The maiden voyage of an exhibition, aiming to show off Boston’s maritime and waterway history and promote a new organisation, opened last week.
The Coastal Boston pilot exhibition, at Black Sluice Cottages, on London Road, features 76 slides about the areas history from the start of the town to the present day – including the December 5 floods.
It opened on Wednesday with a private viewing but is now an ongoing display.
Heritage officer for Coastal Boston Caroline Wallis, who has put the exhibition together, said: “Overall, we’ve had a positive response so far. People seem to be enjoying it.
“From this particular exhibition, we hope to achive an interest and engage people in Boston and visitors to the town in the waterways.”
She added: “I don’t think people really realise how much of an impact the river Witham had on the town. It’s the whole reason Boston is here and the reason it’s done so well in the past.”
She said the aim of Coastal Boston was to promote the heritage of Boston’s waterways, coast and maritime history as tourist attractions.
The organisation, which is sponsored by Taylor Itex, is hoping to generate £250,000 over the next two years to become a fully-fledged heritage centre – this would feature gallery spaces upstairs, with the potential for a small library.
The money would be used to buy in exhibits and get the centre ready, with the potential to sustain itself through the café, cycle hire, school talks and visits by various groups.
Boston councillor Alison Austin was one of the first visitors to the exhibition.
She said: “What’s here is only a taster, but I think the whole concept is brilliant.
“This is a celebration of Boston’s maritime history.”
The Coastal Boston presentation at Black Sluice Cottages includes a total of 76 slides. The details include:
*Boston began to develop at the lowest point at which the River Witham could be forded.
*Flooding was an ongoing problem for medieval Boston. Floods occurred in 1236, twice in the 1250s and twice again in the 1280s.
*The first sluice, used to attempt to control the waterways, would have been built as early as 1142.
*In 1322, Boston was the fourth wealthiest provincial town in the country and in 1377 was considered the ninth largest town in England. The prosperity was largely down to the trade in and out of the port – in particular of wool with 8,000 sacks of wool passing through the port on average each year.
*This prosperity is believed to have funded the building of St Botolph’s Church and the Guildhall.
*The 1570s saw the Lincolnshire coast infested by pirates in the Wash. Four men were caught and given in to Lincolnshire’s vice-admiral’s custody.
*The first of Boston’s navigable drains – the Maud Foster Drain – started being built in 1568.
**The Mayflower, which sailed to America, did not sail from Boston and nobody from the town was aboard the ship.
*To read more fascinating facts about Boston’s waterways history visit the Black Sluice Cottages. *You can also leave your suggestions and feedback at www.facebook.com/coastalboston