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Monday 24 December : 10.00am - 3.30pm
Tuesday 25 December : CLOSED
Wednesday 26 December : CLOSED
Thursday 27 December : 10.00am - 4.00pm
Friday 28 December : 10.00am - 3.30pm
Saturday 29 December : 10.00am - 3.30pm
Monday 31 December : CLOSED
Tuesday 1 January : CLOSED


Normal opening hours (10.00am - 4.00pm, every day except Sunday) resume on 2nd January



December 2018

History in Sleaford
SLHA group plans the way ahead

The Sleaford History Group wants to know what its supporters want and to find out it is asking everybody in the Sleaford area who has an interest in local history.

The Sleaford History Group is part of the Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology. It was formed in 1987 by a group of enthusiasts. Each year it hosts lectures concerned with Sleaford and Lincolnshire, organises a summer walk, and in December has its entertaining variety evening.

The Group meets on the third Thursday of every month in the evening. But is this the best time? Should it meet in the daytime? Perhaps it should meet on weekends. What should it be doing? Is it good enough only to host lectures or should it be carrying out its own research? Since 1987 other history groups have become active in the area and the Sleaford History Group needs to be clear about its role, its contribution.

To help the Group find out what people expect of it, a questionnaire has been developed (download a copy).

If you want to have your say, then come along to St Denys� Church Hall, 7.30 in the evening 20 December. Alternatively, complete the questionnaire and send it to the Treasurer, Alan Jones at 86 Prince�s Street, Metheringham, LN4 3DE (01526 322558, Email:,)  The consultation period runs until 31 January 2019.

December 2018

Neville Birch (1932-2018)
Passing of an SLHA stalwart

Neville Birch, a former Chairman of SLHA, died in Lincoln on 28 November 2018. He was an engineer by profession and his chief interest within the Society was industrial archaeology. He made a considerable contribution, not only to our Society but to several other organisations in the Lincoln area and beyond.

Neville came from the Tamworth area of the West Midlands. As a young man he obtained qualifications in both electrical and mechanical engineering and soon found a bent for teaching others. In 1964 he took up the post of lecturer at Lincoln Technical College and that was where he worked until retirement.

His interest in industrial archaeology was kindled soon after moving to Lincoln and he became a key member of the new IA Group formed within the Lincolnshire Local History Society (a forerunner of SLHA). Chris Page, fellow member of the Group, has memories of Neville in those early days:

"Neville, his wife Maureen along with their two children, John and Sharon, recorded many industrial buildings that have long since disappeared. I recall travelling with them to various sites in the back of his small three-wheeled Reliant car with the children sitting on a large bag of sand which helped to improve the stability of the car! The IA Group Newsletters, which were started by Neville, contain reports of many of these site surveys.

"I also recall a small room being made available at the Old Barracks (now the Museum of Lincolnshire Life) for the Group to hold its records. This room, which had been abandoned for many years, was covered in pigeon muck and dust. Neville, Maureen and I cleaned it out and painted it. A heavy wooden filing cabinet, shelves and a large Gestetner duplicating machine, which took stencils for the first newsletters, were installed. This was later joined by an early photocopier. Both machines were very messy and time consuming to operate, yet they helped the Group to develop.

"Neville organised many tours, such as one on the Witham in July 1968. Two of the IA Group members Mr and Mrs Broadbent (parents of the actor Jim Broadbent) provided their boat "Dalrye", which was a half-size Humber Keel. The trip began at Bardney Lock and they sailed to Chapel Hill then back to Bardney."

Over the years Neville continued to write articles for the Society's publications and at the time of his death was completing a detailed account of Stamford's industrial history, a surprisingly rich and varied subject. The Society has firm plans to publish this book in the near future and hope it will be a fitting tribute to Neville and his contribution to the Society.

Neville's interests in history and heritage were wide-ranging. In 1997 he completed a degree in Regional and Local History at the University of Hull. He also relished the broad scope of SLHA and became the Society's chairman for a two-year spell in 1997. He took on the role with typical energy and enthusiasm, proving to be a strong leader open to new ideas and developments. He was a frequent speaker at WEA courses and other organisations throughout his retirement years.

Neville made his mark as a member and officer in several local and regional organisations. In the Lincoln Engineering Society he was Secretary for many years; he was a keen member of the Railway and Canal Historical Society, where he served as Sales Officer; for a while he was Secretary of Lincoln Record Society; he was a member of Spalding Gentlemen's Society; and at Lincoln Cathedral both he and Maureen were accredited Guides. He was a devoted family man and a keen follower of local soccer and cricket. For his varied interests and contributions to so many activities, Neville will be remembered with great respect and affection.

November 2018

Grantham's Built Heritage
A recording group's experiences

A small group, working with the SLHA Building Recording Group, has recently begun to investigate Grantham's historic buildings. Graham Cook, retired architect and leading member of the group, spoke about their work at a Sunday Special meeting in Lincoln on 18 November.

A house in Swinegate has been checked out but proved to be almost entirely Victorian. A second project was initiated by markings in the grass on St Peter's Hill during the hot dry summer of 2018. This is the probable site of a medieval hospital with the Eleanor Cross nearby; Heritage Trust of Lincolnshire has begun a series of non-invasive investigations on behalf of the group.

The Grantham recording group now plan to survey Artichoke House in Swinegate, a building known to have retained several interesting medieval elements.

Photo: Artichoke House (visited at the SLHA Conference, March 2017)

November 2018

Stamp End Railway Bridge
A major project completed

Chris Lester gave an illustrated account of the reconstruction of Stamp End Railway Bridge at the Sunday Special in Lincoln on 18 November. The bridge dates from 1848 and was much modified in 1901.

The very early use of box girders are the reason for the bridge's significance and the Network Rail project of August 2017 has retained these in a non-structural position attached to the sides of the new steel bridge. An interpretation board is planned for the site.

A huge crane, anchored on the old Power Station site, was deployed to remove the decks of the old bridge and to put new bridge sections in place. The SLHA audience found the short time-lapse video record of the 4-day operation both informative and entertaining.

Photo: Stamp End Bridge after renewal work. The original box girders can be seen on the side of the second (further) span which carries the line over the Witham.

November 2018

Lincoln Grand Plans
Unrealised 20th century developments

Arthur Ward, retired conservation officer with Lincoln City Council, was one of three speakers at the Sunday Special on 18 November. He gave details of several projects considered in the 1960s and 70s which would have vastly altered the cityscape.

An inner ring road was to create quicker routes in and around the city centre but it would have required the demolition of many buildings now considered important. One or two minor elements of this scheme, e.g. Wigford Way, were implemented.

A new civic centre in the area of Sincil Street was designed by competition-winning architects in 'brutalist' style. This large project of the early 1960s, later reduced and modified, received a mixed reception and never materialised.

In the 1970s a new theatre and other grand structures were planned alongside the Brayford together with the removal of the Central Railway Station and extensive re-routing of rail lines. Financial constraints put paid to these plans.

Sketch plan for Brayford (Sam Scorer, 1961)

November 2018

Maritime Boston
History of trade in a Lincolnshire port

Almost 100 SLHA members and others attended a conference in Boston's historic Guildhall on Saturday 17 November. It was organised by SLHA's Industrial Archaeology team; Neil Wright took the chair; administration was led by Kathy Holland.

Presentations at the conference were as follows:

Boston and the Hanseatic League - Pamela Cawthorne

For a century from about 1360 Boston was a prominent port in the northern European Hanseatic League of traders. Prior to this period wool had been the principal export, with as many as three million fleeces leaving the port each year. The Hansa gained formal trading privileges in England and under their domination Boston's chief export became manufactured cloth. These arrangements came to an end and trade declined in the late fifteenth century following the Anglo-Hanseatic War.

Trade of the Port of Boston: 1660-1840 - Philip Riden
In the seventeenth century coal from the north-east, especially from Sunderland, was the principal import and corn the principal export. Other imports to Boston included textiles and manufactured goods but little came in from foreign locations. Exports included peas, beans and barley, much of this trade going through King's Lynn. Trade in the eighteenth century was broadly similar, though many more vessels now made the direct journey to and from London. When inland canal and river routes were opened up in the early nineteenth century Boston began to import coal from West Yorkshire (via the Witham) as well the North-East. Throughout these 200 years, imports considerably outnumbered exports. Relatively little is known about the distribution of imported material to Lincolnshire markets.

Linking the Port to its Hinterland: 1700-1850 - Rob Wheeler

Long distance inland routes by water began to be developed in the eighteenth century and, with improvements to the Foss Dyke, Lincoln's trade to the west increased considerably. The serious silting of the river hampered the city's long established route to Boston using the Witham until the new cut was made from Chapel Hill southwards in the 1760s.

Buildings of the Old Port of Boston - Neil Wright

Nothing remains of the medieval warehouses which lined the Haven but several buildings of the early nineteenth century survive in this area. Boston Borough Council was responsible for one or two warehouses which were both functional and attractively designed. The Dock, which is now central to the port of Boston, was created in the nineteenth century and equipped with granaries, coal hoists and an ice house. All these structures have been swept away in recent decades.

Tours in Boston
In the afternoon Neil Wright led a guided walk which highlighted the Georgian warehouses and other port structures in the area alongside the Haven between the Market Place and South Square. Visits were also made to Shodfriars Hall on South Street - part late medieval timber-framed, part Victorian - where an extensive restoration development is planned.

Georgian warehouses on South Square

 Shodfriars Hall on South Street

First floor interior of Shodfriars Hall

November 2018

Mike Hodgson (1947-2018)
Sad loss to aviation heritage

We have been notified of the death of Mike Hodsgson on 10 October at the age of 71.

Mike was highly regarded for his knowledge of Lincolnshire's aviation heritage and in particular for his pivotal role at the excellent Thorpe Camp Visitor Centre at Tattershall Thorpe.

November 2018

Paint Analysis
Layers of Understanding

Paul Croft, Research Fellow at the University of Lincoln and working for Lincoln Conservation, gave an interesting and informative presentation to SLHA members at St Hugh's Hall, Lincoln on Wednesday 14 November. The theme of his talk was the analysis of paint layers in historic buildings and artefacts.

The technique of analysing paint involves taking small samples down to the 'base' material, setting them in resin and then examining the paint layer 'cross-section' under a high-powered microscope. Analysis may also be done under UV light, polarised light, electron microscopy and X-ray fluorescence, all of which reveal features of paint pigments or substrates not readily visible under reflected light.

Paul illustrated his talk with examples of work undertaken in various locations (from the Isle of Man to Lincoln) and involving a wide range of painted articles (walls, doors, boats, wartime tanks). His work can pinpoint the dates of constructional work; it also enables modern restoration of decorative surfaces to exactly match original colour schemes.

Illustration: The Royal Flying Corps insignia was painted on the wall above the fireplace in the men's mess in 1917. This was located in one of Lincoln Racecourse's buildings on the West Common and has recently been restored to its original condition by Lincoln Conservation. The mural is shown before and after restoration.


November 2018

Pirate Gold
Radio Lincolnshire visits Jews' Court

The regular daytime BBC Radio Lincolnshire programme 'Pirate Gold' gives its listeners a series of clues to a location in the County. On 28 October Pirate Gold was to be found at Jews' Court.

The photograph shows the two programme presenters, Amy and Alan, enjoying themselves - like most of our visitors - among the second-hand books at Jews' Court.

October 2018

Learning about Louth
A talk and guided walk after the AGM

Society members had a choice of attractions for the afternoon following the AGM in Louth on 20 October.

A talk about William Brown's famous 1847 panorama was given by Cllr Mrs S E Locking in the town council's recently adapted premises of the former magistrates' court on Eastgate.  The two sections of the panorama now hang in the council chamber along with portraits of former mayors and items of the town's regalia.

A Louth Museum volunteer led a tour of some of the town's historic buildings. Beginning at the Museum in Enginegate, the tour moved on to Cannon Street (Independent Chapel, Playhouse Cinema), Little Eastgate (Town Hall, Methodist Church), Cornmarket (Albion Rooms, Masons' Arms, Midland Bank), Market Place (Market Hall, former Jackson's Printers), Aswell Street (horse steps), Kidgate (British school, Cinder Lane industry) and finally to The Gatherums (St Helen's Spring, cottages).

Some members took the less energetic but equally rewarding option of visiting the magnificent St James's Church or browsing in the Louth Museum.

The Society is grateful to the staff and volunteers of Louth Museum who acted as hosts for the afternoon.

Photographs: Cllr Sue Locking and the Louth Panorama (top); the tour group in the Cornmarket outside the Albion Rooms (home of SLHA's first predecessor)

October 2018

SLHA Awards for 2018
Presentation at 2018 AGM

The SLHA Awards for 2018 were announced and presented at the Annual General Meeting of the Society at the Conoco Rooms, Louth on 20 October.

The Flora Murray Award was given to the Winterton Parochial Church Council for an inspiring programme of educational activities in the parish church for the local schools, introducing them to the development of the building and its significant features.

Awards of Excellence were received by (a) Carenza Lewis & Ian Waites (University of Lincoln) and Neil Parker (Archaeological Project Services) for their community archaeology project in the Middlefield council estate, Gainsborough; and (b) Peter Worsley for his ground-breaking book on the estates of the Darwin family in Lincolnshire.

Award winners Carenza Lewis and Gwenifer Shawyer (Winterton PCC) with SLHA President Rod Ambler. [Peter Worsley, the other award winner, was not able to be present.]

October 2018

SLHA Annual General Meeting
Report, Review and Resolution in Louth

The Society's AGM was held in the Conoco Rooms in Louth on Saturday 20 October. The Society President, Dr Rod Ambler, took the chair. About 50 members were in attendance.

The meeting approved the Society's general report for 2018 and the Treasurer's 2017/18 financial reports for both Lincolnshire Heritage and SLHA.

The meeting unanimously agreed the proposed merger of the Society with the Jews' Court and Bardney Abbey Trust. Once approved by the Charity Commission, this would take immediate effect.

Officers elected for 2018/19 were as follows:
President: Rod Ambler
Chairman: Nigel Burn
Treasurer: Chris Hewis
Committee/Team Chairmen: Archaeology: Ian George; Building Recording: David Stocker; History of Lincolnshire: John Beckett; Industrial Archaeology: vacant; Local History: Mark Acton; Publications: vacant
Additional members of Executive Committee: Caroline Crane, Ken Hollamby, Michael Jones, Chris Lester, Eva Moore, Ken Redmore, Stewart Squires, David Start, Neil Wright, Harry Zeigler

Honorary Vice-Presidents: Thora Wagstaffe, Pearl Wheatley, Catherine Wilson

The 2019 AGM will be on Saturday 19 October, venue to be announced later

After the business meeting presentations were made to the 2018 winners of SLHA Awards.

October 2018

Gilbert of Sempringham
The making of a saint

"The Miraculous Dreamworld of Gilbert of Sempringham" was the title of John Wilford's talk to SLHA members in Lincoln on 17 October. With the support of colourful contemporary and modern illustrations, John described the dozens of remarkable miracles attributed to Gilbert throughout his life and in the years following his death in 1189.

Men and women suffering from a wide range of diseases, mental illnesses and physical problems were completely cured following contact with Gilbert, even when it was very slight or indirect.  After his death equally remarkable cures were reported, many of which involved visits to Gilbert's shrine in the abbey at Sempringham.

The reports of Gilbert's miracles were carefully scrutinised by the Church in Rome - the first saint to be assessed through this formal process - and the evidence of witnesses, often considerable and persuasive, was examined. 

The dreams of individuals, from pope to pauper, associated with Gilbert's life were recalled and carefully recorded. Dreams were considered to be a direct link to heaven and they played a key role in confirming Gilbert's sanctity.

St Andrew's church, Sempringham

October 2018

Archaeology Live!
Successful day conference in Lincoln

A wide-ranging - and widely appreciated - conference arranged by the SLHA Archaeology Team was held at Christ's Hospital School, Lincoln on Saturday 6 October. More than 100 delegates attended.

The speakers and their subjects were:

Julius Caesar in Britain - Dr Andrew Fitzpatrick
Hidden Beasties: The Art of the Anglo-Saxons
- Kevin Leahy
Long Barrows in the Lincolnshire Wolds - Mike Jefferson
Recent Work by Allen Archaeology
- Gavin Glover
Tattershall Castle: A New Perspective
- James Wright
Recent Finds on the Lincolnshire Coast
- Adam Daubney

October 2018

Walks on Lincolnshire Day
Celebrating heritage in Lincoln, Welton and Branston

SLHA members arranged and led a series of walks in Lincoln and two nearby villages to celebrate Lincolnshire Day on Monday 1 October.  Two walks in the upper part of Lincoln, led by Penny Forsdyke, included Newport Arch, the Mint Wall and the Eastgate in visits to the City's prominent Roman remains.

Lincoln's medieval market sites, from Bailgate to High Street, were the subject of a second pair of walks led by Nigel Burn and Malcolm Stainforth. It is not widely known that there were specialised markets, each with their own sites in the City, for butter, butchery, cloth, fish, poultry, malt and skin.

A walk in Welton, led by Avril Golding and Lynne Ballantine, looked at significant buildings and sites near the centre of the village. Detailed background information about historic developments was provided.

Karen Wood led a walk around Branston where the local history group has already provided useful information about several aspects of the village's history in the form of site information signs and a printed leaflet.

The initiative taken by the Society in organising these events was well rewarded. 75 joined the Roman tours, 55 visited the medieval markets sites, and there were 24 and 21 walkers, respectively, in the groups at Welton and Branston.

Nigel Burn with group on Steep Hill

Avril Golding and Lynne Ballantine with group at Welton Methodist Church

October 2018

The Enemies of Books
A critical look at publishing today

The Memorial Lecture in memory of Ray Carroll was given by Shaun Tyas at the Red Hall, Bourne, on Saturday 22 September. Shaun took as his theme "The Enemies, and Friends, of Books Today" inspired by a nineteenth-century book entitled "The Enemies of Books" which described the enemies of that time, such as fire, flood, politics and ignorance (with a cartoon of a servant "lighting the fire with a Caxton"!).

The speaker proposed that, in contrast with this, most of the enemies of books today are within the publishing industry itself and the friends, such as librarian Ray Carroll, are becoming few and far between.

Using his own experience as a successful publisher of high quality books, Shaun regaled the audience with a succession of critical anecdotes covering the whole range of activities connected with publishing: from printers, with their paper, bindings and ink; independent and chain booksellers; distribution; the Internet; and the attitude of large publishing houses.

Even authors didn't escape criticism but in fairness he praised all of those worthy of praise too. It was a light-hearted and very entertaining talk but not without serious undertones. He produced statistics to show that despite the industry's self-inflicted shortcomings and the influence of on-line publishing, printed book publishing was on the increase and The Book was alive and well, much to the delight of the audience. It was a masterful tribute to Ray Carroll.

Shaun Tyas (speaker, Lynne Carroll (widow of Ray Carroll) and Stewart Squires (chairman)

September 2018

Lincolnshire in the Frame
Exhibition of local photographs at Jews� Court

As part of their contribution to the Heritage Open Days programme over the weekend 7-9 September members of SLHA provided an exhibition of local photographs and postcards at Jews' Court.

Themes included the Lincolnshire coast, farming, people, transport and Lincoln industry. The images had been prepared by the Local History team led by Chris Hewis (many from his postcard collection) and Kathy Holland (SLHA Administrator).

The Industrial Archaeology team also presented a slide show on the theme of engineering innovation in Lincoln. This had been first assembled by Ken Redmore and Chris Page for the University of Lincoln in 2015.

The event was attended by 40 visitors on Friday, 46 on Saturday and 58 on Sunday.

The display in the meeting room at Jews' Court

September 2018

A Day in Wainfleet
Guided tour and picnic

SLHA members had warm and sunny weather for their annual picnic in Wainfleet on Saturday 4 August. The outstanding late fifteenth-century Magdalen School building was the base for the day's activities.

David Turner, born and bred in Wainfleet, led an absorbing walking tour of the town's main sites. Time was spent at All Saints' church, the Market Place clock tower, Barkham Street and the Magdalen School, and less familiar commercial and residential buildings around the town centre also received attention.

We heard about some of Wainfleet's notable sons and daughters and their High Street residences: Elizabeth Allan (1910-1990), stage and film actress; Thomas Reckitt (b.1772), father of Isaac Reckitt, founder of the Hull pharmaceutical firm; Huggins and Gees, pharmaceutical chemists and creators of Gee's Linctus. Wainfleet may seem to be a quiet and sleepy backwater today but it was once an important North Sea port and has its claims to fame.

The afternoon was spent browsing the wide-ranging local museum on the first floor of the Magdalen School building. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable day.

Photographs: Top right - Market Place Clock Tower; Lower right - Magdalen School; Below - All Saints' Church


August 2018

The St Bees Man
A Teutonic Crusader and his remarkable preservation

Chris Robson of St Bees told the story of a remarkably well preserved corpse of the late fourteenth century to SLHA members at their monthly meeting in Lincoln on 27 July. Graphic pictures and video clips vivdly illustrated his talk.

The body of a man, bound in linen and encased in lead, was discovered in 1981 in a vault on the site of the former south chapel at St Bega's priory church in St Bees. Following exhumation, the cadaver had been pathologically examined. It was the body of a healthy man in his thirties who has suffered severe injuries to jaw and ribs.

His identity was subsequently established as that of Anthony de Lucy, 3rd Baron Lucy, who died in 1368, probably killed on crusade with the Teutonic Knights at New Kaunas, in what is now Lithuania. This information is based to some extent on a letter sent home by John Moulton of Frampton, one of three or four Lincolnshire men on this crusade.

The female skeleton which lay alongside Antony's body in the extended vault was probably that of his sister Maud de Lucy (died 1398).

July 2018

Rural Water Supply
An overview and two examples

Two members of the Society's Industrial Achaeology Team, Chris Lester and Eric Newton, spoke to a small audience at Scawby Village Hall on 25 July about historic small-scale water supply systems in Lincolnshire. (This event was originally planned as part of the County's Archaeology Week.)

Chris explained the operation of ram pumps, hand pumps, horse 'gins', wind pumps, waterwheels and turbines in raising water to houses and farmsteads. He showed photographs and drawings of a range of installations across the county, many of which had been visited and recorded by the IA team.

Eric gave details of two water supply systems in the local area. A waterwheel powered pump, installed in the 1890s and later supplemented by a ram pump, once provided water for the gardens and a fountain at Scawby Hall. A similar waterwheel in an underground chamber in Thoresway pumped water from Black Springs to the buildings of Grange Farm from 1881.

Eric Newton asnd Chris Lester

July 2018

Lincolnshire Baptists
A story of persecution and survival

The thirty-ninth annual Brackenbury Lecture was given by the vivacious Bob Kershaw at Spilsby Methodist Church on 14 July, his subject being "Persecuted Baptists in Lincolnshire". Bob began by explaining the place of Baptists in the history of non-conformity, their descent from Elizabethan puritans and the differences between Calvinists, Baptists and Methodists.

Bob then introduced the audience to some of the main figures in early Lincolnshire Baptist history. These included Thomas Grantham of Halton Holegate, active around the South Marsh area, the father and son Thomas and Jonathan Johnson, Lincoln bakers and the Bell trio, Baptist musicians. Other characters brought into the story were John Williams, the Bishop of Lincoln imprisoned for his liberal attitudes towards Puritans, his enemy Archbishop Laud and the hellfire preacher Samuel Oates (father of the egregious Titus).

The audience of more than 40 enjoyed the usual splendid tea provided by the ladies of the church and a collection was taken in aid of Raithby Methodist Chapel. We wish to thank Cecil Mundy, Bunty Martin and her helpers for making the event such a success.

Bob Kershaw and Mark Acton (SLHA Local History Chairman)

July 2018

Weekend in Shropshire
Museums and historic sites

The Society's annual study tour, led by Ken Hollamby and administered by TravelWright of Newark, was based at Harper Adams University, Newport, Shropshire from 12 to 16 July. On the outward journey the afternoon was spent at the Black Country Museum in Dudley, a huge open site with a wide range of domestic, commercial and industrial features.

The first full day in Shropshire was centred on the historic Ironbridge Gorge. At the Jackfield Pottery we saw how modern encaustic tiles are made (as for the Palace of Westminster) and browsed the extensive museum collection of tiles. The iconic Ironbridge is being restored by Historic England and a specially constructed walkway enables visitors to see the original ironwork at close quarters and hear about the work being undertaken. The quiet and relaxing afternoon was spent at nearby Blists Hill Victorian town.

On Saturday morning we absorbed the sights, sounds and smells of Acton Scott Farm Museum. A conducted tour introduced us to the buildings (farmhouse, barns, stables, brick-kiln, workshops) and animals (sheep, cattle, chickens, pigs) of this authentic working farm. By contrast, the afternoon revealed the highlights of Shrewsbury and the town's connections with Charles Darwin; Peter Worsley was our expert guide.

The final full day, under Glynn Coppack's leadership, was devoted to Shropshire's archaeology and historic buildings. Included in the tour were Buildwas Abbey, Wroxeter Roman site, Acton Burnell Castle and Stokesay Castle. We heard about the history and development of each of these significant sites.

On the morning of our homeward journey we visited Ditherington Flaxmill Maltings, a large building complex dating from the late eighteenth century, currently being restored. The iron columns and beams of the principal building - the earliest such recorded structure - give it worldwide significance.

Photos: Opposite top - Silicone rubber mould, Jackfield Pottery; Opposite below - Ditherington Flaxmill Maltings; Lower left - Buildwas Abbey; Lower centre - Wroxeter Roman site; Lower right - horse gin, Acton Scott Farm Museum


July 2018

Fighting Monks
Local History Conference in Horncastle

A goodly crowd travelled to Horncastle on Saturday 19 May to a conference about the Templars organised by the SLHA Local History. "Fighting Monks" gave speakers ample opportunity to explore very different aspects of the Orders.

Dr Nic Morton of Trent University started us off with an account of their demise in the Middle East. At points Christians and Muslims joined to stem the advance of the Mongols.

Andrew Hoyle from Boston told the good story of the Crusade that set out from Boston. This information, until he resurrected it, had been lost in the annals.

Describing the Temple lands in Lincolnshire was so much more than a gazetteer - it was also a dissertation on Medieval farming, both arable and pastoral. Mike Jefferson painted a vivid picture of Templar farming practices.

There was a welcome return by David Marcombe of Nottingham University who examined the history of the Leper Knights. He was followed by Tom Foakes of the Museum of St. John who gave the history of that Order and brought us up to date with the work of the society to-day.

Our final talk by the SLHA Chairman, Nigel Burn, was most apt, being about the demise of the Orders in Lincolnshire.

In all it was a very good day including the new venue for us, Banovallum School in Horncastle.

Photos: David Marcombe (above) and Tom Foakes (below)

May 2018

Lincolnshire Houses
David Roberts' long awaited book

A superb book about the development of houses in Lincolnshire - both large and small - was launched at Jews' Court on Sunday 6 May.

David L Roberts, an architectural historian, worked on the book for some thirty years before his early death in 1997, leaving it still unfinished but complete in draft. It is a unique analytical survey of the county's domestic architecture.

It was rigorously edited by Shawn Tyas, who also added a large number of contemporary colour photographs. Shaun also designed and published the book.

The event in Lincoln was chaired by Stewart Squires, retired conservation planner and Chairman of SLHA Trustees. Shaun Tyas gave an illustrated introduction to the book and a taster of its stimulating content.

Photo: Stewart Squires (left) and Shaun Tyas (right)

May 2018David Roberts, Lincolnshire Houses

Lincolnshire Postcards
Photographers, publishers and collectors

Chris Hewis, Chairman of Saxilby and District History Group, was the speaker at a meeting in St Hugh's Hall, Lincoln on 18 April. His talk about the photographers and publishers of Lincolnshire postcards was illustrated by cards from the huge collection of the late John Wilson of Saxilby, now in the possession of SDHG.

Francis Frith (1822-1898) was a well-travelled photographer who published prints and postcards on a large scale. The business carried on under his name until 1969 and fortunately his huge collection was saved and later digitised. Lincolnshire photographers of note include Charles Smyth (born 1846) of Wainfleet and Skegness; Frank Walton (1838-1923) of Gainsborough and Grantham; William Garthwaite of Grimsby; William Dennis of Lincoln; and J W Turner.

Chris showed a sequence of unusual and informative Lincolnshire postcards, some illustrating the work of the County's publishers. Themes included: Lincoln theatres and churches, local fire brigades, railways and the coastal resorts.

King Edward VII at the Royal Show, Lincoln, 1907. (Postcard published by Howard Barrett of Southwell)

April 2018

Discover Lincolnshire Weekend
Jews� Court opened to visitors

Over the weekend 24/25 March the doors of Jews' Court were thrown open to visitors as part of a countywide event.

Nigel Burn, Pearl Wheatley and Chris Hewis took a lead in pointing out significant features of the building, both inside and outside, and recounting some of its long history.

Some of the visitors (who numbered 175 in total) were able to see the Torah treasured by the local Jewish community.

Nigel Burn with group viewing the outside of Jews' Court

March 2018

The Cornhill Quarter
A century of development in the centre of Lincoln

On the snowy afternoon of Sunday 18 March Beryl George shared her recent research into the streets and buildings around the Lincoln's Cornhill. She has worked closely with the Lincolnshire Co-op who, as principal property owners, are redeveloping the area.

The Lincoln Corn Exchange and Market Company was established 1847 and immediately built the first Corn Exchange on Corn Hill (architect W A Nicholson). It was replaced by a larger building on an adjoining site to the north in 1879 (architect Bellamy & Hardy).

Trading in corn and other agricultural products was confined to Fridays and the spacious buildings were regularly used for as venues for public meetings and entertainment.

Market areas were created alongside and to the east of the first Corn Exchange and then in the ground floor of the second.

Sincil Street, to the east of these buildings, has always housed a range of small retail businesses. This type of occupancy is likely to continue after the present restoration works.

Lincoln's second Corn Exchange

March 2018

Mud and Stud Buildings
Report on recent research

The technique of building in mud and stud is commonly associated with Lincolnshire but, as Jenne Pape pointed out in a talk to SLHA members at Jews' Court on 18 March, it is not confined, as usually supposed, to an area near the southern end of the Wolds nor is it only found in small cottages.

The walls of a typical M&S building are created from simple frames of 'hedgerow' timber to which are attached vertical laths. A thick daub of mud is then applied and the external surfaces limewashed for weatherproofing. The roof is thatched with a centrally placed chimney in brick or M&S.

Research involving vernacular buildings across the county and their related documentation reveals that the technique has been very widespread and that it was being deployed from the sixteenth century though to the Victorian period.

It is also clear that it was used for buildings of both high and low status. Its fall in fashion and acceptability came in the nineteenth century when brick began to be used instead or in many instances used as a simple skin to cover a mud and stud construction.

Withern Cottage, a typical mud and stud building (now at The Village, Skegness)

March 2018

Roman Leicester
Recent Archaeological discoveries

Gavin Speed of the University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS) gave an account of Leicester's Roman legacy to an audience of fifty members and friends at St Hugh's Hall on 14 March.

Archaeological excavations at various times have brought to light many significant buildings and artefacts of the Roman period in Leicester. Recent large scale redevelopment of large areas near the city centre has allowed sites to be revisited and new ones investigated.

The only Roman structure above ground is the Jewry Wall, now understood to be part of a bath house complex. Other public buildings of Roman Leicester (Ratae Corieltauvorum) identified include the forum (130m x 90m), a temple, macellum or market hall and an odeon or theatre.

Town houses have been investigated, some of which have fine mosaic floors and hypocausts. A large range of everyday objects (including coins, rings, tweezers, brooches, spoons, a flute) have been collected and catalogued.

More information about ULAS can be seen on their website

March 2018

Built in Gainsborough
Submarines for World War II

On 21 Feb at St Hugh's Hall, Lincoln, SLHA members were treated to a talk by Lt Cdr Sandy Powell, RN Rtd, on the building of X Class submarines by Marshalls of Gainsborough.

A large audience listened attentively to the speaker (himself a distinguished submariner) as the story of the building of 12 miniature (4-man crew) submarines in great secrecy during WWII unfolded. Manufacture was distributed between various contractors for security reasons and Marshalls built three, X24 Expeditious, X25 Xema and XE9, Unexpected, built to a Far East specification.

Only 15.7m long, powered by a bus engine and capable of diving to nearly 100m depth, these submarines were designed to carry two large canisters of explosive which could be placed under the hulls of enemy ships in harbour by one of the crew who was also a diver.

Clearly this was an extremely hazardous task and many brave crew members lost their lives. This is reflected in the large numbers of medals awarded to the crews, including 4 VCs, 8 DSOs and 15 DSCs.

The X-Craft also carried out reconnaissance immediately prior to the Normandy landings and provided essential navigational guidance during the landings themselves.

X24 Expeditious was conspicuously successful and survived the war to be displayed in the Submarine Museum at Gosport.

February 2018

Knights, Kings and Queens
Family event at Kirton LIndsey

The Jubilee Town Hall at Kirton hosted a successful and very well attended half term event for families on 12 February. The session was organised by Kathy Holland on behalf of the SLHA in conjunction with the Kirton in Lindsey Society.

Visitors had the opportunity to participate in a range of craft activities inspired by the theme of Knights, Kings and Queens. Crafts included creating a royal crown, and using craft materials to design and make a shield displaying heraldic designs. This activity included discussions on heraldry and investigating images of designs from the period.

Also on offer was the chance to create some sparkly jewellery inspired by medieval designs. The ever popular clay activity was crafting a Knight�s head inspired by a carving to be found in Lincoln Cathedral.

As may be expected, this activity provoked discussion about other carvings of the period and how they can help us find out about the appearance of people in medieval times.

Visitors could also study a selection of replica everyday artefacts from the period, some belonging to the Society and others kindly lent by The Collection in Lincoln.

Both adults and children were very appreciative and the event presented both the SLHA and the Kirton in Lindsey Society the opportunity engage with families and help promote interest in our history and heritage. We had lots of requests for more events and activities of this kind.

This event used resources provided by the "Past and Present" Project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Knight's head made at the event

February 2018

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