Margaret Thatcher tributes from home town of Grantham

People from Margaret Thatcher's home town have paid tribute to the former prime minister.

She was born Margaret Hilda Roberts in Grantham, Lincolnshire, and grew up at her father Alfred's grocery shop in North Parade.

Her father was also a mayor and a Methodist lay preacher while her mother, Beatrice, was a dressmaker.

Baroness Thatcher spent the first 18 years of her life in Grantham before studying chemistry at Oxford.

Grantham Museum, which has a display of Margaret Thatcher memorabilia, will open on Tuesday morning so people can sign a book of condolence.

Museum spokeswoman Helen Goral said: "It has come as a shock and we are really saddened by the news.

"We want to extend our condolences to her family and friends."

The shop in North Parade where Margaret Hilda Roberts grew up
Margaret Hilda Roberts grew up at her father's grocery shop and post office

Baroness Thatcher once left a message at Grantham Museum which said: "From this town I have learned so much and I am proud to be one of its citizens."

Martin Hill, Conservative leader of Lincolnshire County Council, said: "When you speak to people, they often say: 'We don't really agree with what she says but at least you know where you stand with her'.

"I think it's a credit to our county that who I regard as the dominant politician of the late 20th Century was born and bred in Lincolnshire."

But Nick Woodhead, former editor of the Grantham Journal, said Baroness Thatcher "didn't really look back" after leaving Grantham.

"She was the daughter of the mayor and privileged in that sense," he said.

"She went to the girl's grammar school and was very well educated and went to Oxford and didn't really look back to the town beyond that.

"There has been a feeling in Grantham over the years that she took no further interest in us and therefore there has not been any need to take any great interest in her."

The flag at South Kesteven District Council's offices in Grantham is flying at half-mast.

Linda Neal, Conservative leader of the council, said: "Baroness Thatcher is Grantham's most famous daughter and the council hopes to mark her association with the town by working with local schools and community groups to capture aspects of her life in a time capsule."

She added that the council hoped to celebrate her life in further ways after consulting her family.

The council has opened a book of condolence which can be signed at their offices in Grantham from 09:00 BST on Tuesday.

Lady Thatcher attended Huntingtower Road Primary School before winning a scholarship to Kesteven and Grantham Girls' School, where she was head girl.

School friend Gladys Foster said she was "very kind, very caring and very approachable" as head girl.

"She stuck to her principles ... even if they were unpopular and this is what we were taught at school," said Mrs Foster in a previous interview.

"We had to figure things out for ourselves and when we came to a conclusion, stick to it even if it was very unpopular. We felt that was right."

Kathleen Porter, who was two years below the young Margaret Roberts, said she had fascinating debating skills from a young age.

Margaret Roberts at work as a research chemist
The young Margaret Roberts left Grantham to study chemistry

"Seeing her at the ballot box after she was made prime minister brought all that back," she previously told the BBC.

"It was exactly the same - she exuded that same competence at the ballot box as she had in school, which I thought was quite unique."

'Like Marmite'

Grantham and Stamford MP Nick Boles said she continues to divide opinion among people in Grantham, describing her as "a bit like Marmite".

"You either love her or hate her, but I think we are just beginning to enter a time when people are beginning to recognise it was a remarkable achievement, not just because she was a woman," said the Conservative MP.

He added: "Margaret Thatcher was one of the most extraordinary women in the history of these islands and Grantham can be very proud to have been the place where she was born and went to school.

"Her towering achievements will never be forgotten."

A spokesman for Thatchers Hair Salon, part of Brick Kiln Place extra care housing complex in Grantham, said she was "a Lincolnshire icon who will be greatly missed".

"Margaret Thatcher will be fondly remembered, particularly for her strong leadership, courage and determination which successfully returned the Falkland Islands to British control following the Argentine invasion in 1982," said the spokesman.

There have been calls in recent years for Grantham to do more to recognise Lady Thatcher.

Birthplace of Margaret Thatcher
A plaque above the door marks where Baroness Thatcher was raised

A plan to raise money for a statue in Grantham was announced last month.

The plan was supported by Labour councillors as a way of boosting tourism.

But Conservative councillor Bob Adams said it was the "express wish of Baroness Thatcher that a statue not be erected" in the town.

Baroness Thatcher is currently commemorated with a small plaque outside her father's former grocery shop, which attracts visitors from across the world.

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