Grantham - Changing the World
As the birthplace of Margaret Thatcher, Grantham has plenty to boast about. However, Britain’s first female Prime Minister is not all this sleepy Lincolnshire town has to shout about.
There are two notable schools in Kesteven, the district of Lincolnshire in which Grantham is found.
They are Kesteven and Grantham Girls’ School and The King’s Grammar School. Baroness Margaret Thatcher attended Kesteven and Grantham, while the latter was attended by none other than Sir Isaac Newton.
Both schools hold high places in the county’s league tables, but we can only wonder about the enlightening teacher who inspired a boy to pursue a career in science which would change the world.
A giant of science
The apple tree, under which one of science’s most important discoveries was made, can be found in the grounds of Woolsthorpe Manor, where Isaac Newton was born.
He is said to have been sitting under its branches in 1665 when ‘the notion of gravitation came to mind’.
In recent years, visitors to the tree have increased to an incredible 33,000 annually, prompting the National Trust to fence it off to prevent damage.
Now you can observe the tree from a short distance and imagine the inspiration experienced by sitting under its branches.
Newton returned to Woolsthorpe Manor after the Great Plague closed Cambridge University.
In 1999, scientists voted him the second greatest physicist of all time, after Albert Einstein.
The Iron Lady Margaret Hilda Roberts was born in Grantham in 1925. Her father, Alfred Roberts, owned two grocery shops.
From these humble beginnings, she rose to become Britain’s first female Prime Minister, one of the longest-serving and most divisive leaders in our history.
After retiring from the Commons in 1992, she was given a life peerage as Baroness Thatcher, of Kesteven in the county of Lincolnshire. This entitled her to sit in the House of Lords.
The people of Grantham remain passionate about their town’s most famous daughter, whether they were supporters or not.
Grantham’s museum was turned into a cinema for her funeral service, and more than 1,000 local people visited to sign a book of condolence.
In January 2014 an exhibition of her life and career opened at the museum.
A corner of the exhibition has been made up like a front room in the 1970s, complete with a television from that era on which runs news clips from 1979, when Mrs Thatcher became Prime Minister.
Plans to erect a statue of the former prime minister remain in place, but are overshadowed by the likelihood of defacement.
If you’ve never visited before, why not make your first journey this year?
Other firsts in Grantham include the first running diesel engine in 1892 and the UK’s first tractor in 1896. It was also the first place in the country to recruit and train women police officers.Posted: 29/05/2014