Fifty years of Industrial Archaeology in Lincolnshire
Survey work, producing measured drawings and/or a photographic record, has included windmills (Lutton Gowt), water mills (Holdingham, Kirkby Green), docks (Sutton Bridge), bridges (Fosdyke), brick kilns (Baumber), canals (Stamford, Horncastle), railways (Louth-Bardney, New Holland), tramway (Harlaxton), maltings (Sleaford), drainage engines (Amber Hill, Wiggenhall St German). SLHA has hosted two AIA national conferences and also regular meetings of the East Midlands societies. A range of publications have been produced: several books, many articles and notes for the SLHA journal, and some too for the AIA journal.
Case study: Publishing a railway book
In 2009 SLHA and the Lincoln Record Society were joint publishers of Building a Railway: Bourne to Saxby, written by Stewart Squires and Ken Hollamby. This prize-winning volume was based on splendid original photographs taken during the construction of the line in the early 1890s by the line’s engineer Charles Stansfield Wilson. Hours of fieldwork were undertaken by the authors in order to locate the photographs and also add modern views. The resulting book, with its attractive colourful layout, includes biographical details of Wilson, detailed route maps and a re-print of the 1989 book about the line by John Rhodes.
Members of the Lincolnshire IA group were inspired by the work of Rex Wailes, who recorded almost 200 tower mills – 92 still working – in the county between the wars. Detailed local work over the past 50 years has included significant mills at Messingham (water), Lutton Gowt (wind), Barton (tidal), Kirkby Green (wind), Ellis at Lincoln (wind), Holdingham (water) and Louth (paper). The machinery, tools and records of Thompson’s millwright’s shop at Alford are currently being recorded. Written, photographic and drawn accounts of Lincolnshire’s unique mills have been published in journals and books.
The county IA team recorded one of Franks’ brickyard at Ferriby Sluice prior to its closure in 1967, a site that illustrated the stages of brick making and the development of small kilns. Arched or vaulted kilns, which were used at one time by Franks’, survive at Baumber, Stixwould, Farlesthorpe and Sutton on Sea and have been recorded in detail. Records have also been taken of the down-draught kiln on Cross O’Cliffe Hill, Lincoln and visits made to similar tile kilns at Barton upon Humber. It is planned to survey the multi-chamber Hoffmann kiln at East Halton, a unique survivor of its type in the county.
Case Study: Saving the Ruston-Bucyrus Archive
At one time the RB plant in Lincoln was the largest of its type in Western Europe. Massive earth-moving machines of several types were built and exported to all parts of the world. The success of the company dwindled in the second half of the 20th century through its failure to take on board hydraulics and other new technologies. The company finally closed in 1999, but fortunately its important archive of documents and drawings has been saved through the efforts of a small group of dedicated men and is being held by The Collection in Lincoln.
Lincolnshire has a wide range of bridge types, some of great rarity and significance. There are relatively few medieval examples, though Lincoln’s High Bridge and the Trinity Bridge at Crowland are unique. Road bridges of note from the 18/19th centuries can be found at Gainsborough, Tattershall, Boston and Horkstow. Pioneering railway bridges of the 1840s survive in Lincoln and Torksey, and Lincolnshire has early examples of the use of reinforced concrete (Spalding) and pre-stressed concrete (Fishtoft) in road bridges. Important examples of moveable bridges are located at Sutton Bridge, Grimsby and Keadby.
Case Study: Gunby Hall Water Supply
Gunby Hall (built 1700), close to the site of a deserted medieval village, relied on wells and a local spring for water until the construction of a plant in c.1870. Water from the chalybeate spring was collected in a brick-sided cistern and then held in a small covered reservoir. Initially, a ram pump forced this water to the hall and outbuildings and this was supplemented at a later date by a wind pump. Finally, in the 1920s, a petrol driven pump alongside the reservoir gave a consistent supply until the water mains reached the hall in the 1930s. This multi-phase water supply system was recorded in 2013.
Pumping stations at Odder and Dogdyke were visited and recorded in the 1960s/70s and in the intervening period visits – with at least photographic surveys – have included Lade Bank, Pyewipe (Lincoln), Pinchbeck Marsh, Boston, Owston Ferry, Gayton le Marsh, Tydd Gote and Wiggenhall St German (Norfolk). The production of pumps, engines and other machinery by Lincolnshire engineering firms has also been recorded in books and journal articles. Interest has recently focused on Bewcarrs PS on the Isle of Axholme and the few early surviving scoop wheel pumps in the Witham Fen north-west of Boston.