Hopes of £1 million boost for Boston’s heritage

A snapshot of Boston Market Place in the 1950s
A snapshot of Boston Market Place in the 1950s

Boston has won two Heritage Lottery Fund grants - one of which could pave the way to future funding of more than £1 million.

Boston Borough Council, working in partnership with Heritage Lincolnshire, has received initial support for a Townscape Heritage bid from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for Boston’s historic town centre, it was announced today.

Development funding of £73,000 has also been awarded to help the council and Heritage Lincolnshire to progress their plans to apply for a full grant of £1,069,000 at a later date.

The project aims to make a further investment to the eastern side of the Market Place in Boston, continuing the regeneration of the area through the conservation and enhancement of its historic architecture and street layout.

It will enable essential repairs to buildings in parts of Market Place, Dolphin Lane and Pump Square including work to enhances those properties, such as the reinstatement of traditional shop fronts.

Coun Peter Bedford, leader of the council, said: “It is encouraging to hear that what Boston has to offer is considered good enough by the Heritage Lottery Fund to attract funding. This has the potential to be a very exciting project helping maintain and restore the most attractive aspects of some of our most historic town centre properties.”

Coun Derek Richmond, the council’s town centre portfolio holder added: “I was part of the small team to show the HLF officers around the town centre and I know they were certainly impressed by the quality of what we have here and absolutely saw the further potential. This can only be good in further enhancing the vitality and viability of Boston.”

Alongside the capital works, a programme to involve local people in learning about and celebrating the rich history of the town will also be delivered. There will be free training and workshops, giving people the opportunity to learn new skills in traditional building construction and archaeological building recording and research. Events and activities for families such as medieval fetes and markets will also be able to be delivered.

Boston’s Market Place is medieval in origin, and the eastern boundary and historic lanes were laid out by the 12th century.

At this time Boston was a major centre of trade and commerce and therefore extremely wealthy and many of the historic buildings retain medieval fabric dating from their original construction. Following the drainage of The Fens in the 18th century, the town again enjoyed a prosperous period of growth, and the buildings we see today are important examples of the architecture of the 18th and 19th centuries. This project will help us to learn more about this history and to conserve it for future residents and visitors to the town.

Liz Bates, of Heritage Lincolnshire said: “We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this support.

“Boston has such a rich history and the buildings in the town centre tell a fascinating story about people living and working in the area over the past 800 years. We are very much looking forward to working with all of the project partners in making this investment into the town’s future.”

Ben Greener, HLF’s regeneration advisor, said: “Regeneration involves transforming places. Heritage is often central to this process, whether in the form of restoring a much-loved landmark or refurbishing boarded-up buildings.

“We believe that historic townscapes such as Boston’s are the beating heart of local places.

“Past Heritage Lottery Fund research shows that even small changes, such as improving shop fronts or restoring a building’s historic features, can make a real difference.”