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Spalding, Lincolnshire


Spalding, Lincolnshire


Spalding Water Taxi on the Coronation Channel
Spalding is located in Lincolnshire
 Spalding shown within Lincolnshire
Population 28,722 (2011)
OS grid reference
   – London 90 mi (140 km)  S
District South Holland
Shire county Lincolnshire
Region East Midlands
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town SPALDING
Postcode district PE11
Dialling code 01775
Police Lincolnshire
Fire Lincolnshire
Ambulance East Midlands
EU Parliament East Midlands
UK Parliament South Holland and The Deepings
List of places

Spalding is a market town with a population of 28,722 (2011 census) on the River Welland in the South Holland district of Lincolnshire, England. Little London is a hamlet directly south of Spalding on the B1172, whilst Pinchbeck, a village to the north, is part of the built-up area.

The town was well known for its annual Spalding Flower Parade, dating from 1959,[1] which attracted many regular visitors from around the world. The parade celebrated the region's vast tulip production and the cultural links between the Fens and the landscape and people of South Holland. At one time, it attracted crowds up more than 100,000, but attendance decreased to fewer than 40,000 in 2012.[2]

That year, two local councils announced they would no longer fund the parade, and the 2013 parade was the last.[3] Since 2002 the town has held an annual Pumpkin Festival (not linked to Hallowe'en) in October.


  • History 1
  • River Welland 2
    • Draining of the Fens 2.1
    • Water Taxi 2.2
    • Vernatt's Drain 2.3
  • Demography 3
  • Healthcare 4
  • Education 5
    • Primary schools 5.1
    • Secondary schools 5.2
    • Sixth Form Colleges 5.3
  • Industry and commerce 6
    • Flowers and vegetables 6.1
    • Tulips 6.2
    • Main companies 6.3
    • World Tulip Summit 6.4
  • Landmarks and facilities 7
    • Historical buildings 7.1
    • Commercial and civic buildings 7.2
    • History of the barcode 7.3
    • Power stations 7.4
  • Sport 8
  • Transport 9
    • Road 9.1
    • Rail 9.2
  • Tulip Radio 10
  • Twin cities 11
  • Timeline 12
  • See also 13
  • References 14
  • External links 15
    • Video 15.1


Archeological excavations at Wygate Park in Spalding have shown that there has been occupation in this area from at least the Roman period, when this part of Lincolnshire was used for the production of salt. It was a coastal siltland. At Wygate Park salt making seems to have come to an end by the mid-3rd century AD; climatic change and flooding may have made such activities difficult, causing the practice to die out.[4]

The settlement's name is derived from an Anglian tribe, the Spaldingas, who settled in the area during the 6th century. They may have retained their administrative independence within the Kingdom of Mercia into the late 9th century, when Stamford became one of the Five Boroughs of the East Midlands under Danish control after years of invasion and occupation.

In John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles (1887), Spalding was described as a:

"market town and par. with ry. sta., Lincolnshire, on River Welland, 14 m. SW. of Boston, 12,070 ac., pop. 9260; P.O., T.O., three Banks, two newspapers. Market-day, Tuesday. Spalding is an important railway centre, while the river has been made navigable to the town for vessels of from 50 to 70 tons. It is situated in a rich agricultural district, and has a large trade, by river and by rail, in corn, wool, coal, and timber. It has also flour, bone, and saw mills, breweries, and coach works. There are remains of a priory of 1501, a fine old church (restored 1860), a grammar school, a corn exchange, and a spacious market place."[5]

River Welland

Draining of the Fens

The Welland

The River Welland flows north from Crowland, through Spalding and passing the village and port of Fosdyke before leading out to the Wash, bisecting Spalding from east to west; the town has developed as a linear settlement around the river. Land had been reclaimed from the wetlands in the area since mediaeval times, and Spalding was subject to frequent flooding. The Coronation Channel, opened in 1953, diverted the excess waters around Spalding and ended the flooding.[6] The area around the banks has been developed for residential and business use. Although this area has become heavily built up, there is much recreational use of the river and fishing is still popular.

Water Taxi

Water taxi

In July 2005 a "Spalding Water Taxi" service was launched, running from Easter to late October. Its route is from just off Spalding's High Street, upstream along the river, turning into the Coronation Channel, and then to Springfields Outlet Shopping & Festival Gardens, and back. It is mainly used as a recreational tourist attraction.

Vernatt's Drain

Vernatt's Drain north of Spalding

Around the north-west of Spalding is a large waterway called Vernatt's Drain, named after one of the Adventurers who drained the Fens in the 17th century. Philibert Vernatti was made a baronet on 7 June 1643.

A South Holland council nature reserve is situated on part of the old Boston railway line at Vernatts Drain. The Drain runs from the pumping station at Pode Hole to Surfleet Seas End.

Fulney Lock is the point where the Welland is no longer tidal.[7] Spalding falls within the drainage area of the Welland and Deepings Internal Drainage Board.[8]


The town has a population of about 28,000 (31,000 including the large village of Pinchbeck, to the north). The population is growing fast, with increases due to retired people settling here, as well as migrant workers from eastern Europe coming to work in the many food processing factories or in agriculture.


The Johnson Hospital,[9] named after prominent local figures, the Johnson family of Ayscoughfee Hall, is in Spalding. The maternity ward was closed in the 1990s, and it now serves as a casualty hospital. The elderly and care-patients are cared for at the Welland Hospital. Limits on expansion due to the historic nature of the building and space limitations (it is in a densely developed area) and lack of funding are causing financial trouble for the hospital.

The Pilgrim Hospital in Boston is one of the two nearest main hospitals

A new nurse-led hospital was built in 2009[9] off Pinchbeck Road in the north of the town, near the Pinchbeck Industrial Estate. The hospital is known as "The Johnson Community Hospital," keeping the historic connection with the Johnson Family. The Princess Royal opened the new Hospital officially in January 2010. This has drawn facilities from existing scattered sites into a modern central unit. The nearest major hospitals to Spalding are at Boston (18 miles north) and Peterborough (20 miles south-east). The Johnson Hospital has 32 in-patient beds in the Welland Ward, including the four beds of the Tulip Suite for palliative care. There are two major local doctors' surgeries, Munro Medical Centre, West Elloe Avenue, and the relocated Church Street Surgery at Beechfield Medical Centre in Beechfield Gardens. Smaller surgeries are located on Pennygate and in surrounding villages.


Spalding Grammar School (a boys' school)

Primary schools

  • Ayscoughfee Hall - a private school, situated near the river
  • Spalding Parish Church of England Day School- Clay Lake
  • St John the Baptist School (C of E) - Hawthorn Bank[10]
  • St Norbert's Roman Catholic Primary School - Tollgate
  • Monkshouse Primary - Pennygate
  • St Paul's Primary - Queen's Road
  • Spalding Primary School - Woolram Wygate

Secondary schools

Spalding's two secondary modern schools (11-16) were the Gleed Boys' School and the Gleed Girls' Technology College. In 2012 they were combined as the Sir John Gleed School. On leaving Sir John Gleed School, many pupils transfer to nearby sixth forms or attend Boston College or New College Stamford, which both have Further Education centres in the town.

The town's state grammar schools (still selective by 11+ exam) are Spalding Queen Elizabeth Royal Free Grammar School (11-16 for boys) and Spalding High School (11-16 for girls), both of which have mixed sixth forms (16-18). Spalding High School is one of the top ten schools in the East Midlands for A-level results.

There are also schools for children with special learning needs: the Priory School (for those with mild to moderate learning difficulties) and the Garth School (for those with more demanding educational needs).

A new college associated with Gleed Girls' Technology College, called the post-sixteen centre, offers further education to those aged 16–18.

Sixth Form Colleges

A Vocational 6th form was established and launched in September 2008 as part of the Gleed Campus. It is not an automatic transition as with other schools in the area, like the Grammar, High, and the Deepings. Previous to this, there was no sixth-form available for pupils not attending the grammar schools, although pupils from Gleed schools can and do transfer to the Grammar and High for A-Levels.

Industry and commerce

Flowers and vegetables

A field just north of Weston Hills. The area around Spalding is strategically important for Britain's vegetable industry

Spalding is located at the centre of a major region of flower and vegetable cultivation, due to the rich silty soil, which mainly comprises drained, recovered marshland or estuary. There are many garden centres and plant nurseries, as well as a thriving agricultural industry and various vegetable packing plants. The main vegetables are potatoes, peas, carrots, wheat, barley, oats, broccoli, spinach, lettuce, cabbage, kale and Brussels sprouts. The vast majority of these are sold to large concerns such as supermarkets, with little being available for sale locally.

Spalding has a popular, reasonably-sized, market every Tuesday and Saturday and on the first Saturday in every month a Farmers' Market. Local fruit and vegetable shop Booth's sells lots of local produce to Spalding's citizens. They sell all major fruit and vegetables ranging from the famous, locally grown 'Boston' potatoes to imported rarities such as custard apples.


Known as The Heart of the Fens, Spalding has been long famous as a centre of the bulb industry. It has had close links with the Netherlands (origin of the Geest family, who were former major local employers).

The annual Tulip Parade took place on the first Saturday in May, from 1959 through 2013, and was a major tourist attraction. Its procession of floats on various themes, was each decorated with tulip petals, a by-product of the bulb industry. In years when the tulips are late, daffodils or hyacinths are sometimes used in their place. When the tulips are early, crepe paper has to be substituted. The flower industry has become less important since the early 21st century. The bands of brightly colored tulip fields in bloom in spring that covered the fenland have decreased markedly. At its peak, the Parade attracted more than 100,000 visitors, but by 2012, fewer than 40,000 attended. That year, the Lincolnshire County Council and South Holland District Council announced they would not fund the parade beyond 2013.[2]

Main companies

Bakkavör logo
  • Fesa UK Ltd – fruit importers and packers, based in Clay Lake.
  • Welland Power – generator suppliers.
  • Uniq plc (formerly Unigate) – factory for prepared salads.
  • Fowler-Welch Coolchain – historically a Spalding transport company, have their UK base in the town on West Marsh Road, and were bought by the Dart Group in 1994.
  • Bakkavör – purchased the main Spalding-based company Geest, for £485 million. It had an operation on West Marsh Road and factories in Holbeach and Peterborough. It began in 1935 as Geest Horticultural Products by John and Leonard van Geest who imported tulip bulbs to the UK. A salad preparation factory in Spalding opened in 1972. It launched on the London Stock Exchange in 1986. In 2010 Bakkavor moved its central operations and registered head office to their Spalding site.
  • Guttridge – based in Wardentree Business Park, is a designer manufacturer of machinery for bulk handling. The company operates across the UK and Europe.
  • Lincolnshire Field Products – a farmers and growers group based on the outskirts of the town. It supplies to supermarkets and food manufacturers, and transports much of its produce and that of other firms through its subsidiary transport company FreshLinc.
  • EMAP publishing company – now mainly based in Orton and formerly known as East Midlands Allied Press, was started by Sir Richard Winfrey in Spalding.[11] when he bought the Spalding Guardian in 1887. This became EMAP in 1947, and launched the Peterborough Evening Telegraph in 1961. Sir Richard Winfrey's first local newspapers were initially designed to promote his Liberal politics.
  • Lloyd Loom of Spalding – situated on the Wardentree Lane estate, produces traditional handmade British furniture.
  • Kerry Foods Bakery – Tralee-based Irish food company situated in Fulney Lane; producer of baked pastry products
  • Spalding Plant and Bulb Co – garden mail order company, founded soon after the Second World War, at a time when quotas were in place for the import of many products, including flower bulbs.
  • Paragon Print & Packaging – food packaging design company based in Enterprise Way.
  • Transflor Ltd - Local distribution Company

World Tulip Summit

Spalding was chosen to host the World Tulip Summit in 2008, from Thursday, 1 May to Friday, 2 May, alongside a broader Tulipmania festival from 13 April to 24 May. This coincided with the date of the Flower Parade (Saturday, 3 May), which was the fiftieth anniversary of the parade. The Summit was estimated to attract about 200 delegates from around the world.

Accompanying the Summit and Festival were many entertainment activities, all with a general focus on promoting the local area.

Landmarks and facilities

Historical buildings

Ayscoughfee Hall

Ayscoughfee Hall dates from the 15th-century and is now operated as a museum. St Mary and St Nicolas was built in 1284 by William de Littleport of Spalding Priory. The tower and spire were added in 1360.

Sir George Gilbert Scott and completed in 1880 after his death.

Other local attractions are the forge on the River Welland; many of its original features have been preserved and it is operated as a museum.

The Chatterton Tower is near Sainsburys.

Commercial and civic buildings


Several supermarkets are available to locals: a small Tesco Express store, a Sainsbury's, a Lidl and an Aldi in the centre of the town, a Marks and Spencer Food Hall, and a Morrisons in Pinchbeck. Outside of the town centre, Springfields Shopping Outlet and Gardens offer a wide range of outlet stores set in a variety of landscaped gardens designed by Charlie Dimmock and Chris Beardshaw among others.[12] The Castle Sports Complex provides fitness facilities throughout the day and evening. The South Holland Centre is an arts centre on Market Place that stages concerts, theatre productions and film showings.

History of the barcode

On 7 October 1979, the first barcode was used in the UK at Key Markets in Spalding.[13]

Power stations

Power station next to the Welland on the former British Sugar site

A new £425m, 860MW combined cycle gas turbine power station, owned by Intergen, was built on the former site of British Sugar on West Marsh Road by Bechtel in October 2004. Intergen have also consented to build a second 900 MW expansion to its existing Power station, which is due to commence construction 2011. In mid-2006 a new wind farm (operated by Wind Prospect UK in nearby Deeping St Nicholas) became visible from much of Spalding.


Spalding United

The local football team is Spalding United F.C., who play in the United Counties League (UCL).

The local Rugby team is Spalding RFC, who play in Midland Division - Midlands 1 East. They play at Memorial Field.

The local cricket team is Spalding Town Cricket Club,[14] who have three teams on a Saturday in the South Lincs and Border Leagues and a Rutland League team and a Friendly XI on a Sunday for 2012. This as well as youth teams at multiple age groups competing in the BCYCA Leagues.

The local hockey club is Spalding HC,[15] with the men's 1st XI playing in East Division 2N and the women in 2NW.


The Lincolnshire Poacher pub and the terminus of the water taxi


Spalding, like nearby Boston, is a regular destination of heavy goods vehicles transporting processed vegetables and other food produce. The A16 used to pass through the town until August 1995, when the Spalding-Sutterton Improvement (by-pass) was opened, built mostly on the closed Spalding to Boston railway line. The twelve-mile (19 km) A1073 between Spalding and Eye Green in Peterborough has been replaced by a completely new road classified as the A16, replacing the previous A16 that ran to Stamford. The older road has been renumbered as the A1175.


Spalding railway station (looking south-west)

Spalding railway station is situated on the Lincoln Central - Peterborough railway line, operated by East Midlands Trains. The service is irregular, and it does not run at night or on Sundays. It does provide convenient access to Peterborough for employment and shopping. The service to Peterborough was withdrawn by BR in October 1970 as part of the closure of the East Lincolnshire route from Grimsby and Boston, but reinstated in June 1971 with a grant from Spalding Urban District Council. This was one of the first examples of this type of rail support in the UK, and was not advocated in the Beeching Report.

The section of the Great Northern & Great Eastern 'Joint' line from March, which carried the 'Boat Train' between Harwich and Sheffield, closed in 1982. The trackbed has largely been built over at the south of the town for housing. There has been encroachment towards Cowbit for new road construction.

Spalding was also on the east-west Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway, which had Bourne to the West and Holbeach to the east. It closed in February 1959, ending through passenger services from Leicester to Great Yarmouth via King's Lynn and Norwich. Local freight, mainly farm produce, continued to be carried between Bourne and Sutton Bridge until 1964.

On 4 May 2002, Spalding had the honour of having a main line diesel locomotive named after it. Class 31 diesel No. 31106, in immaculate condition after a major works overhaul, hauled the ‘St James Tripper’ excursion to Peterborough from Preston via Doncaster, Lincoln and Sleaford, and made a brief stop at the station to have its ‘Spalding Town’ nameplates unveiled by Colin Fisher, Chairman of South Holland District Council. No. 31106 is the property of Cambridgeshire businessman and author Howard Johnston, who was born at nearby Cowbit and educated in the town. In 2012, the locomotive was still on hire to Rail Vehicle Engineering Limited and employed on Network Rail track measurement trains all over the United Kingdom. A replica 'Spalding Town' nameplate has been presented to SHDC for public display.

Tulip Radio

Spalding has a local radio station, called Tulip Radio, broadcasting on 107.5FM.

Twin cities



SS Mary and Nicolas parish church
  • 1015 - a Benedictine Priory was founded by Thorold de Bokenhale
  • 1086 - the town is recorded in the Domesday book as 'Spallinge'
  • 1284(c) - St Mary and St Nicolas, Spalding was built as a parish church by the priory under Prior William de Littleport de Kurphery Frederick.
  • 1377 - The White Hart Inn of the Market Place is built
  • 1430s - Ayscoughfee Hall built by Richard Alwyn
  • 1566 - Mary, Queen of Scots, stopped overnight at the White Hart in the Market Place
  • 1588 - The Spalding Grammar School, originally located within the parish church, was founded.
  • 1590s - Spalding's first drains constructed.
  • 1650 - Sir John Gamlyn founded almshouses in Spalding.
  • 1688 - Maurice Johnson was born at Ayscoughfee Hall in Spalding on 19 June.
  • 1710 - Maurice Johnson founded the Spalding Gentlemen's Society Museum, which is now the second-oldest museum in the country.
  • 1768 - Holland House, described as the finest house in Spalding, was built by William Sands Junior.
  • 1774 - Matthew Flinders was born at nearby Donington on 16 March. He went on to discover most of southern Australia.
  • 1801 - The population of Spalding according to the census was 3,296.
  • 1805 - The Friends Meeting House was built in Double Street.
  • 1826 - Spalding's last house of correction was built. It closed down in 1884.
  • 1831 - The population of Spalding according to the census was 6,497.
Willow trees next to the Welland
  • 1838 - The High Bridge over the River Welland was re-built.[17]
  • 1842 - The Sessions House in Sheep Market was built.
  • 1847 - The Spalding Free Press newspaper was founded.
  • 1848 - The Great Northern Railway opened their railway station in Spalding.
  • 1851 - The population of Spalding according to the census was 8,829.
  • 1852 - William Bramwell Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, accepts leadership of the Methodist Reform circuit in Spalding.
  • 1854 - Spalding Cemetery was consecrated in November.
  • 1855-56 - The Corn Exchange was built.
  • 1857 - The Butter Market was opened.
  • 1858 - The police station was built.
  • 1860 - An Act was passed to pipe fresh water to Spalding from Bourne.
  • 1866 - Spalding Amateur Dramatic Society formed.
  • 1866-67 - Sir George Gilbert Scott.
  • 1870 - Goodfellows National School was opened.
  • 1871 - The population of Spalding according to the census was 9,111.
  • 1874 - The ecclesiastical parish of St. John the Baptist was formed on 1 December from the civil parishes of Spalding and Pinchbeck.
St Paul's church, Fulney
  • 1875 - The Church of St John the Baptist and the primary school next door to it, with the same name, were built.
  • 1875-76 - The Church of St. Peter, on the site of the old Abbey, was built.
  • 1878 - Spalding's Roman Catholic church in Henrietta Street, dedicated to the Immaculate Conception and St. Norbert, was built.
  • 1878 - Frank Pick was born, who became the CEO of London Passenger Transport Board and architect of the 'modern' typography still used on the Underground today.
  • 1880 - St Paul's Church in Fulney was built to designs drawn up by Spalding Gentlemen’s Society[18] - he also designed buildings for Boston, Lincolnshire, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire and other areas.
  • 1881 - The present grammar school building in Priory Road was erected.
  • 1884 - Spalding's last house of correction was closed. Part of the site is now occupied by Spalding Library.
Springfields Factory Outlet
  • 1887 - The Methodist church in Broad Street was opened.
  • 1891 - The population of Spalding according to the census was 9,014.
  • 1916 - Spalding Arts and Crafts Society was founded by surgeons at the Johnson Hospital for convalescent soldiers wounded in the First World War. Spalding Town Council sponsored their first exhibition in 1918.
  • 1921 - Spalding United F.C. was formed.
  • 1941 - In May, during World War II, a stray Luftwaffe bomber dropped its bombs on Spalding, destroying much of Hall Place and causing damage to several businesses.
  • 1958 - The first Spalding Flower Parade took place.
  • 1959 - Closure of M&GN railway ends direct passenger services from Leicester to Great Yarmouth via Bourne, Holbeach, Long Sutton, Sutton Bridge, King's Lynn, Fakenham and Norwich
  • 1960 - St Nicolas Players Amateur Dramatic Society was formed in Spalding. The group's name was based on their use of the St. Nicolas Church Hall for early meetings.
  • 1965 - Spalding and District Amateur Radio Society formed.
  • 1967 - Barbeque 67 took place, featuring the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Geno Washington, Cream and Pink Floyd. Jimi Hendrix stays at the Red Lion Hotel.
  • 1970 - Closure of East Lincolnshire line ends direct rail services to Boston, and through services from Grimsby to London.
  • 1974 - In April Spalding moves from Holland local authority (based in Boston) to the new South Holland council, based in Spalding. South Holland is the larger of the two former districts of Holland.
  • 1977 - Location filming for episodes of BBC TV series Murder Most English, starring Anton Rodgers, based on novels by Lincolnshire author Colin Watson. The town was used for the fictional Flaxborough.[19]
  • 1982 - Closure of GN&GE 'Joint Line' railway to March.
  • 2002 - Main line railway locomotive named 'Spalding Town' in ceremony at the station.
  • 2008 - Tulip Radio was awarded a full-time broadcasting licence from Ofcom and announced that they will start broadcasting in early 2009.

See also


  1. ^ "The history of the Spalding Flower Parade". Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Spalding Flower Parade to lose council funding". BBC. 19 July 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2014. 
  3. ^ "Spalding Flower Parade held for last time", BBC News, 4 May 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2013
  4. ^ "Wide Horizons - a History of South Holland's Landscape and People" (PDF). Retrieved 11 September 2012. 
  5. ^ Spalding Lincolnshire through time | Local history overview for the place
  6. ^ The History of the Land
  7. ^ "EA page for the Welland". 
  8. ^ Welland and Deepings IDB
  9. ^ a b United Lincolnshire Hospitals
  10. ^ A school with close links with St John's Church - St John the Baptist School
  11. ^ PET History of EMAP
  12. ^ Springfields Gardens website
  13. ^ The rise of the barcode - BBC
  14. ^ "Spalding Town CC". Retrieved 11 September 2012. 
  15. ^ "Spalding HC". Retrieved 25 February 2013. 
  16. ^ Spalding History - local history, historic sites and famous people from Spalding
  17. ^   High Bridge, Spalding
  18. ^ see Ayscoughfee Hall Museum, Spalding
  19. ^ Coward, Simon; Down, Richard; Perry, Christopher. The BBC Television Drama Research Guide 1936-2006 3. Kaleidoscope. 

External links

  • Spalding, Lincolnshire at DMOZ
  • Spalding Flower Parade
  • Springfields Festival Gardens


  • Pathe newsreel, 1922, ice skating
  • Pathe newsreel, 1929, Daffodil Harvest
  • Pathe newsreel, 1968, Tulip Parade
  • 2009 Flower Parade
  • 50 years of the Flower Parade
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