RETRO: Two from the Boston Standard archives - Phantoms over Market Place and shoppers in a 1980s Strait Bargate

Not all of the Boston Standard’s photographic archives exist on negative film alone – some have been printed and mounted on board.

One of the best-timed photographs in our archives ... a scene from RAF Coningsby's Freedom of Borough parade of 1981.
One of the best-timed photographs in our archives ... a scene from RAF Coningsby's Freedom of Borough parade of 1981.

These photographs are two such examples.

The first of the pictures dates from late 1981 and shows the annual RAF Coningsby Freedom of the Borough parade taking place in Boston town centre.

That year, for the first time, the service personnel were inspected by the Mayor of Boston, Coun Cyril Fovargue, and Coningsby’s station commander, Group Captain Bill Wratten.

The second picture in full.

A large crowd gathered in a closed-off Market Place for the event, which included a spectacular flypast by four Phantom aircraft.

Representing Boston at the event was 21-year-old Martin Barber.

Martin, the son of Mr and Mrs Douglas Barber, of Woad Farm Road, Boston, was the only Boston airman in the march.

He was said to be thrilled to be chosen to parade through his home town.

A close-up of the street.

A former employee at Fogarty’s, Martin had only joined the RAF in March of that year and was serving as a MT driver.

Both these photographs were found while searching through archive material at The Standard’s offices.

Neither come with any kind of annotation to indicate when they were taken or why.

It would have been a reasonably safe bet to say the first photograph shows RAF Coningsby’s annual Freedom of Borough march, but the more detailed information printed here from comes the fact we saw the picture in the newspaper archives at Boston Library last year and still had a note of the report that went with it.

The image did not appear in the paper last year, though, as we were unable to find the negative for it – a shame, we thought, as it is such a striking image.

The second photograph is not one we recognise, but offers clues as to when it was taken.

Strait Bargate is full of people and even has a planter in the road, indicating that the picture dates from after its pedestrianisation.

However, it appears to have only been newly pedestrianised, as the shopping street has yet to be resurfaced – the original road can be seen with double-yellow lines along it and stretches of pavement on either side.

This places the photograph in the early 80s as well, sometime between the start of the six-month pedestrianisation trial in March 1980 and its official launch as a resurfaced, traffic-free area in April 1982 – so probably not far off the first photograph, but maybe a little earlier in the year as it appears warmer.

Both pictures measure about half-a-metre at their longest dimension and offer great detail.

For example, on the first photograph, various businesses can be seen in the background, including: the Kings Cafe, which together with its neighbour Famous Army Stores, would become a branch of McDonald’s and later HSBC; Foster Menswear, today H. Samuel; and Freeman Hardy and Willis, today F. Hinds.

In the second photograph, meanwhile, sale signs can be seen on display in the shop windows.

If you are able to give any more details as to when the second photograph was taken, you can contact the paper via email on [email protected]