Lincoln, England

Last updated

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Cathedral and Castle Square from the castle observation tower
Flag of Lincoln.svg
Coat of arms
Lincoln UK locator map.svg
Location within Lincolnshire
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Location within England
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Location within the United Kingdom
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Location within Europe
Coordinates: 53°14′04″N0°32′19″W / 53.23444°N 0.53861°W / 53.23444; -0.53861 Coordinates: 53°14′04″N0°32′19″W / 53.23444°N 0.53861°W / 53.23444; -0.53861
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region East Midlands
Non-metropolitan county Lincolnshire
Status Non-metropolitan district, Borough, City
Admin HQLincoln
Incorporated1 April 1974
  TypeNon-metropolitan district council
  BodyCity of Lincoln Council
  LeadershipLeader and cabinet (Labour)
   MPs Karen Lee
   City and Borough 13.78 sq mi (35.69 km2)
Area rank291st (of 317)
 (mid-2018 est.)
   City and Borough 97,541 [1]
  Rank245th (of 317)
130,200 [2]
189,000 [3]
95.6% White
0.8% Other Asian [4]
0.8% Irish
0.5% Chinese
0.5% African
Demonym(s) Lincolnian
Time zone UTC±00:00 (GMT)
  Summer (DST) UTC+01:00 (BST)
Area code(s) 01522
ONS code 32UD (ONS)
E07000138 (GSS)
OS grid reference SK9771
City of Lincoln Council
Founded1 April 1974
Ric Metcalfe
Seats33 councillors
Political groups
     Labour (24)
Other Parties
     Conservative (9)
Length of term
4 years
Last election
2 May 2018

Lincoln is a cathedral city and county town of Lincolnshire in the East Midlands of England. The non-metropolitan district of Lincoln had a 2012 population of 94,600. [5] The 2011 census gave the urban area of Lincoln, which includes North Hykeham and Waddington, a population of 130,200. [6] [7] Roman Lindum Colonia developed from an Iron Age settlement on the River Witham. The city's landmarks include Lincoln Cathedral, an example of English Gothic architecture and the tallest building in the world for over 200 years, and the 11th-century, Norman Lincoln Castle. The city is home to the University of Lincoln and Bishop Grosseteste University, and to Lincoln City FC and Lincoln United FC.

A county town in Great Britain or Ireland is usually, but not always, the location of administrative or judicial functions within the county. The concept of a county town is ill-defined and unofficial. Following the establishment of county councils in 1889, the administrative headquarters of the new authorities were usually located in the county town of each county. However, this was not always the case and the idea of a "county town" pre-dates the establishment of these councils. For example, Lancaster is the county town of Lancashire but the county council is located at Preston.

Lincolnshire County of England

Lincolnshire is a county in eastern England, with a long coastline on the North Sea to the east. It borders Norfolk to the south east, Cambridgeshire to the south, Rutland to the south west, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire to the west, South Yorkshire to the north west, and the East Riding of Yorkshire to the north. It also borders Northamptonshire in the south for just 20 yards (19 m), England's shortest county boundary. The county town is the city of Lincoln, where the county council has its headquarters.

East Midlands region of England in United Kingdom

The East Midlands is one of nine official regions of England at the first level of NUTS for statistical purposes. It consists of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland. The region has an area of 15,627 km2 (6,034 sq mi), with a population over 4.5 million in 2011. There are six main urban centres, Derby, Leicester, Lincoln, Mansfield, Northampton and Nottingham. Others include Boston, Chesterfield, Corby, Grantham, Hinckley, Kettering, Loughborough, Newark-on-Trent, Skegness, and Wellingborough.



Earliest history: Lincoln

Brayford Pool Brayford Pool - - 107133.jpg
Brayford Pool

The earliest origins of Lincoln can be traced to the remains of an Iron Age settlement of round wooden dwellings (which were discovered by archaeologists in 1972) that have been dated to the 1st century BC. [8] This settlement was built by a deep pool (the modern Brayford Pool) in the River Witham at the foot of a large hill (on which the Normans later built Lincoln Cathedral and Lincoln Castle).

The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory and protohistory of humanity. It was preceded by the Stone Age and the Bronze Age. The concept has been mostly applied to Europe and the Ancient Near East, and, by analogy, also to other parts of the Old World.

Brayford Pool lake in the United Kingdom

The Brayford Pool is a natural lake formed from a widening of the River Witham in the centre of the city of Lincoln in England. It was used as a port by the Romans - who connected it to the River Trent by constructing the Foss Dyke - and has a long industrial heritage.

River Witham river in east of England

The River Witham is a river almost entirely in the county of Lincolnshire in the east of England. It rises south of Grantham close to South Witham at SK8818, passes Lincoln at SK9771 and at Boston, TF3244, flows into The Haven, a tidal arm of The Wash, near RSPB Frampton Marsh. The name "Witham" seems to be extremely old and of unknown origin. Archaeological and documentary evidence shows the importance of the Witham as a navigable river from the Iron Age onwards. From Roman times it was navigable to Lincoln, from where the Fossdyke was constructed to link it to the River Trent. The mouth of the river moved in 1014 following severe flooding, and Boston became important as a port.

Lincoln Castle Lincoln Castle view.jpg
Lincoln Castle

The origins of the name Lincoln may come from this period, when the settlement is thought to have been named in the Brythonic language of Iron Age Britain's Celtic inhabitants as Lindon "The Pool", [9] presumably referring to Brayford Pool (compare the etymology of the name Dublin, from the Gaelic dubh linn "black pool"). The extent of this original settlement is unknown as its remains are now buried deep beneath the later Roman and medieval ruins and modern Lincoln.

Dublin Capital city of Ireland

Dublin is the capital and largest city of Ireland. Situated on a bay on the east coast, at the mouth of the River Liffey, it lies within the province of Leinster. It is bordered on the south by the Dublin Mountains, a part of the Wicklow Mountains range. It has an urban area population of 1,173,179, while the population of the Dublin Region as of 2016 was 1,347,359. The population of the Greater Dublin Area was 1,904,806 per the 2016 census.

Roman history: Lindum Colonia

Newport Arch, a 3rd-century Roman gate Newport Arch.jpg
Newport Arch, a 3rd-century Roman gate

The Romans conquered this part of Britain in AD 48 and shortly afterwards built a legionary fortress high on a hill overlooking the natural lake formed by the widening of the River Witham (the modern day Brayford Pool) and at the northern end of the Fosse Way Roman road (A46). The Celtic name Lindon was subsequently Latinised to Lindum and given the title Colonia when it was converted into a settlement for army veterans. [10]

Fosse Way Roman road in England, linking Exeter and Lincoln

The Fosse Way was a Roman road in England that linked Exeter in South West England to Lincoln in Lincolnshire, via Ilchester, Bath, Cirencester and Leicester.

The conversion to a colonia was made when the legion moved on to York (Eboracum) in AD 71. Lindum colonia or more fully, Colonia Domitiana Lindensium, after the Emperor Domitian who ruled at the time, was established within the walls of the hilltop fortress with the addition of an extension of about equal area, down the hillside to the waterside below.

York Historic city in the north of England

York is a city and unitary authority area in North Yorkshire, England, with a population of 208,200 as of 2017. Located at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss, it is the county town of the historic county of Yorkshire. The city is known for its famous historical landmarks such as York Minster and the city walls, as well as a variety of cultural and sporting activities, which makes it a popular tourist destination in England. The local authority is the City of York Council, a single tier governing body responsible for providing all local services and facilities throughout the city. The City of York local government district includes rural areas beyond the old city boundaries. It is about 20 miles north-east of Leeds.

Domitian Emperor of Ancient Rome

Domitian was Roman emperor from 81 to 96. He was the younger brother of Titus and the son of Vespasian, his two predecessors on the throne, and the last member of the Flavian dynasty. During his reign, the authoritarian nature of his rule put him at sharp odds with the Senate, whose powers he drastically curtailed.

It became a major flourishing settlement, accessible from the sea both through the River Trent and through the River Witham. On the basis of the patently corrupt list of British bishops who attended the 314 Council of Arles, the city is now often considered to have been the capital of the province of Flavia Caesariensis which was formed during the late-3rd century Diocletian Reforms. Subsequently, however, the town and its waterways fell into decline. By the close of the 5th century the city was largely deserted, although some occupation continued under a Praefectus Civitatis, for Saint Paulinus visited a man of this office in Lincoln in AD 629.

River Trent major river of England

The River Trent is the third-longest river in the United Kingdom. Its source is in Staffordshire on the southern edge of Biddulph Moor. It flows through and drains most of the metropolitan central and northern Midlands south and east of its source north of Stoke-on-Trent. The river is known for dramatic flooding after storms and spring snowmelt, which in past times often caused the river to change course.

Roman province Major Roman administrative territorial entity outside of Italy

The Roman provinces were the lands and people outside of Rome itself that were controlled by the Republic and later the Empire. Each province was ruled by a Roman who was appointed as governor. Although different in many ways, they were similar to the states in Australia or the United States, the regions in the United kingdom or New Zealand, or the prefectures in Japan. Canada refers to some of its territory as provinces.

Flavia Caesariensis Roman province

Flavia Caesariensis, sometimes known as Britannia Flavia, was one of the provinces of the Diocese of "the Britains" created during the Diocletian Reforms at the end of the 3rd century. It was probably created after the defeat of the usurper Allectus by Constantius Chlorus in AD 296 and was mentioned in the c. 312 Verona List of the Roman provinces. It seems to have been named after Chlorus's family and was probably located beside Maxima Caesariensis, but their positions and capitals remain uncertain. At present, most scholars place Flavia Caesariensis in the southern Pennines, possibly reaching the Irish Sea and including the lands of the Iceni. Its capital is sometimes placed at Lindum Colonia (Lincoln).

AD 410–1066

East Gate, Lincoln Castle Lincoln Castle, Lincoln - - 689665.jpg
East Gate, Lincoln Castle

During this period the Latin name Lindum Colonia was shortened in Old English to become first Lindocolina, then Lincylene. [11]

After the first destructive Viking raids, the city once again rose to some importance, with overseas trading connections. In Viking times Lincoln was a trading centre that issued coins from its own mint, by far the most important in Lincolnshire and by the end of the 10th century, comparable in output to the mint at York. [12] After the establishment of the Danelaw in 886, Lincoln became one of the Five Boroughs in the East Midlands. Excavations at Flaxengate reveal that this area, deserted since Roman times, received new timber-framed buildings fronting a new street system in about 900. [13] Lincoln experienced an unprecedented explosion in its economy with the settlement of the Danes. Like York, the Upper City seems to have been given over to purely administrative functions up to 850 or so, while the Lower City, running down the hill towards the River Witham, may have been largely deserted. By 950, however, the banks of the Witham were newly developed with the Lower City being resettled and the suburb of Wigford quickly emerging as a major trading centre. In 1068, two years after the Norman conquest, William I ordered Lincoln Castle to be built on the site of the former Roman settlement, for the same strategic reasons and controlling the same road. [14]


Norman West Front of Lincoln Cathedral Norman West Front of Lincoln Cathedral.jpg
Norman West Front of Lincoln Cathedral

Construction of the first Lincoln Cathedral, within its close or walled precinct facing the castle, began when the see was removed from the quiet backwater of Dorchester-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, and was completed in 1092; [15] it was rebuilt after a fire but was destroyed by an unusual earthquake in 1185. The rebuilt Lincoln Minster, enlarged to the east at each rebuilding, was on a magnificent scale, its crossing tower crowned by a spire reputed to have been 525 ft (160 m) high, the highest in Europe. When completed the central of the three spires is widely accepted to have succeeded the Great Pyramids of Egypt as the tallest man-made structure in the world. [16] [17] [18]

The Bishops of Lincoln were among the magnates of medieval England: the Diocese of Lincoln, the largest in England, had more monasteries than the rest of England put together, and the diocese was supported by large estates.

When Magna Carta was drawn up in 1215, one of the witnesses was Hugh of Wells, Bishop of Lincoln. One of only four surviving originals of the document is preserved in Lincoln Castle.

Lincoln Cathedral Lincoln Cathedral from the Castle east gate - - 134106.jpg
Lincoln Cathedral

Among the most famous bishops of Lincoln were Robert Bloet, the magnificent justiciar to Henry I, Hugh of Avalon, the cathedral builder canonised as St Hugh of Lincoln, Robert Grosseteste, the 13th century intellectual, Henry Beaufort, chancellor of Henry V and Henry VI, Thomas Rotherham, a politician deeply involved in the Wars of the Roses, Philip Repyngdon, chaplain to Henry IV and defender of Wycliffe, and Thomas Wolsey, the lord chancellor of Henry VIII. Theologian William de Montibus was the head of the cathedral school and chancellor until his death in 1213.

The administrative centre was the Bishop's Palace, the third element in the central complex. When it was built in the late 12th century, the Bishop's Palace was one of the most important buildings in England. Built by Hugh of Lincoln, its East Hall range over a vaulted under-croft is the earliest surviving example of a roofed domestic hall. The chapel range and entrance tower were built by Bishop William of Alnwick, who modernised the palace in the 1430s. Both Henry VIII and James I were guests of bishops here; the palace was sacked by royalist troops during the civil war in 1648.

Medieval town

Coat of arms of King James I added in 1617 when the monarch visited the city for nine days Lincoln Guildhall Coat of arms.JPG
Coat of arms of King James I added in 1617 when the monarch visited the city for nine days

During the Anarchy, in 1141 Lincoln was the site of a battle between King Stephen and the forces of Empress Matilda, led by her illegitimate half-brother Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester. After fierce fighting in the city's streets, Stephen's forces were defeated. Stephen himself was captured and taken to Bristol.

By 1150, Lincoln was among the wealthiest towns in England. The basis of the economy was cloth and wool, exported to Flanders; Lincoln weavers had set up a guild in 1130 to produce Lincoln Cloth, especially the fine dyed 'scarlet' and 'green', the reputation of which was later enhanced by Robin Hood wearing woollens of Lincoln green. In the Guildhall that surmounts the city gate called the Stonebow, the ancient Council Chamber contains Lincoln's civic insignia, a particularly fine collection of civic regalia.

Outside the precincts of cathedral and castle, the old quarter clustered around the Bailgate, and down Steep Hill to the High Bridge, which bears half-timbered housing, with the upper storeys jutting out over the river. There are three ancient churches: St Mary le Wigford and St Peter at Gowts are both 11th century in origin and St Mary Magdalene, built in the late 13th century, is an unusual English dedication to the saint, whose cult was coming greatly into vogue on the European continent at that time.

12th century Jew's House Jew's House, Lincoln.jpg
12th century Jew's House

Lincoln was home to one of the five most important Jewish communities in England, well established before it was officially noted in 1154. In 1190, anti-Semitic riots that started in King's Lynn, Norfolk, spread to Lincoln; the Jewish community took refuge with royal officials, but their habitations were plundered. The so-called House of Aaron has a two-storey street frontage that is essentially 12th century and a nearby Jew's House likewise bears witness to the Jewish population. [19] [20] [21] In 1255, the affair called 'The Libel of Lincoln' in which prominent Jews of Lincoln, accused of the ritual murder of a Christian boy ('Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln' in medieval folklore) were sent to the Tower of London and 18 were executed. [21] The Jews were expelled en masse in 1290. [21]

Frontage of Jews' Court on Steep Hill. Jew's Court, Lincoln.jpg
Frontage of Jews' Court on Steep Hill.

During the 13th century, Lincoln was the third largest city in England and was a favourite of more than one king. During the First Barons' War, it became caught up in the strife between the king and the rebel barons, who had allied with the French. It was here and at Dover that the French and Rebel army was defeated. In the aftermath of the battle, the town was pillaged for having sided with Prince Louis. [22] In 1266, during the Second Barons' War, the disinherited rebels attacked the Jews of Lincoln, ransacked the synagogue, and burned the records which registered debts. [23]

According to some historians, the city's fortunes began to decline during the 14th century, although this assertion has been disputed, it being argued that the city remained buoyant in both trade and communications well into the 15th century. Thus in 1409, the city was made a county in its own right known as the County of the City of Lincoln. Thereafter, various additional rights being conferred on the town by successive monarchs, including those of an assay town (which controlled metal manufacturing, for example). [24] The oldest surviving secular drama in English, The Interlude of the Student and the Girl (c. 1300), may have originated from Lincoln.

Lincoln's coat of arms, not officially endorsed by the College of Arms, is believed to date from the 14th century. It is Argent on a cross gules a fleur-de-lis or . The cross is believed to be derived from the Diocese of Lincoln, and the fleur-de-lis is the symbol of the Virgin Mary, to whom the cathedral is dedicated. The motto is CIVITAS LINCOLNIA (Latin for City of Lincoln). [25]

16th century

16th-century High Bridge High Bridge, High Street, Lincoln.jpg
16th-century High Bridge

The Dissolution of the Monasteries exacerbated Lincoln's problems, cutting off its main source of diocesan income and drying up the network of patronage controlled by the bishop, with no fewer than seven monasteries closed within the city alone. A number of nearby abbeys were also closed, which led to further diminution of the region's political power. When the cathedral's great spire rotted and collapsed in 1549 and was not replaced, it was a significant symbol of Lincoln's economic and political decline. However, the comparative poverty of post-medieval Lincoln preserved pre-medieval structures that would probably have been lost under more prosperous conditions.

Civil War

The west front of Lincoln Cathedral viewed through the Exchequer Gate, one of a number of surviving gates in the Cathedral Close walls. Exchequer Gate.jpg
The west front of Lincoln Cathedral viewed through the Exchequer Gate, one of a number of surviving gates in the Cathedral Close walls.

Between 1642 and 1651, during the English Civil War, Lincoln was on the frontier between the Royalist and Parliamentary forces and changed hands several times. [26] Many buildings were badly damaged. Lincoln now had no major industry and no easy access to the sea and was poorly situated. Thus while the rest of the country was beginning to prosper at the beginning of the 18th century, Lincoln suffered immensely, travellers often commenting on the state of what had essentially become a one-street town. [26]

Georgian Age

By the Georgian era, Lincoln's fortunes began to pick up, thanks in part to the Agricultural Revolution. The re-opening of the Foss Dyke canal allowed coal and other raw materials vital to industry to be more easily brought into the city.

As well as the economic growth of Lincoln during this era, the city boundaries expanded to include the West Common. To this day, an annual Beat the Boundaries walk takes place along the perimeter of the common.

Industrial Revolution

Coupled with the arrival of the railway links, Lincoln boomed again during the Industrial Revolution, and several world-famous companies arose, such as Ruston's, Clayton's, Proctor's and William Foster's. Lincoln began to excel in heavy engineering, building locomotives, steam shovels and all manner of heavy machinery.

A permanent military presence was established in the city with the completion of the "Old Barracks" (now occupied by the Museum of Lincolnshire Life) in 1857; these were replaced by the "New Barracks" (now Sobraon Barracks) in 1890. [27] Lincoln Drill Hall in Broadgate also opened in 1890. [28]

20th century

Westgate water tower Westgate Water Tower.jpg
Westgate water tower

Lincoln was hit by a major typhoid epidemic between November 1904 and August 1905 caused by polluted drinking water from Hartsholme Lake and the River Witham. Over 1,000 people contracted the disease and fatalities totalled 131, [29] including the man responsible for the city's water supply, Liam Kirk of Baker Crescent. Near the beginning of the epidemic, Dr. Alexander Cruickshank Houston installed a chlorine disinfection system just ahead of the poorly operating slow sand filter to kill the bacteria causing the epidemic. [30] Chlorination of the water supply continued until 1911 when a new water supply was implemented. [31] The Lincoln chlorination episode was one of the first uses of the chemical to disinfect a water supply. [32] Westgate Water Tower was constructed to provide new water supplies to the city. [33]

In the two world wars, Lincoln switched to war production. The first ever tanks were invented, designed and built in Lincoln by William Foster & Co. during the First World War and population growth provided more workers for even greater expansion. The tanks were tested on land now covered by Tritton Road (in the south-west suburbs of the city). During the Second World War, Lincoln produced a vast array of war goods, from tanks, aircraft, munitions and military vehicles. [34]

Ruston & Hornsby produced diesel engines for ships and locomotives, then by teaming up with former colleagues of Frank Whittle and Power Jets Ltd, in the early 1950s, R & H (which became RGT) opened the first-ever production line to build gas turbine engines for land-based and sea-based energy production. Hugely successful, it was the largest single employer in the city, providing over 5,000 jobs in its factory and research facilities, making it a rich takeover target for industrial conglomerates. It was subsumed by English Electric in November 1966, which was then bought by GEC in 1968, with diesel engine production being transferred to the Ruston Diesels Division in Newton-le-Willows, Lancashire, at the former Vulcan Foundry, which was eventually bought by the German MAN Diesel (now MAN Diesel & Turbo) in June 2000.[ citation needed ]

Siemens Pelham Works Pelham Works - - 76691.jpg
Siemens Pelham Works
The first tanks were built in Lincoln Water carrier for Mesopotamia.jpg
The first tanks were built in Lincoln

It merged with Alstom of France in the late 1980s, then in 2003 was bought out by Siemens AG of Germany, now being called Siemens Industrial Turbomachinery. This also includes what is left of Napier Turbochargers. Plans were announced early in 2008 for the construction of a new plant just outside the city boundary at Teal Park, North Hykeham. [35] Unfortunately Siemens made large-scale redundancies and moved jobs to both Sweden and the Netherlands. The factory now employs 1300 people. R & H's former Beevor Foundry is now owned by Hoval Group who make industrial boilers (wood chip). The Aerospace Manufacturing Facility (AMF) at the Firth Road site was divested to ITP Engines UK, in January 2009 from Alstom Aerospace Ltd. [36] [37]

Lincoln's second largest private employer is James Dawson and Son, a belting and hose manufacturer founded in Lincoln in the late 19th century. It is located at two sites, both on the city's Tritton Road. The main site, next to the University of Lincoln, operated using Lincolns last coal-fired boiler, until it was replaced by a gas-powered boiler in July 2018. Dawson's became part of the Fenner group, based in Hull, in the late 1970s.[ citation needed ]

New suburbs were built in the years after 1945, but heavy industry declined towards the end of the 20th century, as it did generally in the UK economy. Nevertheless, more people in Lincoln are still employed today in building gas turbines than in any other field.[ citation needed ]

Much development, particularly around the Brayford area, has followed the construction of the University of Lincoln's Brayford Campus, which opened in 1996. [38] In 2012, Bishop Grosseteste teaching college was also awarded university status.


Lincoln's economy is based mainly on public administration, commerce, arable farming and tourism, with industrial relics like Ruston (now Siemens) still in existence. However, many of Lincoln's industrial giants have long ceased production in the city, leaving large empty industrial warehouse-like buildings. More recently, these buildings have become multi-occupant units, with the likes of Lincs FM radio station (in the Titanic Works) and LA Fitness gym taking up space. The main employment sectors in Lincoln are; public administration, education and health, which accounts for 34 per cent of the workforce. Distribution, restaurants and hotels account for 25 per cent of the workforce. [39]

Like many other cities in Britain, Lincoln has developed a growing IT economy, with many e-commerce mail order companies setting up in or around the city. A plethora of other, more conventional small industrial businesses are located in and around Lincoln. One of the reasons for building the University of Lincoln was to increase inward investment and act as a springboard for small companies. The University's presence has also drawn many more licensed premises to the town centre around the Brayford Pool. A new small business unit next door to a university accommodation building, the Think Tank, opened in June 2009. [40]

County council building on Newland Lincolnshire County Council - - 108767.jpg
County council building on Newland

The Extra motorway services company is based on Castle Hill, with most new UK service areas being built by Swayfields who are the parent company. There are two main electronics companies in the town: Chelmsford-based e2V (formerly Associated Electrical Industries before 1961) is situated between Carholme Road (A57) and the Foss Dyke next-door to Carholme Golf Club; [41] and Dynex Semiconductor (formerly Marconi Electronic Devices) is on Doddington Road (B1190) near the A46 bypass just inside the borough boundary, and near North Hykeham. Bifrangi, an Italian company, makes crankshafts for off-road vehicles (tractors), using a screw press; it is based at the former Tower Works formerly owned by Smith-Clayton Forge.

Lincoln is the functional hub of a wider area that encompasses several satellite settlements, such as Welton, Saxilby, Skellingthorpe and Washingborough. These villages look to Lincoln for most service and employment needs. Including them boosts the city's population to about 165,000. [7] Lincoln is the main centre for jobs and facilities in Central Lincolnshire, and performs a wider regional role that extends to cover much of Lincolnshire and parts of Nottinghamshire. According to a document entitled "Central Lincolnshire Local Plan Core Strategy", Lincoln is within a "travel-to-work" area with a population of about 300,000. [7]

Since 1994 Lincoln has gained two universities, and this has been associated with a lot of growth in the services sector. New blocks of flats, restaurants and entertainment venues have appeared. Entertainment venues linked to the universities include The Engine Shed and The Venue Cinema.

Retail parks

Around the Tritton Road (B1003) trading estate, many new businesses have begun trading from large units with car parking. Lincoln has a choice of seven large national supermarkets (Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury, Waitrose, Morrisons, Aldi and Lidl). The St Mark's Square complex has Debenhams as its flagship store and an accompanying trading estate with well-known chain stores.


A view up Steep Hill towards the historic quarter of Bailgate. Steep Hill.jpg
A view up Steep Hill towards the historic quarter of Bailgate.

The city is a tourist centre and those who come do so to visit the numerous historic buildings including the cathedral, the castle, and the Medieval Bishop's Palace.

Waterside Empowerment 2002 sculpture Lincoln waterside.jpg
Waterside Empowerment 2002 sculpture

The Collection, of which the Usher Gallery is now a part, is an important attraction. Housed partly in a purpose-built venue, it currently contains over 2,000,000 objects, and was one of the four finalists for the 2006 Gulbenkian Prize. Any material from official archaeological excavations in Lincolnshire is eventually deposited in The Collection so it is growing all the time.

Other attractions include the Museum of Lincolnshire Life and the International Bomber Command Centre. Tranquil destinations close by include Whisby Nature Reserve and Hartsholme Country Park (including the Swanholme Lakes SSSI), while noisier entertainment can be found at Waddington airfield, Scampton airfield (base of the RAF's Red Arrows jet aerobatic team), the County Showground or the Cadwell Park motor racing circuit near Louth.

Because of its climate, Lincoln attracts many of its tourists in summer, but also on the first Thursday of December until the following Sunday when the Bailgate area of the city holds its annual Christmas Market in and around the Castle grounds. The market is based upon the traditional German-style Christmas market as found in several German cities, including Lincoln's twin town Neustadt an der Weinstrasse. In 2010, for the first time in the history of the Christmas Market, the event was cancelled due to 'atrocious conditions' of heavy snowfall across Lincolnshire and most of the United Kingdom. [42] [43]

Geography and environment

Lincoln lies 157 mi (253 km) north of London by road, [44] at a height of 67 ft (20.4 m) above sea level by the River Witham, stretching to 246 ft (75.0 m) above sea level around the cathedral. It occupies a gap in the Lincoln Cliff (an escarpment that runs north and south through Lindsey and Kesteven, in central Lincolnshire and reaches an altitude of 200 feet (61 metres)). [45]

The city is also 76 miles (123 km) north-east of Birmingham, 32 miles (51 km) north-east of Nottingham, 47 miles (76 km) north of Peterborough and 40 miles (64 km) east south-east of Sheffield.

Uphill and downhill

The city lies on the River Witham, which flows through this gap. Lincoln is thus divided informally into two zones, known unofficially as uphill and downhill.

Uphill Lincoln Bailgate - - 102523.jpg
Uphill Lincoln

The uphill area comprises the northern part of the city, on top of the Lincoln Cliff (to the north of the gap). This area includes the historical quarter, including Lincoln Cathedral, Lincoln Castle and the Medieval Bishop's Palace, known locally as The Bail (although described in tourist promotional literature as the Cathedral Quarter). [46] It includes residential suburbs to the north and north-east. The downhill area comprises the city centre (located in the gap) and the suburbs to the south and south-west. The aptly named Steep Hill is a narrow, pedestrian street connecting the two (too steep for vehicular traffic). It passes through an archway known as the Stonebow.[ citation needed ]

High Bridge 'Glory Hole' High Bridge Glory Hole, Lincoln.jpg
High Bridge 'Glory Hole'

This divide, peculiar to Lincoln, was once an important class distinction, with uphill more affluent and downhill less so. The distinction dates from the time of the Norman conquest, when the religious and military elite occupied the hilltop. [46] The construction and expansion of suburbs in both parts of the city since the mid-19th century has diluted the distinction, but uphill housing continues to fetch a premium.[ citation needed ]


The mute swan is an iconic species for Lincoln. Many pairs nest each year beside the Brayford, and they feature on the university's heraldic emblem. Other bird life within the city includes peregrine falcon, tawny owl and common kingfisher. [47] [48] Mammals living on the city's edges include red fox, roe deer and least weasel. [49] European perch, northern pike and bream are among fish seen in the Witham and Brayford. [50] Nature reserves within and around the city include Greetwell Hollow SSSI, Swanholme SSSI, Whisby Nature Park, Boultham Mere and Hartsholme Country Park.

Since about 2016, Little egrets have nested in the Birchwood area and otters have been seen in the River Witham. Both species are native to Britain and repopulating the area after extermination by humans. [51] [52]

Several invasive species of plants and animals have recently reached Lincoln. Japanese knotweed and Himalayan balsam are Asian plant species particularly concentrated around the River Witham. Galinsoga and Amsinckia are American species found among weeds in the city. American mink are also occasionally sighted on the River Witham.


Lincoln has a typically East Midland maritime climate with cool summers and mild winters. The nearest Met Office weather station is at RAF Waddington, about 4 miles (6 kilometres) to the south of the city centre. Temperature extremes since 1948 have ranged between 35.1 °C (95.2 °F) on 25 July 2019, [53] and −15.6 °C (3.9 °F) in February 1956. [54] A now closed weather station still holds the record for the lowest daytime maximum temperature recorded in England in the month of December: −9.0 °C (15.8 °F) on 17 December 1981. [55] The coldest temperature reported in recent years was −10.4 °C (13.3 °F) during December 2010, [56] although another weather station, at Scampton, a similar distance north of the city centre, fell to −15.6 °C (3.9 °F), thus equalling Waddington's record low set in 1956. [57]

Climate data for Waddington [lower-alpha 1] , elevation: 68 m (223 ft), 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1948–present
Record high °C (°F)14.2
Average high °C (°F)6.6
Daily mean °C (°F)4.0
Average low °C (°F)1.3
Record low °C (°F)−13.8
Average precipitation mm (inches)50.2
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)11.08.510.
Average relative humidity (%)86848079777777798084858781
Mean monthly sunshine hours 61.883.2117.0159.6205.6187.5206.5192.7144.2113.371.555.41,598.3
Source #1: Met Office [58] NOAA (Relative humidity 1961–1990) [59]
Source #2: KNMI [60]


Lincoln Lincoln Central Station - - 109754.jpg


The closure of Lincoln St Marks in 1985 left the city with one main station: Lincoln Central, soon renamed plain Lincoln Railway Station. Trains from its five platforms serve destinations that include Newark-on-Trent, Sheffield, Leeds, Barnsley, Wakefield, Nottingham, Grimsby and Peterborough. London North Eastern Railway runs a single direct train service to London King's Cross, calling at Newark, Peterborough and Stevenage. [62]


The £19-million A46 (north/west) bypass was opened in December 1985, with the (eastern) A15 bypass scheduled to commence construction in 2017, but the collapse of the contractor, Carillion, means it is now scheduled to be completed around May 2020, [63] and the final, southern part of the Lincoln ring road remains in abeyance.

B1190 is an east-west road through Lincoln, starting from the Nottinghamshire-Lincolnshire boundary on the (Roman) Foss Dyke and A57 and finishing in the east at Thimbleby on the A158 near Horncastle.[ citation needed ]

For many years[ when? ] the only two main roads through Lincoln were the A46 and A15 and they both passed along the High Street. At the intersection of Guildhall Street and the High Street, these met the A57, where it terminated. North of the city centre, the former route of the A15, Riseholme Road is the B1226, and of A46, Nettleham Road, B1182. The early northern inner ring-road, formed of Yarborough Road and Yarborough Crescent, is today B1273.


East Midlands Airport is the main international airport serving Lincoln and the rest of the county. The airport predominantly handles European flights with low cost airlines and is around 43 miles away from Lincoln. The airport lies between the cities of Nottingham, Leicester and Derby.

Humberside Airport is the only airport located in Lincolnshire and serves a limited small amount of flights, mainly to hub airports such as Amsterdam. The airport is around 29 miles north of Lincoln.

Doncaster Sheffield Airport is the second biggest airport after East Midlands Airport to serve Lincoln. It mainly caters for low cost airlines and lies just outside the East Midlands Region in South Yorkshire.


Higher education

Lincoln has two higher education institutions, the older being Bishop Grosseteste University, which started life as a teacher training college linked to the Anglican Church in 1862. During the 1990s, the college branched out into new subject areas with a focus on the arts and drama. Bishop Grosseteste College, as it was, became a University College in 2006 when it was awarded taught degree powers, so that students graduate with degrees from BGUC and not the University of Leicester as previously. The college became a university in 2012. A graduation celebration takes place every year in Lincoln Cathedral. Bishop Grosseteste University has no links with the University of Lincoln.[ citation needed ]

The University of Lincoln seen from The Swan (pub) balcony Rightacrossthebrayford.jpg
The University of Lincoln seen from The Swan (pub) balcony

The larger University of Lincoln started life as the University of Lincolnshire and Humberside in 1996, when the University of Humberside opened a Lincoln campus next to Brayford Pool, attracting additional students to the city. [64] Lincoln School of Art and Design (which was Lincolnshire's main outlet for higher education) and Riseholme Agricultural College, which had previously been part of De Montfort University in Leicester, were absorbed into the University of Lincoln in 2001, and subsequently the Lincoln campus took priority[ clarification needed ] over the Hull campus. [64]

Most buildings were built after 2001.[ citation needed ] The University changed its name to the University of Lincoln in September 2002. In the 2005–2006 academic year, 8,292 full-time undergraduates were studying at the university and by 2010–2011, 11,900 students were registered there. [65]

Further education

Further education courses in Lincoln are provided by Lincoln College, which is the largest education institution in Lincolnshire, with 18,500 students, of whom 2,300 are full-time. [66] There is also a specialist creative college, Access Creative, which offers courses in music, media and games design and is available to approximately 180 students, all full-time. [67]


Former Lincoln Christ's Hospital Girls' High School, is now occupied by Lincoln College Girl's High School - - 153918.jpg
Former Lincoln Christ's Hospital Girls' High School, is now occupied by Lincoln College

The school system in Lincoln is anomalous within Lincolnshire despite being part of the same local education authority (LEA), as most of Lincolnshire retained the grammar school system. Other areas near Lincoln, such as North Hykeham North Kesteven School, Branston and Cherry Willingham, also have comprehensive schools.[ citation needed ]

In 1952, William Farr School was founded in Welton, a nearby village. Lincoln itself had four single-sex grammar schools until September 1974.

The Priory Academy LSST converted to academy status in 2008, in turn establishing The Priory Federation of Academies. The Priory Witham Academy was formed when the federation absorbed Moorlands Infant School, Usher Junior School and Ancaster High School. The Priory City of Lincoln Academy was formed when the City of Lincoln Community College merged into the federation. Both schools were rebuilt, following substantial investment by the federation. Cherry Willingham School joined the federation in 2017, becoming The Priory Pembroke Academy.

The Lincolnshire LEA was ranked 32nd in the country based on the percentage of pupils attaining at least 5 A–C grades at GCSE including maths and English (62.2% compared with the national average of 58.2%). [68]

There are four special needs schools in Lincoln: Fortuna Primary School (5–11 years old), Sincil Sports College (11–16), St Christopher's School (3–16) and St Francis Community Special School (2–18). All provide specialist care for children and young people in and around the city.


The local newspaper is the Lincolnshire Echo , which was founded in 1894. Local radio stations are BBC Lincolnshire on 94.9FM, its commercial rival Lincs FM on 102.2FM and Lincoln City Radio on 103.6FM a community radio station catering primarily for people aged over 50 years. [69] The Lincolnite is the online and mobile publication covering the greater Lincoln area. [70] Local listeners can also tune into Siren FM, which broadcasts on 107.3FM from the University of Lincoln.

The student publication The Linc [71] is available online and in print and targets the University of Lincoln's growing student population.

BBC Look North have a bureau in Lincoln as an integral part of their coverage of Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire. There are three TV reporters based in Lincoln serving both BBC Look North and East Midlands Today. ITV News also hold a newsroom in Lincoln.


Sincil Bank, home of Lincoln City Sincil Bank - geograph-507434.jpg
Sincil Bank, home of Lincoln City

Lincoln has a professional football team, Lincoln City FC, nicknamed "The Imps", which plays at the Sincil Bank stadium on the southern edge of the city. The collapse of ITV Digital, which owed Lincoln City FC more than £100,000, in 2002 saw the team faced with bankruptcy, but it was saved by a fund-raising venture among the fans, which returned ownership of the club to them, where it has remained since. The club was famously the first team to be relegated from the English Football League, when automatic relegation to the Football Conference was introduced from the 1986–87 season. Lincoln City regained its league place at the first attempt and held onto it until the 2010–11 season, when it was again relegated to the Football Conference.

Its most successful era was in the early 1980s, winning promotion from the Fourth Division in 1981 and narrowly missing promotion to the Second Division in the two years that followed. [72] More recently, the club reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup in 2017, beating several teams in the top two tiers of English football before being defeated by Arsenal.[ citation needed ]

Lincoln City was the first club managed by Graham Taylor, who went on to manage the English national football team from 1990 to 1993. He was at Lincoln City from 1972 to 1977, during which time the club won promotion from the Fourth Division as champions in 1976. The club also won the Football League Division Three North title on three separate occasions, a joint record.

Lincoln is also home to Lincoln United FC, Lincoln Moorlands Railway FC and Lincoln Griffins Ladies FC.

Lincoln hosts upcoming sports teams and facilities such American football's Lincolnshire Bombers, which plays in the BAFA National Leagues, the Lincolnshire Bombers Roller Girls, the Imposters Rollergirls, and hosts Lincoln Rowing centre on the River Witham. Lindum Hockey Club plays in the north of the city. Since 1956 the city has played host to the Lincoln Grand Prix one-day cycle race, which for around 30 years or so has used a city-centre finishing circuit incorporating the challenging 1-in-6 cobbled ascent of Michaelgate. [73] Since 2013 the city has also boasted its own professional wrestling promotion and training academy, Lincoln Fight Factory Wrestling. The Lincoln Lions rugby union team has been playing since 1902.

Two short-lived greyhound racing tracks were opened by the Lincolnshire Greyhound Racing Association. The first was the Highfield track in Hykeham Road, which opened on 13 September 1931, and the second at the Lincoln Speedway on the Rope Walk, which opened on 4 June 1932. [74] Racing at both tracks was independent as they were "flapping" tracks not affiliated to the sports governing body the National Greyhound Racing Club). [75] [76] Their dates of closure have not been found.

Notable people

In alphabetical order:

International relations

Twin towns

Lincoln is twinned with: [85]

See also




Societies and groups


  1. Weather station is located 4 miles (6 km) from the Lincoln city centre.
  2. Weather station is located 5 miles (8 km) from the Lincoln city centre.

Related Research Articles

Lincoln Cathedral Church in Lincolnshire, England

Lincoln Cathedral, Lincoln Minster, or the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lincoln and sometimes St Mary's Cathedral, in Lincoln, England, is the seat of the Anglican Bishop of Lincoln. Construction commenced in 1072 and continued in several phases throughout the High Middle Ages. Like many of the medieval cathedrals of England it was built in the Gothic style.

Foss Dyke Canal that connects the River Trent to Lincoln

The Foss Dyke, or Fossdyke, connects the River Trent at Torksey to Lincoln, the county town of Lincolnshire, and may be the oldest canal in England that is still in use. It is usually thought to have been built around AD 120 by the Romans, but there is no consensus among authors. It was refurbished in 1121, during the reign of King Henry I, and responsibility for its maintenance was transferred to the city of Lincoln by King James I. Improvements made in 1671 included a navigable sluice or lock at Torksey, and warehousing and wharves were built at Brayford Pool in the centre of Lincoln.

Waddington, Lincolnshire village in Lincolnshire, England

Waddington is a large rural commuter village and civil parish in the North Kesteven district of Lincolnshire, England, situated approximately 4 miles (6 km) south of Lincoln on the A607 Grantham Road. The village is known for its association with RAF Waddington. At the 2001 Census Waddington had a population of 6,086, increasing to 6,122 at the 2011 census.

Lincolnshire, England derived from the merging of the territory of the ancient Kingdom of Lindsey with that controlled by the Danelaw borough Stamford. For some time the entire county was called 'Lindsey', and it is recorded as such in the Domesday Book. Later, Lindsey was applied to only the northern core, around Lincoln; it was defined as one of the three 'Parts of Lincolnshire', along with Holland in the south-east and Kesteven in the south west.

Sleaford and North Hykeham (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom, 1997 onwards

Sleaford and North Hykeham is a constituency in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament. It has been represented since December 2016 by Dr Caroline Johnson, a Conservative.

Lincolnshire is a large county in England with a sparse population distribution, which leads to problems funding all sorts of transport. The transport history is long and varied, with much of the road network still based on the Roman model, and the once extensive rail network a shadow of its former self.

Bishop Grosseteste University university in Lincolnshire, UK

Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU) is one of two public universities in the city of Lincoln, England. BGU was established as a teacher training college for the Diocese of Lincoln in 1862. It gained taught degree awarding powers in 2012 and was granted full university status on 3 December 2012. It has around 2,300 full-time students enrolled on a variety of programmes and courses.

North Hykeham town in North Kesteven, United Kindom

North Hykeham is administratively a town immediately SSW of Lincoln, in the county of Lincolnshire, England. Geographically it forms the southern outer part of a greater Lincoln urban sprawl, and comprises 4,915 dwellings. The population of the town at the 2011 census was 13,884.

South Witham village in Lincolnshire

South Witham is a village and civil parish in the South Kesteven district of Lincolnshire, England. The population of the civil parish at the 2011 census was 1,533. It is situated 10 miles (16 km) south of Grantham and 10 miles east of Melton Mowbray. The village is close to the Leicestershire and Rutland borders.

Lindum Colonia Settlement founded by ancient Romans in eastern England

Lindum Colonia, was the Roman name for the settlement which is now the City of Lincoln in Lincolnshire. It was founded as a Roman Legionary Fortress during the reign of the Emperor Nero (58-68) or possibly later. Evidence from Roman tombstones suggests that Lincoln was first garrisoned by the Ninth Legion, Hispana which probably moved from Lincoln to found the fortress at York around c. 71 AD Lindum was then garrisoned by the Second Legion Adiutrix, which then went on to Chester in 77-78 AD

High Street, Lincoln street in Lincoln, England

The High Street of Lincoln, England, is a long shopping high street. The street runs from the south at the St Catherine's area roundabout and ends approximately 1.5 miles (2.4 km) north at The Strait

Bracebridge, Lincolnshire village in United Kingdom

Bracebridge is a suburb of the city and county town of Lincoln, England. It is situated approximately 2 miles (3 km) south from the city centre on the main A1434 Newark Road, stretching approximately from St Catherine's to Swallowbeck alongside the east bank of the River Witham, and uphill to the more upmarket Bracebridge Heath.

Sam Scorer British architect

Hugh Segar "Sam" Scorer FRSA was an architect who worked in Lincoln, England and was a leading pioneer in the development of hyperbolic paraboloid roof structures using concrete. He also was involved in architectural conservation and research into the work of local 19th-century architects, as well as creating an art gallery in Lincoln, now known as the Sam Scorer Gallery.

St. Mary Magdalen Priory, Lincoln

St. Mary Magdalen was a Benedictine priory in Lincoln, England. Along with Sandtoft Priory and Hanes Cell, it was a Lincolnshire cell of St Mary's Abbey in York, England. A surviving building, once owned by the priory, is Monks' Abbey, Lincoln.

River Brant river in Lincolnshire, United Kingdom

The River Brant is a 14 miles (23 km) long tributary of the River Witham that flows entirely in the county of Lincolnshire, in the east of England.

George Gresley Perry (1820–1897) was an English churchman and academic, known as a church historian and Archdeacon of Stow.

Timeline of Lincoln

The following is a timeline of the history of the city of Lincoln, the county town of Lincolnshire in the East Midlands of England.



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