Holbeach history worth celebrating

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When Patrick King bought his house in Holbeach it was sold as 110 Spalding Road.

However, Patrick and the people in the seven houses next to him also have a separate identity to the rest of Spalding Road.

Some of the residents of The Crescent: from left ' Christine Philpott, Patrick King, Jo Harvey, Vincent Clayton and Beverley Clayton.

Some of the residents of The Crescent: from left ' Christine Philpott, Patrick King, Jo Harvey, Vincent Clayton and Beverley Clayton.

Their homes were originally known as The Crescent when they were built in 1914, a centenary that was celebrated by many of the residents at a party on Sunday.

Patrick (83), who moved in in 1998, says a group of about 30 people celebrated with music, Champagne and a barbecue on the private green in front of their houses.

“Everybody said how much they enjoyed it and that we should do it every year,” says Patrick.

He describes the original homes as “basic”, with water supplies coming from individual wells in the gardens and waste water going into septic tanks.

According to Holbeach & District Civic Society president Bill Belsham they were built by Thompsons the draper for staff and family members. They were sold off from about 1948 onwards.

Although not of great historic interest, the houses are part of an old Holbeach that the Civic Society was formed to try to protect.

Bill was one of the founder members who got together in 1987 after the demolition of the church wall.

Bill says: “When they re-built the wall there were objections to the type of material they were using. As it happens, it was quite acceptable after a while, but two or three people in the town kicked up about it.”

Bill says Holbeach was a town with buildings worth preserving, and one where you could buy everything you needed. He blames the empty shops now on supermarkets, something he rarely uses, though he admits their sturdy trolleys are “one of the finest inventions when you can’t walk well”.

The lifelong Holbeach resident says the society is made up these days in equal numbers of original local people and newcomers.

However, he feels the society’s influence on planning issues has diminished at both parish and district level, for instance when they objected to plans to replace the town’s vicarage.

Bill says the build quality of the old vicarage is superior to any replacement and it was in the right position.

“It probably needed a little bit of upgrading but it was a good, sound building,” he said.

“There were some strong objections to it from the Civic Society and that’s when they completely ignored us. So we have not got a lot of influence now, I am afraid.

“I think it is important that people still stand up to protect their own towns.

“Holbeach is still a good place. People generally don’t like change, do they? Not serious change.”