PAGES FROM THE PAST: Ice skating, crane accident and Oscar winner’s resignation

Borough residents enjoy some care-free Sunday ice-skating on the frozen drain at Cowbridge in January, 1963. Photo by Cyril Parrish.
Borough residents enjoy some care-free Sunday ice-skating on the frozen drain at Cowbridge in January, 1963. Photo by Cyril Parrish.

50 years ago, 1963 – A daring – if sometimes dangerous – leisurely Sunday iceskate on frozen drains across the borough was popular with many in 1963.

The image of young and old enjoyying a care-free skate at Cowbridge drain was taken by Boston man Cyril Parrish.

He said: “I didn’t skate myself but I used to enjoy watching others. It was a bit of fun on a Sunday morning for a lot of people.”

Mr Parrish, of Charter Close, also took photos of the unusual sight of broken ice in the river by Sluice Bridge.

“Sea water doesn’t generally freeze because of the salt, and has to be very, very cold before it will,” he said. “It was the worst I had ever seen it and I remember when the ice broke up it damaged and sank a boat there.”

Mr Parrish said the weather was so freezing, the ice lifted up pavements and footpaths in the town, along with a concrete block in his garden.

l New Year’s Eve revellers climbed Boston’s Five Lamps with six reaching the top despite a 20ft-high barricade of corrugated iron, a cordon of police and a bitterly cold wind.

The youths managed to scramble up before ladder they used at the base became the object of a tug-o-war between police and the crowd.

In all, there were between 3-400 people in the Market Place as the clock counted down to midnight. The traditional celebrations passed off more quietly than the previous year, with three arrests but no damage caused

l A Donington farmer surprised everyone when he began gathering his harvest of tulips – despite the freezing weather.

Farmer and horticulturalist John Lovell gathered 2,000 of the flowers.

He grew them in one of his eight glasshouses.

The other seven housed about 50,000 tulips in the various stages of growth.

40 years ago, 1973 – Two men were killed in what Boston police would only describe as ‘an accident with a crane’ at Boston RDC’s sewerage works at Frampton.

It was understood that the jib of the crane may have touched an eletricity cable – and that the men, both from the Mablethorpe area, themselves were not in contact with the crane.

Workmen at the site said they believed the crane had hit an overhead cable carrying 11,000 volts.

The two men, both wearing rubber boots, were thought to have merely been standing on the same concrete platform as the crane.

The crane driver, a Boston man, escaped with shock.

l A two-day variation of the Asian Flu was sweeping south Lincolnshire.

In he Boston area, absenteesim from work was 300 per cent up above the average for that time of the year.

Local doctors were said to be rushed off their feet trying to cope with the number of flu patients.

l A £250,000 ‘hush house’ was built at RAF Coningsby.

The prototype hanger was built to test Phantom jet engines at maximum power so that people living almost on the perimeter of the RAF airfield coul hear as little noise as possible.

30 years ago, 1983 – Boston’s Barry Spikings, once a trainee reporter at The Standard and called the most powerful man in British films, quit his £100,000 a year job.

Mr Spikings, worldwide head of production at EMI Films, was understood to be going by mutual agreement according to a story in the Daily Mail. The paper said he was expected to get a ‘golden handshake’ of a year’s pay.

Mr Spikings had produced the 1979 film The Deer Hunter which won the best picture Oscar.

l There were fears a child could be killed in Kirton on dangerous roads where cars were allowed to park on both sides.

At a meeting of the Borough Road Safety Committee, Boston Mayor Coun Bob Marriott said Lincolnshire County Council was carrying out a survey of the area, mainly Station Road and Boston Road.

It was here that children were said to be using a nearby car park to walk through to and from school. They were then walking out between the cars parked there.

The county council was to decide if a ‘no waiting’ restriction was to be imposed.

l Nearly 20 per cent of bicycles checked across Boston area schools were found to be faulty, Boston Borough Council’s Safety Committee heard at a meeting. Some 1,322 bikes were checked and 250 were found to have a fault.

l ‘A wave of crime’ across the county resulted in Lincolnshire Police looking to recruit an extra 90 staff – including 40 constables.

The authority took action to combat the rising crime figures.

A report said there were 6,342 crimes in the area in the three months up to September, 1982. This was 13 per cent up on the previous quarter.This included 531 more thefts and 89 more assaults. Some 41 per cent of crime was solved by the police.

l Toddler Laura Newton caused quite a commotion when she got her knee stuck in the back of a wooden chair and the fire service and ambulance rushed to her aid. The youngster was freed uninjured.

20 years ago, 1993 – Long distance lorry driver Dick Dixon scooped National Bingo Game’s jackpot prize of £49,000 at Boston’s Gliderdrome on a Saturday night.

Fifty-year-old Dick, who worked for Benton Brothers at Sibsey, rarely got the chance to go to bingo because of his work .

But that Saturday night proved to be very lucky for Dick as he scooped both the regional prize and the national bonanza.

l Police reinforcements were called to Boston Magistrates’ Court after a fight broke out when a defendant was remanded in custody.

The 20-year-old from Boston was remanded for theft and attempted burglary offences and was handcuffed when he struggled with three police officers as they tried to take him down to the cells. Three members of the public also joined in the scuffle.

l Several spending cuts were expected at Boston Borough Council over three years under a major belt-tightening exercise. A warning came from the council’s head of finance who told councillors they should put on the spending brakes immediately.

l A cold wintery day greeted the latest ‘new boy’ on his first day at Boston Grammar School.

New headteacher John Neal thought his first duty may have been to close the school as there was freezing temperatures and thick snow on the ground.