Take a step back into Boston’s history with our weekly nostalgia column

RSPCA officer Phillip Pidcock with the hen left in a box with a note at Boston's Tesco store.
RSPCA officer Phillip Pidcock with the hen left in a box with a note at Boston's Tesco store.

A GERMAN Luftwaffe bomber tried unsuccessfully to destroy an eastern counties town with incendiary bombs in the early hours of Good Friday.

70 years ago...1941

A GERMAN Luftwaffe bomber tried unsuccessfully to destroy an eastern counties town with incendiary bombs in the early hours of Good Friday.

The bomber circled the town several times and passed over the central area at high speed releasing what was believed to have been a Molotov Breadbasket. The bombs rained down and clattered over roofs and roadways.

One eyewitness said: “For a moment it was like a good old-fashioned November 5th.” An estimated 2,000 incendiary bombs were dropped, some of which falling through roofs of homes into bedrooms and causing small fires. Apart from minor cuts and burns, there were no casualties.

BOSTON hairdressers were incensed at a comment made by Sir John Gleed, chairman of Holland County Council, that hairdressing was a ‘frivolous occupation’. One hairdresser described the remark as ‘completely unjustifiable and damaging’. The controversy had its roots in a statement made by Sir John at Boston Girls’ High School speech day when he asked parents not to let their children go into ‘frivolous occupations’.

THE first annual meeting of Boston’s Citizen’s Advice Bureau was held at Fydell House.

Richard Cotton, travelling organiser for the National Council of Social Service, encouraged the local organisers of the bureau to carry on the good work and said he hoped such work would not cease after the war, when it would be most needed.

40 years ago...1971

LINCOLNSHIRE potato growers were unhappy Boston dockers were unloading Egyptian potatoes as part of a consignment of 5,000 tons being imported into the docks. But scattered about in potato ‘graves’ and store sheds were thousands of tons of the vegetable which farmers couldn’t sell.

They were of good quality and locally grown – but many of them were left to rot. Some farmers told The Standard they would like to see imports halted while there was a surplus of British potatoes.

A MARATHON prune-eating contest was held at the White Hart pub in Old Leake. There was excitement and tension pervading the crowded room at the back of the pub as the regulars were all set to witness the Great Prune Eat-In. Four men were there to try and beat the world record of eating 130 prunes in two minutes. Tractor driver Mick Peak, of Old Leake, came up with the idea for the challenge, and was joined by three other competitors – Robert Ingamells and Ken Janes, of Boston, and Mick Stanney, of Old Leake.

All had faith their digestive systems could handle the influx of 140 prunes each. When the timer began, the men crammed handfuls of the pre-stoned prunes into their mouths, but none succeeded in finishing.

30 years ago...1981

TWO little Wrangle sisters who wrote with a special request to television’s Jim’ll Fix It got the surprise of their lives this week in 1981.

The BBC called to say they would fly the girls, Clare and Jill Barnett, and their parents Margaret and Geoff, to Amsterdam to take part in the Dutch Flower Festival. Clare and Jill wrote to Jimmy Saville asking if he could arrange for them to see how a tulip float was made and have a ride on one.

Mrs Bartlett said: “They had the Spalding Tulip Parade in mind, so we were so surprised when we heard back, we could hardly take it in.”

Clare, seven, and Jill, four, were to spend an all-expenses paid trip to Holland with their parents.

A TEACHER was hurt in a classroom after a dispute between a master and a boy at Donington Cowley Secondary School.

The master was off school for a couple of days and needed hospital treatment for bruising.

The education department at Boston told The Standard: “An incident has been reported involving a boy and a member of staff. The master had to correct the boy for some misdemeanour and the boy hit him.”

The boy was excluded from the school pending an investigation.

TWO boys walked into a Boston shop to ask the value of a bullet they had discovered, only to find out it was a potential killer if dropped.

Bob Sullivan, proprietor of the Boston Collectors Centre, in Bridge Street, said the two boys took a .303 calibre bullet dating back to around 1943 into his shop. Mr Sullivan said the bullet was ‘in an unstable condition because of the corrosion and could have exploded if dropped’.

‘YOUNG people will eventually be drawn out of Boston if the present jobs trend continues’ – so was the warning of Barry Cooper, the district secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union.

There were growing unemployment figures in the borough. “We regret that the current position is pretty disastrous for this area and any further blows with redundancies would just make the whole position intolerable,” he said.

20 years ago...1991

AN ANONYMOUS donor left an adult hen in a box at Boston’s Tesco store with a note attached. The note said: “I have sent this chicken for the bloke off the TV, being as he can’t find one.” The message was believed to be in reference to comedian Dudley Moore’s long-running search for free-range chickens to eat. The lone chicken was discovered at the front of the store by checkout supervisor Sue Smith. Local RSPCA officer Phillip Pidcock was called out to collect the creature and find it a new home where it wouldn’t be eaten by Dudley Moore.

WRANGLE residents were angry over plans for a sewerage pumping station which they said would ruin the centre of their village.

Borough councillors agreed to the scheme for the station in Church Close, after hearing the parish council had no objections.

Young mum Deborah Birks, who lived near the close, said: “It would be awful. This is a conservation area.

“We’ve won the best gardens competition in the past – people do care about this close, but if they go ahead with the pumping station – it will be ruined.” Deborah said she and her neighbours were worried about the noise and the smell.