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

'Billy don't be a hero' was the plea of these ladies to their men bound for the front line in Wyberton Theatrical Society's First World War stage comedy.
'Billy don't be a hero' was the plea of these ladies to their men bound for the front line in Wyberton Theatrical Society's First World War stage comedy.

45 years ago...1966

FOUR people were rescued from a rooftop in Tower Street, Boston, early one Sunday morning after a fire broke out in the living room of Mr and Mrs Fountain’s home.

Boston fire brigade was called out to tackle the blaze after which four figures were seen sitting on the rooftop. Hilda Fountain, who suffered with asthma, was helped onto the roof by her daughter Christine who climbed up with her boyfriend Mick Guthrie, and a policeman who tried to help. The four were brought down safely by firemen.

‘BOSTON is being negligent and we are losing lives unnecessarily’ was just one comment provoked by the BBC’s Panorama programme – which studied cancer. The programme caused concern as it stressed the importance of an early diagnosis and treatment – but Boston was one town which did not have a test centre.

IN THE early hours of a Tuesday morning, 23-year-old Harry Thorn, of Blue Street, Boston, ran half a mile in his socks to raise the alarm as fire swept through a neighbour’s home. Harry ran through rain-soaked streets to the police station. The blaze gutted the downstairs of the home of widow Ellen Hardstaff and her two young sons, Roger, nine, and Alan, 12. Mrs Hardstaff woke to find the whole house full of smoke. She escaped with the boys and ran outside to shout for help from neighbour Mr Thorn. During the drama, the gas meter blew up - and the front windows were blown out.

35 years ago...1976

POTATO stores in the borough were looking into fitting burglar alarms after bags of the vegetable were stolen from a storage site at Freiston Shore. Detectives investigating the theft said it was an organised operation involving a large vehicle to take away the 40 bags, worth £160. This was one of several cases in the county, which was put down to the rising cost of potatoes.

Wyberton Theatrical Society rehearsed for their First World War comedy ‘Oh What a Lovely War’ – which they were set to perform at Blackfriars. The play featured a huge cast of 75, along with special sound and lighting effects, films slides and songs from the trenches.

l BOSTONIANS were told not to panic as the flu epidemic sweeping the country had yet to reach the borough. Local doctors were fearing an influx of calls from people with common colds who may have mistakenly thought they had the virus.

A NEW primary school to cater for children living in the new estates of Boston’s Sleaford Road was planning to open in September. Called Boston West County Primary School, the £157,000 building would be sited on Sussex Avenue and would cater for 280 pupils.

25 years ago...1986

A MASKED raider made off with £1,400 after attacking a Dogdyke woman with a three-foot length of scaffolding pipe. Caravan site manageress Angela Shakeshaft had her arm fractured in two places as she warded off blows aimed at her head. The 30-year-old had just collected the rent money at the Rivermead Caravan site and was in the office when she was confronted by the man dressed in motorcycle leathers and helmet. “I turned and he hit me in the small of my back, this threw me against the wall where I grazed my face,” Angela said. “As I sank to the ground I was scared for my life.” Police were hunting the man.

ARCTIC weather conditions brought some amazing temperature recordings in the Boston area. The coldest night according to the RAF Coningsby Met Office was on a Sunday at the beginning of the month when -13.1C was recorded – close to the record of -13.2C and only three degrees warmer than Moscow!

A PET dog called Kizzy saved a young Boston family from a fire at their home. Wrapped in neighbour’s blankets, the Rutherfords, of Jubilee Avenue, watched as firemen carried their unconscious whippet-terrier from the blaze, a paw and nose burnt and swollen. The dog had smelt the smoke downstairs and ran down to open the living room door before racing upstairs yelping. If it wasn’t for the dog, John, 26, wife Tina, 25, and their three young children might have died in their sleep. The family had to escape onto the flat room of a bathroom extension and climb down. The blaze was started by a discarded cigarette. Grateful thanks was offered to the fire brigade – and Kizzy.

15 years ago...1996

BOSTON’S bypass scheme was being drawn back into the spotlight with two meetings planned to ‘thrash out’ the problems again. Members of the borough’s environment committee decided the council should take a more active role in developing a transport strategy for the town. They said because a bypass could not provide immediate solution to the traffic problems in the town, other improvements should be looked at.

THORNTON’S chocolate chain of shops moved into one of the empty premises in Boston’s Market Place. Their tenancy was part of a phase of redevelopment of three listed building shops in the town centre.

BOSTON was preparing to be graced with the sound of a new professional orchestra. Called the Boston Sinfona, it would be led by Anne Dales, leader of the Boston Orchestra, and conducted by Stephen Maher, a musician with the band of RAF College Cranwell. It was to be the only pro orchestra in Boston and comprise 25 professional and semi-professional musicians.