From our Archives: Residents in protest over ‘problem families’

John Gross pictured at Langrick station with the last train to go through the village to Boston in 1963.
John Gross pictured at Langrick station with the last train to go through the village to Boston in 1963.

1979: Residents of Wrangle Common staged a sit-in outside a council house in protest of what they called the ‘dumping’ of problem families in the village.

The peaceful demonstration was staged outside a home in Bull Drove after local people heard the borough council planned to move in the wives and children of men facing charges in Boston.

After a confrontation between 20 villagers and Pam Chester, head of the social services division and police, the two wives refused to move into the house.

They were jeered by the locals and were driven away, accompanied by a social worker.

Mrs Chester said: “The sad thing is that everybody seems to be acting as judge and jury. We have a legal system and we should abide by it. I was quite astonished by the reaction of these people, though I do understand their concern. But I have never come across anything quite like this before.”

Villagers said they were determined to do everything in their power – apart from resorting to violence – to keep the families out of Wrangle.

Resident Iris Dean said: “They thought they wouldn’t get any trouble out here in the quiet countryside – well they thought wrong.”

Picture 1963: A former railway worker has shared his memories of working 11 hour shifts at Langrick Railway Station before it shut on June 15, 1963.

Resident John Gross, pictured on the platform above, sent in this picture of himself with the last train to go through Langrick for Boston.

He said: “I started work at Langrick as porter in March 1961, with the late Tony Sharp, also a porter, and the station master Mr Cornwell. After I had been working for about nine months Tony left and went to work delivering parcels from Boston station and shortly after the station master was transferred to Saxilby station.

“So, from January 1962 I worked on my own from 7.30am to 8.30pm every day except Sundays until the closure of the line, then I was transferred to Boston. My duties at Langrick were issuing tickets and general booking office duties, working with local farmers over goods traffic such as seed potatoes and sugar beet, plus the weekly filling of oil lamps and placing them in the signals.”

1969: There may have been no lack of heroes in Boston’s past to go to the rescue of anyone unlucky enough to fall into the rivers or drains.

But much praise was given to 11-year-old Elaine Taylor who left a crowd of boys standing on the banks of the Maud Foster Drain to rescue a six-year-old child.

Cheryl Doughty was riding her tricycle when she careered down the bank and into the water, before screaming for help. If it wasn’t for the prompt action of young Miss Taylor, of Windsor Bank, the girl may have drowned.

A pilot had a lucky escape when his light aircraft missed the runway at Boston airfield and overturned in a field during a heavy cross-wind.

The pilot, from North Thoresby, and his passenger were both uninjured.