind permission of the Marquess of Exeter, on the occasion of a concert by the Stamford Town Military Band. A collection in aid of Easton-on-the-Hill Nursing Association realised over £12.

Back to Work – The strike of house painters has been of brief duration, for the men resumed work on Monday on the understanding that the rate of 2s. 2½d. per hour as awarded by the National Conciliation Board would be paid from the 9th prox. This will enable employers to fulfil contracts into which they had entered on the basis of the old rate of wages.

The members of the team representative of Stamford Volunteer Fire Brigade which competed with such conspicuous success in the National Fire Brigades’ Association contests at Eastbourne last week, returned to Stamford on Saturday evening, and were accorded a warm reception by a large crowd and a band. Engineer J. Hagger, who won the knot-tieing cup, was shouldered to the steam engine which was in readiness to convey the party to the Fire Station.

The Territorials went to Skegness on Saturday for their 14 days’ annual training. There was a good turnout, under the command of Capt. B. Edinburgh, D.S.O.,

Bourne Board of Guardians – The Rev. J. Carvath presided at the fortnightly meeting. The Clerk read a letter from the Kesteven County Asylum Committee stating that the charge for patients would be increased as from the 1st of July to 30s. 11d. per week, against a previous charge of 25s., and a pre-war charge of less than 19s. The Clerk read a letter from the churchwardens of Haconby, stating that an inmate of the Workhouse who formerly lived at Haconby, but for several years had lived at Billingborough, had been buried at Haconby churchyard without the consent of the churchwardens. The Clerk also stated that a non-resident fee was payable, which the Guardians were not entitled to pay.

The Property Market – At the Angel Hotel Bourne, on the 22nd inst. Mr. A. W. Hodgkinson offered for same several lots of property in Bourne. Details: Lot one, 7a. 2r. 26p of land, together with two cottages and farm buildings, was sold to Mr. E. Horsman for £925; a close of copyhold land in North Fen, 4a. 0r. 34p., Mr. E. Robinson, £200; a freehold field in North Fen, 13a. 1r. 39p., Mr. W. J. Bridgeman, £570. The above lots are in the occupation of Mrs. T. L. Brothwell. Two cottages over the railway in Willoughby-road were sold to Mr. E. Parker for £155; a copyhold house in West-street, in the occupation of Mrs. Hall was sold to Mr. John Reed for £120; Mr John Rawlinson purchased two cottages in West-street, in the occupation of Messrs. Hall and Pailing for £180; and Messrs. Pidcock were the purchasers of two cottages which adjoin their premises in West-street for £270. Messrs. B. Smith and Co. were the solicitors.

150 years ago

About a year and a half ago an application was made to the Charity Commissioners of England and Wales by the Conduit Feoffees of Stamford, for permission to transfer their trust to the Improvement Commissioners, that body having the charge of the public pumps of the town. This week a reply to the application has been received, and the Commissioners recommend that the Feoffees retain possession of the estate and hand over the interest and the charge of the conduit to the Improvement Board. We believe the Feoffees will take no further steps in the matter until the Improvement Commissioners shall have completed the transfer of their powers to the Local Board.

At the Stamford Union Board on Wednesday there were not many applications for relief, but the number in the house continues in excess of the average. There are now 185 inmates, or 41 more than in the corresponding week of last year; and the recipients of out-relief are 791, at a cost of £92 18s, 7½d., as against 754, at a cost of £89 1s. 7½d. 60 vagrants were received and discharged during the week.

About three o’clock on Saturday morning last the police on their beat noticed smoke issuing from the upper windows of the house occupied by Mr. Provost, druggist, Water-street. It appeared that Mr. Provost had a little while before been aroused by the barking of his dog, and hearing a crackling noise he went down stairs, when he discovered that a deal box containing boxes of matches had ignited and set fire to a table it was under. Water being plentifully at hand he managed to extinguish the fire.

A young man named Allen, son of a nail-maker, attempted to commit suicide on Monday night in the Welland, nearly opposite the Stamford and Essendine railway station. He was rescued and taken to the station-house, and next morning he was charged with the offence before the Mayor and Mr. Paradise. Mr. Collins, inland revenue officer, stated that he was in his field at about 9 o’clock, when he heard a splash in the water, and saw the prisoner. He at first thought the young man was bathing, and he spoke to him without getting an answer; and it was then remarked by another person that he was drowning. Mr. Collins then rushed into the river and seized him by the hair, and with the aid of the other person he was got on to the bank in a state of semi-insensibility. Police-constable Grey and Allen’s father came up, and the young man was allowed to change his clothes and was then taken to the police-station. The prisoner, in defence, said he had had some cross words with his father, and that induced him to make the attempt; and his father said he had never known him attempt suicide before: the fact was he had been drinking, and when he remonstrated with him about not going to work, he rushed out of the house to the river. The Magistrates remanded him until Saturday.

200 years ago

A matrimonial union in high life is on the lapis between the Marquis of Exeter and Lady Elizabeth Manners, eldest daughter of his Grace the Duke of Rutland – Morning Herald, July 27.

Yesterday afternoon a woman of Duddington, named Tipping, wife of a blacksmith there, was overturned in a cart in St. Martin’s, in consequence of the careless conduct of a man whom she had entrusted to driver her, and had her left thigh badly broken. A child which she had in her arms was thrown a great distance, but happily sustained no serious injury.

On Sunday the 16th inst. a boy named Samuel Peck, aged 9 years, fell into the river Welland at Deeping St. James. He was discovered by the neighbours, and was shortly carried home to his friends. In the space of an hour the child appeared to have recovered from the effects of the water, but died in about twelve hours afterwards. The parents of the deceased were not aware that he was likely to die, and therefore no medical gentleman was called in – for the want of whom the child perished. An inquest on the body was held on Thursday the 19th inst. By Mr. Edwards, coroner; verdict, Died of inflammation of the brain occasioned by accidental immersion in the water.

Another instance of the fatal effect of Riding on the Shafts. James Adcock, of Uffington, a youth 11 years of age, was riding on the shafts of a waggon loaded with hay, and driving two horses therein, on the turnpike-road from Uffington to Newstead Mill, when he fell to the ground, and the wheels passing over his body, his death was thereby occasioned in a few minutes afterwards, notwithstanding he was sensible after the accident, and told a person who was passing the waggon at the time that he had not been riding on the shafts, but the contrary appeared in evidence. An inquest on the body was held by Mr. Edwards on Saturday, when a verdict of accidentally killed was recorded. This accident, it is hoped, will increase the vigilance of those in authority, and induce them never to permit persons to ride on the shafts with impunity.

Hawkers’ Licences.

Mr.Wm. Cunnington respectfully informs all Hawkers, that the New licences may now be obtained on applying to him; and, for the accommodation of those Hawkers trading through Stamford, his Licences may be had, as usual, of Messrs. Howes and Roden, drapers, of that place.

All hawkers who are detected hawking or offering their goods for sale without a proper licence, will be prosecuted according to law,

Wm. Cunnington,

King’s Cliffe,



On Sunday last, in the 82d year of his age, John Wyche, Esq., town-clerk of this borough, which office he had held for 50 years. Richd. Wyche, Esq., grandfather of the deceased, was chosen town-clerk of Stamford in the year 1701; John Wyche, his son, succeeded him in the year 1730; and John Wyche, now deceased, succeeded his father in the year 1770 – so that the grandfather, father, and son, had been in uninterrupted succession town-clerks of Stamford for 119 years.

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