Ashby, being one of the 5 villages that came together in 1936 to form the Borough of Scunthorpe, plays quite an important role in the town’s development, this page will be developed to look at Ashby throughout the years.
In the middle of the nineteenth century the parishes of Bottesford and Frodingham, which contained the townships of Ashby, Brumby, Crosby and Scunthorpe differed little from many of their rural neighbours. At the 1851 census Ashby was the largest of the settlements in the group, with Scunthorpe next, then Crosby and Brumby, while Frodingham was the smallest. All the villages had grown since the beginning of the century, some faster than others.
The photo below shows Ashby post mill which stood on land close to Ashby Turn, it was demolished towards the end of the 19th century. An enclosure map of 1801/2 shows a mill in this location so it’s reasonable to believe it to be his mill. Ashby High Street was, at this time, called Mill Lane and then later Mill Road.
It is of interest to note the last miller to operate the mill was Mr R A Ashbee.
One of the millstones was taken around the time of its demolition and used to cover up an old well in Ashby High Street, where dwellings were to be built (approximately opposite where St. Paul’s Road is today), the corner of a house was built over the well.
In 1963 the houses that had been built over the millstone were demolished, Mr Harry Kinsley remembered as a boy he went from the mill site to the housing site accompanying a cart which carried the stone. It was because of his information that the stone was carefully sought and recovered after more than 60 years. When the stone came to light again it was noted the well had been filled in prior to capping with the millstone.
As excavation took place separation of the stone occurred (seen on the photo below), the portion on the left was discarded and the piece on the right was taken to Scunthorpe Museum where it is on display today.
The two photos below are believed to have been taken in 1904, Collum Lane is still named as such today. Note the spelling on the photo (Column Lane), there are a number of early postcards which spell the name in this way – maps of 1907 show it spelled as Collum Lane, earlier maps seem to omit any names. The man stood in the photo is at the junction with Back Lane (now called School Lane)
On the above photo is Mr Robert Drayton driving a wedding party along the High Street c1905 heading in a westerly direction, the approximate site would be just east of where Collum Avenue begins today. All the buildings seen here had been demolished by the early 1960s. An oil lamp can be seen on the corner of the brick building to the left, the second lady on the left of the photo is standing at the entrance to the ‘Smooting’. A smooting is old Lincolnshire dialect for ‘a narrow passage between houses’.
In deeds dated 1809 (before the houses were built) this passage was referred to as an ancient footway leading to Brumby. The land on which the house and shop, together with the white house adjoining, stood, had been sold in 1809. It was alluded to as a piece of land were a public house was formerly standing. In 1815 a cottage is noted on the site, and by 1824 there are two houses thereon. Mr T.F. Cranidge, and earlier his father, had a newsagent’s shop on this site for many years; later Mr and Mrs Buckle continued the business. The white building, partly obscured by the wedding carriage, was a blacksmith’s shop.
Mr James Kendall is seen stood in uniform at his front gate to his house in the photo above – he was the village Postmaster at this time. The building at right angles to the house was the post office: a woman is seen about to enter the postal premises.
James Kendall, who was a tailor as well as a postmaster, was the father of Clement Kendall, who became the first librarian of Ashby Library.
The lamp seen to the right, where a group of men are standing, was at the gate to the ‘Tin Tabernacle’ church which had opened in 1899, it served as a church until 1925 when the present St. Paul’s Church was opened – the ‘Tin Tabernacle’ was then used as a hall. The man to the right, leaning on the gate, is J.C. Neilson, who died in 1966 aged 89 years.
The daughter of James Kendall – Miss Minnie Kendall, served in the post office and later became the wife of Mr George Drayton who lived in a house opposite the post office. Oliver Kendall, a son of Clement and grandson of James, became a professor at Bristol University.
The Ashby Institute, which originated in 1908, was one of the oldest and most valued organisations in Ashby. People of various ages spent much of their leisure time there and have benefited from the learning and fellowship which developed from this organisation. The High Street building was used as an adult school, and for debates and discussions; other lines soon followed, including social, recreational and athletic events, and eventually lectures and debates gave way to billiards, snooker, darts, dominoes and table tennis. Football was always popular with its members, and the club was very ably served over the years by Eric Hunsley and from its very early days it had hardly been without a team. A number of grounds had been used over the years by the football team, including one at the erstwhile end of Oxford Street, which in farming days had been known as Fiddler’s Field. A permanent ground was established in 1950 just off School Road in Ashby and eleven years later, in 1961, a new Ashby Institute building was constructed there, it was considerably larger in capacity than the original premises, moreover, it had the additional advantage of having been purpose built rather than a converted building.
The football feild/sports ground became known as The Screeds. The name “screed ” is used to mean a strip of land, on the Enclosure map of 1802/03 there were some narrow strips of land in this area. Close by there was a row of terrace of houses called Kirton Terrace, nicknamed The Screeds, close to were Cherry Tree House stands today along Collum Avenue – the terrace was demolished in the 1960’s, it’s reasonable to believe that this is how the ground got it’s name.
The Institute for many years held an annual children’s gala where members families would be entertained with activities and races on the sports field followed by entertainment in the clubhouse in an evening.
After the Institute had moved to their new premises on School Road the old building on Ashby High Street was put to other uses before its demise.
It’s believed the building in the above photo had previously been a chantry chapel, connected with Bottesford Church. Ecclesiastically, Ashby was in the parish of Bottesford (Bottesford Vicarage stood at Ashby Turn) but the church was a mile or more from the locality where the great majority of parishioners lived. This building stood on the north side of Ashby High Street and to the east of the present Wesley Chapel which opened in 1907.
The buildings were demolished in 1934 and a doorstep was taken from the cottage and used as a coping stone in a wall – as can be seen in the photo below the doorstep is well worn, something one would expect if it had been at the entrance to a chapel.
An old deed refers to a field near three-cottage-building as “Chapel Close”, at which time there was no Methodist chapel on that side of the road; this road is referred to as “Town Street” and not as High Street. This gives further evidence – and there have been no other indications – that the three cottages were formerly a chantry chapel.
In the late 1960’s when work got underway to build the new Anchor Steelworks the size of the project saw a huge influx of workers from all over the country descend to Scunthorpe. The Anchor Village was constructed to the east of Ashby to cater for the workers. Below are some photo’s of the Anchor Village.
When the circus came to town one of the highlights for local children, as well as to whip up enthusiasm for shows, was the circus parade through the streets. These included all the performers from the circus including the clowns, jugglers, acrobats and some of the animals – the three photo’s below show elephants among the parade along Ashby High Street.
Local resident Ray Woodcock recalls, “we followed them down Ashby High Street, along Everest Road and Shipton Road to the field at the end of the council houses where they were setting up the circus. We got in free every afternoon for mucking out and watering the animals . They set up a Lister pump in the stream between Ashby and Bottesford and pumped water into tanks which we bucketed to the animals.”
When the Crown Hotel was built it replaced a previous hostelry, called The Crown Inn, which was partially on the same site – a photo further down shows the two pubs side by side. The new Crown was built for the Fox’s Brewery of Crowle and had three entrances at the front, one to the public bar, another to the snug and the third to the upstairs which along with guest rooms and living accommodation boasted a large ballroom. The local Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes would hold their annual Christmas dances in the ballroom, it was also used by Wyn Benson for her school of dance. Jim and Jean Clements are notable names that ran the Crown Hotel from the mid 1960’s through the 1970’s.
The photograph above is looking westwards, none of the building in it now exist. The building on the right is the Kendall Memorial Chapel (Primitive), it bore the date 1884 and was demolished in 1962. The Crown Inn can be seen with its sign hung outside, further along on the right is another house and shop known as Bibby’s, beyond which is another house where Mr Jimmy Steeper lived. On the left of the picture is a building which once belonged to Mr Broadbent and later became a single-fronted shop occupied by Bennett’s cycle business. On the doorstep of the first shop to the left is Mr Archie Brown, and next to him Mr Bilton, who was a baker, beyond him is Blanche Underwood Wright standing on the step with her father next to her.