Thursday, January 31, 2008


Brigg's first citizen, Coun Mike Doherty, our Town Mayor (pictured), has penned his memories of being a boy trainspotter, watching steam locos drift by in the late 1950s/early 1960s.
His illustrated jottings form a full page article in the Spring issue of Telegraph Trains magazine, on sale from Thursday, February 7, and costing just 75p.
Mike had his picture taken on Brigg railway station to go with the article, and can be seen clutching a treasured trainspotting book he's kept safe and sound for more than 40 years.
He was very pleased with a colour proof of his page of Telegraph Trains, when it was handed to him before the start of Monday's town council meeting in the Angel Suite.
To order your copy, see your usual Telegraph supplier in Brigg.
If you want a further whiff of steam age nostalgia right now, view the special Full Steam Ahead video on the home page of


Brigg Older People's Club meets today (Thursday) at St John's Church Hall, in Bigby Street, from 1pm-3pm. The cost of the session is just £1.
This is another of the many events publicised by Fresh Start, the organisation which serves the over-50s of North Lincolnshire.
For further information on the many activities and services provided, contact HQ in Scunthorpe. Tel (01724) 277906. Email:
Fresh Start now has an office in Brigg, Horstead Avenue. Tel (01652) 653384.
Based there is community development worker Marilyn Demott, who serves the Brigg and Barton areas.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Having reached the point of flooding (or very nearly), the River Ancholme was then run off to such an extent it reached a very low level at the weekend, uncovering items like this shopping trolley, now rather spoiling the view from the County Bridge.
The river level has risen a few feet in recent days but the trolley was still visible today (see photo).
We can't tell whether it belongs to Lidl or Tesco - or whether it dates back to the time Kwik Save had a presence in the town.
It would be nice if the management at the two stores got someone to make the short walk over to the riverside and fished the trolley from its watery resting place.
People collect the oddest things: Do some get their kicks from rows of different shopping trolleys?
If so, and they are reading this on the internet, no postage and packing in this case - you will need to come and collect.


Tomorrow (Thursday) night, Blues on Tap appear at Brigg's Woolpack Inn, in the Market Place.
Posters around town are advertising it as Something Different.
The 'turn' is described as a ballad blues and rock duo, and admission is free.
Management at The Woolie regularly advertise forthcoming acts in the old-fashioned way - on blackboards outside the hostelry.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


It reminded me of a scene from Rumpole of the Bailey, rather than a routine meeting of Brigg Town Council.
Coun Ben Nobbs (pictured) was making a serious point about the poor state of many of the town's public seats, when he suddenly, and quite unexpectedly, produced what Horace Rumpole would have described as Exhibits A, B, C and D.
They were enlarged colour photos of damaged seats, which he circulated for the benefit of the jury (sorry, council).
Town Mayor Coun Michael Doherty, whose working life was spent as a solicitor, ruled the photos to be admissible in evidence - or rather he didn't object to them being passed round the assembled councillors at last night's meeting in the Angel Suite.
Coun Nobbs went on to win his case, gaining sufficient support from fellow members to ensure improved seating will be in the pipeline.
There was no application for costs relating to the photos!


All hail this public-spirited citizen! Having passed a lager bottle perched on top of a green litter bin at East Park, near the Tin-Tab, for the second successive morning I decided at 6.15am today to put it inside the receptacle myself.
It was only when I grabbed hold of the bottle I realised it was three-quarters full.
Next, it dawned on me the public toilets were only a few yards away and that North Lincolnshire Council, in its wisdom, locks them up at tea-time.
Maybe next time I spot a green bottle standing near the wall I'll wash my hands of the problem and leave its safe disposal to the glove-wearing experts who work for the StreetRight team!


Could the balloons strung up outside Altham's travel agency in Wrawby Street, Brigg, be a fitting tribute to Sheffield United's FA Cup triumph over Manchester City? Or are they merely marketing Butlin's?

Monday, January 28, 2008


Many older Brigg residents will remember having their family chimneys swept by Herbert 'Sooty' Welbourn in the days when the vast majority of private and council-owned homes relied on coal fires for heating and (to a lesser extent) hot water.
'Sooty' was a senior member of Brigg Urban District Council and did his sweeping with old-fashioned brushes.
Fires would be allowed to go out and the hearth given time to cool before our man arrived to exercise his skills and remove the accumulated soot which had built up over many months.
This was important because of the risk of fire. Soot falling down the chimney, into hearths, could also spoil carpets and furniture.
Did Coun Welbourne get his nickname from the puppet pairing Sooty and Sweep? Or was 'Sooty' just a reference to his calling? We were never sure; probably the latter.
Living in South View Avenue, unfortunately he was right opposite the grassy area used by children from the Springbank estate - and further afield - for their spirited games of football and cricket.
Only a small hawthorn hedge and the road separated Sooty's 'estate' from the playing field - and many, many balls ended up in his garden.
When playing cricket, we had to resist the temptation to play the lofted straight drive back over the bowler's head. For it was only a 30-yard carry into Sooty's garden.
However, on a fateful summer's night, one of our number could not resist giving a juicy full toss 'the treatment' and sent the hard and shiny cricket ball sailing straight through the Welbourn family's sitting room window.
You couldn't blame him for being very angry indeed, and wanting a ban on youngsters playing cricket near his home.
Unfortunately, it was his own council which provided that stretch of ground as a playing field for us to use.
We'd much rather have had the run of the nearby recreation ground - for football and cricket - but the council would not allow that...unless you were prepared to pay for a properly organised game.
This painting by former Brigg resident Stephen Hill nicely captures the character of Coun Welbourn and has featured in a previous issue of the Scunthorpe Telegraph's very popular Nostalgia magazine.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


Brigg residents are reminded that tomorrow (Monday) there's a public meeting at 7.30pm in the Angel Suite, off Market Place (entry via Exchange Place at the side of Hardy's).
There are three items on the agenda:
* Brigg as a Fairtrade Town
* The creation of a Brigg Parish Plan
* Environmental Issues and Tackling Climate Change.
Everyone is welcome to attend.
If you are planning to go, why not turn up at the Angel Suite at 7pm and watch the brief monthly meeting of the town council, during which the parish precept will be decided.
That's the amount Brigg Town Council will request households to pay towards the services it provides for the financial year 2008/9. It will be collected by North Lincolnshire Council as part of your council tax.
* Tonight (Sunday) at 6pm there's a meeting of Brigg Town Cricket Club at Scanlon's (Nelthorpe Arms pub) in Bridge Street. Prospective new members will be welcome.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Life in Brigg often produces humour in the most unexpected situations, as this incident at Sir John Nelthorpe School demonstrates very well.
In her annual report, just issued to the former pupils' association, The Briggensians, headteacher Linda Hewlett-Parker (pictured) recalls the latest inspection by Ofsted, in which 'HMI' had been very positive about the progress made by the science department.
Not exactly an amusing time for any school, however well-run and successful. But bear with comes the funny bit, involving fancy dress.
"Fortunately the HMI had a sense of humour, as the inspection took place during the sixth form TWAG week," Linda explains.
"When the HMI asked to interview four students who were studying sciences post 16, he was presented with Dennis the Menace (aka head boy), Little Bo Peep, a leprechaun and Emu!
"Not only did the science department do well but also the sixth form raised £2,900 for charities in four days."
The Headteacher's Report 2008 is included in the annual newsletter, compiled for the Briggensians' Association by David Brittain, who many will remember (prior to his retirement) as head of SJN and a physics master at its forerunner, Brigg Grammar School.
Dave emails the annual report - containing a wide range of stories, memories and photos - all round the UK and to ex-pupils living in far-flung corners of the world. Many printed copies also go out in the post.
You can find out more about the good work of the former pupils' association, and join up if you haven't already done so, by visiting the website
The hard-working committee oversees an annual dinner and various sports events spread throughout the year, but more of those in later posts on this Blog.
Now back to Linda's report on present-day life at the school. Here's the remainder, in her own words...

The GCSE results achieved by Year 11 pupils in the summer of 2007 were very good. The percentage of pupils passing five or more subjects at grades A* to C rose to 62.4 per cent. The new government target for 16 year olds requires pupils to pass five subjects at grade C or above including English and Mathematics. We were very pleased to find that Sir John Nelthorpe School came top of the local league table with 57.3 per cent, which is well above the national average.
The Sixth Form A level results were also very pleasing with a pass rate of 97.9 per cent. There was a significant rise in the number of students achieving higher grades. All the students who wished to go on to higher education courses were successful in obtaining suitable places on a wide range of courses.
The students should all be proud of their achievements and we wish them well for the future.
Recruitment to the Sixth Form has been very successful this year; 52 students enrolled in the lower sixth in September. This is the highest number for some years. There are now 95 students in the sixth form at Sir John Nelthorpe bringing the total to 140 in the joint sixth form (operated with neighbouring Vale of Ancholme - NF).
There have been significant increases in recruiting students to study mathematics and science subjects post 16, which is one of our specialist schools targets. Despite this the LSC and government continue to target school sixth forms for closure. Economy of scale seems to be their priority.
The summer term 2007 was an eventful one for Sir John Nelthorpe School. The Girls' High School Reunion was held on June 30 to celebrate 70 years of the Wrawby Road building being opened.
This provided the opportunity for ex-pupils and staff to relive old times and rekindle friendships. I would like to thank all staff and friends of the school who helped to organise the event and attend on the day.
Fortunately the reunion had taken place before the rain arrived in July! The school field was under water and seagulls took up residence in the ha-ha, which became a moat!
The sixth form residential visits and induction courses went ahead and were enjoyed by all involved despite the rain. As the monsoon continued and the days ran out it became apparent that sports day was not going to happen, however the summer house matches did take place between the storms.
The weather did not prevent parents, pupils and staff from turning out to support the 'summer' musical evenings, end of term celebrations and proms or participating in the annual Outward Bound week.
At the end of the summer term we said goodbye to Dr Eric Stainton who had been deputy headteacher and teacher of chemistry at Sir John Nelthorpe for 17 years. We all wish him well for a long and healthy retirement.
September saw the beginning of a new academic year and we welcomed Chris Peters as the new deputy on the Wrawby Road site. He teaches biology.
The Governors, Trustees and Briggensians continue to make great contributions to the life of the school. I would like to thank them for their continued support.

Friday, January 25, 2008


Tomorrow sees the monthly Brigg Farmers' Market in the town centre, from 9am to about 3.30pm.
Scores of town residents, plus visitors from the surrounding area and beyond, will be browsing the stalls to stock up on items bought directly from the producers (bread, cheese, jam, burgers, and much much more).
Many of our shops, pubs and eating houses will benefit as a result of the farmers' market, with people taking a look round town before, or after, visiting the stalls.
A welcome addition to trade in the period after the festive season.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


A reader has asked us to highlight the thorny topic of motorists parking vehicles on pavements and grass verges, in and around Brigg.
J A Mumby says: "At times, vehicles park wholly on the pavement/verge - or so far on to make pedestrian access impossible."
"The 'ornamental' verges between the Leisure Centre and Silversides Lane have all but been destroyed by vehicles being parked on them, and the verge from the army cadets' building to the bridge is also badly affected. This is one of the main entries to Brigg and does not set a good impression."
Our upset resident has visited North Lincolnshire Council's website to discover the policy on this issue, and has downloaded the following information:
What action may be taken against pavement parking?
"If there are waiting restrictions (yellow lines) on the highway adjacent to the pavement then a Fixed Penalty Notice may be issued by a traffic warden or police officer. This is because a vehicle parked in this manner is in contravention of the traffic order. Waiting restrictions cover the highway from centre of highway to the back of the footpath.
"If there are no waiting restrictions on the highway then a Fixed Penalty Notice may still be issued by a traffic warden or police officer for obstruction."
Obviously causing an obstruction, vehicles parked on pavements are a hazard to pedestrians, and may result in them having to step off the pavement onto the highway, putting them in danger.
Such vehicles also restrict the width of the pavement, making it difficult for someone with a pushchair, or wheelchair, to pass safely.
There is also the question of the damage caused by driving on and off the pavement, such as broken flagstones.
I'm sure most of us in Brigg encounter vehicles parked wholly, or partially, on the pavement and grass verges. What's doubly annoying is vehicles which shouldn't be in the pedestrianised town centre in the first place trundling over the York stone paving.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


The broken street light on St Helen's Road, mentioned several times in recent weeks in Brigg Blog, has been fixed. So our thanks go to the staff who got round to getting it sorted, and to Coun Nigel Sherwood for his interest.
Unfortunately, the computer-controlled display in the bus shelter in Cary Lane is still out of action, as it has been for months. The on-screen message is still urging staff to try plugging in the keyboard, as a possible fix. And there's still no other way of knowing what time the next bus will be leaving for Scunthorpe.
Unless, of course, it's during office hours and you nip round and collect a printed timetable from the helpful ladies at the Brigg Tourist Information Centre, in the Market Place.
No-one in authority seems able to get hold of the right folk to fix the Traveline display system. It was installed using public money, but the public haven't had much use out of the thing.
Better, perhaps, to wind back the clock and stick some printed timetables in a glass case on a nearby lamp-post.


Visiting Bridge Street the other day, and passing the site of the old cafe, suddenly brought back childhood memories of legendary Brigg character Tansy the Tramp.
Walking past the cafe as kids, in the 1960s, we knew Tansy would be in his favoured spot near the window, having a cuppa, once we spied his battered old pram on the footpath outside.
Tansy - trousers held up with coarse string - would soon see off annnoying youngsters with a swish of his cane in their general direction. So, rather than copy The Good Samaritan, it was definitely better to pass by on the other side of the street. For the cane was every bit Tansy's trademark as it was Charlie Chaplin's.
He - Tansy, not the Knight of the Silver Screen - lived a rough existence in a range of rather broken down buildings off Elwes Street, known locally as Sumpter's Farm (see picture).
Word was he had suffered during the First World War while doing his bit for King and Country. But, after the intervention of a couple of well-known Brigg Urban District councillors in the 1960s, he finally gained the war pension to which he was entitled. Hopefully that made his declining years a bit more comfortable.
Tansy's surname, as many older town residents will know, was Altoft.
Nicknames afforded to Brigg characters in the past have led to some being remembered in the town decades later, including Granny No Nose, Wild Harry, Fag Ash Lil, and Sooty.
Perhaps we'll look at some of them in a future posting.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Pop down and have a look at the River Ancholme this morning, as many people are doing. A number won't have seen the water level as high as this before.
There's been fairly extensive flooding of the field behind Brigg Motor Springs on Bridge Street, the leisure centre car park and the old sugar factory sportsground.
Last night's heavy rain has obviously added to the problems of the past week.
Despite clear skies and the sun being out this morning, water takes some time to feed its way into the river system from sodden farmland.
One of the tributaries of the Ancholme has overflowed at Castlethorpe, flooding the road between the hamlet and Broughton.


Brigg's final ghost walk of the winter will be held on Sunday evening in the town centre, and there's still time to snap up a ticket....if you get your skates on!
The very popular walks are organised by Brigg Amateur Social Historians.
Starting from the Yarborough Hunt at 7.30pm, they involve a guided tour of places in Brigg with spooky tales surrounding them.
"Every time we do the ghost walks we always get new ghost stories which help to make them such memorable evenings," said BASH spokesman Graham Austin.
The ghost walks are ticket-only. Visit the Tourist Information Office in the Market Place, where about 20 remain (according to figures released by BASH chairman Josie Webb this morning).
The old Lincolnshire Times office - 57 Wrawby Street - was home to 'Wally' - our very own ghost. The name was given to him by veteran news editor Edward (Ted) Dodd, who often worked late into the evening...banging out lengthy articles on his trusty typewriter.
Ted never made anything of our visiting spook - and it never bothered me, either - but some members of staff were terrified at the prospect of a ghost watching them while they worked after tea in the upstairs office.
To find out more about BASH visit the website

Monday, January 21, 2008


Piggies, on Brigg's Island Carr Industrial Estate, has been included in a national newspaper's top selected cafes in the UK.
The current two-for-one breakfast offer in the Daily Star involves the Brigg eatery and about 200 others the length and breadth of Britain.
Some of these national newspaper and magazine offers can be infuriating, as they fail to have any relevance to Brigg. The nearest outlet is often miles away, or we don't have a branch of the store involved in the promotion.
So it came as something of a pleasant surprise to thumb through the Star and see Brigg mentioned nationally.
Although certainly not a Piggies regular, I do pop in occasionally while the car's at the nearby Brigg Tyres for a bit of TLC.
Many Brigg folk will be pleasantly suprised if they pay a visit to the Island Carr estate, off Bridge Street.
You can get just about everything for the car - down to upgrading the radio - sample a new kitchen, see about a carpet, get building supplies of every kind, and even spend a day fishing at Smithy's Pond.
It's quite a little community...with Piggies in the middle.
Sorry about the pun - just couldn't resist it!

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Welcome to School Yard Mews. If you are wondering where it is, you aren't the only one. There is not even a proper council-erected road sign at its entrance, just a small wooden one pinned to a fence, telling you it's a private road.
The location is opposite the chip shop in Grammar School Road, near the junction with Preston Drive.
New bungalows have been built along a cul-de-sac behind the Beech Villas terraced houses, and fronting onto the Vale of Ancholme Technology College field.
Private road or not, you'd think this tiny one merited a proper sign from North Lincolnshire Council - if only for the benefit of emergency services attending call-outs, and so delivery drivers know where they are going.
With Brigg being such a popular place to live, there's been a lot of housing development - some large, some small - with many more to come in the months and years ahead.
So perhaps it's time for an updated street map of Brigg to be produced.
Many townsfolk get stopped by delivery drivers seeking directions, but how many of us know the whereabouts of every street in Brigg, now new ones have been added?
Perhaps Brigg Town Council, or North Lincolnshire (as the highway authority) should take a leaf out of Broughton's book.
Visit our neighbouring town and there's a large, impressive noticeboard on the street near one of the pubs, containing a map of Broughton and showing all its roads.
Not everyone has 'sat nav'!

Saturday, January 19, 2008


Brigg Town Cricket Club players and officials are looking forward to a new era in 2008. Things will be very different for them this summer, having put two teams into the East Yorkshire Alliance for the first time, and said farewell to the Lincoln League and the Grimsby League.
That's a big change in Saturday cricket, as the East Yorkshire Alliance (with one exception) is for teams on the North Bank of the Humber, chiefly in the Hull area.
BTCC describes this 'a bold move but one which is hoped to improve the standard of opposition and therefore our own standards'.
In another groundbreaking move, Brigg have entered the West Wold Evening League for the first time 'bringing back midweek cricket which can be an important tool in getting practice for the weekend fixtures'.
It is also hoped to field an under-11 team in the northern Lincolnshire competition 'which will hopefully provide us with a crop of talented seniors in the future'.
Everyone connected with BTCC is being asked to 'give a concerted effort this year to improve the club and support the captains and officials in this New Era'.
There will be a club meeting at Scanlon's (Nelthorpe Arms, Bridge Street) on Sunday, January 27 at 6pm.
Members are being urged to attend 'to enable us to address any issues arising from the AGM and help us plan ahead for the forthcoming season'.
For further details about the club visit the website

Friday, January 18, 2008


Planning permission to erect a two-storey rear extension at 74 Grammar School Road, Brigg, is being sought from North Lincolnshire Council by Richard Andrew.
Renewal of outline planning permission to erect a two-storey detached dwelling on land adjacent to 31 Elm Way, has been granted to Mr and Mrs Brumpton.
Consent has also been given to Joan Limbert, of Country Cottage Ltd, to retain a non-illuminated fascia sign at 1 Wrawby Street.
Meanwhile, permission has been granted to Mr I Morewood for change of use of the first floor and part of the ground floor into two residential units with associated alterations, to the rear of 15 Bridge Street.


How sad to read in the Scunthorpe Telegraph's announcements page of the death of Mick Atkin, the former Brigg schoolteacher and Scunthorpe United footballer. He was 59.
Defender Mick (pictured here at The Old Show Ground) was connected with the Iron from 1969 until 1976, managing to combine teaching at what's now Vale of Ancholme Technology College with playing for The Iron as a part-timer.
He was a member of the squad which gained promotion, under Ron Ashman's guidance, in 1971/2, finishing fourth as county rivals Grimsby Town took the title.
Mick was also with the club at the same time as Kevin Keegan, later to play for England, of course, and now hitting the headlines again after returning to manage Newcastle United.
Mick's funeral is being arranged by J Naylor, the Brigg firm, and donations may be sent (family flowers only) for Macmillan Cancer Support to Joe's premises at 15 Bigby Street.
Friends are asked to meet at Woodlands Crematorium, Scunthorpe, next Thursday (24th) at 11.30am for the service and committal.
Incidentally, one of Mick's team-mates in that promotion-winning team of 1971/2 was ace striker Rod Fletcher, also a teacher who played part-time football.
Back then, so-called experts were suggesting teams in the old Division Four would be forced to employ nothing but part-timers, due to dwindling attendances and rising costs, but this has not happened.
Staying with the football theme, and on a happier note, could Briggensians FC, who play their home games at Sir John Nelthorpe School, be in the running for a national award?
With some 50-plus players in their squad, like Carl Sherwood and Adrian Gibbons (not sure whether venerable veteran Col Mumby is still going) they might consider joining the search for the UK's oldest football team, now being carried out by over-60s energy scheme StayWarm from E.ON - sponsors of the FA Cup.
Jean Webb, marketing manager with StayWarm, explained: "We’ve had a fantastic response to our search for the oldest football team with the current highest combined age coming in at a staggering 629, but we are still searching for a team to step forward from Lincolnshire.
"All you have to do is call 0800 068 7302 by January 31 to nominate your team and list the combined age of your first team’s eleven players."
The winning team in Lincolnshire will be awarded a new StayWarm sponsored kit, made up in its team colours, while the oldest overall team in the UK will win tickets to see their favourite club compete in this year’s FA Cup.
"StayWarm from E.ON is designed exclusively for people aged 60 and above to give them the peace of mind that fixed price gas and electricity bills bring. Customers pay the same fixed amount by direct debit, every month, for 12 months, however much energy they need. To be eligible for StayWarm, customers must be aged over 60, have no more than three bedrooms, no more than four occupants and use their energy for domestic purposes only."
People interested in finding out more can call free on 0800 068 7302.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Unfortunately you can go swimming at Ancholme Leisure Centre this morning...without needing to pay to enter the building and use the indoor heated pool. For the car park, fronting onto Scawby Road, is literally awash with flood water from the nearby New River Ancholme.
With further heavy rain forecast over the next few days, it will be an anxious time for householders and businesses near the Old and New rivers.
Older Brigg folk will be able to recall some notable flood scares of the past, although much work has been done down the years to help stem the tide, such as bank strengthening work near the town centre, notably adjoining Manley Gardens.
Always one of the worst-hit areas is the old sugar factory sports field, adjoining the leisure centre. One year (1981, I think), when the sugar factory cricket team ought to have been starting the new season, the ground was heavily flooded (see this surviving Lincolnshire Times picture by Bryan Robins from the Telegraph's extensive archives).
During the early '90s I visited the leisure centre to do a story on the flood altert and a member of staff was out there, on the factory field, in his canoe!
Cadney Road is a particular low spot, close to the Old River Ancholme, and we had sandbags out there for a time last summer.
Flooding is very upsetting for those affected, and it's human nature to try to apportion blame for the 'wrath of the gods'.
Indeed, such was the anger at the heavy flooding along the Ancholme valley at the beginning of the '80s, an official inquiry was held at the old Angel Hotel ballroom, in Brigg, when angry farmers slammed the Anglian Water Authority for its handling of the situation.
But an AWA official said three inches of rain had falled in 69 hours - almost double the average for the whole month. Although the pumping and drainage equipment had worked efficiently the sheer magnitude of the rainfall was overwhelming.
I covered this meeting for the Lincolnshire Times and feelings were running very, very high. Infact, I'm struggling to remember a public forum where tempers were quite so frayed.
Following on from last June's heavy spell of rain, North Lincolnshire Council, to its credit, has visited parish and town councils throughout the area - a mammoth task - and talked to local community representatives about what can be done. Much effort has been put into trying to cut through the usual red tape - my wording, not that used by North Lincs officials like Geoff Popple. And, in Brigg, gulleys have been cleared and small watercourses cleaned.
However, river flooding is really more of an issue for the Environment Agency, and perhaps Brigg will always have concerns at times of very heavy rain and prolonged rain - unless we get a huge investment at South Ferriby.
What's needed is a system to allow flood water to be pumped out of the Ancholme during high tide in the Humber, when the sluice gates have to be closed - for obvious reasons.
Meanwhile, let's keep fingers well and truly crossed that our town, once again, escapes siginficant flooding, as we have so many times in decades past.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Tonight sees an important stage in the process which will eventually decide how Brigg Town Council spends its public money during the 2008-9 financial year, and how much Brigg households will be asked to pay by way of 'parish precept' to fund this work.
The town council's policy committee will 'examine and consider' the Draft Budget Proposals prepared by town clerk Jeanette Woollard (pictured), and will be asked 'to approve the final submission for full council'.
Prior to these as-yet confidential figures being revealed, however, there will be a motion to exclude the press and public.
The policy committee meets at 7pm, in the lounge at the Angel Suite, off Market Place, and the earlier items on the agenda will be conducted in public.
There will then be a meeting of the property and services committee at 8pm, including reports on how the allotments are being run and the finances of the Angel Suite, which is hired out for various events and functions.
The exclusion of the press and public at Brigg Town Council committee meetings provides some light amusement to me and the councillors, as I'm almost always the only person there who falls into this category.
To save time on proposing, seconding and voting on a motion to throw out 'Joe Public' I've got in the habit of getting to my feet, leaving the Press table and announcing to the chairman and town clerk, on my way out of the door: "In accordance with the Local Government Act 1972 (Section 100A) I'm hereby excluding myself."
In return, committee chairman, like Coun John Kitwood, often agree to re-organise the agenda for me so all the items to be taken in camera are lumped together at the end of the agenda, meaning I do not have to be sent out the room for a few minutes, brought back in, and then excluded again.
A clear case of The Good Old British Compromise.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Humberside Police’s decision to revamp Brigg police station, rather than build a new one, has meant an unexpected bonus for motorists visiting the centre of town.
For this small area of unused land on Cary Lane (pictured) might have disappeared if the extensive scheme had gone ahead, meaning the loss of 12 free car parking spaces, plus the nice, mature tree.
These coveted parking spaces are soon snapped up by motorists ‘in the know’ as this picture shows. It avoids them having to pay North Lincolnshire Council while making a short trip to the shops.
Yesterday, by kind permission of Humberside Police, the Scunthorpe Telegraph and was given a sneak preview of the inside of the new station, due to open to the public next Monday.
Alex Heaton, enquiry office clerk, went behind the glass screen as we became the first members of the public to push the button for service.
*Read all about Brigg Police station’s reopening after a £640,000 refurbishment in the Brigg Extra pages in today’s Scunthorpe Telegraph.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Work in progress on the new homes being built on the former Smith Parkinson Motors site.
Councillors were impressed by the plans Grimley Smith Associates presented to redevelop the site, with offices for themselves, as well as the housing.
Just a thought: As the new homes will be facing Market Lane, will that be their address?
That's an interesting point for local historians, as Market Lane, like so many small courts and alleyways running off Wrawby Street and Market Place, had its share of houses - generally two-up, two-down. Or even smaller.
Latterly, Market Lane was just the back entrance into Smith Parkinson's premises for staff and customers - and a little-used public right of way.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Hopefully many readers of the Scunthorpe Telegraph will have enjoyed the excellent, illustrated feature about the Caine family of photographers, penned by Hazel Tomlins.
Founding father of this dynasty of devoted snappers and cameramen - known nationally and internationally - was Harold Caine, one of the pioneers of short news items of very local interest on regional TV.
Brigg was featured from time to time, as Scunthorpe-based Harold would ring us at the Lincolnshire Times office, in Wrawby Street, to see whether we could pen a short script to go with one of his films on our patch.
Yorkshire TV paid very well for what amounted to three or four paragraphs of copy to be read out as Harold's short film played. Usually such an item went out on Calendar in the evening; occasionally it also gained an airing on the lunch-time bulletin.
The first script I recall doing for Harold relates to the tiny watercourse pictured above, near the last of the council-built houses in Grammar School Road.
A nearby resident got very hot under the collar over what he claimed was raw sewage flooding into this ditch after heavy rainfall.
It was certainly very smelly, and some of the unmentionable items you could see floating in the murky depths seemed to support his theory.
The worried complainant's reference to a feared killer disease of Victorian times prompted the headline "Typhoid Beck fears" in the Lincs Times. And you didn't get many interesting, never mind sensational, headlines like that in the much-loved local weekly!
Harold's eyes fell upon the word "Typhoid" and he popped down to compile his film for which I think a tenner came my way for penning the script. Very good money more than a quarter-of-a-century ago for five minutes work!
At bank holidays, Harold liked to film Wrawby postmill as the sails turned once more, which was even easier work. For the script was the same on each occasion.
Today, websites like and offer localised video films, perhaps showing Harold Caine was years ahead of his time.
Sadly he died from cancer in March 1985, aged just 56.
And as Hazel Tomlins so rightly says in her article: "The newspaper and television industry lost not only a staunch friend but a man of great professional stature."
To access the Caine family feature from the Scunthorpe Telegraph, follow the link below:

FOOTNOTE: The watercourse on Grammar School Road looked fine, and was giving off no bad odours, when we visited yesterday to take the photo. It seems likely the issues highlighted in the early 1980s were soon sorted out.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Brigg's involvement in the system which dishes out The People's Millions is at an end.
It should be stressed staight away the People's Millions we are talking about here have nothing to do with the current (slightly annoying) TV advertising campaign, in which blunt northern character actor John Henshaw (Early Doors, The Royle Family, Born and Bred, pictured here) portrays the manager of a small Post Office ("The People's Post Office") which keeps being visited by the rich and famous.
They include pop group Westlife, veteran celebrity Joan Collins (The Bitch....that film she starred in, obviously!), and Wendy Richard (formerly known as sour-faced Pauline in EastEnders and long, long, long ago the lovely, leggy Miss Brahms in Are You Being Served?).
No, the People's Millions campaign with which Brigg is no longer involved relates to the Connect2Lottery, through which a worthwhile community project gets loadsamoney...maybe £50-million.
Last year, Scunthorpe's was selected as one of the 79 projects bidding for the windfall, the idea being to provide a safe off-road route (for walkers and cyclists?) through the western side of the steel town, from Atkinson's Warren to Yaddlethorpe.
Which 'local' scheme goes forward would seem to be in the hands of something called The North Lincolnshire Strategic Partnership, which has now invited Brigg Town Council to attend its annual general meeting on Thursday, January 31.
But when that official invite was flagged up to town councillors, Coun Tom Glossop revealed that despite being a member of the Strategic Partnership he had not, infact, been invited to ANY of its meetings for about 18 months.
And he successfully proposed the town council should decline the offer to continue membership of the Strategic Partnership, as it would appear the initiative was no longer relevant to Brigg.
Clearly Tom, as the Brigg People's representative, felt there was no point in carrying on, and he received unanimous support from fellow members of the town council, including Coun James Truepenny, who seconded the motion to sever links.

Friday, January 11, 2008


A luncheon club could be set up to serve Brigg and surrounding areas - if enough people show an interest.
"It will give people the opportunity to get together to have a laugh, a chat, enjoy a meal and possibly meet up wtih some old friends," said Marilyn Demott, Brigg-based community development worker with Fresh Start, the organisation which serves the over-50s of North Lincolnshire.
Send your views on suitable venues, and any special dietary requirements, to Marilyn on (01652) 653384.
Today (Friday), Fresh Start has swimming lessons on offer at Ancholme Leisure Centre, from 2pm. Contact the Fresh Start office on (01724) 277906 for further details.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


There's plenty of interest to Brigg readers in the latest Scunthorpe Telegraph Nostalgia magazine, now on sale for just 75p.
A huge group picture of Brigg Grammar School pupils and staff from the late 1960s has been reproduced, in sections. Among the faces to spot: Brigg solicitor Steve Baggott in the days before he forged his career in the courts.
There's a comprehensive feature on Brigg Sugar Factory, with some lovely archive pictures, and a colourful painting showing trainspotters long ago waiting for a steam loco to arrive near the Bigby Road level crossing.
Snap up a copy, and why not get a second to send to an ex-Briggensian friend or family member who now lives away from the area?


Further to Tuesday's story about the out-of-action street lighting in St Helen's Road, a Brigg resident has emailed a very helpful piece of information which, it appears, we can all use to report such faults.
Dinah Lilley says: "Just reading your Brigg Blog. Re the street light problem - I have, in the past, used the facility on the council's website for reporting such things and found it to be quite an efficient system. Street lights have been fixed quite quickly. Perhaps you could publicise this."
No problem, Dinah, and thanks. Faults can be recorded/reported by visiting:
Our own Coun Nigel Sherwood has reported the faulty light in St Helen's Road, by the way, having spotted the entry on this Blog. The lamp was still out of action when I passed by last night and again this morning, but hopefully will have been fixed sometime today.
It's been suggested I ought to have noted the number on the lamp-post and told the council but it was, of course, too dark to read it. Must carry a torch more often!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


The old garages/sheds, between Grammar School Road and Wesley Road, have now been almost demolished, helping tidy up what's been a rather derelict area of Brigg for many years.
These old brick structures were used to store a variety of items down the decades (including milk crates), and John Rhodes, in his recently-published book on growing up in Brigg between 1930-1950 makes reference to one of them being utilised by his father for business purposes.
The removal of these old garages, and the earlier demolition of the old grammar school art room and the scout hut, means a nice open area for car parking, presumably for staff at nearby Sir John Nelthorpe School.
It's a safe bet this small area of town will see more changes. The council's blueprint for future house-building has the former school canteen site, just across the road in Colton Street, earmarked for redevelopment, with the ugly 1940s buildings giving way to something modern and more pleasing to the eye, no doubt.
I'm sure some long-standing Brigg residents must be the same as me when they drive down Grammar School Road and get to Glebe Road corner: We still expect to see the gold-painted lion (ceramic or metal?) which used to be perched on the brick wall, above the postbox.
It was very much a feature of Brigg when the Proctor family had the nearby house, and the shop just round the corner in Glebe Road.
Returning to the site of the old garages, who remembers the green-painted house (Oakleigh?) which used to stand on the other side of Grammar School Road - now the site of a two-storey classroom block at Sir John Nelthorpe School?
One year, in the very early 1970s, vegetation in the garden of this house began to grow to Triffid-like proportions, due to leakage, we believed, from the school swimming pool, just the other side of the brick wall.
Walking down Wrawby Street this morning, I glimpsed a sign in a shop window, offering special deals on swimwear.
Chance would have been a fine thing back in the late 1960s, when young grammar school pupils were ordered to swim in the nude by a certain sportsmaster, once we'd finished our games of football on the school field. No trunks with you? Then in you went as nature intended. Now, at the time, the pool had no heating. And it would have been mid- to late-September.
Not all memories of Brigg past are necessarily pleasant ones!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


There's plenty going on at Brigg Methodist Church, in Wesley Road, in addition to the services, and we thank Mary J Knaggs, publicity secretary, for a preview of what's in store.
Wednesday Group meetings, Brigg Methodist Church, 7.30pm
Tomorrow, (Jan 9): Beetle.
January 23: Mini auction.
February 6: Slides of Kew and Wisley Botanical Gardens.
February 20: Musical evening with Con Brio.
March 5: Hotpot at Brenda's.
March 19: Easter with The Rev Gillian Belford
Wayfarers' Walking Group
Saturday, January 19: 10.30am, Barton Deepdale, four miles. Contact (01652) 651202.


St Helen's Road is hardly one of the best-illuminated streets in Brigg. Could it be something to do with the number of trees and shrubs near the lamp-posts?
Things are even worse at present, however, because one of the lights is out of action.
It's about halfway down the street, and has been like that for some time.
Well before dawn this morning I spied an elderly resident pushing her wheelie-bin out onto the street for collection on the particularly dark stretch, near to where the light is not lit.
Could someone in authority, perhaps, get round to fixing the bulb, or the power supply, if that's the issue.?
Tip-off for those responsible: A number of councillors live within a few hundred yards of this failed lamp. I'd get it fixed before the next council meeting, if I were you!

Monday, January 07, 2008


Brigg Fair - the famous piece by Delius - was yesterday named as one of the greatest of the great pieces of classical music.
That's a very fitting tribute, as this year will be the 100th anniversary of the first performance of the composer's classic rhapsody.
In a huge feature article, the Sunday Telegraph magazine listed 100 Classical Albums You Must Hear on CD, selected by music critic Michael Kennedy.
And one of the few to be marked 'Must Buy' was Delius' Brigg Fair.
Selected was the Sir Thomas Beecham interpretation, described as a 'magical performance of the English rhapsody Brigg Fair, especially in the misty introduction that conjours up an early morning'.
Back in 1905, Percy Grainger visited Brigg to collect folk songs and heard local man Joseph Taylor performing Brigg Fair, which Grainger recorded and adapted.
Delius heard the version, liked it and used the song as the basis for an orchestral work, first performed in 1908.
Grainger's recorded version included the lines:
It was on the fifth of August-er' the weather fine and fair,
Unto Brigg Fair I did repair, for love I was inclined.

Today, of course, we still celebrate Brigg Fair at that time of year, and the song is still performed from time to time.

Sunday, January 06, 2008


I can't claim, in any way, to be an expert on birds...of either variety!
But the position of our home computer affords a super view of the back garden which, despite being very small, has a large berry-producing thorn bush - next to a tall leylandii in the house behind, on O'Hanlon Avenue (pictured - there are sparrows in there, honestly!).
They both attract a surprisingly high number of visitors of the feathered variety, and that set me thinking how well off Brigg must be in ornithological terms.
Those of us who live on the St Helen's housing estate are only a few hundred yards from open countryside, so it's no real surprise we get our fair share of species, including colourful ones like greenfinch, chaffinch, bullfinch and blue tit.
Along the River Ancholme, of course, you can glimpse various ducks, plus swans and the occasional heron.
However, certainly in our area of town, there's no shortage of sparrows, which are said to be in decline nationally. A small flock seems to spend a large part of its day visiting our garden and the one next door. We also get visits from starlings - another bird whose numbers are in decline.
Brigg folk of all ages who are interested in this topic will be very welcome to take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch, the world's biggest bird survey, later this month.
The organisers at conservation group RSPB say it gives a vital snapshot of the UK's birds each winter.
In 2007, more than 400,000 people took part by counting the birds in their garden for an hour. Together they spotted six-million across 236,000 gardens, helping reveal the winners and losers in the garden bird world.
The survey has recorded huge declines in some of our most familiar birds. Since 1979 the number of house sparrows counted has fallen by 52 per cent, and the number of starlings by 76 per cent.
However, chaffinchs and great tits have both seen their numbers increase since 1979 by 36 and 52 per cent respectively.
The RSPB is asking us to spend an hour 'spying our bird neighbours' over the weekend of January 26-27, to help the organisation discover 'who is top of the pecking order in UK gardens'.
Returning to bird-spotting in Brigg (not ladies visiting town centre pubs of an evening!) there have been some interesting sightings in recent years.
A peacock turned up in St Helen's Road, an albino blackbird in York Road, and a flock of multi-coloured waxwings frequented a tree outside Nick Blackburn's car lot in Bigby Road, attracting a number of binocular-using 'twitchers' to Brigg. On a more mundane level, there were three jackdaws looking for scraps on the footpath in Springfield Road the other day, while pied wagtails seem to like Wrawby Street in the summer.
Use the public footpath across the fields from Churchill Avenue to Tongs Farm, Wrawby, and there's a helpful sign giving information about lapwings you might be lucky enough to glimpse.
If you spot any rare birds in, or near, the town, drop an email to - and please consider taking part in the RSPB survey at the end of this month. Visit and download the PDF file to keep a tally of birds visiting your garden.

Saturday, January 05, 2008


Brigg's teenage pop-in sessions reopen on Monday (Jan 7) after the festive break.
The first sesssion of the New Year will be at the usual time, 7pm-9pm, at the Angel Suite, off Market Place. All teenagers are welcome to attend.
This is a well-established Brigg Town Council initiative aimed at giving youngsters somewhere to go, and something to do.
At these sessions they can 'chill out' with their mates, or perhaps meet new people and make new friends.
It's in response to suggestions there is nothing to do in Brigg for young people, and that teenagers can cause a nuisance by hanging about in groups on the streets.
The council is also the driving force behind a scheme called The 3 Bs, through which Brigg, Broughton and Barnetby youngsters will benefit with things to do and specialists to advise them, in the months ahead.
Expect to hear much more about this project during 2008.
Keep reading Brigg Blog and the Tuesday Brigg Extra Page in the Scunthorpe Telegraph to keep up to date.

Friday, January 04, 2008


Talking about off-putting for people visiting Brigg!
There's a dog-mess bin on Bigby Road, near the junction with St Helen's Road, which is not only full...but full to overflowing.
So much so, bags of New Year 'doggie-delights' are piling up on the grass verge underneath the bin.
Dog-owners are always been urged to clean up after their pets, with fines for those who let their animals foul the grass verges and footpaths.
That's how it should be. But surely North Lincolnshire Council needs to play its part by emptying bins like this when they become full.
If you are getting a slight feeling of deja vu reading this, it's not real surprise. For this is not the first New Year we have had to take the council to task for not getting its act together over the emptying of this particular bin.
Hundreds of motorists enter Brigg each day from the Caistor direction, along the A1084, and seeing piles of dog poo gives a poor impression of our town.
Brigg is certainly not...Well we had better leave out the word I'm thinking of but you can insert your own guess!
* Apologies about the absence of a picture. If the bin is not emptied by tomorrow I'll nip out and take a snap so you can see what I'm banging on about.
FOOTNOTE: Upon returning to Brigg at tea-time I was delighted to see the bin had been emptied at last. It appears Coun Nigel Sherwood had spotted the problem on Brigg Blog and got onto someone about it. Nice one, Nige!

Thursday, January 03, 2008


The snow which greeted Brigg residents when they drew back their curtains this morning was hardly unexpected, given the extensive forecasts about winds blowing in from icy Siberia.
But every time we get a flurry of snow the UK seems to struggle, as we do with prolonged spells of rain. An inch or two of snow qualifies for the main story in TV or radio news bulletins.
What will those Eastern Europeans who have joined us in numbers in the Brigg area over the past few years make of our efforts to cope with a snowfall which would hardly be deserving of a second glance in countries like Poland and the Czech Republic? Perhaps they will manage a wry smile or two!
When snow settles in North Lincolnshire it always results in arguments about roads not being gritted, or not enough of them being gritted. And some residents voice beliefs the council (in return for its £1,000-plus council tax in many cases) ought to be out clearing footpaths for the benefit of shoppers and the elderly.
To be fair, well ahead of winter our unitary authority publishes details of what roads will be gritted or cleared, such as the A18 (Barnard Avenue/Wrawby Road) and the A1084 (Bigby Road/Bigby High Road). It does not have the resources to do individual streets. Whether we agree with that, or not, we can't claim we weren't warned.
Hornsby's 6.30am bus into Cary Lane, Brigg, arrived on time this morning from Ashby. But as it's market day it remains to be seen what shoppers make of the conditions in Wrawby Street and the Market Place, once the stalls and shops start trading.
One thing's for sure, however, many householders will be beating a path to the door of Brian's DIY, in Wrawby Street, to top up on suitable items to beat the freeze.
With the schoolchildren still being on holiday, there's also a rare opportunity to get down to the slopes of the Davy memorial playing field, on Bigby Road, for a spot of downhill sledging.
Or will the modern generation prefer to stay indoors, where it's warm, glued to the screens of their Nintendos, Gameboys or X-Boxes?
Back in the late 1960s/early 1970s, snow was always a mixed blessing for those of us being educated at Brigg Grammar School. At lunch-time, the headmaster, H B Williams (pictured above), would send round a message about buses leaving early to take pupils home to far away places like Snitterby, Willoughton and Keelby. But the relatively small number of us who lived in Brigg used to have to stay in school, then face a cycle ride home in terrible conditions. These days 'health and safety' might well point out, and quite rightly, that a boy with a bike is more at risk than pupils seated on a large coach going down the gritted/salted A18 or A15. But different rules applied in those days.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


So the New Year has arrived and the caravan-dwellers who have been parked on Station Road, just outside North Lincolnshire Council's Hewson House office block in Brigg since before Christmas, are still there.
A demonstration of the spirit of Christmas by the authorities?


The wet start to the new year and the fact some people partied a bit too much last night meant not many Brigg folk ventured very far this morning. But there were exceptions, even if some might find them a little sad for getting drenched in pursuit of their actitivies.
Like the anglers huddled under umbrellas on the Old River Ancholme, the group of ramblers walking in line through the town, people visiting the recycling bins at Tesco and Glanford Leisure Centre, and the canoeists on the New River Ancholme.
Tesco's can bank was full yet again this morning, meaning a trip to the one at the leisure centre, if you could be bothered.
New Year's Resolution to consider for North Lincolnshire Council: Have a serious look at recycling at Christmas and New Year. Clearly the size and frequency of emptying of the bins and boxes they issue to households, and the facilities at Tesco, are far below the level of waste people are willing to recycle.
And finally...Let's hope for a happy and very successful 2008 for our town and its growing number of residents, plus our business community.