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Christmas Entertainment
Traditional plough play from Branston

Lincoln area members of SLHA held their Christmas Party at St Hugh’s Hall on the evening of 10 December. 

After drinks and a cold buffet, entertainment was provided by a group of players from Branston.  Their performance of a local plough play – recently revived from the early 20th century – was greatly enjoyed.

December 2014

Recording Industrial History
Conference to mark 50 years of SLHA's IA group

SLHA's Industrial Archaeology team presented a day conference at Bishop Grosseteste University on 15 November to mark 50 years of activity. Speakers from the team gave short illustrated talks to reflect the range of fieldwork and publication undertaken in the county since 1964.

Keynote Address: Recording Industrial History
Catherine Wilson
The study of industrial archaeology has its origins in groups such as the Newcomen Society and individuals such as Rex Wailes (windmills), Tom Rolt (canals & railways) and Neil Cossons (Ironbridge). In 1959 the CBA set up a separate IA committee and a group appeared in Lincolnshire within the Lindsey Local History Society in 1964. From the beginning activities included field survey work and the publication of newsletters, journals and books. The scope of interest in Lincolnshire was wide: windmills, farm buildings, canals, bridges, drainage, engineering works and much more besides.

Members of the current Industrial Archaeology team

Fifty years of Industrial Archaeology in Lincolnshire
Neil Wright
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
Ken Hollamby
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.

Lincolnshire Mills
Jon Sass
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.

Ken Redmore
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
Derek Broughton
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.

Barry Barton
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
Eric Newton
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.

Land Drainage
Chris Page
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.

November 2014

Library Celebration
Donation of SLHA collection to BGU

The library of Lincolnshire books held by SLHA has recently been donated to Lincoln's Bishop Grosseteste University where it will augment the special local history collection in the university library.

A short celebration to mark the accession of the collection was held at BGU library on Thursday 18 September.  It was attended by senior members of the society and university.

Emma Sansby (Head of Library Services, BGU) and Dr Mick Jones (President, SLHA)

September 2014

Edward Trollope, Antiquarian
Lecture by Prof John Beckett

The annual Brackenbury Lecture was held in Spilsby Methodist Church on 12 July with an attendance of over 50.

Professor John Beckett of Nottingham University gave a fascinating talk on the life and work of Revd Edward Trollope, who was a leading figure in Lincolnshire antiquarian circles in the 19th century.

Spilsby Methodist Church

July 2014

Annual Awards from SLHA
Winning projects from Nettleham and Market Rasen

The annual Flora Murray Award, announced at the SLHA AGM on 7 June, is shared between Nettleham Parish Council and Rase Heritage Society.

The Nettleham Bishop's Palace Heritage Amenity Project has involved several local groups and is supported by Heritage Lottery Funds.  The site, a Scheduled Ancient Monument in the centre of the village, is now open to all, and information for visitors about its history is publicised on boards and in an attractive leaflet.

The Rase Heritage Society at Market Rasen has created a tour of the town featuring notable buildings, people and events entitled 'All Our Stories'. Of particular merit is the supporting multi-media information accessible on the internet and mobile phones.

An Award of Excellence has also been made for the Puritan Path Tourism Project at St Botolph’s Church, Boston. A series of 13 engraved stones on an approach to the church commemorate local people who left the town in the 1630s and made a significant contribution to life in the United States.

Award winners Caroline Foster (Rase Heritage Society) and John Evans (Nettleham Parish Council) with Chris Lester (SLHA Chairman) left and Mick Jones (SLHA President) right

June 2014

A Wolds Village Walk
The highlights of Tathwell revealed

Jean Howard, Blue Badge Guide and long-time resident of the village, led a large group on a walk round Tathwell on Sunday 25 May as part of the Wolds Walking Festival.  This particular walk was organised by SLHA.

Beginning at St Vedast's Church, Jean led the way to the principal buildings in the village, most of which were provided by the Chaplin family who resided in the Tathwell Hall in the nineteenth century.

On the basis of her local research and conversations with older residents, Jean painted a lively and informative picture of this small village and its special features.  The two hours walking around Tathwell in the warm evening sunshine were most enjoyable. 

At Tathwell Lodge, once occupied as a shooting lodge by Lord William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck, friend of the Chaplin family.

May 2014

Book Day at the Museum
Thomas the Tank Engine and other entertainment

A Book Day organised at the Museum of Lincolnshire Life on Saturday 24 May proved popular with families who participated in the associated activities including storytelling.

Story telling took place in the Agricultural Gallery around one of the Ruston railway locomotives on display This is the type of engine that was the inspiration for ‘Rusty’ who appears in the Thomas the Tank engine series.

Additional activities included using modelling material to create a Lincoln Imp or a boggart which appears in Lincolnshire folklore and stories, and the ever popular activity of painting a medieval tile design inspired by designs from Lincolnshire.

The Society bookstall was an additional attraction offering both new and second-hand books for sale.

The event was part of the Past and Present project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

May 2014

Cancelled Event
Researching a Parish War Memorial Book

This event, planned for Saturday 24 May, was CANCELLED.

We hope that everyone who planned to come was able to pick up this message and that no-one made a wasted journey.


May 2014

Lincolnshire Bomber Command Memorial
Local initiative supported by SLHA

A meeting took place at the University of Lincoln on 8 April about the memorial planned to all who served Bomber Command in Lincolnshire during the Second World War.  The striking memorial will be situated on Canwick Hill outside Lincoln.

For some time there has been a move to build a memorial to the 25,611 Bomber Command aircrew who lost their lives in World War 2.  These are the men listed in Lincoln Cathedral's Rolls of Honour and are from the UK, the Commonwealth and the rest of the world.

This figure represents 46% of all the Command’s losses during the war. In total 55,573 killed out of a total of 125,000 aircrew (a 44.4% death rate), a further 8,403 were wounded in action and 9,838 became prisoners of war.

An extraordinary mix of people from all over the world flew with Bomber Command, including Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, Poles, Czechs, South Africans, French, Americans, Jamaicans and Rhodesians. 28% of the 55,000 lost Bomber Command airmen were non-British.

The memorial includes an Interpretation Centre (the Chadwick Centre) in which the collective story of Bomber Command will be displayed. That will include a tribute to those crew members who were lucky enough to survive, the ground crews whose essential work kept the aircraft flying, the aircraft and engine manufacturers and an understanding of the effect of the campaign on the civilian population in Germany and at home.

There are opportunities for volunteers to help with the research involved with the Chadwick Centre.

April 2014

Volunteers Wanted
Selling books and work to do with Lincolnshire's heritage

Like many other societies, SLHA relies on volunteers to run its activities and keep the society ticking over. We have a city bookshop and building (Jews' Court) to manage - and these also require lots of willing individuals.

We're always on the look out for new volunteers, whether Society members or not.  It helps to have an interest in history or heritage, but anyone with enthusiasm and commitment might find a useful and interesting role with us.

Currently we have a range of volunteering opportunities.

For details contact the SLHA Office or phone 01522 521337.  Come and join us!


January 2014

Lincolnshire Anniversaries: 2014
Births, deaths, openings and special events to note

* Death of Saint Guthlac at Crowland (11 April).  The hermitage where he had spent 15 years in solitude and penance became the site of Croyland Abbey.

* Death of Sir John Bolles, of Scampton, Lincoln MP from 1690 to 1702.  He was a Tory who gained some notoriety in his later madness as an outspoken pro-Jacobite.
* Revesby Abbey bought by Joseph Banks (1665-1727), great-grandfather of Sir Joseph
* The Congregational Chapel in St Paul’s Street, Stamford destroyed by a Jacobite mob
* Nave of St Mary’s church Mablethorpe re-built in red brick

* Thomas Paine, author of "The Rights of Man” and "The Age of Reason” began a short spell of work in Alford as an excise officer, ten years before he emigrated to America
* Fleet Hargate General Baptist Church, the first in the village, was opened. The society had originated in Holbeach as a branch of the Spalding church.
* Work commenced on the Grand Sluice on the Witham in Boston.  Below this point the river – known as The Haven – is tidal.

* Death of Matthew Flinders, native of Donington (19 July).  He was a distinguished navigator and cartographer, the first man to circumnavigate Australia
* Opening of Horncastle British School, the first such in Lincolnshire (1 March).  It was built on land in South Street provided by Joseph Banks, the school’s patron.
* Building of Fosdyke Bridge over the river Welland by Sir John Rennie.  This helped create an important link from East Anglia through the Fens to Lincolnshire and the north.

* Foundation of the Lincoln Diocesan antiquarian society which became known as the Lincoln Architectural and Archaeological Society, forerunner of SLHA

* Death of George Boole, who was born and educated in Lincoln and invented the algebra underpinning computer science (8 December)
* The following churches built in whole or part: St Helen’s, Boultham (chancel); and St Andrew’s, Minting, by Ewan Christian.
* Opening of Whitton School, a National School, funded by Lady Strickland.  The school had a single classroom, a cloakroom and a coalhouse; it closed in 1943.

* Sir George Doughty, ship owner and Grimsby MP, died (7 April)
* Opening of Naval Air Station Killingholme, the first military aerodrome in Lincolnshire (August)
* Opening of new Lincoln Central Library buildings in Free School Lane
* Tattershall Castle first opened to visitors.  Lord Curzon, who had purchased the derelict castle in 1911, bequeathed it to the National Trust on his death in 1925.

* End of passenger services on Woodhall Junction and Horncastle Railway (13 September) after 99 years of operation

* Last running of Lincolnshire Handicap on Lincoln West Common (18 March).  It transferred to Doncaster.
* Death of Lady Astor at Grimsthorpe Castle, her daughter’s home (2 May).  Born in America and married to an English viscount, she was the first woman MP to sit in the House of Commons
* Boston College of further education opened in September, offering 7 vocational courses in its first term
* Newport [Roman] Arch, Lincoln, was severely damaged by a goods lorry which became stuck under the arch (July).  The arch, unique in Britain, is currently (2014) undergoing restoration.

* Flixborough disaster (1 June).  The Nypro chemical plant close to the Trent near Scunthorpe was destroyed by a huge explosion which caused damage over a wide area.  Had it not occurred over a weekend, many more than the 28 lives would have been lost.
* Lincolnshire Local History Society and the Lincoln Archaeological Research Committee amalgamated to form the Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology (SLHA)

January 2014

Peter Grey's Photographs
SLHA helps with an important archive

Peter Grey was a photographer who worked for many years for the Lincolnshire Echo and who, sadly, died recently. His photograph archive is of great value to the County.

With the agreement of his executors, SLHA has taken literally thousands of black and white and colour photographs, negatives, slides and glass plates into protective custody.

Very shortly, work will begin on a catalogue. Our aim is to find a secure and accessible home for what an initial assessment clearly shows is a collection of quality and historical value, dating from the late 1960s to the late 1990s.

Right: Lincoln Photos by Peter Grey: the Avoiding Line crossing the Witham (above) and the GNR crossing on the High Street (below)


The 'Avoiding Line' over the Witham near the High Street, Lincoln

Railway crossing and footbridge, High Street, Lincoln

January 2014