News from up to 200 years ago in Stamford, Rutland, Bourne and the Deepings
Join us for our weekly stroll down memory lane looking at news from up to 200 years ago.
Our Mercury Memories is produced thanks to the support of the Stamford Mercury Archive Trust.
10 years ago
August 16, 2013
Stamford town centre is in high demand with retailers and businesses, despite the economic struggles across the country.
A quick walk around the main shopping areas reveals many empty buildings will soon have new tenants.
And according to estate agents, there are fewer than five units currently on the market that do not have confirmed new occupants.
Budworth Hardcastle director Gavin Hynes said interest was always strong in Stamford.
He added: “It is rare for a property not to be let within a short space of time.
“I'm not saying times aren't hard but there is still considerable demand from retailers to be in Stamford.”
The Mercury counted 16 empty properties around Stamford town centre. Of these, three were not available to let.
The rest all had confirmed tenants or interested parties.
Videos posted online apparently showing a bright light in the sky above Stamford have been linked to a new television programme.
Two clips appeared on YouTube this week seemingly showing a light hovering above Stamford.
While some suggested they were UFOs, many readers remained sceptical and some linked it to a film crew that spent last week interviewing people in Stamford town centre.
Suspicions were further rasied when TV personality Stacey Solomon tweeted a link to one of the videos and said: “Has anyone seen this? UFOs in the sky over Stamford! I'm off to check it out for a new TV taster on Tuesday #scared!”
Reader Robin Burgess was stopped by the film crew. He said: “After telling them that not really that much happens for people of our age and explaining that the night life here was actually all right, he randomly asked us both if we had seen any strange lights in the night sky.”
The film crew declined to comment on the new programme.
New College Stamford has been awarded more than £1.2m to invest in new facilities for vocational subjects.
The college in Drift Road has been awarded £1,225,280 in government funding to convert its current on-site sports hall.
The new facilities will provide an area for the teaching of construction, motor vehicle maintenance, brickwork, carpentry, joinery, plumbing, electrical installation and green technologies.
New College Stamford Principal Andrew Patience said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have been awarded this College Capital Investment Fund funding.
“The conversion of the sports hall to house these three subject areas will allow us to offer our students even better facilities than ever before.
“It also comes at a perfect time for us, as our students will benefit from the new purpose-built sports and education facilities on Ryhall Road when we start converting the existing sports hall.”
Work is due to begin on a £5m football ground and sports centre on land off Ryhall Road in Stamford.
The facility, which is a joint venture between the Burghley House Preservation Trust, New College Stamford and Stamford AFC, will be used by the college during the week and The Daniels at weekends and for matches.
Mr Patience said: “The development and modernisation of our construction department gives us a fantastic opportunity to target those areas in which the Local Enterprise Partnerships anticipate growth and where employers are reporting skills shortages – plumbing, electrical installation, electronics and heritage trades.
“We will also be able to extend our existing motor vehicle programmes to cover new technologies from these industries such as work on hybrid and electric cars.”
25 years ago
August 14, 1998
Trials of genetically modified crops at two sites near Stamford have been given the go-ahead.
In the week controversy was re-ignited over what detractors call “Frankenstein food”, the Mercury can reveal scientists have been given permission to monitor new sugar beet strains at farms in Pilsgate, Stamford, and Algate, Ketton.
Companies involved in the trails include chemical giant Monsanto – and more trials of a new herbicade resistant oil seed rape are also planned.
The row over genetically modified foods made nation news this week when a nutrition expert claimed transgenic potatoes – whose genetic make-up has been altered to make them resistant to pests – had stunted the growth of rats and damaged their immune systems.
Although the findings are now believed to be incorrect, environmentalists still fear that genetic food research could lead to a food disaster of BSE-sized proportions.
Greenpeace Lincolnshire area networker Chris Kettle said: “We don't agree with genetically modified foods or see a need to grow them – there are plenty of other food sources which haven't been tampered with.”
The Pilsgate farm is leased from Burghley Estates Ltd and company manager Philip Ling has no objection to research.
He said: “We let our farms to competent farmers who are required to manage them within Ministry of Agriculture guidelines. It is nothing to do with the estate, but seems like good pro-active research and development.”
A Stamford voluntary group is challenging local people to help it improve the look of the town this summer.
Stamford Rotaract Club members are keen to start work on a community-based programme, but want residents to give them some useful advice.
The group is determined to make the town centre as attractive as possible and is all set for hours of civic-spirited cleaning, clearing, planting, weeding and scrubbing.
But before the project begins the team of willing volunteers need suggestions as to how their labours will be best directed.
Club member Paul Gowers explained why he and many others are so anxious to improve the town.
“We at Stamford Rotaract are keen to help as much as we can in the local community and our latest idea is to give local people the chance to tell us what they think will really benefit them.
“I feel very proud of living and working in a town such as Stamford. In this club we all consider it to be the most attractive in the area and we are keen to do our bit to help it stay that way.”
Huge crowds arrived at Deeping St James on Sunday for the annual Deepings Raft Race on the River Welland.
Entries exceeded all expectations with 56 teams, and organisers think they can break the £5,000 barrier when sponsorship money comes in.
In Sunday afternoon's heat, the river seemed the best place to be, and the scores of people taking part in the race enjoyed getting wet in the dash to the finish.
The mile-long course took teams beteen 26 minutes and two-and-a-half hours to complete.
But despite the number of people involved in the race the event still ran smoothly.
Organiser Mike Shattock said: “Last year was the biggest ever, but this year was unbelieveable with 56 rafts. But it was well organised – we got the rafts on the river as soon as possible and set them off in numerical order.”
50 years ago
August 17, 1973
Daring raiders took just three minutes on Monday morning to snatch about £600 in cash and cheques from a Stamford butcher – while the shopkeeper's back was turned.
The lightning raid took place at the Red Lion Square branch of Nelson's Ltd where the weekend's takings were awaiting collection in an office behind the shop.
Manager Mr Harry Mallard was alone in the shop, and the mystery thieves slipped in and made off with the money while he was fetching water to wash the floor.
“He had been cashing up,” said Insp. W. D. Spalton, of Stamford police.
“He had only been gone for three or four minutes, but when he got back the money was gone.”
The money, in an open safe contained about £15 in loose silver, and included a number of cheques.
“The thief waited until Mr Mallard's attention was diverted, took two minutes to get in, and took the money out,” said the Inspector.
After about 22 years trading, the fishmonger's in South Street, Bourne, is to close in a fortnight's time.
The owner, Mr Cyril Holdcroft, who bought the business 14 years ago, attributes the closure to the abnormally high cost of fish and to the installation of traffic lights in Bourne having an adverse effect on his trade.
Double lines at the South Street aproach to the lights have ended parking near Mr Holdcroft's frontage, and a pedestrian crossing which was convenient for the shop has been moved farther away from it.
“The installation of traffic lights has badly affected us, and the price of fish has done up to such an extent that the natural wastage is proving too costly,” Mr Holdcroft said. “And overheads keep going up as well.
“We used to get the morning shoppers until 10 am but they have been turned away by the traffic lights since parking at no time is now allowed in front of my shop.
“Elderly people used to shop for the younger ones who were out working, and it was quite usual for an elderly lady to shop for three or four people.
“Now, the elderly feel that they cannot cross the road in safety.”
Bell ringers at Langham parish church will continue to practise every other Wednesday evening, despite complaints by some parishioners that at the time the noise is intolerable and nerve-shattering.
“If we are to have the bells rung on Sundays – and the people don't seem to complain about that – the practising must go on, said the captain of the ringers, Mr Fred Hubbard.
He has been ringing for more than 40 years, and to him bellringing is much more than a church duty, it is an art in which he is deeply interested.
Complains about the mid-week practicing come mainly from people living in the immediate vicinity of the church.
They say that for 90 minutes they're unable to listen to radio and television programmes or speak on the telephone because the sound of the bells is so deafening and some mothers complain that their children are kept awake.
In a letter of the “Mercury”, Mr Michael Seivewright, of Well Street. Langham, writes: “It is Wednesday evening and once again the very amateur campanologists are subjecting us to another session of maximum decibel diabolical noise.
“Why do the Church Council permit so few people to make so much noise to annoy so many?”
100 years ago
August 17, 1923
Drove Through Crowd – At the Borough Police Court, on Saturday, a Nuneaton draper, Harry Gill, was fined £5 from driving a motor car negligently in Red Lion-square, Stamford, on July 22nd. Mr. C. Atter defended. P.c. Anderson stated that on this Sunday evening a band was preparing to play, and a large number of people were assembled. Defendant came from High-street and swerved to the left-hand side of the Square and “zig-zagged” through the crowd. One man, in stepping back, fell over, the car grazing his boots. Defendant drove round the corner into All-Saint's-street and pulled up. He then said to P.c. Anderson “I lost control through me foot slipping off the accelerator.”
Parishes In Arrear – Mr J. W. Coulson (vice-chairman) presided at the meeting of the Stamford Board of Guardians on Monday. The Clerk (Mr. H. J. Tillson) reported that the parishes of Essendine, Ryhall, Stibbington, Thornhaugh and West Deeping were in arrear with their contribution of the first instalment of the poor rate, and it was decided to issue the usual notices. The Clerk said that at Essendine and Ryhall new valuation lists were being prepared, and that may have accounted for the delay, but in reference to the other parishes he was not aware of any reason for the arrears.
Choir Outing – Members of the Stamford Congregational Church choir journeyed by char-a-banc to Hunstanton on Thursday for their annual outing.
Local Florists' Success – Messrs. W. and J. Brown, the well-known florists, of Stamford and Peterborough, were, for the second year in succession, awarded the silver cup, value £50, for the best group of cut roses at Leicester Abbey Park flower show.
Territorials Return - On Saturday the men of the Stamford Company of Territorials, looking very bronzed and fit, returned from their fortnight's camp.
Girl Guides At Camp – Eighteen guides and three officers of the Stamford 1st Company Girl Guides left on Thursday (Aug. 16) for a ten-days camp at Trusthorpe, near Mablethirpe. The company is in charge of Capt. Miss H. A. Pickett, Lieuts. Miss Harper and Mrs. J. Laws.
Motoring Mishaps – On Sunday, a motor-cycle and side-car, carrying, in addition to the driver and a lady in the side-car, a man riding pillion, crashed into the wall between the shops of Messrs. Curry in High-street. By what was little short of a miracle, the whole party escaped injury, although the cycle was badly damaged.
Whilst proceeding along the Great North Road, towards Grnatham, on Sunday afternoon, a motor car narrowly escaped colliding with a lady motor-cyclist at South Witham crossroads. In avoiding the collision, the motor-car went through a hedge into a field. No person was injured, but the car was damaged severely.
Bourne Urban Topics – The monthly meeting of the Bourne Urban Council was held on Tuesday evening at the Town Hall, when Councillor Carvath presided. The Highway Committee recommended that the surveyor carry out his proposed scheme for the repair of the Dyke roads approaching the Fen, which would cost £25. Mr Bett raised the question of the condition of the road in Victoria-place, which, he stated, was in a very bad condition, and added that nothing had been done to the road during his residence in that district, which was practically 12 years. The reply was to the effect that the estimate for highway expenditure had been expended.
150 years ago
August 15, 1873
A list of subscriptions towards the repairs of All Saints' church, Stamford, is published in another column. Considering the large sum collected for the recent reapir of the fabric, the parishioners are again coming forward very liberally, £486 (including the donations of the Marquis of Exeter and Lord Burghley) having been already contributed, but a much larger sum is requisite before the work necessary for preserving the handsome edifice can be entered upon.
At a meeting of the Stamford Rural Sanitary Authority on Wednesday notices were signed by the chairman to the owners of tenements at Barnack and Tallington for the removal of nuisances. The two cottages at Barnack are in the possession of Rd. Lewin and Daniel Knapp, and the lawful owner is said to be abroad. The cottage at Tallington is in the occupation of ---- Jarvis, and is very deficient in accommodation. The stipend of the clerk was fixed at £40 from the commencement of the Act in August to the 25th March last.
There have been more Irish harvestmen in Stamford this summer than for three or four years past, and notwithstanding the almost general use of machine reapers their services have been in demand in the neighbourhood. They have been on the whole peaceable. Two of them got too much beer on Monday, and one of them broke a window, for which he had to pay after passing a night in the lock-up.
The scholars attending the Sunday and day schools of Barnack enjoyed their annual treat on the 6th inst. To the number of about 200 they first attended church, where they engaged in a choral service and listened to a short address from Canon Argles. They then went in procession, with flags and banners, to the Rectory-grounds, where they partook of a bountiful tea. The evening was spent in races for prizes, jumping in sacks, cricket, &c. At dusk the children were assembled, and each was presented with a gift suitable to its age. They afterwards sang several songs, partook of more refreshment, and concluded with hearty cheers for Canon and Mrs. Argles, who has so kindly entertained them. On the same evening the members of the choir were entertained at supper served in a tent on the Rectory lawn.
The children of the North-street Sunday school, Stamford, had their yearly entertainment on Tuesday.
A child of Mr. J. Bolland, compositor, Stamford, broke its collar-bone a few days ago by falling over a wash-tub.
An Irish labourer named Anthony Frain was to-day sent to prison for seven days, by C. O. Eaton, Esq., for maliciously setting fire to some cut wheat in a field in the parish of Wothorpe, belonging to Mr. Whincup: 18 sheaves were consumed.
Eliz. Curtis, of Collyweston, was on Tuesday taken before the Rev. W. H. Charlton charged with threatening to murder her husband. She was bound over to keep the peace for three months, and in default of finding two sureties of £10 each she was sent to prison.
200 years ago
August 15, 1823
Between 8 and 9 o'clock on Wednesday morning the village of Tallington, near this place, was visited by an alarming storm of thunder and lightning. The electric fluid passed down the chimney into the house of Robert Waples whilst he and his wife were at breakfast, and for a few moments deprieved them of sight; it also struck the woman down her side, and affected her feet so much as to take away the use of her toes: the soldering of some canisters which were standing on the chimney-piece was melted, and the fluid past out through the window, which was broken to pieces. The lightning also entered the chimney of the adjoining house, struck the brick-work, and slightly damaged the interior, but fortunately no-one was within at the time. During the storm a fire-ball fell without injuring any thing, and the thunder was louder than ever remembered by the oldest inhabitant of the village.
The harvest in this neighbourhood has commenced partially, and if the weather was favourable would be general: at present however, although three or four days this week have been more seasonable than for some time past, we have not good harvest weather – the days being sultry and humid, with heavy rains at night.
We are informed that admirers of music in the neighbourhoods of Uppingham and Oakham are likely to be gratified next month by musical festivals.
On Saturday the 2d inst., at Wiiliam Goodman, laborer, of Woolsthorpe, in the immediate vicinity of Belvoir castle, was lowering a large scaffold-pole from a window, thirty-six feet in height, by an unfortunate overbalance he was precipitated therefrom, and pitching with his head upon the pavement, his brains were literally dashed out. The poor man was 25 years old, and has left a wife and child. His Grace the Duke of Rutland, when informed of the catastrophe, with his accustomed humanity gave orders to his steward to defray the expenses of the inquest and funeral; and also that the unfortunate man's widow, so long as she remain so, should have a weekly allowance of ten shillings, and that her child should have a sufficient stipend until he was capable of maintaining himself. It is a remarkable and melancholy truth, that the above unfortunate man is the seventh who has been killed during the time the building has been carrying on at Belvoir Castle since the fire on the 26th of October, 1816; all of whom were residents of Woolsthorpe, and all have left widows and children in that village, who are well provided for by the munificence of the noble owner of the mansion.
A burglary was committed on the premises of Mr. Hardy, butcher, of Ingoldsby, on Saturday night last; and two hams, 2 legs of mutton, a loin of veal, and 5 butcher's cloths were stolen therefrom.
As Mr. Wm. Eson, of Whaplode Drove, was returning from Spalding market between 11 and 12 o'clock on the night of the 4th inst., he was met near Moulton Chapel by three men (supposed to be Irishmen), who pulled him off his horse and robbed him of his watch and 30s. in silver.
On Monday last a boy, son to Mr. Hearn, cooper, of Huntingdon, while fishing in the river Ouse, fell into the water and was drowned.