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Memories of Stamford’s first ever Georgian festival and other news from Rutland, Bourne and the Deepings

The first ever Georgian festival was held in Stamford 10 years ago.

This is just one of the stories in this week’s Mercury Memories, put together with the support of the Stamford Mercury Archive Trust.

50 years ago: July 20, 1973 – An open day at the Cottesmore Hunt kennels gave visitors an opportunity of seeing behind the scenes at the headquarters of one of the country's most famous hunts on Saturday.
50 years ago: July 20, 1973 – An open day at the Cottesmore Hunt kennels gave visitors an opportunity of seeing behind the scenes at the headquarters of one of the country's most famous hunts on Saturday.

10 years ago

July 19, 2013

Stamford's first ever Georgian festival was officially launched on Friday last week with traditional food and drink and even a royal visit.

The festival, which will be held from September 27 to 29, is a celebration of Stamford's heritage and is being jointly organised by South Kesteven District Council, Stamford Town Council and Burghley House Preservation Trust.

Council representatives, some in full Georgian costume, were joined by Stamford traders and special guests for an official launch in Red Lion Street.

And King George III made a special appearance to tell his subjects about the event.

Mayor of Stamford, Coun Brian Sumner (Con) said: “I hope it will bring a lot of people into the town to help our businesses. A lot of planning has gone into it and it will be very authentic.”

King George III said the festival would be a “splendid” occasion celebrating “all that is good in England”.

25 years ago: July 17, 1998 – Pupils, staff and guests celebrate the opening of the school environmental area at Edith Weston Primary School
25 years ago: July 17, 1998 – Pupils, staff and guests celebrate the opening of the school environmental area at Edith Weston Primary School

Volunteer gardeners at a sheltered housing complex were devastated after thieves stole the second of three hanging basket stands.

One of the metal stands in the communal garden in Edmonds Close, Stamford, was discovered missing by a resident on Sunday morning.

It was the second of three to be stolen after thieves took another stand two months ago.

One resident, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “I went out to water the plants at 7pm on Saturday. The next morning they were gone.

“We look after the gardens on a voluntary basis and we get no funding so we have to raise money to make them nice ourselves.

“But when this happens you hit rock bottom.”

The stand was secured to the ground by four foot-long metal brackets and the recently-watered hanging baskets were fixed on with cable ties.

The resident added: “I tried to lift one of them but I could only move it about two inches.

“It must have taken a lot of effort to take it.”

25 years ago: July 17, 1998 – Pupils at Stamford's Bluecoat Primary School display their sports certificates.
25 years ago: July 17, 1998 – Pupils at Stamford's Bluecoat Primary School display their sports certificates.

Political allegiances were cast aside as a community vowed to fight county council plans to close their library.

About 200 people went to a public meeting at The Deepings Community Centre in Market Deeping on Thursday last week.

Residents of Market Deeping, Deeping St James, West Deeping, Deeping Gate and Langtoft were united in their determination to fight for the future of Deepings Library, in High Street, Market Deeping.

The facility has been earmarked for closure by Lincolnshire County Council as part of a county-wide consultation aimed at cutting £2m from the libraries budget.

Members of Market Deeping Town Council and Deeping St James Parish Council were joined by county councillors for the area and Deepings MP John Hayes (Con).

Mr Hayes told the meeting he was proud and honoured to support the campaign to keep the library open.

The meeting was chaired by county councillor for Deeping St James Phil Dilks (Lab).

Coun Dilks said more than 3,000 people had already signed a petition opposing the closure and once that number reached 3,500 the issue would have to be debated by the full council.

He called the plans “cultural vandalism” and urged residents to make the case for the library to the county council's executive member of libraries, culture and heritage Coun Nick Worth (Con).

Coun Dilks has invited Coun Worth and the council's head of libraries and heritage Jonathan Platt to the meeting, but both declined.

50 years ago: July 20, 1973 – A group of prizewinners who received their awards at the Deeping St James County Primary School speech day, on Thursday.
50 years ago: July 20, 1973 – A group of prizewinners who received their awards at the Deeping St James County Primary School speech day, on Thursday.

25 years ago

July 17, 1998

A residents' leader fears crime on Stamford's streets will get worse unless action is soon taken to combat the problem.

The Stamford (North) Tenants' and Residents' Association has called an open meeting for Tuesday to discuss ways of beating crime in its area.

Association chairman Jane Clayton believes action has to be taken soon. She said: “There is genuine concern and the early sign of real trouble. Kids can be very intimidating and if they are given a free hand they will just carry on. It's bound to get worse if there is no deterrent.”

Many elderly residents are frightened to leave their homes at night because of harassment by gangs. Recent incidents include a petrol bomb attack on a home in Elizabeth Road and a man throwing concrete tiles from the roof of flats in Churchill Road.

Stamford looks set to be hit by cuts in police spending but station chief Insp Paddy O'Rourke will be at the meeting to discuss policing in the area. He will be joined by town and district councillors, as well as South Kesteven District Council officers.

50 years ago: July 20, 1973 – Glaston fete was opened by the Glaston and Bisbrooke May Queen, Carol Howarth (left), Beverley Jones, her attendant, and Patricia Shelton, who won first prize in the fancy dress contest, dressed as a gypsy.
50 years ago: July 20, 1973 – Glaston fete was opened by the Glaston and Bisbrooke May Queen, Carol Howarth (left), Beverley Jones, her attendant, and Patricia Shelton, who won first prize in the fancy dress contest, dressed as a gypsy.

Plans to create a public park in Market Deeping have been unveiled by the town council.

Under the £13,500 scheme the Rectory Paddock, bordering Halfleet, will be enhanced with the planting of many trees and the creation of a pond.

The Rectory Paddock forms part of the Glebe Park, which was bought by the town council from Lincoln Diocese for £200,000 in February 1997.

The site had been ear-marked for housing development until the council stepped in to save the fields for the town.

Coun Reg Howard was town mayor when the land was purchased and is enthusiastic about the plan for Rectory Paddock.

He said: “I'm very happy with it.

“When completed and matured it will provide a beautiful and peaceful area for the enjoyment of residents and should encourage wildlife and birds.”

The design was drawn up by Lapwing Consultants and includes a footpath leading from Halfleet, through the paddock and main Glebe Park to Godsey Lane.

50 years ago: July 20, 1973 – Stretton fete patrons on Saturday try the luck of the draw.
50 years ago: July 20, 1973 – Stretton fete patrons on Saturday try the luck of the draw.

Road safety campaigners were jubilant this week as a 30mph speed limit was imposed on Empingham Road in Stamford.

There had previously been a 40mph limit outside the Malcolm Sargent School, and a 60mph limit leading to the A1 slip-raod.

Now, as a result of pressure from the school and Stamford Town Council – and a new Lincolnshire County Council policy of 30mph limits outside county schools – the limit has been reduced to 30.

The town council and Malcolm Sargent School have been campaigning to reduce the 40mph limit, and were delighted with the result.

Pressure to reduce the speed limit increased when a pupil was injured near the school in November 1996.

Town clerk Tony Wain said: “I'm very pleased because this is something a lot of people have been asking for, and the council had been fighting for for a long time.”

Mayor Coun Colin Evans said: “This is good for the town because it should keep traffic speeds down on Empingham Road, and it will benefit the school because it should help ensure the safety of the children.

Headteacher John Oates said: “I'm very pleased, but this is long overdue. Luckily there have been no fatalities of children over the past few years, although one was injured.

“I think it's a great shame we have had to wait for legislation to do something which is so obvious. But it's good news that we have got what we wanted.”

25 years ago: July 17, 1998 – Organisers and helpers man the white elephant stall at this year's Duddington fete. The fete raised £4,000.
25 years ago: July 17, 1998 – Organisers and helpers man the white elephant stall at this year's Duddington fete. The fete raised £4,000.

50 years ago

July 20, 1973

Teachers at Deeping County Secondary School threatened a mass walk-out when one of their colleagues was faced with suspension because of her trendy clothes.

The trouble started two weeks ago when 24-year-old Mrs Susan Wilkinson was told by the headmaster Mr John Sweet, that she must stop wearing her pale blue trouser-suit to classes.

But Mrs Wilkinson, who has taught at the school for the past year, defied the ban saying: “There was nothing immoral about the suit. It didn't interfere with my job and I wasn't setting a precedent.”

On Wednesday, Mrs Wilkinson's husband, David, himself a teacher at Bourne Grammar School, said that he had contacted his solicitors and the National Union of Teachers.

“I will want assurances from the Director of Education, the Board of Governors and the headmaster, that the whole incident doesn't damage my wife's career.”

On Tuesday a colleague described Mrs Wilkinson as a “superb teacher”, and recently she has spent her own money on taking her remedial class for a holiday.

It is now claimed that the 43-year-old headmaster has stopped children collecting for the teacher, who resigns at the end of the month.

Earlier this week one member of staff said: “There is incredible unrest in the school.”

A fresh argument erupted on Monday when another teacher was ordered home to change a long dress she had been wearing in class. This time the headmaster took 22-year-old music teacher Miss Marijke Hainsworth home to change before she was allowed to attend a concert in Bourne.

Stamford's worst storm for years left a trail of flood chaos in its wake this week, and caused thousands of pounds of damage.

The Tuesday teatime torrent turned some roads into rivers and sparked off dozens of calls to overworked police and firemen.

Homes, cars and pubs were all hit as nearly an inch of rain poured down on the town in just 45 minutes.

One woman in Peterhouse Close called in the police when sewage erupted from a drain and on to the vegetables in her back garden.

And three pensioners in Essex Road were fighting a battle with floodwater that rushed from a dyke into their gardens and homes. One of them had to be carried out above the floods by workmen.

The torrential rain started at about 4.30 pm and within minutes the first of the evenings' 28 calls were being made to town firemen.

Worse hit of the roads was the steep Casterton Road, where the gushing water knocked away newly-laid tarmac and forced police to close part of the road.

Meanwhile further down the hill, cars were being stranded as Scotgate was turned into a fast-flowing eight inch deep stream.

Mrs Angela Gibbs, landlady at the White Swan Inn, said: “I've never seen anything quite like it. The road was afloat.

The pub itself suffered, with carpets getting soaked in the lounge and nine inch-deep water in the cellar.

Dozens of premises in the town centre needed pumping out.

Among then was Nelson's and Johnson's butchers, Feetham's in High Street, and Melbourn's Brewery.

Scores of old papers in the Mercury offices were ruined as four-foot deep floodwater gushed from the pavement into the cellar. This means that certain back issues will not be available.

Several cars in Bath Row were flooded by water flowing down from Castle Dyke.

100 years ago

July 20, 1923

Church Fete – Delightful weather favoured the Congregational garden fete at Rock Lodge, Stamford, on Thursday. The opening ceremony was performed by Mrs. H. M. Dunkerley, Mr. Chas. Smith (Leicester) presiding. The lawns were gaily decorated, and the various departments were in the hands of willing helpers. These included: Ices, &c., Mr. H. C. Collins, Mrs. J. S. Prior, Misses B. and M. Findlay, Miss A. Prior; teas, Mrs. F. W. Kent; work stall, Mrs. Carnegie, Mrs. Cliff, Mrs. R. Tidd, Mrs. S. Dyer. Mrs. Stubbs, and Mrs. Plant; flowers, plants, &c., Mrs. C. Boyfield, Mrs. S. Grimes, Miss Degg; Y.P.U., Mrs. A. W. Childs, Mrs. B. T. Grimes, Mrs. G. Brand, Miss Spademan, Miss Bryan; Primary Department stall, Mrs. C. Joyce, Mrs. H. Allen, Mrs. A. Vickers, Misses C. Reynolds, E. Freear, A. Chapman, J. and D. Carpenter, E. Grimes, and Mr. F. Lovell; Sunday School stall, Mrs. H. J. Thompson, Miss Peasgood, Mr. J. R. Smith, and Mr. A. Locke; Women's Guild stall, Mrs. C. Middleton, Mrs. Betts, Mrs. Bland, Mrs. Pearson, Mrs. King, and Mrs. Bryan; bran tub, Mrs H. M. Lenox and Miss A. Chapman. Half-hour concerts by artistes from Melton Mowbray were much appreciated. Wireless concerts were arranged by Messrs. Cutting and Jobling. An interesting exhibition of a freak of nature was a three-legged hen, which, it was reputed laid two eggs at a time. The function was very successful.

Nonagenarian's Death – The death occurred on Friday of Mr. William Jasper Fancourt, of Wharf-road, Stamford, at the age of 91. A native of Stamford, he was for a considerable time foreman for Messrs. Roberts, builders. He was a devoted disciple of Izaak Walton, and was a well-known figure round Stamford waterways.

Lorry On Fire – A motor lorry on fire in All Saints'-place, Stamford, caused some excitement in the early hours of Friday. The driver, who was sleeping in the lorry, was awakened by the burning of the canvas covering, which had apparently been in contact with one of the lamps. Mr. S. L. Woodbridge and Mr. W. Walmsley went to the driver's assistance, and with the aid of two fire extinguishers the flames were put out.

Where Their Machines Are Made – Organised by the East Midlands Centre of the A.C.U., a visit was paid by about 140 motor cyclists from Stamford, Lincoln, Spalding, Boston, and other places on Saturday to the works of the famous Raleigh Cycle Company at Nottingham. Members of the staff conducted the visitors around the extensive works and the remarkable plant, capable of turning out tens of thousands of high-class machines of the popular Raleigh pattern, and other features greatly interested the visitors. Tea was hospitably provided by the Raleigh Company in the splendidly-equipped canteen at the works.


Flag day – A flag day, on Thursday, organised by Miss Marriott on behalf of the National Civilian Blind Society, resulted in £10 16s. being raised.

Bowls Match – In a bowling match between the Church Club and the Congregational Bowling Club, the last-named were successful in winning four out of the six sets, and on the total points scored 170 to the home side 144.

School Appointment – The Managers of the Council schools on Saturday appointed Mr. Barlow, of Stamford, assistant master to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Mr. Needs, who has been appointed headmaster at Rippingale School.

150 years ago

July 18, 1873

At a meeting of the General Purposes Committee held on Tuesday, after the transaction of the Council business, it was resolved that the surveyor should make a written report upon the state of the several bridges repairable by the Stamford Borough authorities with an estimate of the cost of any necessary repairs. It was also resolved that tenders be invited for the painting of the outside wood and iron work of the Town-hall, and the lime washing of such part of the interior as requires limewashing. The gaoler was directed to seek permission from the Justices for the employment of convicted prisoners in the cleansing of the cellars under the hall.

The Marquis of Exeter won the 1st prize at the Royal Agricultural Society's show at Hull on Monday last with his celebrated bull Telelmachus, this proving him to be at this day the best bull in England.

At a meeting held at the Crown inn, Stamford, last week (Mr. Morgan in the chair) it was decided that an attempt should be made to form a coal company for Stamford.

The Countess of Cardigan's cup, which is to be run for at the Stamford race meeting next week, is to be seen at Mr. Norton's, in High-street. It is a very handsome piece of plate of silver, gilt: its height, including the base or pedestal, is 24 inches, and it weighs about 200oz.

The only business transacted at Stamford petty sessions on Saturday last was the granting of licences for the sale of game.

A juvenile delinquent named John Skellet was taken before the Mayor of Stamford on Wednesday, charged with stealing 3s. from his employer, Mr. W. Brown, seedsman. P.c. Burrell learnt that the youth was spending money rather freely, and on questioning him certained that he was in possession of more cash than he was likely to have come by honestly. He said he found it, but the officer not being satisfied took him to the police station, and there the boy confessed he had taken it from Mr. Brown's till. He was remanded to the petty sessions.

Bourn – The General Johnson Lodge of Oddfellows (Nottingham Unity) held their anniversary on Monday. A procession of 99 out of about 130 members, headed by the Spalding Rifle Volunteers' band, marched to church, where the Rev. C. Basley preached. Dinner was afterwards served in the Corn-exchange, by Mr. Skinner, of the Nag's Head inn. The accounts of the lodge show that the funds amount to £185 19s. 7d., or an increase on last year of about £11: this is after the payment of £108 17s. for sickness and funerals. The United Provident Association had a similar gathering on the 9th inst. There are 111 members, and a number of them, headed by the band of the 6th Northamptonshire Rifle Volunteers, paraded the town and attended church: the Rev. C. Basley preached the sermon. Mr. Hy. Bott, presided at the annual dinner, which took place at the Angel Hotel. During the year £146 14. 1d. was paid to members, and the worth of the society is £1820 10s. 8d., or an increase of £61 13s. 81/2d.

The Congregational Sunday school children had their annual treat on Tuesday, and the Union children were invited to join them: all the young folks seemed to enjoy themselves.

200 years ago

July 18, 1823

On Wednesday last an inquest was taken at Swayfield, before George White, Gent. coroner, on the body of Mark Foster, whose death was occasioned by a blow received from William Taylor under the following circumstances. The deceased, who was a cordwainer of Swinstead, had gone on Monday last to Swayfield feast, where he sat up all night. Wm. Taylor, who is a labourer and had been employed in re-building the church at Swayfield, had also sat up all Monday night; and early on Tuesday morning he and the deceased played two games at bowls, at which he won one shilling. This money he repeatedly called upon the deceased to pay, but the other refused, and with an oath declared he would not pay. Upon this, Taylor said,”if you will not pay me I'll pay you;” and getting up, struck Foster a blow on his left ear, which drove him against the wall and he never spoke more. At first the company supposed he was sulky, not thinking he was much hurt, but not finding him change his position they carried him into the air, in which Taylor anxiously assisted, and seemed much frightened. A surgeon was sent for, but in vain, the deceased was never seen to stir or exhibit the slightest signs of life after he had received the blow as above stated. The Jury returned a verdict of manslaughter against Taylor, who was committed under the coroner's warrant to the Castle at Lincoln, to take his trial at the next assizes.

On Wednesday last Thomas Whitehead, baker, of Easton, was convicted of exposing to sale bread deficient in weight within this borough,and paid mitigated penalties amounting to upwards of £11. In 17 half-peck loaves and 5 quartern loaves, there was a deficiency of 160 ounces, which at 5s. per ounce (the full penalty) made him liable to no less a forfeiture than £40.

A few days ago a publican of Stamford was convicted in a penalty (with costs) amounting to £6, for keeping open his house at an undue hour of the night, and in default of payment was committed to gaol. It is hoped that this proceeding may render innkeepers more cautious of admitting irregularities in their houses, for which under the Act lately passed they may be visited with serious consequences.

In the night of Friday last a strong iron bar was wrenched from the larder window of Mr. Abbott, of the Roebuck inn in this place, and a shoulder and leg of mutton stolen through the aperture.

During a violent tempest on Tuesday evening the 8th inst., a large oak tree standing in a close of Mr. Kenniwell, of Burton Coggles, between that village and Easton, was struck by lightning and shivered to pieces, some of which were driven to a distance of 80 yards. It was a very fine oak, and yet the whole of the bole of the tree was completely riven into lathwood – affording one of the most remarkable evidences ever seen of the wonderful force of lightning.

Uppingham annual feast or wake was this week unusually well attended by visitors for enjoying the gay festivities of the season. The holiday-like amusement of ass-racing was conducted with great spirit for three successive days, to the no small diversion of all present, young and old; and the trade ball on Tuesday evening comprises a numerous and respectable company.

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