Historic gems unearthed in Market Place

At the launch of the new Historic England book about Boston.
At the launch of the new Historic England book about Boston.

Did you know that a crescent of shops in Boston Market Place was one of the first purpose-built shopping arcades in England?

This is just one of the historical gems unearthed during research for a new book by Historic England. Builders’ drawings were uncovered of some town properties which had not been viewed for 100 years. It showed the crescent of shops, that includes Hoppers Jewellers and Holland and Barrett, that formed the original arcade.

The book, called Boston, Lincolnshire – Historic North Sea Port and Market Town, is the 30th publication in the Informed Conservation series.

Clive Fletcher, of Historic England, who wrote the book, along with John Minnis, Katie Carmichael and local architect Mary Anderson, applauded the work of the Boston Preservation Trust and the “confident decision” to spend £2.4 million on refurbishing the Market Place.

It was announced early this year that a partnership bid from Boston Borough Council and Heritage Lincolnshire had won initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund to secure £1 million. The partnership team is now developing proposals for the second round of the grant application process in May.

During the book launch at Boston’s Guildhall, Historic England’s regional planning director Anthony Streeten, said: “Boston is a totally outstanding place with a renewed commitment to cherish the historic environment. This publication is a new platform from which Boston can gain the reputation it so richly deserves. It is a book which gives us all reasons to be proud of Boston.”

Mayor Coun Richard Austin also attended the launch and said: “The book emphasises that Boston’s built heritage is truly outstanding. We constantly need to remind ourselves that image of a place is its most important asset. It affects inwards investment and business growth, tourism and many other things.”

The book launch ended with a spirited debate about what more could be done in Boston to ensure its heritage could continue to be the key to its future prosperity.