Rescuing the ramp…
On This Day
The 26th of November
On this day 74 years ago in 1940, Sergeant Arthur Cowling of 53 Squadron, Royal Air Force, died in WWII aged 21. Son of Lawrence and Amy Cowling of Burton Stather.
This was also the day when BSHG began the excavation of the Tank Ramp in the bitterly cold winter of 2009.
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Burton upon Stather Heritage Group (BSHG) was formed in 2009 basically because we are proud of our locality, its history and heritage.
It is appropriate that we chose the WWII tank ramp as our groups first project because the name Stather is derived from the Viking word
staithes meaning landing stage, taking us back over 1000 years into dark age history.
There has in fact been a landing stage at the Stather since at least Roman times and the village owes its very existence to it.
Our landing stage brings us up to date a little being just under 70 years old but is nevertheless a very important part of our local heritage that touched the lives of everyone in the village during the years of WWII.
The Tank Ramp as it has been affectionately known locally since its construction, played a vitally important part of research into amphibious tanks and ancillaries in WWII and up to its closure in 1947.
Famous names such as Major General Sir Percy
Hobo Hobart and Nicholas Straussler visited the site and it is widely believed that Barnes Wallis, inventor of the bouncing bomb,
also spent time here working on a device known as
The pendulum. Though our research has yet to find written evidence of this.
It paved the way for those who were willing to lay down their lives to cross the Rhine in an effort to save Britain from invasion (as it was, as one of our veterans will vouch,
the war was won without crossing the Rhine) but we must not forget these WWII veterans who faced the ultimate challenge in facing the possibility of giving their lives for their country.
Restoring the Tank Ramp into a working slipway and tourist attraction is, we believe, a fitting memorial for the brave soldiers that served there.
Time moves on and now we have members of our Armed Forces serving in Afghanistan and beyond, facing the ultimate sacrifice and so we honour todays soldiers by
supporting Help for Heroes with a percentage of our funds raised being donated to this most worthy cause.
Our fundraising events of the Burton upon Stather Heritage Group naturally followed the history of the Tank Ramp with a Raft Race in aid of Help for Heroes and a Fun Day for the local community. Held as part of the long standing Burton in Bloom weekend, it was an unprecedented success benefiting both organisations and the local community. The day attracted close on 500 visitors including local MP Andrew Percy and NLC ward councillors Rob Waltham, Ralph Ogg and Elaine Marper, all of who commented on our remarkable Big Society achievements. This promises to be an exciting annual event for many years to come.
Big Society is a very modern phrase and very much the dream of our Prime Minister David Cameron. We believe we are one of the best examples of the Big Society in action in that we are all volunteers working towards helping the local community as well as ourselves. Our projects bring together the different generations with an understanding and cohesion towards appreciating and respecting our community, its heritage and what it stands for.
Burton to get a War Memorial
Conspicuous by its absence is a war memorial monument in Burton Upon Stather. There are memorial plaques in St Andrews Church but unlike almost all other British villages, a monument to honour our fallen heroes does not adorn our village green or churchyard.
Following ongoing research into the lives of each of the 39 Burton Upon Stather parish residents that sadly did not return from World Wars I & II, Burton Stather Heritage Group (BSHG) decided that in the centenary year of the beginning of World War I, it was perhaps fitting to do something about this. With the help of Estelle Mumby, who is researching the Winterton Roll of Honour, we also discovered another two men from WWI that were missed off the original roll in the church, William Hagues and Albert Waddingham.
At a Parish Council meeting BSHG put forward a proposal for a war memorial monument and following some discussion the parish council requested that BSHG provide a design and an estimate of future maintenance costs. BSHG have stated that it will be wholly funded by them through their own fund raising activities. They have stated that they wish to have a very simple, modern monument and have a very large natural green/grey limestone rock which will be faced on one side with a black marble plaque mounted to carry the names of the soldiers in either white or gold lettering. That in turn will be placed in a small, low maintenance garden with seating. It is perhaps a sad reflection of human nature that the plaque will also have space for future soldiers that may be lost to us in conflict.
One unique feature, we are told, will be the employment of 3D barcode technology which when scanned with a mobile phone will link to a website detailing the history of each individual named on the plaque. This not only gives life and personality to the name but has obvious educational advantages for our children, related families and history scholars. This will be placed subtly somewhere to the side of the monument.
Glebe Paddock (The Chicken Field) has been decided as the location for the monument and planning permission has recently been passed. Work on creating the memorial has started and it is planned to be unveiled in a ceremony on Armistice Day this year.
BSHG move to get the original Tank Ramp path re-opened
As I'm sure many will recall, a few years ago there was a public footpath which ran north along the river bank from The Ferry House pub to just about the place where the Tank ramp now is. It then went North East up the hillside to meet the path at the top of the hill. Following the construction and subsequent abandoning of the Tank Ramp in 1948, the path extended all the way to the Tank Ramp. The path up the hill seems to have been abandoned at this time, having become overgrown during the period of military occupation. The riverside path however remained in regular use up until about 1986. At this time the path appears to have been blocked off as the stile which stood on the flood bank at the rear of the (now derelict) cottage was removed and a fence put in place, thus effectively closing this once well trodden walk.
Following many months research, BSHG believe the act of closing this path to be illegal and have recently given instruction to North Lincolnshire Council to begin proceedings to get the path opened once again. This will also include the original path to the top of the hill, not walked since 1943.
By re-opening this footpath it will not only be rediscovering one of our area's most scenic walks, it will give good level access to disabled or anyone less able at waking to visit one of our prized military monuments, the Tank Ramp.
Have you walked this path in the past and would like to help get it re-opened?
Challenge to re-open the Villa Farm footpath takes another step forward
On Monday 21st January 2013 the Burton Upon Stather Parish Council held a Special Meeting to consider our request to support the application to North Lincolnshire Council to re-open the footpath known locally as the Villa Farm Footpath. Information was provided by the Definitive Map Officer at North Lincolnshire Council, representatives of Burton Stather Heritage Group, Normanby Estates Company Limited and the owners of Villa Farm. A vote was taken. Eight councillors voted to support the application with one abstention. Four councillors recorded a declaration of interest and did not vote. Two councillors did not attend. North Lincolnshire Council has been officially notified of the decision.
This is great news for us to know that we have such great support through the village for this cause and we, the Burton upon Stather Heritage Group, would like thank the Burton Upon Stather parish council for their help and support.
The challenge is gathering momentum day by day but we still need to hear from you if you remember walking this old footpath. Please call us on 07799412391 or download an evidence form here.
I am an active Volunteer and walk leader (designate) of the Walking for Health Group. We are based at Normanby Park and are sponsored by NLC, Macmillan Group and Ramblers Association. We do not at present use this path, because of the limitations imposed by its closure. The reinstatement of the right of way would provide a great alternative. The Health of local Residents is of paramount importance and this round trip would provide a valuable addition to our programme. The uphill element of the route would be a great cardio vascular exercise and would be invaluable for folks recovering, or trying to avoid, heart problems. Walking is an essential aid to the well-being of the Community and every effort must be made to reinstate this footpath. A great deal of effort and finances are spent by the various authorities in maintaining the Health and wellbeing of the Community and the intransigence of one party should not be allowed to spoil the leisure and health of the majority.Gerry Mackay, Former Parish Councillor
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