Spalding’s original transport hub

Red Lion Yard in the 1960s.
Red Lion Yard in the 1960s.

The Civic Society is sharing a series of pictures showing changes in Spalding over the last 50 years.

In 1840, three horse-drawn coaches a day passed through Spalding to London as well as two to Boston.

In addition, there was a daily mail coach to King’s Lynn. The only Post Office employee aboard the mail coach was the guard. He was heavily armed, carrying two pistols and a blunderbuss. He also had a timepiece, regulated in London to keep pace with the differences in local time, and recorded the coach’s arrival and departure times at each stage of the journey.

There were also long distance carriers and a multitude of local traffic, especially on market days.

Imagine the scene with ostlers, farriers, wheelwrights, blacksmiths and forage merchants all servicing hundreds of horses, carts and carriages daily.

All this gradually declined with the arrival of the railways and later motor transport so that by the 1920s it was over; but the yards remained almost untouched until the 1990s.

This 1960 picture (above) shows the rear entrance to the yards and the Red Lion Tap, which was where the employees and servants would refresh while the gentry dined in the hotel at the front.

Now it has changed out of all recognition. A new block of flats fronts Broad Street and the Red Lion Quarter occupies the rest.

Only the Spalding Club on the left and the name Crackpool Lane – Broad Street’s original name – remind us of its important history.

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