Parish Council - 100 years

100 years

Photo by Boston Standard

Butterwick Parish Council 1994

100 years of Butterwick - December 1994

A journey back in time awaited the 100 plus parishioners of Butterwick who crowded into the village hall for the centenary celebration of the parish council.

Villagers learned that the minute book of 1894 showed that the very first meeting of parochial electors to establish who would serve on the parish council was held on December 4th 1894, in Pinchbeck Endowed Boys School.

A meeting of elected members took place the following January, when Mr W Upsall was elected chairman, Mr J Reeson vice-chairman and the councillors J Hanks, B Lawson, C Hardy and H Chester signed their acceptance of office and thus was the beginning Butterwick Parish Council.

Mr T Dunn, clerk to the present council, read the minutes of that first meeting, which saw the setting up of trustees for the Poor Charities.

The treasurer received a precept of £7 per annum to cover expenses, twelve shilling and sixpence of which was to be paid, per annum, to the governors of the school for the fire, lights and preparation of the school for meetings.  The minutes were signed by William Upsall.

Present day chairman William Tyler who had previously welcomed everyone to the centenary meeting on behalf of the full parish council said he had served on the authority for 34 years.  He had lived in the village and had seen many changes - when he was a boy the village had a post office and telephone switchboard in a private house, two public houses, three shops, a butcher’s carpenter and jointers, blacksmiths, fish shop, two schools, two bakers a cycle shop, two chapels and one church.

Mains water did not come until the 1930s and before then the only water available was from the village pump, which used to stand on the green outside the Five Bells.

In 1921 notices were posted round the village pointing out that the water was for domestic use, stock and threshing purposes only as the councillors of the day thought it was being used wastefully!

Mr Tyler said the parish council did not own large amounts of Butterwick but only the green and that they were responsible for the war memorial.  Neither did they run the Poor Charities Trust, he said.

In the past the council had fought long and hard for an access to the outmarsh and eventually got one.  The council was very grateful to the governor, staff and inmates of the North Sea Camp for the gift of the land from bank to bank and for the stone wall to the seabank which they built.  He explained that the road was owned by the borough council and that an agreement to that effect had been made some years ago between the borough, the Home Office Prison Department, British Steel Pensions, Mr Saul and Mr Tyler.  Threequarters of the road had been tarmaced and the rest should be attended to shortly.

Early minute books on display showed that councillors seemed to have little to discuss except the yearly election of officers, the Poor Charities trustees and the letter of the ‘weirs’ for eel fishing.  This used to take place at the Five Bells and in 1895 the Weir Fishery was let to Jacob Reeson the sum of eight shillings.  The practice was kept up for many years until the former rural district council filled the fishery in and the parish council eventually sold it.

The books revealed there had been a special meeting in May 1902 with Mr W Upsall, Canon Staffurth and 48 other people to discuss the coronation of Edward VII.  The parish council authorised the sum of £25 be allocated for a “knife and fork” meal for adults over 12 years and “bread, butter and cake tea” for children under 12.  Mr W Martin supplied 345 meat teas at one shilling a head and 107 teas to children at sixpence a head - a total cost of £19 18s 6d.  For flags, staff and rosettes Mr J Oldrid received £1 4s for printing circulars and tickets the proprietors of the Boston Guardian were paid 6s; one gross of coronation mugs from C Skinner and Son cost £1 16s; and for the ringing of church bells on the August 9th coronation day the parish council paid £1 - so keeping within their budget.

The first sign of new dwellings being build came in 1917 when the council told the RDC they needed at least six cottages.  And again in 1923 they applied to the RDC to build six houses - a modest request in today’s terms.

It was also noted in 1923 that the council had no objection to the postman having a half-day holiday!

During the two world wars Butterwick had a gun testing sie and in the First World War a camp was built between the first two sea banks - and two dwellings there are still occupied.

Hosts for the evening were parish council chairman William Tyler, vice-chairman Mrs J Morris and councillors P Roberts, R Stanton, L Codling, B Dean and Mrs C Smith while guests included John Debnam of Marshall Bros, Michael Hancock of Palmer and Bell, Mr G Pearson of Pearson Packages, Mr R Lawson of Lawson Garages and Mr & Mrs Noel Curtis.  For many years Mr Curtis served on the parish council, first as a councillor and then as chairman.  He was village postman for 17 years and eventually he and his wife Thelma took over the post office from Mr Curtis’s father and the couple ran it until they retired about three years ago.

Boston Borough Council chief executive Ian Ward and Councillor Peter Bedford also attended.  There were many parishioners who have spent all their lives in Butterwick and they were glad to share their memories of the village as they knew it and as their parents and grandparents knew it and for a while the clock turned back for Butterwick.

At the end of the evening Mr Tyler said he was pleased that so many people had shown an interest and that he wished parish council meetings always had such support.  Anyone interest in going to any meeting would be made very welcome.

(compiled by Grace Vail, Village Correspondent for the Boston Standard - published December 1994)