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Eric D Newton (1937-2023)
Loss of a valued Industrial Archaeologist

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Eric Newton at the age of 86 on 14 August.

Eric was a retired civil engineer who, as Principal Engineer with Anglian Water, was involved in the planning, design and construction of all water supply improvement projects in the Lincoln area for many years.

After retirement in 1996 he played a strong role in both SLHA (Industrial Archaeology team) and the Lincoln Engineering Society. He shared his considerable knowledge of water supply in the County and wrote a number of informative articles about historic supply systems which were published in our journal or magazine.

Eric was always generous of his time and regularly joined colleagues on field trips and outings. He was a much valued friend and colleague.

August 2023

South-West Scotland
SLHA trip visiting outstanding heritage sites

The 2023 SLHA Study Tour, over a long weekend 13 to 17 July, was based at Gretna Green and included visits to several historic sites in the Dumfries and Galloway region. The tour was arranged by Travel Editions and led by Ken Hollamby.

The Devil's Porridge Museum, at Gretna, on the the huge First World War ammunition-making site, and the impressive Celtic Cross in Ruthwell Parish Church were visited on the afternoon of our arrival in Scotland.

In rainy weather on Friday we took the long journey to the recently 'rescued' Dumfries House, a magnificent eighteenth-century house with splendid Chippendale items and other furniture of the period. By contrast, in the afternoon, we toured the lead mining village of Wanlockhead, and tasted working life underground in a mine shaft.

Whithorn, 90 miles to the west, was the focus of our outing on Saturday.  This is one of the most important monastic sites in Scotland; an excellent guided tour explained its long and complex history and also introduced us to the replica Iron Age round house erected nearby. The afternoon's return journey was broken by a stop in Wigtown, renowned for its second-hand bookshops.

The final full day in Scotland provided a morning at Threave Gardens (National Trust for Scotland) and an afternoon at New Abbey watermill (Historic Scotland). For the latter visit we parked at Sweetheart Abbey, but as with the many other Historic Scotland properties, the building was fenced off pending safety checks of its fabric and implementation of remedial work.

The return journey from Scotland was broken by a four-hour stop in Carlisle where members visited the Cathedral, Castle, Museum and other attractions of the city.

Photos below: The Ruthwell Cross (left); Iron Age roundhouse, Whithorn (centre); Whithorn Priory (right) 

July 2023

Beryl George
Untimely death of gifted local historian

The sudden death of Beryl George has shocked and saddened SLHA members.

Beryl was a very active local historian whose recent books on the Cornhill and Sincil Street area of Lincoln, published by the Lincolnshire Co-op, were much admired. She was a regular contributor to the Survey of Lincoln publications.

In SLHA she acted as Reviews Editor for Lincolnshire Past & Present, a role which she handled with skill and sensitivity.

May 2023

Brian Hodgkinson
Winner of BALH Award

Warm congratulations to Dr Brian Hodgkinson for winning the first prize awarded by the British Association for Local History in their 2023 Publications: Long Article category. This was for his article 'Stairway to Heaven: The Scala Celi Indulgence in Tudor Lincolnshire' published in Volume 52 of Lincolnshire History and Archaeology (the SLHA journal).

The award was announced at the Annual Meeting of BALH held on line on 18 May. In making the announcement, Dr Alan Crosby, Editor of the BALH Local Historian, said 'Brian has done an absolutely superb job, using very difficult medieval and early sixteenth-century sources, in putting together this little known aspect of the strange world of indulgences in late medieval Catholic Church'.

photo to follow

May 2023

Rail at British Ports
Focus on Immingham - past, present and future

Lee Armstrong, Head of Commerce (Rail) at ABP Immingham, gave an illustrated presentation to SLHA members at St Hugh's Hall on Wednesday 17 May.

Rail infrastructure serving British ports has declined considerably but it continues to play a significant role. Larger and better designed wagons are now used for carrying a range of bulky goods to and from ports.

The destinations of goods imported through Immingham and carried by rail are mainly in the northern half of the country. Coal for the steelworks at Scunthorpe is still a large element of the imports though at a lower level than a few u[years ago.

British ports are making good progress towards carbon neutrality in their operations.

Image: cranes for loading containers onto rail trucks at Immingham Dock 

May 2023

Book Launch
Lincolnshire Pinfolds

A large number of SLHA members and friends met in the Wesley Memorial Church in Epworth on Saturday 22 April to celebrate the publication of ‘Lincolnshire Pinfolds, Pounds and Pinders’ written by Marjorie (Mig) Miller and published by SLHA. Professor David Stocker, Medieval Historian and President of the Lincoln Record Society, was the special guest who ‘launched’ the book.
The author has worked on the book for several years and acknowledged the support, help and input from many friends and contacts. The principal editor was Mark Bennet; professional support was given by Anna Richards Design.

Copies of the book are available from the Amazon Kindle website (print on demand and ebook) or from the SLHA Bookshop.

Mig Miller signing copies of her book

April 2023

SLHA Awards 2022
Presentations to Sleaford and Navenby projects

Presentations to the winners of the Society's awards for 2022 were made at the Sunday Special event held at Nettleham Old School on Sunday 22 January. The winners had been announced at Annual General meeting in November, which had been held on line.

Dr Andrew Walker, Chair of SLHA, presented the Flora Murray Award to Dale Trimble and Wendy Atkin of the Old Sleaford Heritage Group for their book 'Old Place; New Perspectives'.

An Award for Excellence was made to Mrs Smith's Cottage (North Kesteven District Council) for the 'Navenby Heritage Trail and Navenby Datestones'. Emma Clark (NKDC) and Nicki Jarvis (Artist in Residence) received the award from Dr Walker.

Photograph: Dale Trimble (OSHG), Andrew Walker (SLHA), Wendy Atkin (OSHG) 

January 2023

The Hearth Tax
An aid to understanding early vernacular buildings

Jenne Pape, a member of SLHA's Building Recording Group, has found Hearth tax records invaluable in her study of early Lincolnshire vernacular buildings. She gave an illustrated talk on the subject at the Sunday Special in Nettleham on 22 January.

The number of hearths for a particular house as recorded in the late seventeenth-century Hearth Tax records can be set alongside other information such as the number of chimneys on the building when shown on a contemporary map.

Sometimes there is close correspondence between the information from different sources. At other times there are discrepancies and Jenne suggested a number of reasons why this should be so.

Mud and stud cottage at High Toynton.
Two chimneys but how many hearths?

January 2023

Potters' Hill, Norton Disney
An Historic Landscape investigated

Bob Garlant of the Norton Disney History and Archaeology Group was one of three speakers at a 'Sunday Special' held in Nettleham on 22 January. His illustrated talk covered the recent site investigations in and around  Potters' Hill on the western edge of the parish close to the A46.

There is clear evidence of huts and other features of an Iron Age settlement and also of a large and impressive Roman villa which had tessellated floors.

On site in Norton Disney


January 2023Norton Disney

Boston, like other towns and cities, lost scores of industrial buildings in the 1950s to 70s. As the older town-centred industries declined or disappeared, new developments, such as car parks, relief roads and supermarkets, took their place.

Neil Wright spoke about Boston's transformation in a talk to SLHA members as part of the 'Sunday Special' at Nettleham on 22 January. Using his own fine collection of photographs and drawings from the 1960s, he gave details of some large and impressive buildings - now lost and infrequently recorded - including warehouses, mills, railway structures, factories and cinemas.

Packhouse Quay, Boston, site of
several lost warehouses.
(Early 20th century postcard)

January 2023

Road Hogs and Motor Scorchers
How the press reported Lincolnshire's early motorists

On Wednesday 18 January, Andrew Walker, Chair of SLHA, gave an on-line talk about the cars and motorcycles on Lincolnshire roads in the early twentieth century. He drew most of his material from reports and articles which appeared in Lincolnshire newspapers.

The attitude towards motorists - who were relatively wealthy individuals - can be followed through the newspaper columns. Speed was a constant issue, and the newspapers regularly referred to car drivers as 'road hogs'.

Two Lincoln women motoring in c.1911

January 2023

Norwich Castle
A Royal Palace Re-born

The first 'live' SLHA talk of 2023 was given in St Hugh's Hall, Lincoln by Tim Pestell on Wednesday 11 January. Tim is Senior Curator of Archaeology at Norwich Museum and Art Gallery, which is housed in Norwich Castle.

A multi-million pound project is currently underway which is transforming the interior of the castle and creating new areas for museum display. Retaining the features of both the original Norman structure and the extensive Victorian remodelling has been difficult and expensive.

Work on the project is expected to be completed by Easter 2024.

Norwich Castle, Museum entrance

January 2023Norwich Castle