The constituency of Boston and Skegness is to be found on the east coast of Lincolnshire with Ingoldmells and Skegness at the northern tip and the small Port of Fosdyke at the southernmost point. The North Sea provides the eastern boundary with the flat fenland plains of Amber Hill to the west. The area is dependent largely upon tourism and agriculture with a small manufacturing base although attempts are being made to attract new businesses to the area.
The traditional seaside resorts of Ingoldmells and Skegness represent all that is best about seaside holidays. Here the economy is based very much around tourism. Places of particular interest include Fantasy Island and Butlins in Ingoldmells with Skegness Pier, Church Farm Museum, Natureland Seal Sanctuary, Hardy’s Animal Farm, Embassy Theatre and Gibraltar Point National Nature Reserve in Skegness. A plethora of traditional family arcades and seaside amusements can be found in between and which include boating lakes, fairground amusements, crazy golf and pitch n’ put. The main beach in Skegness was given European Blue Flag status in 2002. The world famous Jolly Fisherman is a well-known and much loved local celebrity! Although this area of the constituency boasts a wide range of hotels and bed and breakfast accommodation, it also has one of the highest density areas of caravans in Europe
Travelling south through the constituency, many visitors are attracted to the famous Batemans Brewery in Wainfleet where lunch and tours of the brewery and Visitors’ Centre are provided.
On leaving Wainfleet, travellers cannot fail to notice the flat open landscape which not only provides some of the most amazing sunsets in the country but is also home to a number of old windmills. The working six-sail mill in Sibsey is a particularly notable example and represents a throwback to the last century when the geography of the area made it one of the best places in the country for milling. With its windmills and complex system of drains and dykes, the landscape is, even today, often compared to that of Holland.
The area’s other principal town, that of Boston, is to be found to the south of the constituency and it too boasts its own windmill, The Maud Foster, which is the tallest five sail working mill in the country. With a regular farmers market and twice weekly traditional market, Boston is well known as a thriving market town throughout Lincolnshire. The town also boasts its own Port, which is currently undergoing plans for expansion, and fishing industry. The town has its own Marina, Guildhall Museum, Blackfriars Arts Centre, Sam Newson Music Centre and recently constructed five-screen cinema complex. No description of Boston would be complete without a mention of ‘Boston Stump’, the tallest parish church in the country, which dominates the flat landscape around it. The ‘Stump’ represents one part of the town’s significant history, derived from earlier years when it was the second largest port in the country. Many of the memories of past glories can still be seen today in the town’s Museum, situated in the old Guildhall. The Museum, which is currently undergoing extensive refurbishment, holds the original courtroom and prison where the Pilgrim Fathers were tried and interned before escaping to Holland and finally America.
Aside from tourism, the area’s economy is driven by agriculture. The land between and around Boston and Skegness is home to some of the finest Grade 1 in the country, some reclaimed from the Wash over the last fifty years. Cropping is varied and includes wheat, barley, rape and linseed together with potatoes, onions, peas, beans, sugar beet and brassicas. The area is also home to a number of pack-houses mostly derived from, and some still operating as, co-operatives. Here products are sent to the major supermarkets throughout the UK having been sourced from not only this area but elsewhere in the country and also abroad. Similarly the area sees a relatively large number of plant raisers to provide for the vegetable cropping in the area. There are also a small number of cattle and pig farmers although recent years have seen their numbers decline. Sadly the number of traditional family farms is also declining though the farming way of life remains, at least for the present, intrinsic to the area.
The constituency has an electorate of approximately 70, 000 which is served by Skegness Town Council, Boston Borough Council, East Lindsey District Council and Lincolnshire County Council. A long-established parish council infrastructure also exists in the area. The population is changing as increasing numbers of people move to the area from the Midlands and South East, attracted by the relatively cheap housing. Incomers tend to be those retiring to the area.
Primary education is provided by a wide range of over thirty local schools. Secondary education in the area is provided by three grammar schools (Skegness Grammar School, Boston High School for Girls and Boston Grammar School for Boys) and six secondary modern schools (The Earl of Scarborough High, St. Bede’s RC and the Haven High which serve the two main towns together with William Lovell COE, the Giles School and Sixth Form Centre and the Kirton Middlecott which serve the rural areas of the constituency). A range of Further and Higher Education courses are provided from Boston College. Primary health care is provided through a number of town and country GP practices with secondary care being provided by the Pilgrim Hospital in Boston and Skegness Hospital.