Musings from the Museum 23

         A Postcard From Ayscoughfee.


For over a century, family photo albums were something found in every household. Something to cherish and pull out when the grandchildren visited to show them what family life used to be like ”in the old days”.

Postcards share the same function. However postcards are often even better, as they will show the location and the date they were posted, whereas the photo of Great Aunt Maud might not have her name or when her photo was taken and it ends up that everyone has forgotten who is in the photo.

Take the postcard above. Even if you don’t recognise the lake and war memorial, the legend on the card tells you what it is. And if you turn the card over you would also see a 1956 postmark covering the stamp.

But even if you do recognise the lake and war memorial you still might wonder what’s going on.

What is that fancy looking gate? What happened to it?

If you look even closer you will recognise the wrought iron scrolls above the gate contain initials.

There is a back-to-back letter J and E. The Js meet to form the cipher of Maurice Johnson as seen on the SGS logo.

In this case the Maurice Johnson in question must logically be the last one born at Ayscoughfee in 1815 as he married Elizabeth Mills in 1841.

If I’m correct about this, then the gate was probably installed at the same time as the marriage. Sadly she died in 1843, and in 1848 he married Isabella Swann. Elizabeth Johnson has a finely carved memorial in Spalding Parish Church.


The above postcard from 1910 shows the actual gate in place. It was probably removed as part of the War Effort in 1939/40. Note the ivy covering the gate pillars, the stable block and the stunning yew hedge on the west side of the hedge.

The stables were the victim of arson just before Christmas in 1973 and demolished in 1974 along with the missing pillar and wall. The current pavilion was erected in 1975 and opened in June 1976 and ran by Liz Stewart.