Category Archives: West Deeping History

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.

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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



Announcing the AGM

West Deeping Heritage Group will be meeting on Tuesday 19th April 2016 for the Annual General Meeting, at  7.30 p.m. in West Deeping Village Hall. The Agenda  includes the usual round-up of the year’s activities and finances as well as a special item – to propose a couple of amendments to the original Constitution.

We will try our best to deal with the business as briefly as possible!

This will be followed by: Delving into village archives – an informal, participative session to look at some of the group’s collection – old photographs, property deeds, Parish Council minutes, the village undertaker’s account book and more. Here are some examples:

If anyone has a particular interest or a query that might be answered from the collection, please contact Maggie Ashcroft before the meeting. Bring your own village or family archives if you have them!



On this day …

Wind and Weather Chart 1969 to 1970


September 15th 1969 – 46 years ago – one of the 16 pupils at West Deeping Church of England School filled in the weather chart – it was the first entry for the Autumn term, which had started on September 9th.

The day was cold with showers (not unlike today!) and the wind was from the north-west.

How do we know? When the school closed in 1971, a former pupil at the school, Nick Sandall, retrieved 3 large wall charts on which the wind and weather had been recorded.  Earlier this year, the charts  came to light when the family was clearing the garage at 41 King Street before the house was put on the market.  They are now in the safekeeping of West Deeping Heritage Group.

There are not many ‘memorabilia’ from the school left – or are there?

If you were a pupil at West Deeping and have anything at all that brings back memories, maybe just a photograph – do contact us!

The Deepings Remember 1914 to 1918

If you haven’t already visited the exhibition The Deepings Remember 1914 to 1918 – today is the last day!

The Deepings Community Centre in Douglas Road, Market Deeping will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today, Sunday 9th November.

Mr and Mrs Roffe with their daughter Maureen Plant visit  "The Deepings Remember 1914-1918"  exhibition

Mr and Mrs Roffe with their daughter Maureen Plant visit “The Deepings Remember 1914-1918” exhibition

One of the visitors to a preview on Friday was 89 year-old Bernard Roffe, former resident of West Deeping and nephew of Richard Roffe, who died in 1917 at the Battle of the Dunes at Nieuport in Belgium.

The Deepings Roll of Honour poster gallery features 50 men (and some women) who served in WW1 – not only those who died, but many who came back and are familiar names in the area.  Many of their 21st century descendants have already visited the exhibition, so too have people who have come more recently to the Deepings and are interested in finding out how to go about researching their own families in the First World War era and to learn about the heritage of our communities.

Other areas of the exhibition include The Home Front, recreating a typical room-setting of 100 years ago; a Recruiting Room, with an Army Sergeant to persuade visitors to “join the Colours”; Memorabilia and Artefacts kindly lent by several local residents; and a roomful of World War 1 models made and displayed by the Spalding and Fenland Model Club. A display of work by students at the Deepings Academy includes one piece that has moved several readers to tears!

Refreshments today will be served in The Officer’s Mess (the Lionel Beck Room!) by Deeping St James Women’s Institute.

Visitors’ comments yesterday lead us to believe this is the best World War 1 exhibition ever!


First talk in Autumn Programme

Tuesday 2nd September is the first date in West Deeping Heritage group’s diary – for an illustrated talk about The Deepings of 100 years ago.

By way of light relief from researching the Deepings World War 1 Roll of Honour,  Liz Parkinson of Deepings Heritage and Maggie Ashcroft of West Deeping Heritage Group have been going through the groups’ archives – old postcards and photographs of Market Deeping, St James Deeping (as it was more often called then) and West Deeping  –  to enable us to step back a century to the early 1900s.  More fascinating details can be found in trade directories and census entries  – to help tell the stories of  some of the people who lived and worked in the Deepings, before their lives were changed forever by the First World War.

These postcards are just an appetiser:

To see many more contemporary illustrations, come along on September 2nd! Everyone is welcome – you do not have to be a member.  For full details of this talk and the next two, see the Autumn poster

World War 1 research: news from the West Deeping Front

We have had two workshops during July, looking at the various sources of information that will help us add more detail to the names on West Deeping’s First World War Roll of Honour.  Many thanks to everyone who came along – 14 of us altogether, with one or two who just popped in to see what we were doing.  For 2 or 3 people it was a chance to get some help with researching their own First World War relatives.

Looking through the 1911 Census information proved interesting.

  • West Deeping had a population of 302,
  • A high proportion of men worked on farms. In earlier censuses they were listed as “Ag. Labs” (Agricultural Labourers).
  • A significant number of men worked on the Great Northern Eastern Railway, as platelayers, signalmen and general labourers.
  • We can get a general idea of village economy – there were 3 public houses, a school, a baker, a butcher, a blacksmith, a carpenter and so on.
  • Jennifer and Liz who were looking particularly at the houses in the Row, off The Lane, were amazed to see a family of 11 living in a “2 up 2 down” cottage.
  • Although house numbering had not yet been introduced, we can work out which were the homes and families of the 45 or more men who were to enlist in the services between 1914 and 1918.

Matching the 1901 Census information to the 1900 Ordnance Survey map was the job that Anne and Melanie tackled. Some of the servicemen listed on our roll of honour were young enough to be still living with their parents and siblings at the time.  The result is as accurate as we can make it based on buildings we know were there over 100 years ago, bearing in mind that it’s not easy to work out from the map what is a separate dwelling or an outbuilding.  It helped to use other information sources such as deeds and indentures which name the occupants.

Baptisms at St Andrew's Church, West Deeping 1914

Baptisms at St Andrew’s Church, West Deeping 1914

The Baptism Register from St Andrew’s Church from the late 19th century proved to be particularly useful.  For some of our servicemen we have details of dates of birth and their parents and siblings.  The pages for the war years provided us with a couple of surprises – details of rank and regiment given as the fathers’ occupations tell us that the Roll of Honour has some gaps!  Details of our servicemen’s children and their wives’ names confirm some of the census information and show associations with the village even if the family has moved away.


Anstee J portraitOne of the servicemen commemorated on the plaque in St Andrew’s Church was Lieutenant Joseph Anstee.  He proved to be of particular interest to Ginny, as he lived at what is now her home – West Deeping Mill.  She trialled a data collection form kindly supplied by local historians working on the “Stamford Boys” project – to collect together all the information we have about an individual.  She also put together a “to-do” list, which included making contact with Peterborough Museum to track down a letter and certificate signed by King George V, sent to Joe Anstee’s parents at the end of the war.  The latest news is that thanks to Teresa and her contacts at Vivacity we are getting copies of the archives so that they can be displayed alongside Joseph Anstee’s story.

Vintage tea and cakes

Vintage tea and cakes

Great-Grandma’s crocheted table cloths and the silver tea service made our vintage tea more special.  Many thanks to Gill for the cakes and scones.

Thanks too – to the Heritage Lottery Grant for supporting the project.