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




10 years ago

Stamford Town Council has pulled out of a promised meeting with organisers of the Riverside Festival because of a legal dispute.

At a meeting in March the town council said it would hold informal meetings with the organisers of the annual music festival, The Riverside Association of Music and Arts.

25 years ago: April 12, 1996 – Norman Riches, county director of education and cultural services at Lincolnshire County Council, with Linchfield County Primary School youngsters at the classroom extension opening.
25 years ago: April 12, 1996 – Norman Riches, county director of education and cultural services at Lincolnshire County Council, with Linchfield County Primary School youngsters at the classroom extension opening.

The council postponed making a decision on whether to allow the organisers to use The Meadows in Stamford for the event in 2021 until after the elections.

But this week it emerged the council has pulled out of the meeting because of an outstanding insurance claim after taking advice.

A town council statement said: The town council is eager to achieve a positive outcome with the Riverside Association.

50 years ago: April 16, 1971 – There has been a long tradition of football at Stamford Bluecoat School, but this is the first time that they have had their own pitch. Stamford Bluecoat School football team. From left, back, Christopher Haring, Paul Ramm, Adrian Boyden, Paul Lipscomb, Kevin Boyden; middle, Roger Burton, Peter Collins, Mark Humpries, Colin Eason, Carl Douglass; front, Stephen Warwood, Andrew Henshaw, Simon Harris (capt), Nigel Cracknell and David Yates.
50 years ago: April 16, 1971 – There has been a long tradition of football at Stamford Bluecoat School, but this is the first time that they have had their own pitch. Stamford Bluecoat School football team. From left, back, Christopher Haring, Paul Ramm, Adrian Boyden, Paul Lipscomb, Kevin Boyden; middle, Roger Burton, Peter Collins, Mark Humpries, Colin Eason, Carl Douglass; front, Stephen Warwood, Andrew Henshaw, Simon Harris (capt), Nigel Cracknell and David Yates.

“As the dispute between the town council and the Riverside Association involving a claim for damages may well lead to formal court action, if not resolved otherwise by the council’s insurers, any discussion with the other party at this point could prejudice the council’s position and affect the final outcome.”

The statement said there would be no further “public discussion” about the matter because of the legal claim.

Riverside director Jenny Collins said: “Riverside have received similar instructions not to discuss this claim except through our insurers which while we understand appears frustrating it is standard practice in handling insurance claims.”

An overwhelming majority of people have backed their parish councils in opposing plans to dump low level radioactive waste.

Protest group Local Democracy in Action organised the referendum on Thursday last week for 11 villages over plans by Augean to dump the waste at its site in Stamford Road, King’s Cliffe.

An overwhelming 98 per cent of villagers who went to the polls last Thursday wanted their parish councils to strongly object to the radioactive waste dumping plan.

There was an overall turnout of 46 per cent with 1,696 answering yes to whether they wanted their parish council to “strongly object” to the disposal of radioactive waste in the landfill and only 36 people answered no.

Barrowden Parish Council organised its own referendum, which also took place last Thursday and one more village, Yarwell, will vote on Monday.

In Barrowden, 238 people voted to back their council’s objection with nine voting no.

A separate survey in Tixover was also overwhelmingly against the dumping plans and a petition is being collected in Ketton.

Volunteers went out into the streets at night for the first time to support people in need.

Trinity Methodist Church in Barn Hill, Stamford, was packed last Friday, as 30 volunteers became Street Pastors for the town.

Each of the volunteers was given a branded cap and Gideon bible to mark the end of their training by vice-president of the Methodist Conference Deacon Eunice Attwood.

The deacon, who is also a Street Pastor in her hometown of Newcastle, said the scheme showed “the church doing exactly what the church should do – going out onto the streets and sharing the love of Jesus.”

25 years ago

A four year battle by a former Ryhall resident to discover the final resting place of her father looks set to be decided this month.

Gwendoline Sowden is convinced that in 1991 her father Bill Mee was mistakenly buried on top of someone else alongside her mother – who died in 1978 – in St John’s Cemetery, Ryhall.

However, Rutland District Council and Ryhall Parish Council insist that Mr and Mrs Mee were buried in a single grave.

Mrs Sowden now lives in Spain but is flying from her Malaga home to be in Ryhall on Monday, April 22 for the grave opening.

Two members of Ryhall Parish Council are to be present.

The Home Office has given permission for the top – or only – coffin in her mother’s grave to be uncovered and the nameplate read.

“If the coffin is that of Mrs Sowden’s late father then her parents are resting together. If it is discovered that he is in fact buried on top of someone else then the relatives of that person must be contacted and our approval gained before an exhumation takes place,” a Home Office spokesman said.

Mrs Sowden wants both her parents to be exhumed and cremated.

A Stamford landlord has been rocked by the second fire in as many weeks at his Scotgate pub.

Around 30 firefighters were called to tackle a blaze at the Green Man which had ripped through a rear outbuilding in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Only two weeks ago, fire crews were called to put out a chip pan fire at the same premises. No-one was injured in either fire. Crews from Stamford, Bourne, Deeping and Grantham attended the Scotgate inn at just after 2.15am to find the barn well alight with cleaning chemicals inside.

Landlord Tony Shilling said: “The crackling of the fire woke me up. There was antique furniture, a cellar cooler, a pushbike and other things in the barn. I tried to use a fire extinguisher but it did not touch the flames.”

The cost of the items and damage to the building has been estimated at £20,000.

Life in the village of Uffington is under the spotlight in a display at Stamford Museum.

Villagers have worked hard to create the display, which gives an insight into village life both now and in the past.

Assistant curator Katie Page said: “This is the first Village Spotlight we have held at Stamford.

“We offer our help and expertise to help put up the exhibition, but the content is left entirely to village residents. We are delighted by the talents and enthusiasm shown by the people of Uffington, as well and being surprised at the sheer range of activities that go on in the village.”

The display delves into the village’s history. Uffington is believed to have got its name from the Uffa family who lived there during Anglo Saxon times. It would have originally been known as Uff’s Tun and then Uffantun before becoming Uffington.

Most of the village’s societies and associations including the Women’s Institute, the Mothers’ Union and Toddlers’ Group, the Sunday club, the Guides and the youth club are represented in the display.

The primary school and the village hall committee show just what they get up to, while the Nature Watch group reveals the extent of their work in the area.

50 years ago

Stamford pig breeder Mr Frank Carpenter has been told to quit his Uffington Road allotment, and it could mean the end of a 41-year-old business.

Mr Carpenter, of Lambeth Walk, Stamford, has been breeding pigs on his allotment since the age of 19.

The notice to quit, served by Stamford Borough Council is to take effect from December, and Mr Carpenter has nowhere else he can put up a pig sty.

“I do feel very bitter about it,” said 60-year-old Mr Carpenter, “I don’t rely on the business financially but it has solved several problems during the years. Surely 41 years of pig breeding counts for something.”

The notice to quit was served on Mr Carpenter at the end of last year, because, said Stamford Public Health Inspector (Mr G. Fox), the property was rat infested and was not being kept properly.

“Some time ago Mr Carpenter was asked to tidy up his allotment and he had not done so. This was the only alternative left to the council,” said Mr Fox.

Mr Carpenter, however, does not agree that his property is rat infested.

“Near to the allotments there used to be the Corporation refuse dump and at certain seasons in the year, the place is alive with rates. It’s certainly nothing to do with my pigs, though.”

More than 105,000 enumerators - “the Army of the Light Blue Satchels” - will be engaged on Britain’s biggest and most important census on Sunday April 25. They will be visiting about 18 million households.

The main aim of the eight-page census form is to provide facts about the British way of life in order to aid the planning of Britain in the seventies.

The facts collected will include details about population, standards of housing, cars, jobs, educational qualifications and the movement of individuals. They are required, among other purposes, for the planning of new houses, schools, hospitals, roads, factories and other essential facilities in the next ten years.

The form, with its 29 questions requiring straight-forward answers, is longer than any used since the first full British census in 1801 because of the large amount of information which national and regional planning now require in the swiftly changing conditions of modern life.

Scathing comments on Bourne’s new health centre, by Coun Terry Bates, produced a lively debate, at Bourne Urban Council meeting, on Tuesday.

Emphasising that he was criticising only the external appearance of the building. Mr Bates said that, in view of its £60,000 cost, it should be renamed the “wealth centre.”

“It is nothing but a planning abortion,” he said. “I’ve no doubt that the County Council will be asking the surveyor to re-route the Bourne Eau, so that the building can be launched instead of opened.

“Robert Mitchum and Frank Sinatra should be invited to the opening because the building is more like a Mississippi gambling boat than a health centre.

“This is certainly one time when the ratepayers have been taken for a ride at their own expense.

“The idea of a health centre is a good one, but it should be purpose-built. At least, the interior layout is a good one.”

The building, he continued, was an expensive extension of an architect’s fantasies.

100 years ago

A Rush for Coal – With the sudden return of more wintry conditions than had lately obtained, there was a big demand for coal on Saturday, particularly on the part of many humbler residents, and at an early hour in the morning a remarkable scene was witnessed in the vicinity of the coal merchants’ offices in the Midland Railway yard. A crowd of considerably over 200 people with all sorts of vehicles – even perambulators – clamoured for the purchase of a hundredweight of coal apiece. Unfortunately most of the merchants’ stocks had been exhausted, but Mr. E. Clark (manager for Messrs. Williamson and Co.) despatched some lorries to the firm’s dump at Little Bytham, and, with the members of staff, spent the morning weighing out to the poor folks, who had meanwhile patiently waited in the cold wind and drenching rain, several tons of coal procured from that source.

Strike Preparations – The atmosphere at the Stamford Territorial Drill-hall this week resembles closely that of the memorable week in August, 1914. Large numbers of men have enlisted in the Defence Force, and practically every member of the local company of Territorials has offered his services. Enlistment and the distribution of equipment is proceeding under the supervision of Capt. B. Edinborough, D.S.O, M.C., Officer Commanding D Company, 4th Battalion Lincolnshire Regt. (T.F.) - Coal rationing is again in being, the controller and his staff being quartered at the Town-hall.

Archdeacon’s Visitation – The Ven. Archdeacon Jeudwine held his annual visitation at St. Mary’s church, Stamford on Thursday morning (April 14th), when there was a fair attendance of clergy and churchwardens.

Letting of the White Bread Meadow – The ancient custom of letting a field whilst boys run to a given post and back again was gone through on Wednesday evening in last week on the Queen’s Bridge, the proceeds of the sale is distributed in white bread in Eastgate. Despite the auctioneer’s statement that “we want a bigger loaf this year,” the price was considerably less than last year, £6 10s. against £12 5s. Mr. A. W. Ward was the purchaser. The price has varied in recent years from £3 to £12 5s,, the latter being last year’s price. The company subsequently adjourned to the Anchor Inn where a repast of bread and cheese and onions was partaken of, and Messrs. H. E. Smith and W. Smith were appointed trustees for the ensuing year. About 380 loaves are distributed, the size varying according to the price realised as rent.

Property Market – On the 7th inst. Messrs. Richardson offered for sale a small holding known as “Deacon Hill Farm,” at Manthorpe, with vacant possession, comprising stone-built house, nearly 4a. of grass land, and 38a. 2r. 2p., including some woodland. At £1500 the property was withdrawn, and it also failed to sell when offered in two lots. The Mill Farm, Wilsthorpe, containing 92a. 1r. 7p., and a further 58a. 3r. 31p., with vacant possession in each case, were offered in one lot but withdrawn at £4700. Offered separately, the house and premises with 92 acres was withdrawn at £3100, and the remaining land was withdrawn at £1400.

150 years ago

During Wednesday night the stone vaulting of the wine cellar of Messrs. Lowe and Betts, situate in North-street, Stamford, fell in, burying barrels and bottles of the “cordial delicious.” The full extent of the loss is not yet ascertained. A horse which had been chained over the spot broke its fastenings, and escaped injury.

Mr Arnold Taylor, the inspector appointed by the Secretary of State to institute a public enquiry as to the matter contained in a petition presented by the Town Council of the Borough of Stamford for the partial repeal of the Stamford Local Improvement Act, 1841, held a public meeting at the Town-hall on Wednesday the 5th inst. Although notice of the meeting was given by handbill, posted upon every church and chapel and the usual posting places within the borough, only the inspector, the mayor, and the Town Clerk attended. The statements in the petition having been verified, the provisions of the Local Improvement Act were considered clause by clause, and the Inspector determined that such clauses in any way conflicted with the powers now vested in the Town Council, as the Local Board and Sanitary Authority, should be repealed; that the existing Improvement mortgage debt, amounting to £3300, and the rights of the several mortgagees should be carefully preserved in the Provisional Order, and be as now a first charge upon the rates; and that the clauses in section 148 of the Local Act, contained for the prevention and punishment of street nuisances, &c., should be retained, as being still of some use. The inspector stated that the Provisional Order would doubtless have the force of law during the present session.

The Easter vestry at St, Mary’s, Stamford, was held on Tuesday last, the Ven. Archdeacon Paul, the rector, presiding. The churchwardens’ accounts for the past year having been examined and passed, Mr. Alfred Scotney was re-appointed Rector’s warden, and Mr. George Edmonds was elected to the part of the parish. The new clock dial, as arranged with the Town Council, was approved; and a subscription was commenced to defray the cost additional to the sum allowed by the Corporation.

Stamford Union – A case of great hardship to a family, involving a disregard of proprietary duties, which calls to mind Goldsmith’s lament in the Deserted Village, came before the Board at the weekly meeting on Wednesday last. A hale labourer named Smith, who with his wife and five children had been brought to the Union-house for shelter, stated that he was a native of Stibbington, where he had resided all his life, that he had worked on and off for 34 years for one master, that he was now in good health and had plenty of employment, but that he was deprived of the means of getting his living for want of house shelter for himself and family. It appeared that for some years he had resided in one of a row of tenements near Sibson station, which the agent of the Duke of Bedford is having pulled down, that other cottages belonging to the Duke have been raised, and that it is now impossible for him to get a cottage in Stibbington, Wansford, or any of the neighbouring villages.

The bell-turret for the Catholic church in Broad-street, Stamford, is now being erected.

It is a noticeable fact that Mr. Dixon, of St. Martin’s, Stamford, was an enumerator of the census in 1831, 1841, 1851, 1861 , and 1871.

200 years ago

On Friday last one of the most awful instances of sudden death that we have had occasion to record occurred in this place. Mr. Chas. Brightley, the ingenious and eminent printer and publisher, of Bungay, in Suffolk, happened to be in Stamford in the course of a journey on business, and went from the Crown inn a few minutes before two o’clock in the afternoon to secure a place by the coach for Leicester which starts from the George and Angel inn. He was remarked at the coach-office as a fine robust-looking man, about 60 years of age, and seemed in perfect health. He paid his fare, and having obtained a promise that the coach should call for him as it passed the Crown inn, he returned to that house, and had just reached the gateway when he fell down and died instantly! Every possible attention was given by the landlord (Mr. Piercy) and his family, and surgical assistance promptly obtained, but the vital spark had irrecoverably fled; the unfortunate gentleman had been struck by apoplexy, and died without uttering a word or a groan. Verdict of the coroner’s jury, died by the visitation of God. Mr. Brightley’s remains were removed by his family on Tuesday for interment at
Bungay.

Committed to the gaol of Oakham, on Monday last, (by the Rev. T. K. Bonney,) John Chamberlain, for breaking into the dairy of John Percival, at Hambleton, letting out of a barrel a quantity of beer, and stealing butter, eggs, &c. with some wearing apparel.

A good-looking woman, calling herself Harriet Smith, and who says she was born at Thorpe, near Ditchley, in Leicestershire, was lately found at Dunsby, apparently in a fit, and was kindly relieved by the Minister and Overseers; but in consequence of some glaring falsehoods discovered in her account, the Magistrates have committed her to Falkingham gaol as an impostor. Amongst other things, she states that she accompanied Orator Hunt to Manchester, where she received a sabre-wound on the breast, and is well-known to Johnson (of whom she speaks highly) now confined in Lincoln Castle. She has a canting, hypo-critical tone of speech – talks of the Lord, and had with her many hymn and godly books of the Methodist turn, containing the names of Leadbeater, Little Dalby; Rev. Mr. Binfield, Lichfield; M. A. Gordon, Godalming; Joseph Britten, Stoke Newington; &c. &c.

Frauds Upon Parishes – Rowland Wakefield, a labourer, of Hacconby, near Bourn, having refused to pay the parish officers £4, due upon an order of bastardy, was on Saturday last committed to Falkingham gaol for non-payment. The constable having imprudently placed him on a horse, on arriving near Falkingham, the culprit rode off, and afterwards made a violent assault and effected an escape. He has, however, since been apprehended; and, on being searched, to the surprise of the constable, £100 in new bank bills was found on his person, which money is stated to be his own property! He has been finally committed for the escape.



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