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Area Guides - Boston, Lincolnshire 

Boston is a port and market town in Lincolnshire, on the east coast of England, about 100 miles (160 km) north of London. It is the largest town of the wider Borough of Boston local government district. The town itself had a population of 35,124 at the 2001 census,[1] while the borough had a total population of 66,900, at the ONS mid-2015 estimates.[2] It is north of Greenwich on the Prime Meridian.

Boston’s most notable landmark is St Botolph’s Church (“The Stump”), the largest parish church in England,[3] visible for miles around from the flat lands of Lincolnshire. Residents of Boston are known as Bostonians. Emigrants from Boston named several other settlements around the world after the town, most notably BostonMassachusetts, in the United States.

Early History
The town was once held to have been a Roman settlement, but no evidence shows this to be the case.[4] Similarly, it is often linked to the monastery established by the Saxon monk Botolph at “Icanhoe” on the Witham in AD 654 and destroyed by the Vikings in 870,[4] but this is now doubted by modern historians. The early medieval geography of The Fens was much more fluid than it is today, and at that time, the Witham did not flow near the site of Boston. Botolph’s establishment is most likely to have been in Suffolk. However, he was a popular missionary and saint to whom many churches between Yorkshire and Sussex are dedicated. The 1086 Domesday Book does not mention Boston by name,[6] but nearby settlements of the tenant-in-chief Count Alan Rufus of Brittany are covered. Its present territory was probably then part of the grant of Skirbeck,[6] part of the very wealthy manor of Drayton, which before 1066 had been owned by Ralph the StallerEdward the Confessor‘s Earl of East Anglia. Skirbeck had two churches and one is likely to have been that dedicated to St Botolph, in what was consequently Botolph’s town. Skirbeck (map) is now considered part of Boston, but the name remains, as a church parish and an electoral ward. The order of importance was the other way round, when the Boston quarter of Skirbeck developed at the head of the Haven, which lies under the present Market Place. At that stage, The Haven was the tidal part of the stream, now represented by the Stone Bridge Drain (map), which carried the water from the East and West Fens. The line of the road through Wide Bargate, to A52 and A16, is likely to have developed on its marine silt levees.[citation needed] It led, as it does now, to the relatively high ground at Sibsey (map), and thence to Lindsey. The reason for the original development of the town, away from the centre of Skirbeck, was that Boston lay on the point where navigable tidal water was alongside the land route, which used the Devensian terminal moraine ridge at Sibsey, between the upland of East Lindsey and the three routes to the south of Boston:
  • The coastal route, on the marine silts, crossed the mouth of Bicker Haven towards Spalding.
  • The Sleafordroute, into Kesteven, passed via Swineshead (map), thence following the old course of the River Slea, on its marine silt levee.
  • The Salters’ Way route into Kesteven, left Holland from Donington. This route was much more thoroughly developed, in the later Medieval period, by Bridge End Priory (map).
The River Witham seems to have joined The Haven after the flood of September 1014, having abandoned the port of Drayton, on what subsequently became known as Bicker Haven.[citation needed] The predecessor of Ralph the Staller owned most of both Skirbeck and Drayton, so it was a relatively simple task to transfer his business from Drayton, but Domesday Book in 1086 still records his source of income in Boston under the heading of Drayton, so Boston’s name is not mentioned. The Town Bridge still maintains the preflood route, along the old Haven bank.

Demography 

Population

According to the 2001 census, 35,124 people were residing in Boston town, of whom 48.2% were male and 51.8% were female. Children under five accounted for about 5% of the population; 23% of the resident population in Boston were of retirement age. In the 2011 census, the Borough of Boston had a population of 64,600 with 15% of the population having been born outside of the UK and 11% having been born in EU accession countries (2001–2011) such as Poland and Lithuania. The non-White population made up 2.4% of the total population in 2011.

Arts and culture 

Boston has historically had strong cultural connections to the Netherlands, and Dutch influence can be found in its architecture.

Landmarks

Some of the most interesting things to be seen in Boston, of which there are few, lie not in the unusual list of tourist features, but in the area of civil engineering. However, the unremarkable sights are of the more unusual sort:

The parish church of Saint Botolph is known locally as Boston Stump and is renowned for its size and its dominant appearance in the surrounding countryside.

The Great Sluice is disguised by railway and road bridges, but it is there, keeping the tide out of the Fens and twice a day, allowing the water from the upland to scour the Haven. Not far away, in the opposite direction, was the boyhood home of John Foxe, the author of Foxe's Book of Martyrs.

The Town Bridge maintains the line of the road to Lindsey and from its western end, looking at the river side of the Exchange Building to the right, it is possible to see how the two ends of the building, founded on the natural levees of The Haven, have stood firm while the middle has sunk into the infill of the former river.

From 1552, Bostonians used to have their jail near the Stump (about where the red car in the photograph is located). This is likely to be where the Scrooby Pilgrims were imprisoned in 1607.

There is a statue of Herbert Ingram, founder of The Illustrated London News, in front of the Stump. The statue was designed by Alexander Munro and was unveiled in October 1862. The allegorical figure at the base of the monument is a reference to Ingram's efforts to bring the first piped water to the town. He was also instrumental in bringing the railways to Boston. Born in nearby Paddock Grove, son of a butcher, he was also MP for Boston, from 1856 until his death in 1860, in a shipping accident on Lake Michigan.

The seven-storeyed Maud Foster Tower Windmill, completed in 1819 by millwrights Norman and Smithson of Kingston upon Hull for Issac and Thomas Reckitt, was extensively restored in the late 1980s and became a working mill again. It stands next to the drain after which it is named, and is unusual in having an odd number (five) of sails.

The Guildhall in which the Pilgrim Fathers were tried was converted into a museum in 1929. The cells in which the pilgrims are said to have been held at the time of their trial are on the ground floor. After a major refurbishment during which the museum was closed for several years, it reopened in 2008.

The Pilgrim Fathers Memorial is located on the north bank of The Haven a few miles outside the town. Here at Scotia Creek, the pilgrims made their first attempt to leave for the Dutch Republic in 1607.

Local economy 

Boston’s most important industries are food production, including vegetables and potatoes; road haulage and logistics companies that carry the food; the Port of Boston, which handles more than one million tons of cargo per year including the import of steel and timber and the export of grain and recyclable materials; shellfishing; other light industry; and tourism. The port is connected by rail, with steel imports going by rail each day to Washwood Heath in Birmingham, and the port and town are also connected by trunk roads including the A16 and the A52.

Boston has two weekly newspapers, the Boston Standard and the Boston Target,] and a community radio station called Endeavour Radio.

Boston’s market is held every Wednesday and Saturday in one of England’s largest marketplaces, with an additional market and outside auction held on Wednesdays on Bargate Green.

Boston has a theatre and arts centre called Blackfriars, which was formerly the refectory of the Benedictine friary, built in the 13th century and once visited by King Edward I.

Work was due to commence in 2014 on a new marina of the river Witham, which would offer moorings, a restaurant, and other facilities. The town is also set to be a major part of the Fens waterway project, which will be an equivalent of the Norfolk Broads. This is scheduled to be completed in 2018.

In late 2013, a £100 million development was announced for the outskirts of town on the A16 towards Kirton. This development, named the Quadrant, is split in two phases. Phase one consists of a new football ground for Boston United F.C., 500 new homes, retail and business outlets, and a possible supermarket. This development also includes the beginning of a distributor road that will eventually link the A52 Grantham Road and the A16 together. Phase two, still in the development stage, consists of a possible second new marina, more new homes, and retail units.

Sport 

Football

The town has two nonleague football clubs. The more senior Boston United, nicknamed the Pilgrims, plays in the National League North. The stadium is currently located on York Street in the centre of the town and has an approximate capacity of 6,200. Boston United are scheduled to move from York Street to a new stadium on the outskirts of the town for the 2020–21 season. The town's second club, Boston Town, nicknamed the Poachers, plays in the United Counties Football League. Its home games are played at their stadium on Tattershall Road, on the outskirts of Boston.

Rowing

Boston Rowing Club, near Carlton Road, hosts the annual 33 miles (53 km) Boston Rowing Marathon each year in mid-September. Crews from throughout the world compete, starting at Brayford Pool in Lincoln, and finishing in times from three to six hours.

Education 

Secondary schools

Boston Grammar School, an all-male selective school, is on Rowley Road. Its female counterpart, Boston High School is on Spilsby Road. Both schools have sixth forms open to both boys and girls. Haven High Academy is on Marian Road – it was created in 1992 on the site of Kitwood Girls' School following its merger with another secondary modern school, Kitwood Boys' School. The town previously also had a Roman Catholic secondary school, St Bede's in Tollfield Road, but this was closed in 2011 following poor exam results.

Colleges

Boston College is a predominantly further education college that opened in 1964 to provide A-level courses for those not attending the town's two grammar schools. It currently has three sites in the town. It also took over the site of Kitwood Boys' school in Mill Road following the school's merger with Kitwood Girls' School in 1992, but this was closed in 2012, with the buildings subsequently demolished and housing built on the site.

Independent schools

St George's Preparatory School is the only independent school in the town. Established in 2011, it is housed in a Grade II listed building, the former home of the town architect William Wheeler, and caters for the 3–11 year age group.