For our first event of the New Year, we welcome back Derek Harris who gave an entertaining talk in March 2018 about the History of Canals. On Thursday, 9th January, he will discuss “Folk of the Cut” – people involved in our canal system, including boating families and their employers, the early engineers and present day volunteers who help to restore the network. Derek owns a canal boat and will include some boating songs along the way. His presentation starts at 7.30pm in the Conference Centre, Deepings School. Everyone is welcome. Entrance £3 for non-members.
In January 200 years ago, people looking for entertainment in the Deepings, could find an advertisement in Stamford Mercury for dancing lessons. Mr Stuart who had been with the Opera House, London for five years, offered instruction in the waltz, quadrille, country dancing and reeling. He ran an Academy of Dance in Priestgate, Peterborough, but regularly visited Market Deeping with his assistant, Mr Sheppard who gave lessons on the flute and violin.
This engraving of four couples dancing the quadrille dates from about 1825. (In the Wellcome Collection) Eight dancers, in a square formation, followed a memorised sequence of steps.
Mr Stuart gave tuition in Deeping several times each year, but in 1827 it was announced that his real name was Richard Samuel Humphrays. “The gentleman, having some years ago an inclination for the stage and entering on a theatrical life, assumed the name of Stuart.” He reverted to the name Humphrays at the age of 50, when he married Mary Ann Cherrington of Crowland.
January 1820 also saw Robert Thompson taking over as landlord of the Chestnut Horse pub in Deeping St James – “the old-established public house which he has fitted up with beds for the accommodation of travellers. He has commenced brewing his own ale and has laid in a stock of genuine spirituous liquors.”
The Chestnut Horse, next-door to the bakery in Church Street, continued trading until 1908 when it was declared redundant by the licensing authorities. It was put up for auction with the bakery premises, as a single Lot. (This photograph of the pub is from Dorothea Price’s collection, published in 1998.)
A private house built in 1915, called Chestnut House, now stands on the site.
200 years ago this month, teaching resumed at the Endowed School in Church Street, Market Deeping, in newly-built premises. There had been a charity school on the site since the 1540s, but the new building incorporated rooms for boarders, schoolmaster’s accommodation and a brewhouse. John Mann had recently been hired to teach 16 poor children reading, writing and common arithmetic. He was also allowed to take paying pupils, and offered subjects such as land surveying, merchant’s accounts and book-keeping, which would be useful to sons of farmers and tradesmen.
The Endowed School closed in 1966, and the building has been converted to a private house.
In 1820 the combined population of Market Deeping and Deeping St James was around 2,400. At the latest census in 2011, it was over 13,000 – and still rising.