Skip to content

A social history of Boston over four decades

The late Ernie Robinson recorded a social history of Boston over four decades as he went about his business as freelance commercial photographer.

Mr Robinson's nephew, Simon Robinson, who, as photographic consultant for Boots for 22 years regularly processed his uncle's film, is pictured handing some of the archive over to the council's communications manager Andrew Malkin, left.

Over 40 years he worked for the Boston Target and the Boston Standard newspapers, making a photographic record of events in the area which made the news.

These ranged from human interest stories and the exciting and interesting through to the more mundane, but important, borough developments.

Ernie died at the end of September just after his 69th birthday and that was when relatives discovered a treasure trove of photographs stored in a spare bedroom at his home.

The prints, slides and negatives appeared to be his copies of almost everything he had covered - some complete with dates and notes made on the reverse in his own hand.

Boston Borough Council was contacted via senior reporter Graeme Holmes, of the Boston Target, when Mr Robinson's family asked what useful purpose the archive could be put to.

The council was pleased to accept the pictures, and a small fraction are now on display in the atrium display area at the council's Municipal Buildings in West Street.

The Ernie Robinson Collection features events and faces from Boston's past, reaching back to the 1970s.

Andrew Malkin, Boston Borough Council's communications manager, said: "It was quite a task going through so many photographs to decide which ones to choose for exhibition. In fact, there are so many, and so many which will be of real interest, that we have called the current display Part I as there will certainly be another exhibition of more of Ernie's pictures.

"I'd be pleased to hear from anyone who can fill in any of the missing details. There are some pictures where we are not quite sure where or what the event was."

You may spot yourself in the crowd, or someone you know. And the pictures may jog fond memories of times past.

All of Mr Robinson's photographic record will go into the Guildhall's archives, providing useful research material for students of Boston's past.

His niece, Vicki Robinson, said it was a surprise to discover her uncle's photographic record of the area going back more than 40 years.

She said: "He would be so pleased to know that they will be preserved and put to good use."

Mr Robinson was also widely known as a guitarist with the Fenlanders, playing in support of top-name acts of the day in the glory days of the Gliderdrome in Boston.

He was self taught, but went on to teach many others how to play the guitar.