Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln, was the venue for a conference arranged by the Local History Committee of SLHA on Saturday 18 May. An appreciative audience enjoyed a wide range of talks on the theme of gardens and parks in Lincolnshire.
Gill Wilson, landscape architect, Lincoln City Council
Lincoln’s Arboretum, designed by the renowned Edward Milner, was opened in 1872 at a cost of £4500. Small additions to the 8 Ha site were made in later years, one of which was designed by Milner’s son Henry.
In the 1990s the City Council secured funding to renew much of the park as originally laid out, including terrace, bandstand, lodge, bridges, maze and flower beds. It is now an attractive area which merits wider use by residents of the city’s Monks Road area.
The Arboretum bandstand, recently refurbished
Geoff Tann, field archaeologist
The earliest allotments in Lincoln were in the Newport area of the city, where 5 acres were set aside in 1848. Similar developments soon arose in Skellingthorpe, Yarborough Road, Greetwell Road and Boultham – in each case with the aim of encouraging the profitable use of leisure time.
Landowners found that allotments generated a higher and more reliable income than other use and the City Council became tenants of large areas of land across the city. In the 1920s the number of allotments stood at 400+; wartime pressure on food production raised the number to 3,600 occupying about 150 acres.
The number of plots has now dropped to below 1000, but the ratio of allotment area to population in Lincoln (7 acres per 1000 residents) remains well above the national average.
Capability Brown in Lincolnshire
Steffie Shields, Researcher for Lincolnshire Gardens Trust
Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown (1716-1783), born in Northumberland and married to a Lincolnshire girl, very likely spent time at Grimsthorpe Castle at the beginning of his career. After he made his reputation at Stowe he worked at several major Lincolnshire properties during his glittering career.
At Burghley, over a period of 30 years, he built a brewhouse, rebuilt the west wing of the house and created a fashionable landscape.
His grand plan for Brocklesby was only partially realised; the park was laid out afresh, the lake at Newsham was dug and he made plans for the famous rotunda/mausoleum.
The layout of buildings and landscape at Hainton, with its identified vista lines, is an outstanding example of Brown’s work.
The Lost Gardens of Walmsgate
Jean Howard, lecturer and local historian
Walmsgate House was built in 1824 for the Yorke family. The ambitious gardens covered a sloping 7 acre triangular site and incorporated a variety of features, including rock and bog gardens.
A refreshment room for cyclists was opened at the edge of the gardens and the adjacent A16 in 1902. A splendid memorial chapel was added to the house in 1901 (from which some Art Nouveau fittings were later incorporated in St Hugh’s, Langworth).
Between the wars the house was sold and at a later sale (1950) all the garden's contents – plants, ornaments, tools – were dispersed. The house itself was demolished in 1959.
Walled Garden, Normanby Hall
Paul Beetham, landscape architect, Normanby Hall
The Sheffield family have occupied the hall for many generations; the current building dates from 1825. The walled garden, about 1 acre in extent and smaller than many, was planned to provide the household with fruit, flowers and vegetables throughout the year.
It shows many of the typical features of walled gardens: high south-facing brick walls; internal smoke flues in walls; tool sheds, potting sheds, and bothies; and hot beds and frames. The location of the garden - some distance downwind of the house – is also typical.
The walled garden at Normanby was restored in 1997; there are now 5 full-time gardens and estate workers, compared to the 28 who worked there in 1900.
Hubbards' Hills, Louth
David Robinson, OBE, writer and local historian
A deep valley, known as Hubbards’ Hills, was created on the south-west edge of Louth in a relatively short period at the end of the Ice Age. During the nineteenth century it was owned by the Chaplin family and in 1871 water from the clean chalk-fed stream in the valley was pumped to a nearby reservoir for the town’s supply.
The valley, with its steep sides, small grassy meadows, lake and splendid trees, became a popular venue for walks and other recreation. These uses were secured for the long term in 1907 when money from the estate of Auguste Alphonse Pahud, a Louth grammar school teacher, was used to purchase Hubbards’ Hills for the townspeople. Huge celebrations ensued.
This wonderful space, ‘England’s Second Country Park’, has attracted scores of photographers ever since, as illustrated by David Robinson’s unrivalled collection of postcards.