Book Review 2015:

A Society of Lincolnshire History and Archaeology book Linda Crust

Memories of Local Business Life in Sturton by Stow Compiled by Sharron Banham and David Curtis in 2014.

Available from Sharron Banham; Hill House, 29 Marton Road, Sturton by Stow Lincoln LN1 2AQ.
Price £8 plus £2 p&p or £15 for two copies.

This is a well-produced book of village reminiscences compiled by members of the Sturton and Stow History Society. The format is to take businesses past and present, or groups of businesses, such as carriers, and bring them to life with photos, information and memories. There are lucid and vivid memories of Sadie Wiles and Ivy Birkett – both women were well known by past generations of villagers. Sadie was a well-loved teacher at Sturton School and Ivy was a cheerful, visible presence on her bike delivering prescriptions daily round the village for 2d a bottle from the Saxilby chemist.

The businesses cover the whole range of life in the village throughout the twentieth century. For the first half of the 20th century apprenticeships were still available with local craftsmen; joiners were also undertakers and Harry Williams carried on from the old carriers with his bus performing a local service until the end of the century. Lucas’s shop survived for over a hundred years and I personally remember Mr Derek Lucas delivering weekly to our house anything from boots to first tomatoes of the season to wallpaper and poultry feed. I was trusted to go to Gelders as a small child to purchase honey made from the hives in their own orchard. The unique smell of Gelders shop still remains in the clouds of my memory as a mixture of paraffin and mystery with a hint of farm yard.

There is a section on Bradshaw’s haulage company from steam ploughing and steam lorries, contracted threshing and animal transport to the huge lorries still on the road today 130 years after its foundation. Another comprehensive section is on Sturton mills. The subscription mill of 1815 still stands though without its sails and with a fibre glass cap. Brickworks on Tillbridge Road supplied bricks for the village from local clay and an excellent photo of 1894 shows some of the named workers. Another section is on the pubs of the village and their landlords. Shoemakers, milkmen and the village tinsmith are all there. A surprise chapter at the end of the book moves out of the village to describe (with illustrations) the 19th century Brampton pottery just a few miles away.

For anyone who has lived, or who lives in Sturton by Stow or in Stow I am sure you will enjoy the book (128 pages soft cover). I revelled in nostalgia as I recognised so many names – indeed I am related to many by blood or marriage. It’s a book to chat about with old friends and explain to your children and grandchildren. It tells of the changes in the way of life through picture and anecdote.

For details of Sturton and Stow History Society and their other publications contact Sharron Banham on 01427 788254.

A Society of Lincolnshire History and Archaeology book review by Linda Crust.
January 2015.

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