X – Grasby Village in the early C20th

Clixby ceased to be a parish in its own right and was amalgamated with Grasby in 1936. The 1,261 acres of Clixby combined with Grasby now gives the new parish a total area of 2,961 acres.

There was a steady decline in the population of the village between 1911, when it stood at 373, and 1971 by which time it had fallen to 267, despite the inclusion of Clixby after 1936. This reflected the changes in agriculture with its increasing mechanization and diminishing need for manual labour. With these changes the days of the village based rural craftsman were also numbered.

Up until the 1960s Front Street (Butcher’s Lane in the C19th) remained the main focus of retail activity. There was a tailor at the top, a butcher (Milson’s) below the cemetery and, on the other side of the street, a grocer (Lusby’s) half way down the hill, then a cycle repair shop and finally Kirkby & Sons’, located on the corner of Front Street and Bentley Lane (previously called Little Drift), a grocer and draper’s shop dating from 1856, later becoming a butcher’s shop. Outside Kirky & Sons’ were two petrol pumps, with two more in front of the Cross Keys. In addition to the shops, a carpenter (Frankish) could also be found on Front Street.

The Reading Room, established as a village library and stocked with books by Charles Turner in 1853, became a sweet shop in 1907. Where the books went is, apparently, a mystery!  There was a cobbler’s workshop on Church Side (now a garage for one of the cottages). The Bluebell Inn was on Church Hill, as was the blacksmith’s smithy and workshop.   With the exception of the latter, the last of these businesses closed in the 1970s.

The Post Office became a listed building 1980, but closed for business in 1990, as did the blacksmith.

The Lime Pits opened sometime in the C19th and in the 1930s were producing about 3,000 tons of lime per annum. In 1944 it was formally opened as “Grasby Limes Ltd” by Mr E Addison, Chair of Caistor War Agricultural Committee, on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture to meet the new demands of agriculture. Production post war rose to 100,000 tons a year and the village became a very noisy and dusty place in which to live until the end of the 1960s. The quarry across the road fed the plant with chalk by a conveyor belt, which ran in a tunnel under the road. Although the entrances are bricked up, the tunnel is still there.

The present village hall replaced a wooden building, erected in 1937on the same site, in the 1960s. The oak tree outside the hall was planted to commemorate the coronation of King George VI.

The mill, north of the A1084, operated until 1921. North Kelsey railway station fell under the “Beeching Axe” and closed in 1965.

At some point during the century the two village water pumps disappeared. One was opposite the Bluebell on Church Hill, the other was on Middleton Lane. It is surprising that the former has been lost as it had been refurbished and reinstated with some ceremony between the two Wars.