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Museum of Clocks and Watches
Visit to BHI at Upton (Notts)

A large group of IA members visited the headquarters and museum of the British Horological Institute in Upton Hall near Southwell on 7 February.

Two excellent BHI guides gave an introduction to the huge collection of clocks and watches on display in the Hall. There are examples of rare, early long case clocks, some in magnificent decorated cases, and fine regulators, which keep time with remarkable accuracy.

The fascinating twentieth century development of the ‘speaking clock’ is followed in the Museum’s unique collection. The museum also has a vast range of watches which illustrate important innovations over the years. Of particular interest is the watch used by Captain Scott on his famous, ill-fated Antarctic expedition.


Photographs: Upton Hall, BHI Headquarters and Museum (top); part of the BHI Museum display in the Hall (below)

February 2018

IA on the Humber Bank
Visit to New Holland and Barrow

A small group of industrial archaeologists from SLHA made an informal visit to New Holland and Barrow upon Humber on a cold day in early February.

A walk round New Holland included the former Yarborough Hotel (currently under restoration), Manchester Square (built in the c.1850 and little changed), Christ Church CE church (redundant and sadly neglected), the Primitive Methodist Chapel (another large abandoned place of worship), the Primary School (extended and remodelled but retaining original 1906 structure), the Co-op store (original character needing development) and railway station (minimal provision dating from building of Humber Bridge and closure of the ferry).

Public paths were followed to both east and west of the modern dock at New Holland to view port activity (unloading grain, ship-breaking).

Moving to Barrow Haven, a brief guided tour was given by the owner of the small dock where timber from Riga (Latvia) was being unloaded. Advantage was taken of an excellent view of the haven from the Humber Bank to the west.

In Barrow a brief visit was made to the former gasworks site on St Chad. A dwelling house and shed appear to be conversions of gasworks buildings dating from the late 1870s; the remainder of the site has been cleared and is an open garden area.

Finally, a walk was taken round the site of a quarry and limekilns on the southern edge of Barrow. The remains of the limekilns, last used over a century ago, are of particular interest. Further investigation is needed to understand the operation of double-shafted pairs of kilns.

The day was arranged in part to replicate a visit made by the County’s Industrial Archaeology group in 1967. On that occasion travelling from Lincoln and between the sites on the Humber Bank was by train.

Barrow Haven

Manchester Square, New Holland

New Holland Dock



February 2018

The lecture room at Jews’ Court was packed with members and friends on 21 January who had braved inclement weather to attend the first Sunday Special of 2018.

The ever-enthusiastic Adam Daubney, Finds Liaison Officer for Lincolnshire, spoke about some recent archaeological finds in the county including coin hoards in Riseholme (late Iron Age) and Ewerby (English Civil War). He also highlighted a sixth-century ivory bag ring found in the Wolds and a Visigothic silver buckle clasp – a unique find in Lincolnshire.

Naomi Field’s illustrated talk showed examples of Lincolnshire farm buildings on which she had undertaken recording work. These included sites in Appleby, Burton upon Stather and Laughton. Naomi described the importance of recording these historic structures before their conversion or demolition made this impossible. She urged anyone interested in helping with this work to join the society’s Building Recording group.

Chris Padley’s talk on John Fowler’s 1850 Torksey Bridge began with him demonstrating the advantages of box-girders with the aid of a cardboard box and two dumbbells. He described the construction, history and closure of the bridge to rail traffic followed by the lengthy process of it being saved for the use of walkers.

Torksey railway bridge

January 2018

Almost forgotten
Anglo-Saxon buildings at Stow and Southwell

In the place of the advertised talk by Carenza Lewis at St Hugh’s Hall, Lincoln, on 17 January, Prof David Stocker gave an illustrated presentation to SLHA members entitled ‘A Forgotten Group of Anglo-Saxon Archiepiscopal Colleges: Southwell, Stow and Beverley’.

The minster churches at these three locations were developed as colleges for communities of canons by archbishops of York in the late Anglo-Saxon period, a few decades before the Norman Conquest. Each church was equal-armed cruciform in plan and had a bell tower, dormitory and refectory.

Apart from some archaeological investigation of the sites, evidence of this early function can be seen at Stow in a small door in the north transept which led to the living accommodation. At Southwell a baluster shaft from the bell tower survives, having been re-used in the Bishop’s Palace alongside the Minster.

The inspiration for these developments came from northern Germany and can also be seen at other English cathedrals such as Wells, Exeter and Durham.

January 2018

Lincolnshire Anniversaries in 2018
Notable People and Events from the Past

* Lincoln Castle was ordered to be built by William I as he returned south after dealing with a rebellion in the north. 166 houses were demolished in order to make way for it

* A great earthquake killed many cattle in Lincolnshire (14 November)

* One of the Witches of Belvoir, Margaret Flower was hanged at Lincoln (11 March). Her mother Joan, also accused of witchcraft, had died before the trial and her sister Philippa, another convicted witch, escaped execution by drugging the prison guards.

* An endowed school was founded at Raithby by Spilsby


* Dr Francis Willis, who treated George III’s madness, was born in Lincoln on 17 August. He was a physician and clergyman who developed as a private rural sanatorium for mentally ill patients at Greatford near Bourne.

* Laurence Eusden appointed Poet Laureate (24 December). At the age of 30 he was the youngest poet to hold the post and, in the view of some, the most obscure. He became Rector of Coningsby in the 1720s and died there in 1730.


* Birth of William Marwood, cobbler in Horncastle, who became hangman for the British government and developed the relatively humane technique of hanging known as the ‘long drop’.

* Execution in Lincoln of Richard Randall and John Tubbs, both of Lutton, for highway robbery; also, on the same day, Thomas Norris of Rauceby and Thomas Evison of West Ashby for setting fire to a threshing machine at Anwick; the ‘new drop’ method was deployed. (27 March)

* Thomas Bernard, born Lincoln, died on 1 July. He became 3rd Baronet (succeeding to his father’s baronetcy) and was a notable English social reformer, lawyer and author. He was active in promoting vaccination and was also a Director and leading proponent of the Regent's Canal in London.

* James Elphinstone Roe (1818-1897), born Kirkby on Bain. Following conviction for forgery and transportation to Australia in 1862, he became an influential education reformer and journalist in the new colony.

* The death occurred on 11 August of Robert Carr Brackenbury, who had been born at Panton Hall. He was a friend of John Wesley and an active Methodist, building both Raithby Chapel (1779) and Raithby Hall.

* Thomas Parry, partner of Charles Kirk, architect, born Sleaford (23 Feb). He also served as Liberal MP for Boston for three short periods in the 1860s and 70s.

* Boston’s Town Bridge opened (18 July)


* Priscilla Biggadyke, who had poisoned her husband, was executed at Lincoln Prison, the first woman to be executed inside a prison (28 December).

* A crowd of 50,000 spectators watched the launch of the new 12-oared lifeboat Manchester Unity at Cleethorpes (17 August).

* The Ancholme Rowing Club founded in Brigg

* The branch railway line to Spilsby from Firsby on the East Lincolnshire Line opened on 1 May.


* King George V and Queen Mary travelled by train to visit Lincoln (9 April), Immingham and Grimsby (10 April) and Cranwell (11 April).

  In Lincoln they spent time at Ruston Proctors, Fosters (where the King rode in a tank), Clayton & Shuttleworth, Robeys, the Cathedral and the Fourth Northern General Hospital.

  At Immingham the King met naval officers and held an Investiture for more than 50 men. Later in the day the royal party visited trawlers in Grimsby and were shown the curing and packing of fish.

  Cranwell was the focus of the final day in the county; here they met officers of the newly created RAF, learned about dropping bombs, visited the lighter-than-air section of the aerodrome and saw the quarters of their son Prince Albert (later George VI).

* Formation of the agricultural and industrial engineering company Ruston and Hornsby Ltd by the amalgamation of Ruston, Proctor and Company of Lincoln and Richard Hornsby and Sons of Grantham (11 September)

* Seven corn stacks destroyed and a threshing machine damaged by fire at Pinchbeck Marsh, one of a number of protests against employers refusing jobs to discharged soldiers (5 September)

* The Vicar at Kirton Lindsey was unable to take the Sunday services because of Spanish influenza (14 July). In the month of November 113 deaths, mainly from ‘Spanish flu’, were recorded in Grimsby.

* The well-travelled tank Egbert was stationed in the People’s Park to help raise funds during Tank Week in Grimsby (July)

* The Royal Air Force was created by the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service (1 April). RAF Cranwell, taken over from the Royal Navy, began officer cadet training in the same year (the RAF College opened two years later).

* The completion of Ruston, Proctor's thousandth aeroplane in their Lincoln factory (4 Jan)

* Eamon de Valera, Irish political leader, arrested in May and imprisoned at Lincoln.

* Guy Gibson was born (12 August). He was Commanding Officer of RAF No.617 (‘Dambuster’) Squadron based at Scampton in 1943.

* Harold Jackson of Boston was awarded the Victoria Cross for an act of bravery at Hermies, France on 22 March

* Louth Open Air School was opened on 15 July 1918 in new buildings at the rear of the Technical School, as part of the Open Air School movement, and was the first such school in Lincolnshire.

* Kesteven and Sleaford Girls’ High School taken over by Kesteven County Council in 1918.

* Watson’s Infants’ School, Horncastle closed. This small school on West Street was originally endowed by Richard Watson, son of a prosperous Horncastle tanner, in 1786.


* A number of Lincolnshire schools opened in new buildings: City School, Lincoln (in Skellingthorpe Road, replacing the old school in Monks Road), North Hykeham All Saints CE Primary School (in Ravensmoor Close),  Anwick CE Primary School, and Deeping St James County Primary School

* Primary schools closed in the following villages: Beckingham, East Keal, Frampton, Kirton Holme, Southrey, South Somercotes and Swallow

* Freddie Frinton, comedian, music hall artiste and television actor, died (16 October). He was born in Grimsby in 1909.

January 2018