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Spalding >  Google™ Map Sep 2021  Lincolnshire Coat of Arms

spalde ditch + ing Old English (the) people (of). Population - 34,613.

England-Lincolnshire Flag UK > England > Lincolnshire

Sep 2021

Lincolnshire Coat of Arms

This Lincolnshire market town is worthy of a visit if not for its river but for its location in the intriguingly named district of South Holland. Oh! And its tandoori, obviously, but more on all that in a minute.

Spalding - Market Place

The once-booming trade in bookbinding in the Georgian marketplace has given way to modern-day bookmaking and it's more about the vapes than the capes, these days, right cloud chasers?

Speaking of which, real clouds have been chased on the way here and they've only just about departed making for an initially damp, early-evening inspection.

That means everything, so far, in Spalding is fairly familiar so it's not unlike everywhere else in the UK that's slightly isolated. What here has, however, is the added attraction of a river and boy, what a river!

Spalding - River Welland
Spalding - River Welland

Willows weep over the River Welland, of course, one of several waterways in these parts although the rest are largely artificial.

Drainage channels for what is part of the Fens, you see, dug to keep the fertile flatlands dry for the potatoes on your plate and to keep the Wash where it is, for now, right Extinction Rebellion?

  The Lincolnshire Poacher (Double Street)

Ye Old White Horse might still have the shutters up so it's back over the bridge to the Lincolnshire Poacher for refreshments near a riverbank.

Spalding - Ye Olde White Horse

Saying that, some subsequent, erm, research suggests the Poacher can now be filed in the permanently closed category so it's back over the bridge to see if Ye Olde White Horse has reopened.

The Poacher is handier, however, for Spalding's water taxi, which will ferry you to an out-of-town shopping outlet partly along a drainage channel. It's not everywhere you get to do that and this might well be an option if Ye Olde White Horse hasn't reopened.

Fleshpots abound along Winsover Road but that's heading out of town so you need to do a U-turn and head back on Station Street to Sheep Market, making it more of a ewe-turn, eh?

Spalding - Winsover Road
Spalding - 2012 Olympic Collage

The public lavs laid on for your convenience sport a curious mosaic, now known to celebrate the passing through of the 2012 Olympics torch relay in these parts.

Spalding artist and tiny-tile arranger Fiona Gurney was commissioned to commemorate this event with five such displays here and in surrounding towns. The cycles simply represent one of the events Team GB should do well in but what's with the tulips you might well ask?

  Gurkha Oven (Sheep Market)

No, this isn't a plug for the East of England's premier, family-run, electrical retail chain although that kind of is.

Spalding - Gurkha Oven

Head upstairs, however, and the kitchen ovens are of the tandoor variety and, speaking of ovens, the Prior's Oven, less than a minute's walk away, is handy for an aperitif.

The Prior is a proper micropub and an alternative to Spalding's more, erm, lively establishments with regulars including Oakham Ales last seen in, well, Oakham. The rest of the regulars look to be all of Spalding's ageing bohos and this is where they come to bicker and booze, brilliant.

Meanwhile, back at the Gurkha Oven, the rest of Spalding, apart from the ageing bohos, are in here tonight and it looks to pip the Tulip Tandoori as Spalding's preferred pakora provider but what's with the tulips you might well ask, again?

South Holland should be a clue even if the names, incidentally, are coincidental. Some bright spark simply decided in the early 1900s to import Dutch bulbs turning the area into a horticultural hotbed for those fond of a flower.

The landscapes are surprisingly similar, they say, the original drainage ditches were Dutch engineered and if you look closely you will see the occasional windmill[1]. Small waves of migrant workers have made the short hop across the North Sea only to be disappointed to find it's not that Boston.

This colourful connection used to be celebrated in the annual Spalding Flower Parade but in 2013 the local council announced they wouldn't\couldn't fund any future festivities. That's a shame because the heyday attracted 100,000 visitors, which is only slightly more than the number who have decided to dine at the Gurkha Oven tonight.

[1] It's known that you know that SlyBob now knows that a windpump is a type of windmill, actually.

  South Holland Centre (Market Place)

All things stage and screen and not too much of a modern eyesore overlooking the marketplace.

Spalding - South Holland Centre

Recent events include an evening with Geranium Greer and her one-woman show, a screening of Driving Miss Daisy and a standup performance by funnyman Omid Dja-Lily.

There used to be Italian restaurant inside where, no doubt, there was plenty of p-Aster on the menu, eh?

Something larger than is absolutely necessary telecoms-wise, surely, was sighted back near Sheep Market and there's another mast-related distraction on your way back to your lodgings via the big Sainsbury™s.

Spalding - Station Street
Spalding - Chatterton Water Tower

This one, however, ain't sat on no '60s eyesore but a concrete, minimalist tower that's owned by Anglian Water™, no less, and customers would once have had to climb the interior steps to pay their bills.

Recently revamped and tulip enhanced, Chatterton Tower still keeps Spalding's taps from running dry thanks to a 3.4 million litre water tank upstairs making this not so much a water tower but WHAT A TOWER!

Yes, that's already been said of Southwold and while it may be slightly unfair to compare Spalding with the delights of the Suffolk coast, it's handy for the long drive home and at least here has a tandoori.

  The Ivy Wall (New Road) wetherspoon

The Spoons have a tradition of naming their pubs based on the history of the town or the old building they invariably inhabit. The inevitable offering in a town of this size is called the Ivy Wall, a reference to a reference point on an 18th-century town map that marks the approximate location of the glassy edifice.

There are no awards for their nearly-out-of-date ale but the Director of Contrived Waterhole Naming gets an impressive (4/5) for this one, that and the fact that SlyBob also like old maps.