The Old Mermaid Inn, Wansford

A lovely old view from above the bridge at Wansford looking up to what is now the main crossroads with the “Old Leicester Road” (Wansford Church is to the immediate left of the photographer).

The Old Mermaid Inn was demolished once traffic in the area rendered the staggered crossroads in front of it too dangerous. The quiet rural scene depicted in this 1920s image actually shows the junction of what is now the A1 (heading away from the photographer) and the A47 (arriving from the left in front of the inn).

Once road traffic started to increase, the demolition of the inn allowed the crossroads to be tidied up a little before eventually both the roads were rebuilt to bypass the village.

Market Square

A really nice image probably from around the late 1920s showing Market square or Cathedral Square as we know it today.

Note the lovely old car parked next to the drinking fountain that has since moved to Bishops Gardens and on the very far right you can see an early Boots the Chemists store.

Longthorpe Village Pond

Not the results of a spell of wet weather but a bona-fide village pond …… in the street !

Being just up the road from the horse-drawn bus terminus at the Fox & Hounds, the pond was regularly used to clean the hooves of horses and the wheels of the carriages they pulled.

The pathway to Longthorpe Tower heads off to the right, just this side of the cottage. The lower image dates to around 1905.

Holme Railway Station

Waiting for the train at Holme Station in 1910. 

The Great Northern Railway station at Holme was opened in 1850 and stopped functioning as a passenger station in April 1959. It remained active in support of a goods yard until October 1970 but has long since been demolished with no remains in evidence today …… other than the busy east coast mainline of course !

Haycock Stables, Wansford

Probably shot in the 1920s, the stable block is thought to be the oldest part of the Haycock complex, possibly dating back as far as the 1500s.

Sited on the Great North Road, the Haycock was a major stopping off point for horse-drawn transport and, at one point, employed in excess of twenty grooms to look after the horses.

Glatton – High Haden Road

A quiet rural scene in Glatton just off the the A1 north-west of Sawtry. No idea of date but Alan Haverly of East Sussex adds ……..

“This is of a set of cottages in High Haden Road, known at the time as ‘Cole’s Cottages’, as they were owned by a Mr & Mrs Cole. The picture I believe is from around 1940, or maybe a fraction later as the bungalow on the right of the picture was built in the mid 1930s and lived in during the 1950s and 1960s by the Herbert family.

The fact that the lane is not looking too well kept gives great suggestion to the 1940s period. My own parents lived in a part of the cottage in question during the mid 1940s.”

Meet me at the City !

Saw this superb advertising sign being sold on ebay recently …… the seller claims he rescued it during the demolition of the old City Cinema.

The cinema was built in 1927 on Bridge Street and was demolished in 1963 to make way for the city’s first Marks & Spencer store.

The Bell, Stilton

The Bell, Stilton

Two images of the Bell at Stilton from the early part of the 1900s and showing a sign indicating that the inn was supplied in these days by Huntingdon based brewery “Marshall Brothers”.

The desolate road disappearing into the distance was the Great North Road, albeit a little quiter than today’s A1M replacement that passes a few hundred yards behind the Inn.The Bell, Stilton

Wansford Bridge

An early shot of Wansford Bridge from around 1910-1920 showing the 10mph limit sign on the left and the agricultural road surface ….. otherwise a scene that hasn’t changed a whole lot over the last 100 years.

There used to be an eight-arched wooden bridge on the site.  In 1221, a remission of 10 days penance was granted to anyone giving alms for its repair. After floods damaged it in 1571 it was replaced by a thirteen-arched stone bridge. Only the seven northernmost arches remain, the other six being replaced after about 100 years.  Further rebuilding in 1795 after more flood damage left a single span over the main stream, making navigation easier.

The one thing that always fascinates me about this bridge is that the road is no minor country track but the Great North Road as it was known in those days and now better known as the A1.

As traffic volumes started to make the bridge too much of a bottle neck on such a major North-South route, a new bridge was built and the A1 redirected along today’s route leaving Wansford and the bridge in relative peace !


Wansford Bridge