Burton upon Stather Heritage Group
Rescuing the ramp…
Sunset on The Tank Ramp

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Burton upon Stather Heritage Group (BSHG) was formed in 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.

Percy Hobart
Major General Percy Hobart
© IWM (H 20697)
Nicholas Straussler
Nicholas Straussler
© The Tank Museum (No. 2498/B/1)

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's New War Memorial Unveiled

Conspicuous by its absence was a war memorial monument in Burton Upon Stather. There were memorial plaques in St Andrew's Church but unlike almost all other British villages, a monument to honour our fallen heroes did 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.

Work on the War Memorial
Work on the War Memorial. Click for more.
The War Memorial Service
The War Memorial Service. Click for more.

You can view all the photos here.

At a Parish Council meeting BSHG put forward the proposal for the war memorial monument and following some discussion the parish council requested that BSHG provide a design and an estimate of future maintenance costs.

The project was wholly funded by BSHG through their own fund raising activities. The design is a very simple, modern monument made from a very large natural grey limestone rock which is faced on one side with a black marble plaque mounted to carry the names of the soldiers in gold lettering. The rock is placed in a paved hexagon with seating on Glebe Paddock in the centre of the village.

One unique feature, we shall add, will be a QR barcode which when scanned with a mobile phone or tablet will link to the Roll of Honour webpage 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.

The Dedication Ceremony

The monument was unveiled by Andrew Percy MP in a dedication ceremony conducted by Rev Ian Coates on the . The event was very well attended with Glebe Paddock filled by the Primary School and crowds of local people as well as relatives of those named who travelled to Burton upon Stather from further a field.

It is absolutely in the best place for all the village to be able to visit it and perhaps take a little rest and think of all of those young men whose lives were so brutally cut short.

A dwindling band who remember the village before all the expansion and when those young men were still fresh in the hearts of our parents are now perhaps best placed to rectify what is a glaring omission.

Winn Readhead
Local Historian & Author

I, as a member of Burton Stather Heritage Group, would like to publicly congratulate all of my colleagues on the success of the Dedication of the Parish War Memorial held today, Armistice Day 11/11/ 2014.

To see so many residents, friends and family in attendance along with Andrew Percy MP, NLC Cllr. Marper, Cllr. Rowson, Cllr. Ogg, Sir Reginald and Lady Sheffield and our Parish Council so well represented today too was wonderful. It was particularly good to be able to meet some of the relatives of those named, some who had travelled specially to be there.

This is the culmination of a lot of hard work and fundraising by all concerned. The group itself was only formed in 2009 and many of our projects are still ongoing. Considering we only received planning permission for the new War Memorial on I feel that the success of todays event shows the level of commitment and dedication within the group plus their willingness for sheer hard work.

Special thanks must go to local resident Mr Alan Jennison of Hemswell Surfacing Ltd., who donated materials and his services used in the formation of the memorial area. Anyone seeing the result will agree he did a fabulous job. Also to Mr Paul Hubbard of Barningham Memorials, Scunthorpe for his favourable rates and excellent service. The stone itself was donated by Mr Nick Harland of Walcot with all other works from planning to the unveiling being undertaken by Burton Stather Heritage Group.

We would like to thank all those who took part to make it a day to remember. They were, Rev. Ian Coates, children of Burton Stather Primary School who laid crosses, sang and behaved beautifully, our own Burton Stather Heritage Girls for their poem, Geoffrey Robinson MBE, Mr Andrew Percy MP, Captain Ken Smith RLC, group member Mr Glyn Morgan who donated his services and excellent PA system and not least Mr Herbert Such our lone bagpipe player.

A lovely buffet lunch was held The Ferry House Inn, Burton Stather kindly arranged and partly donated by Vicky Jolly of the Riverside Restaurant where much chatting and reminiscing took place.

I am proud to be associated with, and a member of, Burton Stather Heritage Group.

Pete Day
Burton Stather Heritage Group

I felt that I could not let the occasion of yesterday pass without saying a word of congratulation to the Heritage Group.

The planning and work involved in setting the Memorial on the Paddock must have been tremendous, and the cost quite considerable. The culmination yesterday of the unveiling and dedication of the Memorial, was I am certain very rewarding to your group. The support indicated by the attendance demonstrated the approval of the village.

The ceremony itself was well planned and was most impressive, I was honoured to be present and take part.

The Memorial now stands very proudly in a prominent place in the village and I know it will serve to remind people of the supreme sacrifice made by those named on it. Please pass on my congratulations to the members of the group and I wish them well in any future plans they may have.

Geoff Robinson MBE
WWII RAF Vereran

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.

The Tank Ramp Footpath
The Tank Ramp Footpath in busier times.
Click for more.

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?

Please download, print and fill in this Evidence Form.
Completed forms can be posted to our chairperson or handed in at The Ferry House.

Footpath Update

Challenge to re-open the Villa Farm footpath takes another step forward

On 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.

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