Views on Baroness Thatcher are spread across the spectrum

People sign the Margaret Thatcher book of condolence in Grantham Museum. 111D
People sign the Margaret Thatcher book of condolence in Grantham Museum. 111D

The Journal went out on the streets of Grantham to ask people their views on Margaret Thatcher.

Opinions in the town are as diverse as anywhere in the country from those who loved her to those who came to dislike her. There are those who feel she came to neglect her town of birth and who never took an interest in it after leaving to go to university. There are others who believe she made Britain great again.

Grantham undertaker Robert Holland met Baroness Thatcher twice. He said: “I am a private businessman and so support all that she held good in private enterprise, but more than that I am a very proud Granthamian. We should be proud, irrespective of political views, that a daughter of the town became the first female Prime Minister in the western world.”

Jatek Kalinowski, 24, from Poland, has lived in Grantham for only four months, He said he knows about Baroness Thatcher but did not know she was born in the town.

He said: “She was the best Prime Minister in the world and very good for eveyone. We learned about her in school in Poland. I knew Isaac Newton was from Grantham but did not know Mrs Thatcher was from here. I was sad to hear of her death.”

Betty Newton, whose husband was a bus driver and shop steward, was not so complimentary. She said: “She wasn’t good for the town. Look at the state of it now and it carried on like this from her. It’s going donwhill. She was not interested in the town. She only came back once to sign her books.”

But Barbara Parker, of Grantham, said: “She was good for the town. She got to the highest position in politics you can. But then you can’t please everybody.”

Ann Cooling, of Barkston, said: “I remember the controversy over the milk when my children were at school in Barkston. We were not very happy about that.”

William Ward, who was born and bred in Grantham, said the town would probably benefit more now following Baroness Thatcher’s death. He said: “She did an awful lot for the country. I do not think people appreciated her strengths as a politician. She was very straight forward. I think she was a marvellous woman. There should be a statue in the town for her for what she did.”

Grantham Museum chairman Helen Goral said plenty of people were visiting the museum to sign the book of condolence they have put there. She said: “She divided opinion in Grantham but she was an inspiration to a lot of people, especially women. I think a lot of women looked to her as someone who proved what women can achieve in a male-dominated environment.”

SKDC councillor Jeff Thompson said he left the Conservatives to become an independent councillor when Baroness Thatcher allowed council tenants to buy their homes. He said: “Council houses are built for those who do not want or cannot afford a mortgage. People are lowly paid in this district and that’s why they were built.”

He added: “I have always been a bit disappointed she did not come back to Grantham as much as she might.”