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

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Every week we delve into the archives of the Rutland & Stamford Mercury to look back through our long history.

10 years ago

A dilapidated bedsit complex could be partly demolished to make way for new flats and houses.

Newtons Solicitors, based in London, wants to build 11 flats and four houses at Blenheim Court in Scotgate, Stamford.

25 years ago: August 16, 1996 – An elephant takes centre stage with Betty Elmer at a story-telling afternoon at Stamford library
25 years ago: August 16, 1996 – An elephant takes centre stage with Betty Elmer at a story-telling afternoon at Stamford library

An application to demolish part of the existing bedsits and build the new dwellings was submitted to South Kesteven District Council in April.

The building currently contains 12 rooms and can house 15 people.

The plans would involve demolishing “numerous unattractive additions” on the Grade II listed building.

50 years ago: August 20, 1971 – Sixteen excited little girls, members of the 1st and 2nd Deeping St James Brownie Packs, left by coach for a week’s Pack holiday. The holiday is being spent at the Children’s Inn, Rowarth, Cheshire, Pictured: Brownies and their leaders ready to board the coach.
50 years ago: August 20, 1971 – Sixteen excited little girls, members of the 1st and 2nd Deeping St James Brownie Packs, left by coach for a week’s Pack holiday. The holiday is being spent at the Children’s Inn, Rowarth, Cheshire, Pictured: Brownies and their leaders ready to board the coach.

This would require additional listed building consent.

The site is currently used for rented accommodation and parking. Part of it is fenced off and overgrown.

Drivers who flout parking laws by ignoring time restrictions have been warned they run the risk of getting a fine.

Lincolnshire county councillor William Webb (Con) says motorists who park illegally in Stamford, Bourne and the Deepings could be fined when parking wardens start patrolling next year.

The county council is due to apply to the Department of Transport in December to take over parking enforcement powers with the scheme coming into force in June next year.

The council is currently holding a consultation on its draft civil parking enforcement policies.

Lincolnshire is the last county in the country to take on parking enforcement and this is a requirement on the county council by the Government ro reduce congestion in town centres.

Parking has been a problem in Stamford for some time with traders complaining about workers taking up the limited time parking spaces in Broad Street and Bath Row.

The move is also likely to cause problems for residents who live in the town centre and have no off-street parking.

Volunteers are working on plans to restore a historic stream.

Members of the Welland Rivers Trust and Stamford Urban Group, which is an off-shoot from Stamford Town Partnership, are hoping to win a Heritage Lottery Grant to improve the mill stream in Stamford.

The stream, which runs between Tinwell Weir and The Meadows, was used to power mills for hundreds of years but parts of it have now fallen into disrepair.

Improvements are needed on the path and some of the banks, which are starting to subside, in the area around the Freeman Meadow.

Now the groups are planning to apply for a lottery grant to add willow revetments to stop the bank erosion and to replace the mud track with a proper pathway. They also hope to add information boards to explain more about the wildlife and the stream.

One of the people behind the project is Dave Sones, of Water Street, Stamford, who estimates that the work would cost between £30,000 and £50,000.

Mr Sones, who is secretary of the urban group and a member of the steering committee for the rivers trust, is hoping to submit an application within the next few weeks.

Mr Sones said: “It is a very unused area and a lot of people don’t know that it there. The only bit of the mill stream that people know about is the part that runs along the side of Bath Row but extends up to Tinwell Weir.”

25 years ago

The Ministry of Defence has said that RAF records of a nuclear bomb accidentally falling from a jet at Wittering are incorrect and there was never a risk of a radiation leak.

But anti-nuclear campaigners believed there has been a cover-up and the public should be made more aware of the numbers of warheads passing through the Stamford region.

In a declassified log dating from May 1959 an RAF squadron leader recorded that a “2,000lb nuclear weapon was accidentally jettisoned” from the bomb-bay of a Valiant bomber parked on the base.

The log continues: “Severe damage resulted to the weapon upon hitting the hard standing.”

An MOD spokesman this week said: “Despite what the operations record says the base’s station record makes no mention of this incident. The term ‘nuclear weapon’ shouldn’t be taken literally and it was an oversight that it was used.

“Bombs carried during a training flight such as this would be unarmed and as such no nuclear material was released to the environment. The only time a ‘live’ bomb would be carried is if the RAF were actually going to attack someone.”

People turned out in their hundreds on Monday to pay tribute to television personality and gardening expert Geoff Hamilton, who died last week.

Mourners packed into Exton Parish Church for the funeral, which was followed by a garden party at Geoff’s Barnsdale nursery to celebrate his life.

During the service part of the preface to Geoff’s forthcoming book – telling of the joys of being at one with nature as opposed to the hurly-burly of modern living – was read out by his sons Nicholas, Christopher and Stephen.

And the address was given by his identical twin brother Tony, of Lyddington, who is 35 minutes Geoff’s junior. He regaled the congregation with humorous anecdotes about the brothers’ lives and mischiefs and told of his immense pride in his brother’s achievements.

He recalled how once he had been stopped by an autograph hunter who asked if he was the Gardener’s World presenter. “No,” he answered, “I am his identical twin brother.” “Oh. What a disappointment,” came the reply.

Concerned Colsterworth residents have mounted their own inquiry into the extent of radon gas in the village.

Two villagers have appealed in a current edition of the village newsletter to anyone concerned about the gas, which has been linked to lung cancer, to contact them.

One of them, School Lane resident Madeleine Smith, said: “We want to find out how big a problem it is in the village.

“We could possibly arrange a meeting with a view to everyone getting some work done to tackle the problem at the same time.”

Madeleine’s home was checked by the National Radiological Protection Board in 1994, which discovered gas three times over the safe level.

South Kesteven District Council carried out tests on other homes in the area a year later, but Madeleine says a clear picture of the extent of the problem in the village has yet to materialise.

Radon is a naturally occurring product of the radioactive decay of uranium, which is found in all rocks and soils.

It can accumulate in buildings and exposure to the gas over time increases the risk of lung cancer, particularly among smokers.

Past surveys have discovered radon “hot spots” in south Lincolnshire , parts of Northamptonshire and Rutland.

50 years ago

Rents of new Stamford council houses are likely to be more than £5 a week in two years’ time, a borough councillor claimed on Tuesday.

Coun George Essex forecast a high level of rents because of increased costs, and questioned the wisdom of building any more council houses.

He was speaking at a special meeting of the council called to consider revised tenders for the next stage of the Edinburgh Road housing scheme.

Original tenders had been way above the cost yardstick laid down by the Government but the council on Tuesday accepted a tenderby Firman Construction, of Peterborough, of £419,423.23 for building 103 houses and four flats.

The council lopped £78,741 off Firman’s original tender by making a number of economies which included cutting out fences and gates at the front of houses, and substituting privet hedges for fences at the rear.

They will apply to the Department of the Environment for permission to raise a loan to cover the cost of the work.

Eighteen-year-old Robert Scholes, of 8 Princes Road, Stamford, has become the youngest-ever Freeman of the Borough – thanks to a change in the law.

Because the 1969 Family Law Reform Act changes the age of majority from 21 to 18, Robert was able to claim his Freedom three years earlier than usual.

On Monday he attended a special Freeman’s Court at the Town Hall, with his father, Mr Norman Scholes.

Presiding over the court was the Mayor of Stamford, Mr Ted Steele, with the Town Clerk, Mr Harold Bedford, dealing with the formalities.

Before Robert could officially become a Freeman, his father had to prove to the court that he himself held the title and that he and his wife had been living in the borough when his son was born.

Another condition was that Mr Scholes had himself been a Freeman and a resident at the time of his marriage.

Birth and marriage certificates were produced and checked before the Mayor and Town Clerk pronounced themselves satisfied.

Then Mr Steele read out the official declaration proclaiming Robert “a free Burgess of the said Borough”.

After Robert had solemnly promised the Town Clerk to “duly and faithfully fulfil the duties thereof” and had signed the official paper, the court was over.

The decision whether Princess Anne will be competing in the European Horse Trials championships at Burghley will be known in the next two weeks.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said this week: “The Princess has not done a lot of riding lately because of her illness.

“We should know if she will be at Burghley in the next two weeks.”

The Princess was asked to enter by the British selectors after they were impressed with her performance on “Doublet” in the Badminton horse trials.

100 years ago

Fire at Blackstone’s Works – About mid-day in Friday smoke was seen issuing from the roof o the pattern-making department of Messrs Blackstone and Co’s Works. Hoses pipes and fire extinguishers were quickly brought into play, but before the fire could be subdued the corrugated iron sheets of the roof had to be removed. It was fortunate that the outbreak was observed in its early stages, for the place was full of wood, patterns, and other inflammable material. The cause of the fire was the fusing of an electric wire, which ignited the rafters.

Collision – A motor cycle and side-car, which was being driven round the corner from Scotgate to All Saints collided with a motor car coming from the direction of Tinwell on Monday evening. Although, fortunately, the occupants were uninjured, both vehicles were somewhat damaged.

Knocked Down by Motor Cycle – Percy Dunkley, the ten-year-old son of Mr. W. N. H. Dunkley, the public librarian, was the victim of a nasty accident on Monday evening. He was running across the road neat the Infirmary and not noticing an approaching motor cycle, was knocked down and sustained laceration of the head.

Past Reforming – Apparently after celebrating his release from durance vile, where he was committed, on his sixty-eighth appearance before the magistrates, a few weeks ago, Robert Toon, a labourer, of Stamford, aged 41, was found incapable on Saturday in Wharf-road by P.c. Aldreidge and escorted to a place of safety – the Police Station. When he appeared before Mr. H. T. Daniels on Monday morning he pleaded guilty to being drunk and disorderly. The constable stated that he saw Toon rolling from one side of the road to the other, and fall down twice. Insp. Sindall stated that defendant had been convicted for being drunk and disorderly at that court and elsewhere 38 times, and had 68 convictions altogether recorded against him. Defendant, pleading for leniency, said that he got hit in the head when in France and a little drink upset him. He had work to go to, so did not want to go to prison. Mr Daniel: I am sure you are past reforming. A fine of 20s. was imposed, or 14 days in default, time being allowed for payment.

Charm of Stamford District in Print – In “Round About Stamford,” Mr. J. C. Billing, a well-known resident of this town, has presented a delightful account of the beauty and charm of the environs of the ancient borough. The assistance he had received from previous publications is acknowledged, but the volume contains much that is new, and its presentation has obviously been a labour of love to its author. It is well written in light and readable vein, contains much in the nature of anecdote to amuse and interest, and is not encumbered by technical descriptions and data that are beyond the comprehension of many. Every page breathes affection of the historic district dealt with, and, we doubt not, the brochure will command a ready sale throughout this area. Its attractiveness is enhanced by 40 tasteful and artistic reproductions of original drawings by Mr. Montague Jones, most pleasing to the eye. The book is published by Messrs. Dolby Bros., High-street, at 2s.

150 years ago

Twenty-one men and 32 horses of the Royal Artillery, under the command of Lieut. Shuttleworth, arrived in Stamford on Monday and left on the following morning: they were en router from Woolwich to Newcastle.

The members of the Stamford Loyal Albion Lodge of Odd Fellows have decided upon taking a holiday trip to Hunstanton on the 28th inst., in company with their wives and friends. Dinner tickets had been sent out with the view of celebrating the 33d anniversary of the lodge in the usual way; but two-thirds of these tickets were returned to the secretary. There appears to be an improved taste springing up, and a preference of salt water to spirit!

Stamford Union – At the weekly meeting of the Guardians, on the 16th inst inst., but few members attended. Mr. Richardson was instructed to examine the workhouse, and report to the Board on the alterations and improvements suggested on the recent visit of W. A. Pool, Esq., H. M. Poor-law inspector; and in addition to examine the condition of the drainage and water supply of the workhouse, which Mr. Peel also considered urgent. Some considerable outlay will probably be rendered necessary in order to carry out the alterations required. The number of inmates in the workhouse is 119 as against 177 in the corresponding week of last year.

The work of strengthening the foundations of All Saints’ church, Stamford, is progressing satisfactorily. The masstive pier which carries one end of the lofty Perpendicular chancel arch and receives three responds of the Early English south aisle and chapel is being put on a very substantial basis: while it was kept in position by beams and by bars of iron the spot beneath was excavated, and a solid block of masonry will soon fill up the opening. It would seem that the Early English church (the remaining parts of which are very fine) was erected on the site of an earlier and inferior structure, for the pier above mentioned is found to have been built on mere rubbish that had been thrown together with mortar, and from the debris fragments of human bones and of a stone Norman coffin have been picked up, which had evidently been disintegrated before the present church was erected. The ground beneath the south pier of the chancel was surrounded by crumbling vaults, and these are to be filled with concrete. Three coffins they contained have been removed to the catacombs in the churchyard.

Accidents – On Tuesday a woman named Ann Hill, while getting over a stile at Ufford, slipped and broke a leg: she was taken to the Infirmary at Stamford. On the same day, as Mary Rose, aged 13, was raising water at the conduit at St. Paul’s-street, Stamford, a sleeve of her dress was caught by the handle, whereby she was thrown down and sustained a broken arm.

On Wednesday the Stamford Union children were very liberally entertained at Barnack by the Rev. Canon Argles. Before returning by special train every youngster was made glad with a toy.

200 years ago

We intimated last week that we should give some further particulars of the trials at Lincoln assizes of two persons charged with riot at Stamford on the 11th of November last: we are induced, however, to concede the intention of such publication, to the desire of avoiding further irritation. The subject has now melancholy and awful associations with it, which should allay all party pride and animosity. In late events the immediate hand of the Almighty is too plainly traced for even passion to overlook it, and it must be a bold and a bad man that would attempt to obviate His Merciful dispensation for a return of public concord and unanimity.

The reaping of Wheat began in the neighbourhood of Stamford on Monday last. The crops are generally good, though in some situations laid by heavy rain on Wednesday se’nnight, and discoloured in the straw. There are great complaints of mildew in the growing wheat through many parts of Suffolk, Norfolk, and Essex; but the reports through England generally, are in favour of an average crop; and in Ireland the harvest is stated to be unusually productive.

We are happy to learn, that the Countess Fitzwilliam is in a state of convalescence.

An inquest was held on Thursday the 9th inst. at Edmondthorpe, before Thos. Clarke, Gent, coroner, on the body of Rd. Fardell, a cottager, of that place. It appeared from the evidence of Francis Exton, that the deceased was making hay in his own field when he complained of being very unwell from a pain in his head; he lay down upon a haycock, and was left for a short time, and when the persons who were engaged in the field returned to look at him, he was found quite dead. Verdict, that death was occasioned by the rupture of a blood-vessel in the chest.

For One Night only.

Mr. Mathews, having been out of his Element, will be found at Home, at the Theatre, Stamford, on Friday, Aug. 24th, 1821;

When, it is respectfully announced, he will have the honor to attempt a Description of his Travels in Air, Earth, and Water.


To be Sold by Auction,

By Mr. Joseph Wright,

At the Bull Inn in Bourn, in the county of Lincoln, on Saturday the 18th day of August instant, between the hours of Five and Seven in the evening, subject to such conditions of sale as will be then produced, by order of the Assignees of John Longfoot Fairchild, a bankrupt;

All that Messuage or Farm-House, Barn, Stable, Dovecote, Out-Buildings and Homestead, and also all that Cottage or Tenement thereunto adjoining, and Piece or parcel of rich Pasture Land lying under the same, containing about Seven Acres, situate and being in Thurlby aforesaid, bounded on part of the East and North by the estate of Mr. Carter, on other part of the North by the town’s street, on the South by a public drain, and on the West be the estate of Thurlby poor, as the same were late in the occupation of the said John Longfoot Fairchild.

The above estate is Freehold and Tithe-free, and the parochial rates are very moderate.

For further particulars apply to Mr. Daniel Larratt, or Mr. George Browning, both of Thurlby aforesaid; or to Messrs. Green and Carter, solicitors, Spalding.

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