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Public delve into town's history on guided tour of Grantham Cemetery

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More than 90 members of the public joined guided tours of Grantham Cemetery last week to hear stories that may have remained long forgotten by many.

The ‘Voices from Grantham Cemetery’ walk, organised by Grantham Civic Society, guided visitors through the graves of those who contributed to the town’s history, including the Hornsby family, military and civilian war dead and those who died tragically or have unusual monuments.

Reporter Tracey Davies joined Civic Society secretary Dr John Manterfield, Peter Reichelt and Melvin Dobbs, on Saturday morning for their final guided tour as part of the national Heritage Open Days scheme.

Guided tour of Grantham Cemetery (51402191)
Guided tour of Grantham Cemetery (51402191)

Visitors were firstly treated to a rare glimpse inside the two chapels at the entrance to the cemetery. The Church of England chapel lies to the south of the arch with altar at the east end whereas the non-conformist chapel lies to the north of arch.

Some of the first graves on the tour were four large obelisks erected to the Hornsby family, Richard Hornsby being the founder of a major agricultural machinery firm that developed steam engines. His firm also developed early diesels and caterpillar tracks and employed hundreds of people across Grantham.

On June 1, 1857, just three months after the cemetery had opened, seven adjacent grave spaces were purchased at £4 each by Richard Hornsby and his sons Richard, James and William.

Guided tour of Grantham Cemetery (51402212)
Guided tour of Grantham Cemetery (51402212)

Visitors moved on to gather at the grave of 19-year-old Robin Lubbock, who tragically died at Christmas 1898.

The trainee stockbroker had travelled to Grantham on Christmas Eve and joined the Boxing Day Hunt. The railway crossing gates between Sudbrook and Ancaster were shut and Robin attempted to jump over the post and rails at the track side.

The tired horse chested the fence and turned over onto Robin, who was then brought back to North House with severe injuries. After two days of agony, borne with great pluck, according to the Eton College Chronicle, Robin passed away.

The tour moved on to visit other areas of the cemetery including the final resting place of a 33-year-old lady called Georgiana Baguley, who was killed in the 1906 Grantham Rail Crash and was never claimed by any relatives.

Guided tour of Grantham Cemetery (51402221)
Guided tour of Grantham Cemetery (51402221)

Nearby also lies the grave of 21-year-old Israel Wormall who died in April 1902, after being injured during a game on the football field on London Road.

The tour stopped at some more unusual monuments including a grave with musical notes inscribed on it, a grave written in both Polish and English and a grave with text on both sides.

Visitors paid tribute to the 114 Commonwealth War Graves, including a group of Australian and New Zealand machine gunners and the Cross of Sacrifice, a central memorial of the service personnel of both wars, before finishing at the town’s memorial to the civilian dead from World War Two.

Guided tour of Grantham Cemetery (51402230)
Guided tour of Grantham Cemetery (51402230)

Visitors learnt about those who lost their lives, including the 10 people who were killed in Stuart Street when a German bomb fell on an air raid shelter on October 24, 1942.

A total of 32 people died in the raid that night, with another bomb hitting Bridge Street, whilst a third landed in Dudley Road but mercifully did not explode.

Forty-one people were injured, 20 homes were destroyed and a further 586 suffered damage from the air raid. It was thought the bombs were intended for Bomber Command at St Vincent’s, but the Nazis missed their intended target.

John is already planning more guided walks.

Guided tour of Grantham Cemetery (51402233)
Guided tour of Grantham Cemetery (51402233)

He added: “We were absolutely delighted by the number of people who attended the cemetery walks and by the positive feedback received. We look forward to hosting one or two further walks in early November.

“Please see the Grantham Civic Society Facebook page for further details in due course.”

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