Category Archives: West Deeping History

Best wishes for Christmas

 

King St WD phone boxWith best wishes to all supporters of West Deeping Heritage Group for Christmas 2018 and for the New Year

The old empty telephone box in West Deeping has been bringing Christmas cheer to passers-by, especially when the sparkling lights come on at  dusk. It’s even helped to slow the traffic down along King Street as people take photographs!

Historic England has given our phone box a Grade 2 listing, so when British Telecom disconnected the payphone last year, it could not be removed.  It was agreed with the Parish Council that West Deeping Heritage Group would look after it.

It’s known as a ‘K6’ telephone box. The K6, one of the eight kiosk types introduced by the General Post Office between 1926 and 1983, was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of the coronation of King George V in 1935.

West Deeping residents first put in a request for a public telephone at a Parish meeting in 1938. Despite several reminders to the post master, there was still no kiosk in 1942. The matter became urgent when the village Post Office was threatened with closure, which would have left the village without a telephone for public use.

The minutes for West Deeping Parish Council don’t say when our phone box was actually installed but it has probably been there for over 75 years. In 1987 it was proposed to replace it with a ‘modern’ glass version, but the Parish Council voted to keep the original one and have it listed as a ‘historic site’.

It was in frequent use over the years for both outgoing and incoming calls – on 01778 343109. (Has the number been re-allocated, we wonder!)

Who remembers having to carry 4d (old pennies) in case you needed to make a phone call? A Brownie or a Girl Guide wouldn’t pass inspection if she didn’t have the right money in her pocket! Does anyone still remember the procedure? (Once you’d put in the right coins and dialled the number, you waited to get connected before pressed Button A to speak, or Button B to disconnect and get your money back. The pips always went before you had finished the conversation!) Who, as a child, never passed a ‘phone box without pressing Button B to see if money had been left by the last caller? The cash box here was often broken into, until cards were introduced. Living opposite the phone box, the police called on several occasions to see if we had seen or heard anything!

Less and less callers used the public phone as mobile phones came into use. By 2017 use of payphones had declined, in the country as a whole, by 90%. When British Telecom proposed removal of many local payphones, the Parish Council had the option of buying our kiosk – for just £1! The Heritage Group saw their opportunity for a display space and offered to take on responsibility for refurbishing the phone box and putting it to use.

When we have got the approval of the Planning Department for our plans, we will have the door repaired, the inside fitted out with see-through display boxes and an information panel mounted where the telephone used to be. Watch this space! West Deeping no longer has a public ‘phone but it does still have plenty of heritage of which to be proud!

“Fresh from the fields” : Rectory Farm Archaeology

Our programme for Autumn 2018 starts off with something special!

Tuesday 25th September 10 am to 4 pm

Rectory Farm Archaeology Day

Thanks to Breedon West Deeping Quarry and PCAS Archaeology Ltd , West Deeping Heritage Group invites everyone to an exhibition in the Village Hall about the Rectory Farm archaeological investigations, on Stamford Road, West Deeping

Look round the display and see examples of the finds, before taking a minibus trip to visit the site itself to the north of Stamford Road– at 10.30, 12.00, 1.30 and 3.00

(Please wear appropriate footwear. Hard hats and high visibility jackets provided)

West Deeping Heritage Group visit to Rectory Farm excavation site 2011

followed at 7.30 pm by West Deeping Heritage Group’s first talk of the season

Simon Savage of PCAS Archaeology Ltd: “Fresh from the Fields: an archaeological update from the Rectory Farm site at West Deeping”

It was 6 years ago that we last heard from the archaeologists about the extensive multi-period landscape in the fields to the north of the village, which has been progressively surveyed and excavated since the 1990s. This important site has revealed evidence of settlement and land use dating from the Neolithic period, including a late Bronze age co-axial field system, Iron age enclosures and a Roman British villa with a bath house.

  • Village Hall, King Street, West Deeping PE6 9HP
  • Refreshments are available from 7 p.m. for a 7.30 p.m. start.
  • Admission is £2.50 at the door.

Last but not least of our meetings

It’s more than West Deeping Heritage Group’s Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 16th May 2018. After the briefest of meetings, starting at 7.30 p.m. at the Village Hall, there will be an opportunity to have a “Delve into the village archives.”

There’s no charge, the weather forecast for Wednesday is dull and cool and we have many interesting things to show you – so do join us!

We have picked out just some of the archives in our collection for you to look at: IMG_20180515_0001

 – our oldest original documents – including some found by John Watts, a lodger for a short time in the room above the garage of West Deeping Rectory in 1955 when he was lodging there. 60 years later Mr Watts’ daughters Sandra Edwards and Linda Reed of Coventry contacted West Deeping Heritage Group and made the trip to the village to return the package. The oldest is a church warden’s bill from 1758 – for “4 times washen the linin”  he was owed 10 shillings!

– the file of information about village buildings – including all our listed buildings and research on the Figg family and the Moleceys.

Late 19thC school group

West Deeping School pupils in the late 19th century when Mr Mann was the schoolmaster

 – archives for the village school –  from when it was first endowed by Miss Molecey in 1845 and opened in the stone cottages on King Street near the Red Lion. When the new West Deeping Church of England school opened in 1900, the original building became the Reading Room and later was converted into a family home. Most of the school records are at Lincolnshire Archives but we have copies which have been transcribed.  The log book was kept right up to the school’s closure in 1972.

 

– the Archaeology archive, including aerial photographs, maps and photographs of excavations at Rectory Farm starting in the 1990s and copies of talks given to West Deeping Heritage Group by the archaeologists.

and last but by no means least:

–  the “Boaty Archive” – many of the information resources we collected for the Heritage Lottery-funded project on the Stamford Canal.

If there are other aspects of West Deeping’s history in which you are interested or if you have information to share, please get in touch by commenting on this post.

The Tennyson’s Arms – one of West Deeping’s three pubs

West Deeping’s pub, the Red Lion, is well-known; but fewer people remember the George and Dragon and even fewer have heard of the Tennyson’s Arms!

The building is no longer there – it was demolished in the 1940s – and on the site, at the north end of King Street, are now two pairs of semi-detached bungalows built by the council not long after the end of World War 2.

With the help of  various archival resources, but mainly thanks to the memories and photographs of Bernard Roffe, who was brought up at the Tennyson’s Arms, we can piece together some of its history.

Cropped to print

The Tennyson’s Arms, West Deeping – painted by Karl Wood in 1939                                       Courtesy of the Usher Gallery, Lincoln

The Tennyson’s Arms  is the first one to be written up since the page Village Buildings 
was launched.  Follow the link to read the whole article.
Any further information about the Tennyson’s Arms would be welcome from readers.

Midsummer Heritage opportunities

It’s “Midsummer Magic” in West Deeping from 17th to 25th June – and it’s a great opportunity to get to see some of our fascinating village heritage.

Starting with the weekend of 17th to 18th June, there will be fifteen village gardens open to the public.  All of them have history attached and five of them incorporate parts of the former Welland Navigation or Stamford Canal which cannot normally be seen.

In the following week, there will be two Midsummer Heritage Walks – on Wednesday 21st June along part of the route of the canal and on Saturday 24th June, following the “Figg trail”!

Continue reading

Fun and games in West Deeping – past and present!

Past: from the 1960s until 2009, a highlight of the week for some West Deeping residents and visitors from neighbouring villages was the Evergreen Club’s meeting every Tuesday afternoon.

Their annual scrapbooks (kept from 1973 to 1985) bring on waves of nostalgia for those of us who are old enough!

One of their members would send a report of the meeting to the Stamford Mercury each week. Very often it would start with:  “The usual table games were played …”. Whist drives and games of rummy, dominoes and scrabble brought out the competitive spirit in this group of over 60s, most of whom have now passed on.  Every so often, there was  “Prize bingo”  and every week without fail there was a raffle – to raise funds for good causes, members’ birthday parties, outings and celebratory lunches.

These are just two of the photographs we have of members of the Evergreen Club –  at a Christmas concert (we’re not sure where) and on a club outing, (perhaps to Sandringham, with the rhododendrons in the background?). We don’t know the dates but we do know a few of the names – Mr and Mrs Fisher, Mrs Goodliffe, Mr and Mrs Neale, Mrs Griffin, Mrs Shipp and Mrs Walker – for example.  If anyone has more photographs or recognises parents or grandparents, please get in touch!

Present: on a Sunday afternoon in February 2017, we had a go at re-creating the fun and games that used to go on in the Village Hall, for all ages  – with a Beetle Drive and Vintage tea to follow.

“Beetle drives” were particularly popular during the 1950s and 60s as fund-raising events. Many of us will remember, as children, playing the game of Beetle at family parties – our frustration at not getting a six on the dice before we could draw the body and collect the wings and legs; our hasty efforts at drawing a recognisable beetle with a blunt pencil!

It was just the same on Sunday: the noise levels got higher with the furious throwing of dice, the groans as people got the wrong number yet again and the cheers when they successfully got the number they needed – then the yell of “Beetle” and everyone stopped and counted up their score. The final winner was one of our most senior citizens, Myrtle Cummings and the runners-up were the youngest there, Emma and James.

After all the fun and games, everyone was ready for their vintage tea – no-one took photos until it was too late and there was nothing left of Annie’s sandwiches (crusts cut off, of course) Gill’s cream scones, Maggie’s filled bridge rolls and the cakes donated by several home bakers .

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We had a raffle, of course, which raised over £100 for the village’s Jubilee Fund , set up in 2002 to fund events like the Jubilee celebrations and village fetes and pay for village amenities like the bench and daffodils in the Tinsley Field.

May the village fun and games continue!

An Evening at the Granary

The granary was once part of Molecey’s Mill, on Stamford Road between West Deeping and Market Deeping. It is one of West Deeping’s National Heritage listed sites.

Graham Magee and Glenn Fuller are the most recent owners of the Granary and have completed an extensive refurbishment during which they found very interesting clues as to its history. They invited the Heritage group to the Granary on Wednesday 7 September to share their findings.

We were treated to a fascinating talk by Graham in which he covered the history of the Granary and the discoveries they made during the renovation. You can find details in the presentation slides the-granary-a-history. After the presentation we  explored the Granary to see the historical findings and much admired the beautiful refurbishment.

The evening was a resounding success. A large number of people attended and were treated to refreshments on the lawn before and after the presentation, on what was a perfect summer’s evening.

We thank Graham and Glenn for their wonderful hospitality and a most informative evening.

“Site meeting” at The Granary

A scrap of wallpaper, a grain chute, a handful of dried beans …

Recent finds at The Granary, one of West Deeping’s National Heritage listed sites, might be considered as only minor details but for the owners they have helped to bring to life the building’s history and its previous occupants.

The Granary was once part of the watermill known as Molecey’s Mill, on Stamford Road between West Deeping and Market Deeping. The history of the site is closely linked with its position alongside one of  12 locks on the former canal between Stamford and the Deepings. On the same site was West Deeping Toll Bar Cottage, where tolls were collected for the Deeping and Morcott Turnpike road.

 

Now a separate building from the watermill, the granary has been extensively refurbished by the most recent owners. Their attention to architectural and constructional detail has ensured that every clue they found as to the granary’s history was noted and investigated.

Rather than sitting in the Village Hall to hear a talk, we’re going “on site”. West Deeping Heritage Group’s first meeting of the autumn season will be hosted by Graham Magee, who will talk about the history of Molecey’s Mill  and take us on a guided tour of the Granary.

Everyone is welcome

Come and join us on Wednesday 7th September 2016

The Granary, Stamford Rd, West Deeping, Peterborough PE6 9JD

  • Refreshments will be served as usual from 7 p.m.
  • The talk & tour will start at 7.30 p.m.
  • Admission £2.50.
  • If you wish to walk over the fields from West Deeping, allow 20 minutes. There will be a number of cars to provide lifts back to the village afterwards.
  • There is plenty of parking. Turn off the A1175 (Stamford Road) at The Granary (not The Water Mill), over the bridge and through the gates, then turn left for the car parking area.

 

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West Deeping remembers Joseph Anstee

IMG_6299 (3)This morning, July 1st 2016, a dozen of us gathered in the porch of St Andrew’s Church at West Deeping.

At 7.30 a.m., Brian Marsden, a staunch supporter of the Royal British Legion, Langtoft, Deepings and Districts Branch, blew 3 short blasts on his ARP whistle.  This was the signal for ‘zero hour’ for the British troops lined up along the trenches in Picardie in Northern France, exactly 100 years ago.

We remembered all those 19,240 killed and 35,493 wounded on July 1st 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme  but West Deeping particularly remembered one of its own soldiers who fought and died on the first day on the Somme, July 1st 1916.

West Deeping Mill2nd Lieut. Joseph Anstee  was the younger son of William Anstee, the miller at West Deeping Mill, just next to the church. He had grown up in the village and judging by frequent mentions in the local newspapers seems to have been talented as a singer and pianist. He was often complimented for his flower decorations in the church and was involved with activities at the village Reading Room. He was in his early 20s when he signed up for a short military training with the Inns of Court Officer Training Corps in Berkhamsted and in October 1915 he was commissioned to the 2nd Lincolnshire Regiment. It is possible he went to France soon afterwards as the Army had an urgent need for troops after their losses at the Battle of Loos

Anstee_J_2nd_Lt_2nd_Lincolnshire_Regiment_The_Sphere_16th_Sep_1916

2nd Lieutenant Joseph Anstee 2nd Lincolnshire 1890 – 1916

The 2nd Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment was part of the 8th Division when the British Army attacked the German front near Albert, in Picardie, Northern France. Together with the 2nd Royal Berkshires, they were at the centre of the line, leading the attack on the village of Ovillers-la-Boisselle.

 Joe,  a 26 year-old subaltern, would have been the one responsible for getting his men out of their trench and forming them up to set off across ‘no man’s land’ towards the German front line, 800 yards away. Charging into the full weight of an artillery barrage, the attack halted before it even got half way.

It’s most likely that 2nd Lieutenant Anstee died in the first hour of the first day of the battle that was to last another 140 days.

 “One of the cheeriest and best boys”

Joe’s parents, William and Mary Anstee read about their youngest son’s death in a letter from his commanding officer who had the eye-witness account of comrade Lieutenant Hubbard. “2nd Lieutenant Anstee was hit with shrapnel half-way across during the assault. I bandaged him up, and whilst awaiting him to be taken back behind the line he was hit again in the chest and died almost instantaneously. We were moved out of the trenches into another area that afternoon, so were unable to collect our dead and wounded… I can’t express what his loss is to us. He was a splendid officer and loved by all, and one of the cheeriest and best boys I have ever met, and can well understand what a terrible loss he is to you, as he is to us.”

One of 72,194 men who have no known grave, he is commemorated at Thiepval (Face C of Pier 1). If you go almost to the end of the King Street Cemetery in West Deeping, you will find an Anstee family memorial not far from the right hand fence. Joseph’s parents are buried here but the inscription on the gravestone also commemorates ‘Lt J Anstee Killed in action in France July 1st 1916 Aged 26′.

A Remembrance Cross was placed by the grave this morning.

If there are any Anstee descendants reading this, we would be most interested to hear from them.

Not just the AGM!

West Deeping Heritage Group’s last meeting of the season is on Tuesday April 19th at the Village Hall, King Street, West Deeping. With refreshments from 7 p.m., the Annual General Meeting will start at 7.30 p.m. The aim is to deal with the Agenda as quickly as possible! Then we can spend time looking at some of the village archives.

Take your pick from the collection including old photographs, newspaper cuttings, West Deeping Burial Board registers and the minutes of the first Parish Meeting.

p63 001

Undertaker, William Ackland’s Ledger

Another example is the Ledger of William Ackland  who was Parish Clerk from 1919 to 1969 as well as the village wheelwright, carpenter and undertaker. Some people might consider it rather lugubrious or even inappropriate to read the details of funeral arrangements but others will be fascinated – this is village history!

The burials recorded for 1944 appear on page 63 – a boy of 11 who had fallen from a train, and Susanna Smart, who lived in The Row and died  at the ripe old age of 89. We have her photograph too.

Have you any requests? Have you any village archives to share? Send an email to wdheritage@hotmail.co.uk