©Kirton News 2023
The Editors Letter
Happy New Year to you all. Let’s hope this year is kind to all of us! Kirton News marches on. We’ve got some interesting features coming up over the next few months. This edition sees a fascinating article by Ann Pilbeam - a potted history of her family’s business.
It’s something many of us of varying ages can relate to in one way or another.
Over the ‘holidays’ I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Gladys Seabrook (and her amazing hubby, Cyril), one of our regular contributors. As an addendum to my article of December (page 13) I’d like to report my amazement at the huge catalogue of poetry she has amassed since she began her ‘observations’ in the early 1970’s. It has made me more determined than ever that we get some of these into print.
I’m going through the files at the moment but would like to repeat my call for financial backing to get the book published.
Please get in touch; I know you’re out there.
There’s been a suggestion that we might try to get some regular report in the mag about local sports. Perhaps a monthly run-down of what’s to come or brief highlights of the past month’s glory moments. I’m not quite sure how it would work but, if any body has any ideas and/or would like to put themselves up as a potential “Sports Reporter” get in touch.
Stay healthy and safe. Until next time;
Old King Coal – A family Business
And indeed it proved to be a family business from the mid 1800’s through to the 1960’s and spanning three generations. The story begins not with carts, lorries or trains but with barges.
My father’s maternal grandmother, Lucy, was a bargee. She was born in 1845. She married Joseph Freeman of Tattershall who was also involved in transportation by barge and packet boats. They married in 1891 and together made a formidable pair. They loaded goods, mostly coal, on to the barges in the Brayford in Lincoln. The coal would have already travelled by the canal from the Tyneside and Yorkshire coalfields. As a little boy my father would be on the barge on the Brayford, fastened by a harness in case he should fall overboard. By the age of seven he would lead the big Shire horse along the tow path as it pulled the barge along.
By the time the barge reached Chapel Hill much of the coal would have been offloaded and other goods would have been taken on board along with passengers, especially on Boston Market days. A good dropping off point was at the steps of the, by now long gone, Queens Head at Bargate bridge. The steps are still there.
After Joseph’s death, Lucy lived at Chapel Hill but she was no longer involved with the barges for the coming of the railway had changed all that.
And so to the next generation. Lucy’s daughter, Annie Freeman Watson, married my grandfather, George Thomas Parker. George had been born in 1876 at the workhouse on Spilsby road as his parents were the Matron and Beadle there. George had not yet started his working life in the coal trade. He had worked as a young man for Johnson’s Seeds but when he left there he went to work for Tom Ridlington, a coal merchant in West Street. After a few years there George became a coal merchant in his own right and became a member of the Peterborough Coal Company. He took his coal business to the huge railway complex on London Road, Boston establishing it at number 28.
He traded under the name of G.T.Parker and Sons ~ Coal and coke Merchants. The railway yard covered an immense area – from London Road right back to Broadfield Lane (now cut in two by the ‘new’ Spalding Road). There were other coal merchants and coal companies also working on that site, a very, very busy place.
My father, John Joseph Parker, born 1906, was one of three bright young lads at Park School who passed the necessary exam to go to the Grammar School that particular year; but my father was denied that privilege. His father demanded that Jack (as he was known) left school to work in the coal business. So it was, working with horse and cart, that my father began in the coal trade.
Long Winter’s days and coming home in the dark after walking miles. My father recalled that, as he and his father were returning home one night, they reached Spilsby Road, at which point my father realised that the soles of his shoes were flapping as he walked. “Can I have some new boots” he asked to which the reply was “Not tonight boy – we need to buy oats for the horse’s supper”.
But horses and carts were on the way out by the time my father was a young man and it was time to invest in more modern transport. In the 1920’s the firm bought a ‘Model T’ Ford - only one of TWO in Boston at that time. It came from America and when Holland Brothers went to collect it from Boston dock it had arrived flat packed!
Still more coal was being sold and two more lorries were bought. The slogan emblazoned on the side of each of the ‘fleet’ was “Quality Is Our Only Advert!”
Gradually G.T.Parker and Sons was growing as a family business and, as well as supplying the Boston area, fuel was being taken down to Long Sutton and the surrounding districts to heat the many greenhouses that were being built in there. Coke became a main fuel for heating greenhouses.
Everything in the 1920’s and 1930’s was run by steam. The land was drained by steam engines; they were also in use for ploughing the land and threshing the corn. As the business grew Parkers had depots from Spilsby to Sutton Bridge. And they had their own rail wagons.
Optimism was high (along with the rest of the Empire) and little was known of the devastation to come . The family business went from strength to strength.....
Ann Pilbeam, nee Parker
Letters to the Editor
You said that ‘traditionally the centre of the village has been closed to vehicles for a while before, and some minutes after, the vigil.’ This is not the case. Last year this happened but this was due to only having one PCSO in the village on Remembrance Sunday to direct traffic and close any road whilst the parade moved through the village to or from the War Memorial and to and from the Church. The roads were closed for a time due only to the lack of Police manpower in the village.
There is no ‘duty’ to close the roads except when there is a danger to the public - which is why roads are closed to facilitate the parade moving. Unfortunately, you cannot please all of the people all of the time, and this certainly seems to be the case here. Last year when the roads were closed for a longer period, motorists complained that they could not get through the village.
The Parish Council fully supports the actions (and the length of time) that the Police closed the roads for this year.
Mrs Belinda Buttery
A Big Thank You to JHAY STORES
Many thanks to JHAY Stores who came to my help when I fell and broke my hip at the Remembrance Service on Sunday 13th November (2011) at the War Memorial.
“A little help goes a long way”, they say. Sort of restores your faith, eh? (Ed.)
Reflections from the Methodist Minister
Dear friends, I hope it is not too late to wish you a happy year (no longer new). 2012 seems to be speeding by as I write for the February issue - time really does go faster as we get older!
As the winter passes we will be getting the fuel bills and realise that, despite the warmer than usual winter, it tends to be an expensive time of year, yet what would we do without the electricity and gas that keeps us warm and gives us light in the darker months.
The Bible could be described in similar terms; it is full of powerful stories, poetry and wisdom that needs to be approached with care. How easy it is to misunderstand, for example, the violence if we don’t understand the context or to dismiss the teachings of Jesus as historical and with no relevance. This amazing book (or collection of books) can shock us and inspire us and really does have something for everyone, even in today’s world of technology and discovery.
It can change our values, our lifestyles and our unjust systems through the lives, words and actions of prophets and saints who are inspired by a vision of better things. It gives us the moral dynamic to try and live in the modern world as God wants us to live and to shape our society according to his eternal law of love. Nobody can measure the impact of Jesus Christ on human civilisation over the last two thousand years, but we know that we still need the light of his truth, the heat of his passion for righteousness and the power of his Spirit as much today as ever we did in the past.
The power and light of electricity may let us down, but the power and light of Christ never fails. Plug in to Jesus now and release God’s power into your life.
What Granny used to say
Gone are the days when I used tooth brush and paste – now my teeth smile sweetly back at me from the glass on my bedside table!
But tooth paste is not just for teeth – Oh my no………..
Dull keys on a piano can be made to sparkle again by rubbing well with a little old fashioned plain toothpaste.
Use an old tooth brush and rub the paste in well then wipe off with a damp cloth – this works wonders for both old keys and the new plastic ones.
Tooth paste can also work its magic on scuff marks on your favourite pair of leather shoes too.
Just a dab on a soft cloth and a gentle rub is simply amazing. Then wipe off residue with a clean damp cloth – good as new.
Non – gel tooth paste contains a mild abrasive, which is just what you need to scrub the ‘gunk’ off the plate of your iron.
Apply it to the iron while still cool and scrub with a cloth – then rinse well.
Talking of sparkling – well I was in a round about way – when brushing your teeth save a little tooth paste for your diamond rings – a gentle rub with the paste on your ‘bling’ will bring back its sparkle!