Grandmas Gleanings from Newton's Woolsthorpe

Recollections from a Lincolnshire Hamlet By Margaret Anne Winn Published in 1994 Copyright M. A. Winn 1994

This is a collection of stories and facts, recording the childhood of the Robinson children and their way of life growing up in Woolsthorpe in the early 1900's.

Chapter 12 Travel

Travel in the early 19000s was usually limited to the distance you could either walk or cycle. A great treat came once a year for the Robinson children when they were allowed to go to Grantham by carrier's cart on Fair Saturday. The carrier's cart was an open cart which had a tarpaulin cover to use in the rain and snow. It had boards round the sides facing the middle for passengers to sit on and a deep well in the centre to carry goods. Six people at most were carried and even then they had to get out and walk up the hills so not to tire the horse too much! The carrier would call on people and collect things to take to town and also buy things there for folk and deliver them on the way home.

The children thought themselves very fortunate to go on such an adventure as not many other families were allowed the luxury. Lizzie went too but she cycled along side the cart. Once when coming home from Grantham the children were so excited as Fred overtook them on his motor bike on his way home from work. In Kelly's Directory of Lincolnshire for 1892 it states that John Smith was the carrier from Woolsthorpe to Grantham on Saturdays. Soon, with developments in motor transport, early buses started running. The first one in the area was run by an old school friend Cis Blankley, they were called Gem coaches. There was great rivalry for custom at first and the service would call door to door to encourage people to use them.

My Mother recalled the family having a day trip to Skegness when Len was just a little boy of about 4 years old. First, very early in the morning, they all cycled to Grantham to catch the train. Len went along on his little fairy cycle, his legs twinkling up and down, nineteen to the dozen so they all took turns to help him along. I guess it seemed a long way and there were lots of hills in those days, also they would all have to cycle home again at the end of the day. When visiting their relatives the family walked or cycled to Grantham, Corby or South Witham Station, depending on which line they were travelling on. If they ever passed through Heckington on the train Fred would hang out of the train window, waving madly as his Dad was the crossing gate keeper there. The children used to be very frightened in case Fred fell out!

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