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

10 years ago

An elderly couple had a dramatic escape after an arsonist set their village home on fire.

The man and woman, aged 82 and 74, were rescued from their bedroom window in High Street, Castle Bytham, by neighbours at about 2am on Wednesday as their front room burned below them.

25 years ago: May 3, 1996 – David Wilson, president of the Deepings Lions, presents the new flag to the 1st Deeping St James Scouts.
25 years ago: May 3, 1996 – David Wilson, president of the Deepings Lions, presents the new flag to the 1st Deeping St James Scouts.

The couple were treated at the scene by ambulance crews and were taken to Peterborough City Hospital suffering from smoke inhalation.

They were discharged at 8am on Wednesday and are now staying with relatives.

The cottage was badly damaged in the fire and one of the couple’s dogs was killed, although their other dog escaped unharmed.

50 years ago: May 7, 1971 – With some help from the referee, a team of women beat a team of men in a football match on Friday week. The teams were from Newage Lyon Ltd. Pictured are the teams before the kick-off.
50 years ago: May 7, 1971 – With some help from the referee, a team of women beat a team of men in a football match on Friday week. The teams were from Newage Lyon Ltd. Pictured are the teams before the kick-off.

Police are treating the blaze as arson and are investigating other suspicious incidents in the village to see if they are linked.

Det Insp Dave Swan said: “It was lucky that the couple escaped from this blaze – especially considering the extent of the fire and their age – otherwise, we could now be dealing with a much more serious incident. As it is, their pet has died and their home has been extensively damaged.”

Families are invited to watch the fun of contestants taking on crazy challenges in an exciting competition.

The Rotary Club of Stamford St Martin’s has organised an It’s a Knockout and family fun day on Sunday, May 22, and has received a phenomenal amount of support.

Rotarians will be bringing a taste of the popular 1970s television show when they set-up a host of games and other attractions on Stamford Rugby Club field, in Empingham Road.

The club is thrilled to have 36 teams register for the event. Rotarians are hoping that the competition and family day will raise £4,000 for its three good causes. The Evergreen Care Trust and Spend a Penny campaign, are both based in Stamford, and the Myosotis Trust, which helps children in Romanian orphanages, will be supported in the event.

The club’s public relations officer Kevin Patterson, of Conduit Road, Stamford, said: “It will be fun for all the family and a great team building event.”

A new music festival is being organised to celebrate the Queen’s diamond jubilee on the same weekend as Riverside.

Festival management and promotion company Hobo Festivals say they are looking to create a family and folk event on The Meadows, Stamford, next summer.

Organisers Nick Knott, 44, and Andy Milligan, 26, discovered The Meadows while acting as relief managers for the Drum & Monkey in Casterton Road, since January.

The Milton Keynes-based company has been granted permission in principle by Stamford Town Council’s amenities committee to use The Meadows between June 29 and July 2, 2012.

This decision could mean that the Riverside is cancelled for a second year running. The association will be considering its future in Stamford at a meeting on May 15 but its planned fundraising events at Stamford Corn Exchange are still going ahead.

Mr Knott, who would not comment on the Riverside, is hoping to work with schools and local charities.

He said: “That seems to be the weekend that everyone is celebrating the Queen’s jubilee, that’s why we put in for it.

“What we would like to do is a family style event.”

25 years ago

The weight ban on Stamford town bridge is unlikely to be introduced before next April because there is no money available to pay for it.

The Highways Agency made the announcement amid anger from campaigners that the ban should have been in place more than a year ago.

Stamford MP Quentin Davies is understood to be meeting with Roads Minister John Watts to investigate the delay.

But an objector believe this delay proves that the only answer to traffic problems in a bypass.

The Department of Transport did say the 7.5 tonne weight ban was likely to be introduced in March 1995.

But an agency spokesman said this week: “The project has been put on hold and is now subject to the availbility of funding. The final decision rests with ministers, but it is unlikely anything will happen in the current financial year.

“Public pressure is unlikely to have any bearing on their decision, but Stamford has not been forgotten.”

The Highways Agency estimates that diversion signs and road strengthening on the alternative route will cost more than £150,000.

A city solution is being considered to tackle an ugly problem in Stamford’s streets.

Town traders are worried that the increasing graffiti in the centre of Stamford will tarnish its reputation, particularly with tourists.

The solution suggested at the latest Stamford Chamber of Trade meeting is to copy a scheme carried out successfully in Manchester.

The Chamber is due to consult schools and the police about the deterrent value to taking photographs of the vandalism that would be given to school staff in the hope that they could identify those responsible.

Chamber member Derek Gladman said: “A lot of the graffiti is being carried out by the same one or two people because the handwriting is the same. A school may recognise the style and the person responsible taken to court.

“This could be the deterrent we need. It has certainly worked in Manchester.”

Stamford College vice-principal Chris Robinson said: “We take a very hard line on this type of indiscriminate vandalism and if there are any instances of it work quickly to remove it and find who is responsible because they usually just leave their ‘call sign’.”

The expected public inquiry into the future of Castle Cement’s mining operations has been postponed for up to three months.

The Department of the Environment arranged for an inquiry on May 21 because the Ketton company and Leicestershire County Council could not agree on working practices at the quarry.

Castle Cement has in the past complained that some of the conditions the local authority wanted to impose would make working impossible, particularly concerning vehicle movements and noise levels.

But both parities have agreed, however, that differences can be settled without an inquiry. Discussions have so far been going on for seven months.

Richard Kelly, chief assistant of minerals and development control at the county council, said: “It’s hard going, but we are managing to reach agreements.”

Castle Cement’s works manager Neville Roberts said it would be able to work with the restrictions put on night time vehicle movements and restrictions on noise levels already meet statutory requirements.

50 years ago

Princess Anne will be completing in the three-day European horse trial championships which start at Burghley Park on September 2.

In an exclusive interview with the “Mercury” on Tuesday, a spokesman from the British Horse Society said the Princess would not be a member of the British team.

She will enter instead as an individual and will be eligible for the European individual title.

Captain Martin Whitely, chairman of the selectors, said that the selectors were most impressed by Princess Anne’s performance on “Doublet”at the Badminton three-day event.

“This was the first time in a national competition for both of them and in view of the large number of very experienced competitors available it was not thought advisable to enter Her Royal Highness on the short list of eight from which the British team will be chosen.

“However Great Britain will be allowed to enter 12 individuals and Princess Anne is being advised to fill one of these vacancies.”

Two Harrier aircraft from No 1 Squadron, RAF Wittering, landed on board the Ark Royal as it sailed from the Firth of Forth on Monday.

They were piloted by Wing Commander Kenneth Hayr (36), of Auckland, New Zealand, and Sqd Ldr David Willis (32), of Oxford.

The Harriers will remain on board for 13 days, working alongside Naval Phantoms and Buccaneers.

Although there have already been trials at sea with the Harrier, this is the first time that their operational capabilities will be assessed in a maritime environment.

Also on board the Ark Royal are 20 personnel from no 1 Squadron, RAF Wittering.

The Kesteven committee dealing with the proposed sports centre at Deeping St James, had approved the project, said Mr J. J. C. Goulder, South Kesteven Rural Council Clerk, at the council’s meeting, on Thursday.

“A capital allocation is being sought from the ‘large projects pool’, but the committee did not approve of part of the financial arrangements,” continued Mr Goulder. “Its was the suggestion that the council’s rate liability should be limited each year to 2½p.”

At a meeting with the County Council officers, it was tentatively agreed to apply to the Secretary of State for the Environment for loan allocation from the large projects pool for the scheme.

After carefully considering granting subsidies for rural bus services, the budget and policy sub-committee of Kesteven County Council believed it to be in the public interest to grant them, South Kesteven Rural Council learned, at Bourne on Thursday.

To do this for a limited period, said the sub-committee, would avoid premature loss of bus services and would allow time to fully investigate alternative arrangements.

Delaine Coaches Ltd, of Bourne, have said that it no agreement with Lincolnshire Road Car Co can be reached, they will consider any proposals the council makes.

100 years ago

A Twenty-Feet Fall – While engaged in following his occupation as a slater, Albert Sivers, of Ketton, in the employ of Messrs. Roberts Bros., of Stamford, met with a serious accident on Saturday morning. He was at the time working in Messrs. Lowe, Son and Cobbold’s brewery yard, and fell from a scaffolding, about 20 feet high, to the granite setts below. On removal to the Infirmary, it was found that his right arm was broken in two places and that he had sustained other injuries, but is progressing as favourably as could be expected.

Three-Year-Old’s Thirst For Adventure – A spirit of innocent precociousness prompted Douglas Burdell, a little fellow of three years, to undertake an adventure which unfortunately did not result so innocently as his guileless intentions planned on Saturday afternoon. Noticing a motor van on the north side of Red Lion-square, Stamford, which the driver (Mr. G. Wirstein, of Nottingham) had momentarily left, the youngster mounted the vehicle and released the hand-brake. The van at once commenced to back down the incline, and, gathering speed, swerved across the road and crashed through a large plate-glass window in the clothier’s shop occupied by Mrs. Brant, All Saints-place, which was completely demolished. The van was slightly damaged, but the author of the mishap, who continued to ride on the vehicle until the end of its unscheduled journey and appeared not to realise the damaged of which he had been the unwitting involved, was unhurt.

Births Exceeded Deaths – The medical officer for the borough of Stamford (Dr. E. A. Hutton-Attenborough) in his annual report states that there were 230 birth registered during the last month, of which 219 were legitimate and 11 illegitimate, a considerable decrease in the number of the latter from last year. Of the 230 children born 122 were boys and 108 girls. The birth rate per thousand in 24.12, which is a little lower than that of the whole country which is 25.4. There were 106 deaths, 55 males and 51 females. Twelve deaths occurred in infants under one year of age, giving infantile death rate per thousand births of 47.8 which is very much lower than that of the whole country of 80. The total death rate works out at 11.1 per thousand of the population, which is a little lower than that of the whole country of 12.4.


Young Townsman’s Success – In the Oxford and Cambridge inter-Varsity motor cars speed trials at Thetford Mr. Raymond Mays was first in the flying kilometre in two races.

Effects of Coal Dispute – A truck of coal having been secured by the Urban Council for the Gas Works, the situation has been somewhat relieved, and the gas supply is now turned on from 7 to 8 a.m. and between 10.30 a.m. and 1 p.m. A further reduction in the train service has been brought into operation. The 3.23 p.m. from Bourne to Sleaford has been taken off, and the train which arrives from Sleaford at 2.20 p.m. discontinued. The 3.35 p,m. train from Essendine, and the 4.15 p.m. from Essendine have been suspended. There are now only two trains a day each way on the Sleaford line.

150 years ago

Stamford Union – At the meeting of the Guardians on Wednesday letters were read from the Poor-law Board sanctioning the pension of £15 a year voted for the late master, and the appointment of Mr. and Mrs. Groom, as master and matron, at salaries of £60 and £40 respectively. The latter have entered upon their duties. A letter was also received from Mr. R. Nesbit, agent to the Duke of Bedford, at Thorney, stating that an engagement prevented his attendance, as promised, to explain the circumstances under which a man named Smith and his family were driven to the workhouse in consequence of the tenement they occupied at Sibson being pulled down. An opinion was expressed that Mr. Nesbit was not eager to fulfil the engagement, it having been ascertained that Smith was not the only native inhabitant of the parish who had been excluded from Sibson for want of houseroom in consequence of the demolition of cottages belonging to the Duke.

The Subscription Hearse – A special meeting of the Stamford Burial Board was held on Tuesday evening “to receive a letter from the Mayor (F. J. Morgan, Esq.) offering to the Board the hearse which was purchased by subscription, in order that the Board may in future take the management and control of the same; to determine whether or not such offer shall be accepted; and, if accepted, to consider the fees to be hereafter paid for the use thereof.” In the course of a discussion Mr. Wade was invited to attend, and the Board asked whether it would be convenient to him to house, horse, and man the hearse, the Board receiving the fees and paying a certain sum for every time the vehicle may be called out. Mr. Wade stated he had at a loss to himself served the poor during many years and had been satisfied with the reward of a “thank ‘e;” but he felt deeply wounded at the queer things which had been said of him without the slightest reason, and on that and another account he determined to adhere to the resolution he had previously come to, and he absolutely declined to undertake the working of the hearse. He however offered, though at some inconvenience to himself, to supply the hearse as heretofore until the Board shall have completed their arrangements.

The Sanitary Committee and the Dwellings in East-Street. A report of this committee was unanimously adopted. It appeared that orders had been made upon certain persons requiring them to fill up offensive cesspools and provide proper privy accommodation; that William Medwell, the present contractor, had been engaged to scavenge the town for three months, at the rate of £130 per annum; that the fire-brigade had been re-modelled by the substitution of four new for four aged firemen; that all the dwellings in East-street had been thoroughly inspected by the committee;and that Spencer’s-terrace was totally unfit for habitation. Ald. Johnson said the latter place was so deplorable and so dreadful that it would have shocked the nerves of every member of the Council that had been present, and when the committee asked their proceedings to be confirmed they were not asking too much, as every one would admit who could realize what the committee witnessed on their round of inspection. Not only the houses but the occupants seemed to be a complete mass of filth and nastiness. The meeting then broke up.

200 years ago

On Monday last, at the shortest possible notice, the Marquess of Exeter kindly consented to visit his manor of Bourn, for the purpose of laying the first stone of a Sessions House there to be erected for the use of the division, the liberal subscription for which has been frequently noticed in our paper. His Lordship arrived amidst the ringing of bells and a cheerful population, in his chariot and four, at three o’clock, at the Bull inn, where he met the Magistracy and Committee for managing the erection. Fourteen gold coins, of the reigns of Henry VIII., Elizabeth, James I., and Charles I., and three rings of pure gold, having been discovered in the foundations of the building taken down, were submitted to his Lordship as treasure trove within the manor. At four o’clock the procession moved to the ground.

Upon arriving at the ground, Mrs. Digby and a circle of ladies of the town and neighbourhood were accommodated under an awning to view the ceremony of laying the stone, which was accordingly performed by the Noble Marquess. The Rev. John Nicholson, Curate of Bourn then delivered a very impressive and appropriate prayer, imploring the Divine Blessing upon the work. Col. Johnson, Chairman of the Magistrates, and of the Committee for managing the erection, to whom the country is much indebted for carrying forward this desirable measure, laid the next stone, and the whole concluded amidst three huzzas from the assembly. The Marquess left the town amidst hearty thanks and good wishes of all parties concerned, and the blessings of the poor, who were through his Lordship’s bounty regaled in the evening with ale distributed in the market-place, and bread delivered to each family on the following day. Thus finished a gratifying ceremony, which will not easily be erased from the recollection of those present.

The Lord Bishop of Peterborough has liberally reduced the rent of the tithes in Sutton & Castor parishes. Several communications have been made to us of other abatements of rent, but as such reductions will no doubt become general, it would seem invidious to particularise moderate instances.

At the general quarter sessions of the peace held at Peterborough on Wednesday, Penelope Barratt, of Lutton, was found guilty of stealing 28 yards of printed calico, and 12 yards of figured satin ribbon, the property of Mr. Richard John Head, of Peterboro’, draper, and in consideration of the recommendation of the prosecutor, was sentenced to only six weeks’ imprisonment in the gaol.

Folkingham Stock and Stall Fair will both be held on the 12th of May, 1821.

Edward Brittain, tollman.

Bourn Association for Prosecuting Felons.

Notice is hereby given, That an Adjourned Meeting of this Association will be held, at the Angel Inn in Bourn, on Saturday the 12th day of May next, at Five o’clock in the afternoon; at which time and place the Subscribers in arrear are requested to pay their Subscriptions, or they will be excluded the benefit of the said Association. By order Will. Hopkinson, Treasurer and Clerk, Bourn.

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