The Guildhall in Boston is another of my favourite places. I took my children there a lot when they were young and I am now looking forward to taking my granddaughter and sharing with her my love of local history. As well as having interesting things to look at such as the Pilgrim Fathers cells I am hoping she is going to be impressed with one of the exhibits , a boat built by The Keightley boat building firm who were relations of my husbands.
The Guildhall was built in the 1390’s and shows how rich and powerful The Guild of St Mary’s was in the period when Boston’s power as a centre of trade was second only to London. Throughout its history it has been used for many purposes. After 1545 the building became the centre of civic life in Boston and stayed that way for many years. In fact every mayor was elected in the building from 1545 to 1887. After this date things changed as it ceased to be the only notable public building in Boston. In 1822 the Assembly Rooms were built and the court room moved out of the Guildhall and in 1904 the Municipal Buildings were built.
In the 20th Century it found a new life as both a communal and British Restaurant and later on it became the town’s museum. One its main attractions are the cells where the some of the people who later became the Pilgrim Fathers were imprisoned. Lincolnshire has a lot of historical connections with the Pilgrim Fathers but I will talk about them in more depth in another post , probably when I talk about Gainsborough Old Hall. As well as American connections we also have many Australian connections too with Joseph Banks and Matthew Flinders coming from Revesby and Donington. Joseph Banks is famous for sailing with Captain Cook on the Endeavour and there is a portrait of him hanging in the Guildhall.
The museum is free to visit and is open Wednesday to Saturday 10.30-3.30, last admission 3pm. The building is available for private hire and the Banqueting Hall is licensed for civil ceremonies.
For more information go to http://www.bostonguildhall.co.uk
The Kinema in the Woods must be one of the most unusual cinemas in the country if not the world. The core of the building started life in 1888 as a pavilion where various events were held . It was also sometimes used as a sports pavilion. In August 1922 the Weigall family of Petwood House turned it into a cinema. Because of the way the Kinema was built images could not be projected from the rear of the hall so a hut was built at the back of the screen enabling the image to be back-projected 30 feet onto a translucent screen.This is still the way it works today albeit with updated equipment.It is believed to be the only full time cinema in this country to be still using rear projection.
Originally called “The Pavilion Cinema” the name was changed to the Kinema by Mr C. Allport who ran the place for 50 year from 1922 onwards. The word Kinema came from the Greek word Kine which meant “motion”. Up until the !950’s deckchairs were used for the first few rows which were used by many famous guests. During the Second World War many servicemen and women used the Kinema and it was affectionately known as “The Flicks in The Sticks”In 1973 James Green took the place over and he installed the famous Compton Kinestra organ in 1987. Built to sound like an orchestra it is now the only survivor of three that were built.
There is now a second screen called Kinema Two. It is still a busy and thriving cinema and during the Dambuster anniversary celebrations in 2013 The Dam Busters film was shown there and was attended by many important visitors . ( I will talk about the history of the Dambusters and their connections with Woodhall in a separate post.)
FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO http://www.thekinemainthewoods.co.uk
Tattershall Castle is another great National Trust Property to visit in Lincolnshire. It stands proud in the flat Lincolnshire countryside looking like every child’s image of a perfect sandcastle! The National Trust is brilliant at putting on children’s activities and even grown-ups are able to try on a marvellous selection of medieval costumes at the events that they put on. Climb to the top and you are rewarded by lovely views of the lakes at Tattershall and on a clear day you can see Boston Stump and many other landmarks which are clearly pointed out on signs up at the top on the battlements. Do visit if you possibly can. It was one of my children’s favourite destinations for a day out and is now the same for my grandchildren.
Belton House near Grantham is a big favourite of mine. Apart from being a fascinating old house to explore both upstairs and downstairs it has the most magnificent garden and grounds. I have spent many a happy hour with my granddaughter playing in the maze and the brilliant adventure playground. Being a National Trust property it has a couple of cafes and shops but the place I like visiting best is the second hand book shop where I have found some amazing bargains.
The history of the Brownlow family who lived at Belton is fascinating. Do make the effort to visit and find out more.
Lincolnshire sausages are well known to be tasty but there are many other foods that originate in Lincolnshire such as the award winning Lincolnshire Poacher cheese and the Cote Hill Farm cheeses. Haslet is another Lincolnshire speciality and is a pork and onion meatloaf which is flavoured with herbs. It can be eaten with salad or is delicious in a sandwich. Another pork dish is Stuffed Chine. The “chine” is an old butchers term for a pigs back. To make the stuffed chine the pork would be cured in brine then scored. the slits would then be stuffed with a parsley-based mixture after which the pork is strung and cooked as normal. Once sliced the pork has veins and streaks of green and the meat has absorbed the flavour of the parsley.
As well as being famous for being the birthplace of Margaret Thatcher, Grantham is also famous for its gingerbread. It came about when a local baker in the 18th century made a mistake with one of his recipes. However it turned out such delicious biscuits he continued to make them and they became really well known.
Plum bread is also a well known local delicacy made with dried fruit and raisins. It is really good buttered with a lump of cheese.
As I said before Lincolnshire sausages are quite well known and apparently are a favourite food of the Queen!. Made with at least 70% pork and flavoured with sage they are in my opinion the tastiest sausages you can get ( and who am I to argue with the Queen?)
Another Lincolnshire delicacy is samphire which is a plant that grows on marshland. In the summer people go down the to the local marsh to pick it. It can be boiled or steamed and served with butter or salt and vinegar. It is sometimes known as poor mans asparagus but it was actually served at the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana.
We are lucky in Lincolnshire to have weekly markets that supply us with vegetables fresh from the fields nearby. We also have regular Farmers Markets which sells such products as ostrich meat and eggs, the delicious local cheeses and many other tasty things.
Come and try some of our local specialities. You won’t be sorry.
As a Lincolnshire Yellowbelly born and bred and a bookseller for over eighteen years I have always been on the lookout for novels set in my own home county and I would like to share a couple of favourites with you.
My favourite book of all time “Katherine” by Anya Seton has many parts of it set in Lincolnshire. It tells the true story of Katherine Roet (who was actually the sister in law of Geoffrey Chaucer) who meets and falls in love with John of Gaunt, one of the sons of Edward III and one of the most powerful men of the 14th century, However she is forced into marrying Hugh Swynford, a knight from Kettlethorpe, near Lincoln and comes to live there for quite a large part of her life. Other parts of Lincolnshire are mentioned and when I visit Bolingbroke castle I can really imagine the scenes she so vividly described in the book. Katherine eventually married John of Gaunt and became an ancestress of the Royal Family we have today.She is buried in Lincoln Cathedral and her tomb attracts many visitors who like me have enjoyed her amazing story. If the story catches your imagination and you want to know more there is a very informative book by the historian Alison Weir simply called “Katherine Swynford”.
Another wonderful historical novel is “The Marsh King Daughter” by Elizabeth Chadwick. It tells the story of how King John lost his treasure in the Wash, which is of great interest to me as I was brought up in Swineshead where he stayed at the Abbey and was supposedly poisoned by one of the monks .It is set in Lincoln, Nottingham and Boston and has fascinating descriptions of everyday life in medieval times. The book tells the story of Miriel Weaver, her adventures and the love story between her and Nicholas de Caen. It is an enthralling read and the descriptions of medieval Boston and Lincoln are brilliant.