Public Parks and Spaces
Today Boston Borough has a great choice and variety of public open-air leisure spaces. However with the industrialisation of towns many people had little access to fresh air. In 1833 a Government Select Committee recommended providing footpaths for public exercise, and seven years later a further recommendation was for open spaces for cricket, football and other activities.
The wealthy in Boston already had such facilities. Vauxhall Gardens in Freiston Road was opened on 6 May 1815. Admission cost 6d each day, but a season ticket for a lady, gentleman and two children cost just 8s. The gardens covered two acres laid out in walks with an “elegant saloon” 62 feet long. A maze was created in 1823 and a marine grotto in about 1840. Special events were held during the season including a gala with fireworks, a flower show, a rural fete and a fancy dress ball. The Gardens closed in 1855
Free open space was provided in 1832 when a tree-lined gravel path was created on the east bank of the Haven, extending to a point opposite the Black Sluice. The Bath Gardens included two long strips of water that could be used for swimming, and in 1834 a private company built swimming baths on the marsh next to the river. Nearly all of Bath Gardens are now buried under the Riverside Quay of Boston Dock.
In 1871 the Corporation opened the large People’s Park inland of the Bath Gardens. It was planted with trees, shrubs and flower beds and included areas of grass for “cricket, skittles, quoits, bowls, croquet, football, etc” as well as military drills. Next to this pleasant park Boston General Hospital was built in 1874 and new swimming baths opened on 3 May 1880. The area is now part of the Dock complex.
To make up for the loss of the People’s Park, the Corporation created the Central Park north of Wide Bargate. The site was acquired in 1919 and developed over the next few years, with flower beds, tennis courts, changing pavilions and a large grass area used for cricket. These facilities have continually been developed to meet changing recreational needs.
Until the mid-19th century burials in Boston took place in land belonging to several town churches, but then in 1855 Boston Cemetery was created on Horncastle Road at the edge of the town. The site included an entrance lodge and two identical chapels; one for Anglicans and the second for other denominations. Boston Crematorium was opened in April 1966 on an extension site to the west of the original cemetery.