Monthly Archives: December 2018

Cromwell & Christmas

Stuart Orme will be the speaker at our meeting on Thursday, 13th December.  Well-known for his work at heritage sites and events around Peterborough, he is now curator of the Cromwell Museum at Huntington.  It is housed in the old grammar school where Oliver Cromwell was educated, and displays a large collection of objects relating to his life.  Stuart is therefore well equipped for the subject of his talk – “The Private Life of Oliver Cromwell” – and is sure to give us an enjoyable evening.

 The event starts at 7.30pm in the Conference Centre, Deepings School. Everyone is welcome.  There is a charge of £2 for non-members.

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One of the most widely known facts about Cromwell and his fellow Puritans, is their disapproval of Christmas jollity and extravagant festivities.

Pictured, is part of the Christmas tree display in Market Deeping Town Hall this year.

In 1887, a local newspaper described “Christmas in Lincolnshire in Bygone Days”, recalling that in the 1830s, on the river Welland from Stamford to Spalding and  the navigable drains in the fens, market boats teemed with Christmas produce of the county.  Coaches were a sight to be seen on the day before Christmas, laden as high as haystacks and drawn by six horses with the leading ones ridden by postillions.  People in villages and market towns turned out to wonder and admire them.  The writer estimated that about 75,000 birds, not including wildfowl, were supplied by Lincolnshire farmers.

In December 1888, Stamford Mercury reported on preparations being made in the Deepings for the approaching festivities, stating “James Deeping and Deeping Gate are proverbial for their fine fed geese and poultry.  Mr Huffer has fed and killed, as usual, over 1,000 geese, and Mr John W Huffer junior and Mr Lincoln and others, supply large quantities of poultry of all kinds to the Metropolis.”New image Church Street

Local grocers advertised luxury products as Christmas approached. This photograph was taken between 1905 and 1909, looking north along Church Street, Market Deeping from the Market Place, showing Mr Ernest Blount’s drapery & grocery shop on the corner.  Grocers had traded from the site since at least the 1780s, including John Laxton, the Pilkington family, William Toller and in December 1848, William Cattell.  He offered teas, coffees, sugars, dried fruits and spices, including eight varieties of green tea.  He sold sparkling lump sugar, brilliant lump, bright yellow West Indian and finest Jamaica.  He was followed by Joseph Limmex, Samuel Tomblin and then the Girling family, who are remembered for a near disaster in their shop on Christmas Eve 1895.  An assistant was using a burning taper to light a gas lamp in the shop window, which was decorated with wadding to represent snow.  The wadding caught alight and the window display went up in flames.  Fortunately, the fire was put out before causing injuries or damage to the building.

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