Nostalgia: Gliderdrome destroyed by fire in 1959, plans for Aids hospital discussed in 1989, and snapshot from 1999

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  • 1969: Fire destroys Gliderdrome and burns out warehouse, ruining 30,000 corn sacks valued at £12,000 in total
  • 1989: Aids hospital and nursing home plan for Boston General, and millions of pounds for roads

Sixty years ago, 1959 ...

* The Gliderdrome, Boston’s largest dance hall, was destroyed by fire.

The outbreak also burned out a wooden warehouse, ruining 30,000 corn sacks, valued at eight shillings each, owned by the town transport and warehousing company W. H. Christian Ltd. The £12,000 loss would equate to 274,000 in modern money.

The fire was reported at 6.38am by Boston Bowling Club’s Tom Limb. After spotting signs of trouble, Mr Limb (who actually helped build the Gliderdrome) dashed to a telephone box at Town Bridge to raise the alarm.

Firefighters reported a mass of flames shooting out of the asbestos roof of the Gliderdrome to a distance of 50ft, with Christian’s premises – only a foot away from the dance hall (and the town’s only skating rink) – also well alight.

Using five jets, crews prevented it from spreading to the nearby football ground and stand.

The fire was brought under control by 7.35am, but it was not until 2pm that it was finally extinguished.

Plans for a new dance hall, to be built close to the old site, were in development.

“It will be the best dance hall in the county,” said part-owner Ernest Malkinson.

A cause to the fire was not yet known.

Thirty years ago, 1989 ...

* A plan to use Boston’s General Hospital as an Aids hospital and nursing home had been turned down by the borough council’s Land Management Committee.

The application – discussed behind the closed doors – was forwarded to the council, which owned the land, by Trent Regional Health Authority, which owned the building and possessed a lease on the land.

A condition of the lease, which cost the health authority £20 a year, stated that the General Hospital be only used as a hospital.

It was understood the committee was told the Aids hospital was acceptable, but the nursing home was not.

But although the committee considered the application to be inappropriate, voted to meet the health authority for further discussions.

* Transport Secretary Paul Channon announced that £18m was to be spent on 15 miles of carriageway on the A17 between Sutterton and New Wash Way, plus £1m on a one-mile bypass at Stickford.

In Boston, meanwhile, the council agreed to give up some land to provide a roundabout at the junction of Sleaford Road, Brothertoft Road, and Woodville Road to help improve traffic flow.