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Mercury Memories looks back through the archive housed at the Rutland and Stamford Mercury offices




10 years ago

Hundreds of people lined the streets of Stamford on Wednesday to watch the final flight of the Harrier jets – only to be left disappointed.

The plan was for 16 planes to take to the skies over Stamford as part of a diamond formation.

Some lucky spectators might have seen – or heard – a practice run on Tuesday over the town but low cloud and drizzle prevented the historic final flight from being a fantastic spectacle for people on Wednesday.

Among the crowds gathered in Red Lion Square, Broad Street and on The Meadows, was Pam Orme, who said: “I was one of the many spectators standing in the cold in Stamford – eagerly awaiting sight of the Harriers – and extremely disappointed by the cancellation.”

The jets did take to the skies from RAF Cottesmore but completed a much shorter than planned route.

They did fly over Oakham and Cottesmore, though not in a diamond formation as originally envisaged.

25 years ago: December 15 1995 – Bourne Abbey (GM) Primary School pupils (back from left) Tom Robinson, Abby Sandall, Craig Compton, Thomas Hames, Jemma Clarke and Graham Brown (front centre) with teacher Jonathan Haynes (left) and parent Hugh Dorrington
25 years ago: December 15 1995 – Bourne Abbey (GM) Primary School pupils (back from left) Tom Robinson, Abby Sandall, Craig Compton, Thomas Hames, Jemma Clarke and Graham Brown (front centre) with teacher Jonathan Haynes (left) and parent Hugh Dorrington

Councils are counting the cost after the full extent of the Government’s spending cuts was revealed.

South Kesteven District Council is losing £1.9m next year of its annual grant from the Government, a decrease of 18.3 per cent.

Lincolnshire County Council is facing a £26.7m loss in its grant, which represents an 11.2 per cent reduction.

Government figures are much lower than this, saying the district council will lose 6.8 per cent and the county council will lose 2.7 per cent.

But the two councils say they don’t show the full picture. They say Whitehall’s figures take into account a proposed grant to compensate for loss of income from a freeze on council tax and assume levels of spending by NHS on social care in the area.

District council leader Linda Neal (Con) said: “Like all district councils, we are facing significant cuts but we must keep these figures in perspective because although this is a significant reduction, it is within what we had planned for.

South Kesteven chief executive Beverly Agass said the council had been “pro-actively planning” for the announcement and was “reasonably well placed” to deal with it.

She said: “ We will, of course, continue to focus on value for money and will seek further efficiencies while continuing to deliver front line services. This has always been our position and we remain on track to do this.”

Police are wanting shoppers in Stamford to take extra care over security after four purses were stolen in less than a week.

PC Debbie Bowen, from Stamford neighbourhood policing team, believes the thefts are linked.

A 91-year-old woman noticed her purse, which contained £100, was missing while shopping in Stamford town centre on Friday last week.

There were also three thefts on Tuesday.

An 85-year-old woman’s handbag, which contained a purse containing £200, was taken from the back of her trolley while she was shopping in Waitrose in West Street, Stamford, between 3pm and 4.30pm.

Two purses were also taken from handbags at Morrisons supermarket in Uffington Road, Stamford, between 2pm and 3pm that day. They didn’t have large amounts of cash in them.

50 years ago: December 18, 1970 – The cast of “The Infant King” staged by children of Uppingham C. of E. Primary School during their Christmas concert
50 years ago: December 18, 1970 – The cast of “The Infant King” staged by children of Uppingham C. of E. Primary School during their Christmas concert

25 years ago

Rutland’s independence is likely to be delayed until 1998. Following enquiries by the Rutland Mercury, local MP Alan Duncan said yesterday he is pressing Parliament for some speedy answers to the hold-up.

The reason for the delay is still unclear, but Mr Duncan believes it could be because Rutland is one of a batch of counties bidding for independence – including Berkshire which is due for judicial review and which could be slowing the procedure down.

But he said yesterday: “People should not read anything into the delay until we have got the official answer from the environment secretary. We want an answer but I don’t think that there is cause for concern,

“It is a nuisance that we don’t know where we are.”

The delay has met with mixed reactions locally – district council chairman Brian Montgomery branded the delay “farcical” while county councillor Audrey Buxton said the “breathing space” is welcome news for independence sceptics.

The hitch could mean the order will not go through in time for elections in April, in which case Rutland will not be granted county status until 1998, a year later than expected.

Mr Montgomery said the setback was “the worst possible news”.

“It’s awful. You just can’t put it on ice. We hope for the best but it doesn’t look very good.”

Angry former Rainbow superstore workers have vowed to carry on their fight to take the company’s bosses to an industrial tribunal over claims of unfair dismissal.

The move has come following a Leicester tribunal’s ruling this week that 20-year-old Darren Brown was not unfairly dismissed and there was no breach of contract by the company. Mr Brown was the first person to take action against shop owners Anglia Regional Co-operative Society.

A special meeting for Rainbow workers, including those from stores in Stamford, The Deepings and Bourne, was held in Peterborough on Wednesday to discuss the decision.

Joy Fillingham, deputy manager of the city’s Citizens’ Advice Bureau, said: “Clearly this is disappointing and it doesn’t make our job any easier, but this does not mean we should not proceed with tribunal action.

“Mr Brown did not have all the information to use at his case that we have now collected, and his circumstances were also different to other cases. I feel we still have a number of other issues to raise that were not addressed at Mr Brown’s case.”

A Bourne man who was flown to hospital by Lincolnshire Air Ambulance has shown his appreciation by raising just over £1,500 for the charity.

Lional Tupholme of Harvey Close was airlifted to Grantham Hospital by the ambucopter in June after he broke his leg when he fell from a tree at Toft Golf Club.

He was so grateful to the service he set about organising a golf tournament, which was held last month, and handed over £1,502 to the charity on Friday.

He said: “I’m a self-employed carpenter and joiner and also do general maintenance. I was doing some work for the club on one of the trees when I fell out.

“There was concern that I may have broken my back as well so the ambucopter was called out to save a bumpy journey by road. I was at hospital within minutes. Fortunately there was no serious injury to my back but if there had been, the journey time that had been saved by using the air ambulance would have been very important.”

50 years ago

A move to keep the speed limit on Empingham Road at 30 mph, was heavily defeated when Stamford Borough Council met on Tuesday.

The Council accepted a highways committee recommendation that the limit be raised to 40 mph from the existing speed limit sign to about 50 yards east of Roman Bank.

It was also decided that the speed limit along Uffington Road, from the Doi-Toi factory to a point near Priory Sidings should be raised from 30 mph to 40 mph.

Coun Mark Stott was against raising the limit on Empingham Road. “This would be a retrograde step,” he declared.

“According to my measurements Casterton Road is 24 feet wide, but Empingham Road is six feet narrower. There is a school there which disgorges a great number of children and a public house which creates a lot of traffic.

“Every house has a drive with an entrance on to the road. This road is narrow and busy and a danger to children.

“I know people exceed 30 mph already. But this should not be an excuse but a condemnation.”

Highways committee chairman Ald John Cutting pointed out that where tests had been carried out on roads all over the country it had been proved that in many cases the road was made safer by raising the speed limit.

Alderman Mrs Gladys Sismore-Boyfield was ordered to sit down four times after an angry outburst at Tuesday’s Stamford Borough Council meeting.

She heard that the finance committee would not give a transport grant to the town’s Darby and Joan Club until they had received the club’s audited accounts and the constitution.

Ald Mrs Sismore-Boyfield accused the council of being against the Darby and Joan Club and never helping them.

The club, of which Ald Mrs Sisore-Boyfield is leader, applied to the council for a grant of £2 a week to hire transport for members who live in Clare Close and Edmonds Close.

“You have been against the club the whole time,” she said. “We have got war widows from the 1914-18 war and what have you done for them? Nothing.”

“Nothing will you give to help these old people and now you quibble about spending £2 a week to bring them to the club from your own group dwellings.”

Stamping her feet and banging on the table, Ald Mrs Sismore-Boyfield asked: “Aren’t you all ashamed of yourselves? You will be old one day yourself and I hope that people will be kinder to you.”

Stamford council house tenants can have gas fired central heating installed in their homes for a weekly rent increase of about 14s.

The Borough Council took this decision on Tuesday after hearing that 88 tenants had asked for this since the house at 61 Essex Road, with the gas fired system, had been open to the public.

But there is a chance that the rent increase may be less than 14s.

Town Clerk, Mr Harold Bedford, said it would be possible to get an improvement grant where the installation of heating formed part of a larger improvement.

100 years ago

Labour Party Social – A successful gathering arranged by the Social Committee of the Stamford Labour Party, was held at the Co-operative Hall on Thursday evening in last week, Mr. S. Bassendine acted as M.C. A musical programme was contributed to by Messrs. F.C. Ogley, R. Smith, H. Banks, and F. Hollingsworth, and side-shows were under the control of Mrs. Bassedine, Coun. A. Underwood, Messrs. M. Lipscomb, S. Brown, and C. Lucas. Refreshments were served, and a dance was subsequently held, Mr. Ogley providing the music.

Winter Arrives – The first snowstorm of the current winter in Stamford was experienced on Saturday afternoon, and the fall was supplemented by others during the night and on Sunday, when snow covered the ground to a depth of some inches.

Board of Guardians – The Marquess of Exeter (chairman) presided at the fortnightly meeting of the Stamford Board of Guardians on Monday, when there were also present Mr. J. W. Coulson (vice-chairman), Mrs. H. Goodyear, Miss Hooson, Messrs. J. Mather, H. T. Daniels, T. Dickenson, J. C. Lilley, J. B. Tomms, Revs. H. Izod Rogers, and T. H. Bailey. A resolution was passed requesting from the Ministry of Labour a certificate of exemption from the provisions of the Unemployment Act for the Union officials, who come under the Superannuation Act.

Sudden Death – A verdict of death from “natural causes” was returned at an inquest held at the Town hall on Tuesday evening by the Coroner (Mr. V. G. Stapleton) on the body of Francis Ellen Harvey, the seventeen-year-old daughter of Mrs. Harvey, who lives at 6, Bath-row. Deceased had suffered from fits since she was four years old and a seizure on Sunday, followed by another on Monday morning, proved fatal.

Sale of Real Estate – At the Nag’s Head Hotel in Bourne, on Thursday, the 9th inst., Messrs. Richardson offered for sale the ironmonger’s shop and premises, situated in the Market-place, occupeid by Messrs. Johnson Bros. The sale was conducted by Mr. Foot, who stated that the property was the remaining portion of the estate of the late Mr. Thos. Withers, and he referred to the fact that the sale was not handicapped by the control caused by the Rent Restriction Acts or other mysterious legislation; consequently, early possession could be obtained if necessary, although he hoped that the sitting tenants would become the purchasers. Bidding commenced at £1700, and the property was eventually knocked down to Messrs. Johnson Bros. for £2250. Two dwelling-houses, Nos. 19 and 21, West-street, Bourne, were next offered and sold to Mr. E. A. Foley for £350.

Presentation to Bourne Football Club Official – At the Bull Hotel on the 9th inst., a presentation was made to Mr. W. Palmer, who for several years has acted as hon. Secretary to the Town Football Club. Mr. C. C. MacLeod presided over a good attendance, and handed to Mr. Palmer a handsome clock. Mr. Palmer suitably thanked the members for their generous gift.

150 years ago

Stamford Water Supply- Mr. Hawksley, the engineer appointed jointly by the Marquis of Exeter and the Corporation of Stamford to report upon the state of the water supply, visited Stamford last week, and, accompanied by the Mayor and the deputation appointed by the Water Supply Committee, examined all the important known sources of supply in the neighbourhood on the north and south banks of the Welland, the stored-up pond at Whitewater, and the reservoirs at Wothorpe. The discharge of the inlet pipe at Wothorpe was found to be quite inadequate at this season of the year for the supply of the town (estimated at 200,000 gallons per day); indeed,Wothorpe and Whitewater combined produced scarcely more than half the quantity. The level of the present reservoirs appears to be nearly coincident with the top of the spire of St. Mary’s church, commanding by gravitation the highest points of the borough; but if a sufficient supply of water cannot be obtained to feed them – and it is evident the present sources require largely supplementing – it is probable that pumping may have to be resorted to there or elsewhere. Mr. Hawksley also examined the Chater, a tributary of the Welland near Ketton.

A very serious accident happened at Luffenham railway station on Wednesday last, to a labourer named J. Stokes, of Morcott. He was standing in a railway waggon loading a cart with granite, when some trucks were suddenly shunted against the waggon, and he was pitched out, He fell with both legs across the rail, and before he could be extricated the wheels of several trucks passed over them crushing them in a frightful manner. He was brought to Stamford by the engine that caused the accident and conveyed on a board to the Infirmary, where both limbs were amputated just below the knees. The unfortunate man, who is about 80 years of age, lies in a very precarious state.

An inquest was held at Easton, on Saturday last, before Mr. W. Marshall, deputy coroner, on the body of an illegitimate child, named Harriet Plowright, aged three months, who died suddenly the night previous, and without any medical attendant being called in. It appeared, however, that there was no suspicion, nor any marks of violence upon the body. From the depositions given the jury were quite satisfied that death arose from natural causes, and a verdict to that effect was returned.

Market Deeping – A public meeting was held in the Town-hall on the 8th inst., pursuant to notice, for the purpose of considering the Elementary Education Act: W. Holland, Esq., was called to the chair. He stated the object of the meeting, which was to decide whether there was sufficient elementary school accommodation and teaching in the town to meet the requirements of the Act. He made a concise and clear statement of particulars which had been carefully collected to place before the meeting, and which showed that there was more than ample public school accommodation according to the regulations of the Act for every child in the parish between the ages of 5 and 13, for whom it was necessary to provide elementary education. There were about 223 children in the parish, being a sixth of the population; less than two-thirds of that number had been provided for, and there was room for 180 children. There were 134 children of this class now taught in the parish almost free. He therefore thought it was unnecessary to take any further steps at the present in reference to the Act.

200 years ago

At a meeting of the inhabitants of this borough and of St. Martin’s, held at the town-hall on Saturday last, a loyal address to the King was agreed to. It has been numerously signed, and will remain at the town-hall till to-morrow for further signatures.

On Monday, Charles Ploughwright was committed to the gaol of this borough, for trial at the quarter sessions, for violently assaulting and knocking down Wm. Blades, one of the watchmen, at 12 o’clock on Sunday night last; also Joseph Kemp, for violently assaulting Wm. Groom on the evening of the 6th inst. And on Tuesday was committed to the same gaol, also for trial at the sessions Thomas Rhodes, yeoman, for being active in a riotous assemblage of people who on Monday night paraded some of the streets of this town, and carrying a long stick or stake in St. Mary’s parish on which an effigy was suspended; also Peter Cole, basket-maker, for being active in riotous proceedings of that night in the same parish.

It is suggested by a correspondent, that if the two annual fairs held at Bourn, in March and May, were appropriated for the sale of stock, the arrangement would be highly beneficial to that part of the country; and it might be effected if the landed interest in that neighbourhood would give it patronage, and their tenantry aid it.

Stephen Porter, the clerk of the parish of Great Ponton, near Grantham, has walked from his house to the church, for the purpose of winding up the clock only, during his clerkship, a distance of three thousand one hundred and forty-eight miles, ascending 690,580 steps.

The Morning Herald of Wednesday says, “We understand that a matrimonial alliance is on the tapis, between the heir of the Noble house of Cecil, and an opulent Yorkshire Heiress.”

On Friday and Saturday the 1st and 2d inst. the Duke of Bedford and six of his Grace’s friends, being at Wansford for a few days, had a grand battue amongst the game in the Purlieus. On the first day the return was, 84 pheasants, 46 hares, and a cart-load of rabbits. The second day’s return was not so considerable, but still was large. The whole of the game was sent in presents to the freeholders of Huntingdonshire. The Marquis of Tavistock, Colonel Seymour, Fish Palmer, Esq., ___ Fletcher, Esq., and ___ Green, Esq., were in the shooting party with the Duke.

Stamford National School.

There will be a Ball for the Benefit of this Institution on Tuesday the 19th instant, at the Assembly-Room, under Patronage of the Lady Sophia Pierrepont and the Marquess of Exeter. Admission 10s. 6d.

Dancing to commence at 9 o’clock. Stamford, Dec. 7th.

At Boston fair on Monday there was a much smaller show of stock than usual.



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