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The Mercury publishes its Mercury Memories every week, thanks to the support of the Stamford Mercury Archive Trust

Here we look back on articles we published 10 years ago; 25 years ago; 50 years ago; 100 years ago; 150 years ago and 200 years ago.

10 years ago

A parish council is asking people whether they want a village railway station reopened.

50 years ago: January 16, 1970 – The directors of Towgood and Beckwith Ltd Helpston gave their annual children’s party on Saturday, 100 children of the mill’s employees being taken to the pantomime, “Dick Whittington”, at the Embassy Theatre, Peterborough. They were afterwards entertained to tea in the mill canteen. Our picture shows children present at the tea.
50 years ago: January 16, 1970 – The directors of Towgood and Beckwith Ltd Helpston gave their annual children’s party on Saturday, 100 children of the mill’s employees being taken to the pantomime, “Dick Whittington”, at the Embassy Theatre, Peterborough. They were afterwards entertained to tea in the mill canteen. Our picture shows children present at the tea.

Deeping St James station has been closed for many years but now Deeping St James parish councillors are calling for a feasibility study to be held.

They would like to hear from people in the area who would be interested in using it.

The council was inspired to launch the appeal by Spalding and Peterborough Transport Forum’s fight to open a station at Littleworth Halt in nearby Deeping St Nicholas.

25 years ago: January 13, 1995 – Football fans don’t come more dedicated than a group of 12-year-old girls from Wittering. The four pupils from Arthur Mellows Village College, Glinton, turn out come rain or shine to act as cheerleaders at home games for the Wittering Harriers Under 13s. The loyal group consists of Anne Fisher, Kelly Thompson, Genna McDonald and Kate Blair.
25 years ago: January 13, 1995 – Football fans don’t come more dedicated than a group of 12-year-old girls from Wittering. The four pupils from Arthur Mellows Village College, Glinton, turn out come rain or shine to act as cheerleaders at home games for the Wittering Harriers Under 13s. The loyal group consists of Anne Fisher, Kelly Thompson, Genna McDonald and Kate Blair.

Council chairman Phil Dilks said motorists in the area were frustrated with the drive to Peterborough.

He said: “When there is a railway line there, a line built however long ago, it seems foolish not to use it if we can make it work at a reasonable cost and if people want it.

“There is the frustration of people driving to Peterborough and not being able to find a car parking space. Once they do its costs £12 to leave a car at the station for a day.

“When you add that up that’s £60 a week. If there could be an easier way we should look at it.”

l A housing development proposal which could fund a bypass for Tallington has come under fire from parish councillors.

Tallington Parish Council says that businessman Mick Thurlby’s plans to create a bypass part-funded by housing will destroy the village.

Calls have been made for Tallington to have a bypass due to the long queues of traffic caused by the village’s busy railway level crossing.

Mr Thurlby is proposing that a bypass and housing development be built on a 60-acre site he owns.

The future of this will be decided at next week’s public inquiry into South Kesteven District Council’s local development framework.

If Mr Thurlby’s proposal is not included in the framework, it will not go-ahead.

Parish councillor and bypass campaigner Ken Otter spoke out against part of the plans during the Deepings Local Forum on Monday.

Coun Otter objects to the housing proposal which he says would turn the village into a town.

l Work is progressing well on the transformation of Stamford’s former Woolworths store.

New Look will expand its ranges and employ more staff when it takes over the building. And clothing chain White Stuff is preparing to move into New Look’s current High Street store.

Woolworths has stood empty since January last year after it went into administration and 800 shops closed nationally.

Work has already started on refitting the building and New Look is hoping to start trading in its new branch at Easter.

The new store, which is four times larger than the current store, will include women’s and men’s ranges, the Inspire range which is for plus-size women, its 915 range for teenagers and two concessions which sell womenswear and brands Ling and Axx.

A spokesman said the new store would need about 22 staff. The existing shop has seven employees.

White Stuff’s Stamford store will be the 65th for the chain, which has shops across the country and a mail order catalogue.

25 years ago

Police this week began their latest hunt for what is believed to be a black panther – about the size of a Labrador dog – after two confirmed sightings within 24 hours of a large wild cat roaming the area.

Mercury readers from as far afield as the Oakham, Ryhall and Bourne areas have reported seeing the beast over the past few weeks.

Ryhall Pc Dave Toone and two off-duty officers went to Knossington, near Oakham, on Tuesday after a woman reported seeing a panther-type animal near her home.

Staff at Castle Cement, Ketton, saw a similar animal on the same day. It was said to be the size of a Labrador.

A Ketton couple driving between Bourne and Stamford on New Year’s Eve also saw a large cat-like animal by the side of the road near Belmesthorpe.

Police stress that the animal is not thought to be dangerous to humans.

l Calls for a weight ban on Stamford town bridge have been heightened after an elderly man was in an accident with a lorry.

Campaigner Ulla Garton repeated demands to keep though heavy traffic out of Stamford after an 81-year-old pedestrian was hurt near the town bridge on Monday.

“This is exactly the sort of accident which was waiting to happen. It is a miracle that this sort of thing doesn’t happen more often.”

Alfred Butcher, of Road Road, Oundle, was walking on the pavement by the Wharf Road junction of the bridge when the accident occurred at 2.30pm. He was taken to hospital, but allowed home the same day.

Councillors said this week that a weight ban on the town bridge is only part of the solution to the town’s traffic problems.

At Tuesday’s council meeting Stamford councillors backed a proposal to support the draft order for a 7.5 tonne weight ban, published last week.

They agreed the weight ban must include adequate sign posting to direct HGVs away from Stamford.

l Chemical contamination testing on land formerly used by Mirrlees Blackstone is to be carried out as part of major plans to develop the site for industry.

The 14-acre site, in Ryhall Road, Stamford, is being looked at by South Kesteven District Council for possible purchase and development into a business and technology centre, bringing firms into the area and providing a major jobs boost for the town.

SKDC treasurer Chris Farmer said tests for contamination is a normal procedure when planning to buy land from industry.

Following a finance and land committee meeting on Thursday, he said: “Councillors have give me the backing to continue negotiations with the land owners BTR for the acquisition of the site and before I can decide how much to offer we must establish how much will need to be spent on decontamination.

“Mirrlees Blackstone would have carried out all sorts of industrial processes when it was using the site that may have caused mineral and chemical deposits.

“I also understand that the company had underground oil storage and a water system used for cleaning machinery that will be contaminated.”

Another feature of the site is a stagnant pond that will have to be cleaned out before any development takes place.

50 years ago

Starting from Monday, every letter written to a local address should bear a special series of numbers delegated under the GPO’s new Postcode system.

The Postcode is a short two-part code made up of letters and figures which enables the Post Office to make sorting easier and delivery faster.

Peterborough’s head postmaster, Mr. P. E. Pritchard, explained the system to local businessmen at the George Hotel, Stamford, on Wednesday.

He said that 35 million letters were posted in Britain on a normal day. Each letter had to be handled manually five or six times before it reached the postman on his rounds,

By using a Postcode made up of letters and figures, keyboard operators at main sorting centres could reproduce the code into phosphorescent dots on the envelopes.

The envelope would then go into an automatic sorting machine which would sort them faster than a human operator could.

A typical example of a Postcode for the Stamford area is PE9 2YL.

l Stressing that the people of Billingborough were alarmed by recent thefts in the village, Councillor H. Brown (Billingborough), on Thursday, persuaded South Kesteven Rural Council to reconsider the provision of all-night street lighting in Billingborough.

His amendment that the High Street should be lit during hours of darkness, seconded by Coun Mrs E. A. Beacock (Billingborough) was carried, and the matter referred back to the street lighting committee.

Many of us know that the people are extremely worried in Billingborough,” said Coun Dr John Galletly (Haconby).

Although in response to the council’s request, Kesteven County Council said it could not hold out much hope for a no waiting order for the road adjacent to the church in Church Street, Market Deeping, the RDC will try again.

The request was unanimously supported by the road safety committee, and, the rural council referred the matter back to the County Council.

l People in Stamford, Oakham and Bourne should be able to get satisfactory BBC-1 and ITA colour transmissions by the summer – providing they have UHF television sets.

ITA Midland region is starting colour transmissions from a new transmitter at Waltham on the Wolds in March and the BBC hope to follow suit sometime between June and August.

The new transmitter at Waltham – between Grantham and Melton Mowbray – is being used jointly by ITA and BBC for the colour transmissions. BBC are already putting out BBC-2 programmes from Waltham.

An ITA spokesman at Birmingham told the Mercury on Wednesday: “The quality of our colour transmissions will be as good as the existing BBC-2 programmes coming from Waltham.”

l The neat compact flatlets provided for elderly people by Bourne Urban Council were exceptionally well-kept by the residents, Mr Kenneth Lewis, MP, said, after visiting Worth Court, Bourne, on Friday.

“These are very nice homes for old people and equally important, they are still homes,” he commented. “They are not institutionalised like many places, and the old people have they own furniture and knick-

100 years ago

The Marquess of Exeter has accepted the presidency of the Peterborough branch of the National Federation of Discharged and Demobilised Sailors and Soldiers.

l A tea and social under the auspices of the Wesleyan Church Ladies Auxiliary, on the 8th inst., were attended by over 100, and the proceeds, for the funds of the auxiliary, amounted to £12. Prizes in a “spelling bee” were won by Mrs. Deer and Mr. Walmsley.

l Presentation – In recognition of 29½ years’ service as Headmistress of St. Martin’s Girls’ School, Mrs. Parry was recently presented on behalf of the Managers, the staff, and pupils (past and present), with a silver spirit-kettle, and tea service. The Rev. F. Davenport, in making the presentation, spoke in high esteem of her work, and expressed a hope that in virtue of her retiring from the teaching profession she would enjoy the remaining years of her life in true happiness.

l Municipal Elections – As we go to press, polling is proceeding in both Stamford Wards for the election of three Councillors to fill vacancies in the municipal Chamber. The Labour Party, who had nominated a candidate in each seat, held a meeting in their interest in the Co-operative Hall on Monday evening, when two of the three – Messrs. S. Bassendine and J. A. Glover – and Mr. Edmonds, chairman of the Peterborough Labour Party, addressed a good attendance.

l St. George’s War Memorial – Good progress is being made by Messrs. Bowman with the work in connection with the war memorial to the fallen heroes to be erected in St. George’s Church, Stamford. The Lord Bishop of Lincoln (the Right Rev. Dr. Wm. Shuckburgh Swayne) has promised to perform the dedication ceremony on St. George’s day, April 23rd next.

l Sale of Brown’s Hospital Lincolnshire Estate. The attention of agriculturists and investors is directed to the forthcoming sale of a portion of the Browne’s Hospital Estate, which Messrs. Richardson, land agents and auctioneers, Stamford, are offering on the 24th inst. The unique historical interest connected with the name Mr. Wm. Browne, from whom the estate receives its endowment, calls for special notice. Mr. Wm. Browne was a cloth merchant who lived in this district in the 16th century, and was a member of the most exclusive club of merchants known as the “Staple of Calais.” He erected at his own cost a hospital in the borough of Stamford, and at his death provided the estate, a portion of which is now being offered for sale, to support 12 poor men and 2 poor parsons, and the qualifications of these 14 people were that they should undertake to pray for himself and his wife twice every day, and three times on Sunday. Latterly, owing to the increased revenue, by order of the Court of Chancery, a part of the funds are devoted to the support of local schools. It is interesting to know that some of the tenants of the farms described in the particulars of the sale, occupy the same farms which their ancestors have done for many generations.

150 years ago

We understand the Inclosure Commissioners have, upon the report of Mr. Wetherell, given their assent to the proposed enclosure of Stamford Open Fields, and that this enclosure will be scheduled amongst others in an Act of Parliament which will be passed during the ensuring session. A meeting of the Stamford Town Council is to be held on Tuesday next, at which the formal assent of the Corporation to the enclosure will be asked for.

l A meeting of the Stamford Charity Trustees was held at the Town-hall on Monday evening: present, Messrs. Fysh (chairman), Torkington, Groves, Baker, and Ashby. The rent of the two new houses on St. Peter’s-hill, built in connection with Hopkins’ Hospital, was fixed at £7, to date from Lady-day. Applications for callises were made by the under-named: Ann Waterfield, aged 78 (who was strongly recommended by the Rev. D. E. Jones), Harriet Lowson, 68, Mary Clarke, 67, and Eliza Shelborn. The names of other applicants were read from the minute book. Widow Waterfield was appointed to the vacancy in Snowden’s Hosptial, with an allowance of 5s. per week. To widow Lowson was granted 5s. per week from All Saints’ until the further order of the Board. As trustees of Snowden’s Hospital and of the Grammar School, the Board assented to the enclosure of Stamford open fields on the terms and conditions of the provisional order, which was read by the clerk.

l Soup Kitchen – The Stamford soup kitchen has been in full operation since the beginning of last week, and during no period since its establishment has the demand been greater, upwards of 330 gallons having been distributed each week. Recipients from the parishes of St. Michael, St. Mary, and St. George are supplied on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and to applicants from All Saints and St. John on Wednesdays & Saturdays. It is distributed to all who apply.

l On Friday last as Messrs. Pridmore, Buzzard, and Motteram were returning home to Market Deeping from Stamford market, between 3 and 4 o’clock, they met with a serious accident in passing through the village of Uffington. When they arrived at the turn leading to Tallington Mr. Pridmore, who was driving, turned along the old road in order to avoid going over some stones that had recently been spread on the new road, and in passing a heap of rubbish which takes up the greater part of the road the animal slipped slightly on one side to avoid a hollow in the centre of the road filled with sludge and water, and ran one of the wheels of the vehicle on to the heap of rubbish and the other into a deep rut, which upset the cart and pitched the occupants out with great violence. Mr. Pridmore escaped with a slight bruise on the head, but the others were less fortunate, both receiving very severe external as well as internal injuries. Mr. Motteram had two ribs fractured.

l Bourn – On the evening of the 7th inst. an entertainment was given in the West-street school-room consisting of music, readings, and dissolving views. The audience was good, and the performances were excellent. This is the first of a series of entertainment for the benefit of the chapel improvement fund.

l It is desirable that the inhabitants of the parishes within the Bourn district should notice that licences for carriages, horses, &c., under the Act 32 and 33 Vic., c. 14, which came into operation on the 1st inst., cannot be obtained at the Post-office at Bourn. The only place at Bourn at which such licences can be obtained is at the office of the distributor of stamps, Mr. Benj. Wyles, North-street.

200 years ago

Inclosure of Easton on the Hill, in the county of Northampton.

Notice is hereby given, that the Commissioners named and appointed in and by an Act of Parliament, intitled, “An Act for inclosing and exonerating from tithes lands in the parish of Easton on the Hill, in the county of Northampton,” intend to hold a Special General Meeting, at the George Inn, St Martin’s, Stamford Baron, in the county of Northampton, on Monday the Fourteenth day of February next, at Eleven o’clock in the forenoon, for the purpose of reading over and executing their Award, in the presence of such of the Proprietors as may choose to attend. Dated this 5th day of January, 1820.

By order of the Commissioners,

John Wyche, J. Torkington, their Clerks.

l Truly eligible Situation for Trade In High-street, Stamford, in the county of Lincoln.

To be Sold, together or in Lots.

All that good and substantial Freehold House, now or late in the tenure of James Dewar; also Five good Stables, with Granaries and Hay-lofts over the same; and several Pieces of Ground adjoining or belonging to the said house.

For price and further particulars, apply to Mrs. Smith, St. George’s-square; or Mr. Clay, solicitor, Stamford, at whose office a plan of the estate may be seen.

l To Woolstaplers and Fellmongers.

To be Let,

Either from year to year, or for a term of years.

A Capitaland old-established Fellmonger’s Yard, with a convenient Dwelling-house, Garden, large Ware-rooms, and other suitable premises for carrying on the business of a Woolstapler and Fellmonger, situate in Market Deeping, in the county of Lincoln, formerly in the occupation of the late Mr. Jon Miller, and late of Mr. John Youd, deceased.

The above situation affords an opportunity to any person commanding a capital of employing it to advantage, the business having been carried on for many years past with respectable connexions – Possession of the yard and premises may be had immediately.

For further particulars enquire of Mr. W. Baker, attorney, Market Deeping.

Market Deeping, 4th Jan. 1820.

l Much distress is at present experienced in this town from the absolute want of coals. Since Monday the merchants’ yards have been empty and closed, and not any fuel has been there to be purchased. The situation of the poor, in consequence, is extremely pitiable, and that of many reputable householders is scarcely less so.

l On Wednesday last were distributed among the poor of Collyweston, 100 yards of calico, 120 yards of flannel, and 80 yards of linen for shirts, the liberal donation of the Rev. Wm. Mansfield.

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