Curtain rises for Christmas
The historic port town of Boston has plenty to offer shoppers, leisure-seekers and those with a passion for history, says Glynis Fox.
And, with its festive lights switch-on having taken place just few days ago, the town has a special ambience for all to enjoy.
Whilst Boston continues to celebrate its real mix of mainstream and independent shopping, progress continues to be made on the £120m Quadrant project on its outskirts with Wyberton.
The Fisherman’s Memorial has just been unveiled and the town has welcomed a key part of its important Flood Barrier Scheme.
A new school has also been given the green light and community groups are delighted to have received a pre-Christmas boost from county retailer Lincolnshire Co-op.
Shoppers will love popping into Boston’s much-loved Oldrids department store in Strait Bargate, which is a hotspot for women, men and children looking for eye-catching fashions for all those Christmas dinners and parties, as well as being the ideal place to find some great gifts – from jewellery to handbags, sweet treats to beauty products.
As well as the store in the town centre, Oldrids Downtown (Boston) – where there is a massive choice of household furnishings, as well as festive gift ideas – is also worth a look.
Check out Oldrids’ website too and discover how your family can enjoy breakfast or supper with Santa – visit
Behind the town centre store is Pescod Square, where shoppers will find a wide variety of national stores and there are more in Wide Bargate.
But Boston also has its proud independents and you will find some of them in West Street and its little alleys, such as Dolphin Lane and Emery Lane. Coneys of Boston is popular with men and women seeking out designer wear.
Family furnishings specialist Cammacks, which is now run by fourth and fifth generation members, is another well-known business. It is based in Wide Bargate and this year chalked up 100 years in business.
Boston is equally well-known for its busy markets, which take place on Wednesday and Saturdays and there is also a Wednesday Auction in Wide Bargate, which always attracts a crowd looking for the odd bargain.
Boston Community runners will, once again, be turning out to lead this year’s Santa Fun Run, which will start out from Central Park and finish in the Market Place, where there will be stall holders and entertainment. The date and times to note is: 15th December from 10am to 3pm.
Boston’s Christmas lights switch-on was organised by Christmas in Boston (CiB) – a group of professionals from all walks of life who, despite their members having their own businesses to look after, have made sure that the town has a lights display to be proud of.
Andrew Lovelace of Lovelace Electrical said: “The planning started in mid-summer with electricians donating evenings and weekends to design, plan and construct new Christmas decorations for our town. We aim to have something a little different each year.
CiB is a non-profit organisation and relies on sponsors and donations and has had help from the local authority to support its efforts.
“It’s priceless to see children’s faces light up when they see the lights and we hope to continue to light up our town creating memories for families and children for many years to come,” said Andrew.
Progress continues at The Quadrant scheme on the outskirts of the town, which is seen as an important ‘gateway’ to Boston. The development, which is expected to cost around £120 million and be constructed over a period of seven to eight years, is a big talking point.
Developer Chestnut Homes director David Newton, who is also Boston United chairman, recently showed visitors around the scheme, which features new housing, commercial outlets, plans for a care home and, excitingly, is the site earmarked for Boston United’s new football stadium.
“The residential aspect of the scheme is on-going, with the speed depending on the housing market. It includes, one, two, three and four-bedroomed homes and the balance of the affordable housing should be delivered within the next two years. 140 properties have already been handed over or are under construction,” said David.
A 66-bedroom care facility is being built and is due open in about a year’s time.
National occupiers, who have already taken their names to The Quadrant are Costa, Starbucks, Greggs and Burger King. A petrol station is due to start shortly.
The new Community Stadium, which is expected to take 5,000 people when finished, will feature a range of facilities, include conference and banqueting provision, hospitality boxes, an education department, sports hall and 3G all-weather pitch, as well as changing space. There are also plans for a dance studio, a potential fitness suite and a possible climbing wall.
People living in Boston have welcomed the arrival of a 300-tonne tidal flood gate, which forms part of the Boston Barrier Scheme – and will help to protect the town from flooding.
The Boston Barrier gate arrived by barge from The Netherlands, its delivery marking an important milestone in a project that will see Boston and the surrounding area better protected from tidal flooding well into the next century.
Moving the barrier gate into position was a highly technical process, requiring steel sheet piles in the construction area to be cut down in preparation for the gate to be driven off the barge and over a temporary installation bridge by remotely controlled vehicle.
Once in place it was ready to be connected to the hydraulic rams and control systems before undergoing essential safety and commissioning tests.
The final elements of the scheme include installing a more flood resilient gate at the Port of Boston wet-dock entrance, and associated works to tie the project into the Haven Banks Scheme – a separate project that will raise and strengthen the existing flood banks running from the barrier towards The Wash for a distance of 5km.
When complete, the £100m Boston scheme will reduce the risk of tidal flooding to more than 14,000 properties in the town.
It will give Boston one of the best standards of defence against tidal flooding outside of London. The barrier is expected to be fully operational by Spring 2020.
THERE’S A HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS SHOPPING IN BOSTON
For over 215 years Bostonians have been shopping for their Christmas gifts and decorations at the Oldrids department store at the heart of this historic, Lincolnshire town. How enchanting to imagine a Georgian lady sweeping around the store with her basket collecting treats for her family, and all these years later local families doing the same – the basket replaced by an eco-friendly paper carrier!
Now visitors come from all around to shop both Oldrids in town – for leading fashion brands such as Joules and Jack Wills, luxury cosmetics by Clarins and Benefit and a massive choice of toys ready to send to Santa – and the Downtown Home Superstore at Wyberton Chain Bridge Road, just off the A52, where it’s possible to pick out a leading brand sofa, or update the dining room or bedroom with great furniture delivered ready for Christmas. At the Home Superstore, where parking is free, it’s easy to spend hours browsing the gorgeous home textiles, selecting lovely linens, picking out some jewel coloured towels for your spare room – making it ready for Christmas guests, and choosing beautiful gifts and decorations to add that stylish finishing touch to your home.
After an enjoyable few hours organising everything you need for a perfect Christmas, pop into one of Odrids & Downtown’s Cafes, where a pot of tea and luxury homemade mince pie will be a treat recognised by that Georgian lady – and still talked about today as being a highlight of any visit to Boston!