Lincoln Overview

City Description

This part of Heritage Connect looks at the whole of Lincoln and describes some of the broader characteristics of the city. Find out about the city's overall character and its historical development according to the four themes below. Each theme is broken down into a series of sections which discuss specific topics in detail. 

  • Current Land Use
    Lincoln has a broadly segmental pattern of land use, with well defined areas of commercial, industrial and residential development. The pattern of land use has been strongly influenced by the city’s waterways and the ability to drain the land either side of them. Other ‘natural’ and man-made features such as the topography of the escarpment slopes, the location of the commons, surviving areas of former parkland and former quarrying sites (see Drury Lane Character Area, Swanholme Lakes Character Area, Greetwell Quarry Character Area) continue to have a strong influence on where and how the city develops.
    Lincoln’s commercial ‘centre’ follows High Street, which runs north/south through the city. After nearly 2000 years the road continues to serve as the basis for Lincoln’s commercial activity, widening immediately north and south of the river crossing at High Bridge, and becoming increasingly linear away from the city centre.
    View north along Newark Road terminated by the elevated Lincoln Cathedral above rooftops
    Fig.1: View north along Newark Road, which forms the southern end of Lincoln's commercial centre. Here, as in Newport Charcter in the north of the city, shops and houses intermingle as the commercial core is stretched out along the elongated 'High Street'
    Over time residential areas have developed around the linear commercial centre, with high density inner-suburbs surrounding much of the city centre and a relatively lower density of suburban developments further to the north and southwest.
    Development to the east and west of the city centre has been constrained by the river and the low-lying areas in the river valley. These areas have generally been retained in agricultural use, developed for industry, or occupied by services with a need to locate close to the city, such as the sewage works and cemeteries (see Tritton Road Character Area, Great Northern Terrace Character Area, Witham East Character Area). More recently industrial, commercial and retail developments have also been built on the fringes of the built up areas of the city, particularly during the Modern period when these sites have offered large plots and parking areas close to major road infrastructure.
    The recent shift for industrial development to move away from the city centre has led to an increasing number of residential developments on former industrial land. These developments represent regeneration in Lincoln, and an increasingly central residential population as industry and commerce is pushed out to the fringes of the city.
    Residential development in the Character Area. Houses vary from 2-3 storeys and flats from 3-5 storeys, taking advantage of rural views over the South Escarpment
    Fig. 2: New residential development on former industrial land in Outer Circle Drive Character Area
  • Transport
    There are several key phases to the development of the city’s road transport infrastructure, with each phase often entailing the expansion and redevelopment of the existing road network. Consequently, central areas of the city have the most complex structure of streets, although both Roman and Medieval routes have strongly influenced road patterns throughout the entire authority area.
    Many of the main arterial routes within the city remain based on a Roman layout of roads. Most prominent is High Street, which still forms the north/south spine of the city, but also Newport, Newark Road, Nettleham Road, Wragby Road, Greetwell Road and Monks Road are all of Roman origin. The roads are generally straight radial roads that connected the city with its rural hinterland as well as outlying settlements. On a more strategic level Ermine Way and Fosse Way, which lie beneath the Modern routes of High Street and Newark Road respectively, connected Lincoln with the major settlements within Roman Britain including London and York. High Street itself forms the backbone of the city, and crosses the historic bridging point of High Bridge, a strategic crossing point which underlies the foundation of the city.
    Map of the Roman (in red) and medeival (in green) streets of Lincoln (city centre).
    Figure 1 Map showing the pattern of Roman (red) and Medieval streets in the city centre. The former Roman upper city enclosure is approximately defined by the square shape of intra-mural roads which ran inside the city defences
    Subsequent to a period of economic decline in the Early Medieval Era the city began to re-establish itself, re-using parts of the former Colonia, most notably the upper city defences and the existing road infrastructure. Main radial roads appear to have been re-used most readily, probably as they continued to provide access to and from the main defensive gateways of the former Roman upper city. Three of the four gateways to the upper city (Newport Arch, Eastgate, and the South Gate) continued in use during the High Medieval Era. During this Era the area enclosed by the upper city defences once again formed the civic heart of the city. Initially a motte occupied the southwest corner of the upper city, with the remaining area within the defences forming the Bailey. The name ‘Bailgate’ survives to the current day. Construction of the castle defences resulted in the creation of new road infrastructure, such as Westgate, St. Paul’s Lane and Castle Hill, as well as the re-location of the Westgate. Despite large scale re-working of roads in the upper city in the years following the Conquest, the influence of Roman roads in many streets remains clear. Although gently curving, Bailgate still follows the former alignment of Ermine Street, and both East Bight and Chapel lane have clearly been adapted from former Roman intra-mural roads. Construction of the Cathedral, beginning in the late 11th century, led to the development of new road infrastructure including Minster Yard. A defensive ecclesiastical precinct was enclosed by the Close Wall in the early 14th century, which added an additional dimension to movement in the upper city. Construction of the wall restricted movement through a number of gateways, including Pottergate, Exhequergate, Greestone Stairs and Priorygate, all of which still survive in the current townscape.
     View of Newport Arch from the north
    Fig. 2 View north of Newport Arch, the only Roman gateway in England still in use by vehicles
    Within lower parts of the city replacement of Roman infrastructure appears to have been more comprehensive, with few roads other than High Street retained. However, the former Roman defences to the lower city, as well as the continued use of several gateways, still influenced the layout of streets such as Clasketgate and the funnelling pattern of Michealgate, Danesgate, and Steep Hill into the former south gate of the upper city. Much of the irregular pattern of medieval streets is retained in the current townscape, dividing central parts of the city into small amorphous urban blocks, funnelling traffic through a network of narrow streets, and concentrating access through former gateways and around defensive features.
    New radial roads were established linking the city with its agricultural hinterland, such as Skellingthorpe Road and Doddington Road. Several lowland roads run parallel to waterways, choosing to locate on drier land less prone to flooding (e.g. Washingborough Road, Hykeham Road, and Brant Road).
    The next major expansion of the city’s road infrastructure was in response to the rapid growth from the Early Industrial period onwards. Routes such as Lindum Road (1785) and Yarbrough Road (1868) were established to bypass the city centre as well as provide shallower ascents up the escarpment slope. Lincoln continued to establish itself as a market centre, with the construction of Canwick Road in 1843. Subsequent residential growth in the late 19th century entailed the creation of a gridiron pattern of residential streets, seen in several parts of the city such as Monks Road to Winn Street Character Area, Burton Road Character Area, West Parade Character Area and Sincil Bank North Character Area. Some parts of the city centre were re-worked during this period, including Corporation Street.
    Map od sinuous road patterns in a modern residential housing estate Map of planned road patterns in St. Giles Charcater Area
    Fig. 3: Comparable road patterns of large scale residential developments in the Inter-war period (orange) and the Modern period (blue)
    Much of the road infrastructure laid down in the 20th century was a result of the residential expansion of the city. Comparison of large-scale 20th century residential developments demonstrates an evolving street patterns ranging from the planned patterns of streets and spaces of Inter-war and Post-war estates (St. Giles Character Area and Ermine West Character Area) which reflect the increasing use of the private motor car, to the sinuous branching patterns cul-de-sacs in the most Modern estates, which illustrate an almost complete dependence on the car and the desire for private space by eliminating ‘through traffic’.
    Increased use of the private motorcar in the 20th century also led to large-scale infrastructure projects in the city centre as well as in rural parts of the authority area. The western bypass was constructed in ??, and several city centre areas were targeted with major road construction projects including the Wigford Way, Tritton Road, Pelham Bridge and the Brayford Way. High volumes of traffic within the city centre has increasingly led to the pedestrianisation of streets, most notably High Street, or their conversion to one way traffic.
    The River Witham is likely to have been the focus for initial settlement and trade activity in the area, with some of the earliest archaeological evidence coming for the Brayford Pool. For over 1800 years, between the Roman Military Era and the Post-railway Expansion Period, the Witham was the conduit for the majority of the city’s trade. Connected with the port of Boston to the south and the River Trent via the Fossedyke to the west, Lincoln was, and still is, a strategic node witihn a regional waterway system. In its early state the River would have been broad and shallow, illustrated by the name ‘Brayford’ which means ‘wide ford’. Throughout its use the River has been ‘improved’ or re-engineered both to improve its transport capabilities, to reclaim marginal land along its borders, as well as control its seasonal regimes with respect to flood defence. Consequently the current river channel is almost entirely man-made, a product of successive phases of alteration and engineering.
    View west of the Fossdyke Navigation at the Pyewipe Inn
    Fig.3 The Fossedyke Navigation, which connects Lincoln with the River Trent, in the west of the city
    The Fossedyke remains as one of the more patent examples of the improvement process. Through a massive programme of engineering works the River Till, which flowed into the western end of Brayford Pool, was adapted to form the Fossedyke Navigation, connecting Lincoln with the River Trent to the west. Purported to be of Roman origin the waterway is more likely to have been engineered during the Early Medieval Era. The last major stage or engineering works was carried out during the Early Industrial period, prior to the arrival of the railways in 1846, which swiftly replaced the waterway network as the principal method of transport in and out of the city. The role of Lincoln’s waterway now is more focussed on recreation than industry and trade.
    Rail arrived in Lincoln in 1846 via the Midland Line, shortly followed by the Great Northern Line in 1848. Railways accessed the heart of the city through open land to the east and west of the city centre. Further lines, including the Honington Line and Avoiding Line, were built in 1867 and 1882 respectively. Railways sidings also linked in with the city’s growing industries, acting as a catalyst and umbilical for the growth of Lincoln’s heavy engineering industries (see Great Northern Terrace Character Area). Several of the sidings continue in use, although many have become redundant with the increased reliance on road transport. Several track ways also fell out of use towards the latter part of the 20th century, including the former Avoiding Line as well as the Midland Line. The former lines have left linear marks within the townscape (see St. Botolph’s Character Area and South Common fringe Character Area) as well as elements of their associated infrastructure such as the surviving Midland Railway station in St. Peter at Gowt’s Character Area. 
  • Public Realm

    Alongside the pattern and scale of roads, the city has retained many elements of public realm. The features are often distinct in character and use traditional materials including white limestone, red granite and cast-iron, providing an added dimension to the complexity and historic legibility of the streetscape. In many cases, whether recent or old, the materials used relate to a specific period of growth or redevelopment, and as a result compliment the built elements of the surrounding townscape (e.g. Broadway Character Area and Steep Hill and The Strait Character Area). In recognition of the relationship, many areas of the city centre have undergone restoration with traditional materials, such as southern parts of Lindum Hill Character Area.  

    Red granite and White limestone setts markign a jucntion at Well Lane

    Fig.1: Red granite and white limestone setts marking a junction at Well Lane in Steep Hill and The Strait Chracter Area. The road surface is made of York stone setts with York stone channels and kerbs

  • Residential
    Since its foundation in the Roman Military Era Lincoln’s population has fluctuated, reacting in the main to the changing fortunes of the city’s economy. In broad terms, prosperous times have excited large-scale residential expansion as well as individual expressions of great wealth, whereas times of recession and hardship have seen a dearth of development if not the abandonment and retraction of settlement. The character of residential growth is also an expression of Lincoln’s reaction to national politics and trends, such as the instigation of the Public Health Act of 1875, the austere times of the Post-war period, and new approaches to the planning of large-scale developments, including local housing schemes (see Swanpool Character Area and Birchwood Estate Character Area).
    Throughout Lincoln’s early history the defensive enclosures of the upper and lower cities, as first laid out in the Roman Military and Colonia Eras, have formed a haven for development. Many or the earliest examples of residential houses, as early as the High Medieval Era, survive within the former defensive enclosures. Standing remains of stone built and timber framed houses from the High Medieval and Early Modern Eras are common within the former walled enclosures (see Steep Hill and The Strait Character Area and Bailgate and Castle Hill Character Area). Although these residences are not entirely limited to the former defensive enclosures, with other examples such as St. Mary’s Guildhall and Whitefriars located off or near contemporary road infrastructure, in the case of the two latter houses, High Street.
    St Mary’s Guildhall, which contains the in-situ remains of the ‘Fosse Way’
    Fig.1 The 12th century St. Mary's Guildhall along lower High Street 
    During the relatively prosperous times of the High Medieval Era the city expanded in the form of residential and market suburbs located outside the main gateways to the city: Wigford to the south, Newport to the north, Newland to the West and Butwerk to the East. The suburbs influenced later development, most often in the layout of former market places and roads (see Newport Character Area and Newland Character Area). Defensive or delineative boundaries around two suburbs also survive, most clearly in the form of Sincil Dyke, which surrounded the Wigford Suburb.
    With the construction of the Cathedral beginning in the late 11th century a new ecclesiastical district was created and enclosed with a defensive wall in the early 14th century (see ‘Ecclesiatsical Section below). Many of the buildings within the Close wall date from the High Medieval and Early Modern Eras, surviving as the most complete example of a group of buildings from Lincoln’s early history.
    Decline of the city in the Early Modern Era appears to have caused a retraction of settlement, much of the focus for development centred on the former suburbs outside the city walls as well as land within the upper and lower city defences. Depopulation and contraction occurred to such an extent that several areas within the former Roman defences reverted to open land. However, the growth of the city in the Early Industrial period led to the expansion of the city, and the construction of homes to house an entrepreneurial middle class elite, as well as a burgeoning workforce.
    Much of the poorer housing associated with this phase of development has been lost, with few surviving examples around the city (e.g. Character Areas). Typically in the form of courts, housing for this Early Industrial period was subject to a programme of clearance in the early 20th century for reasons health and cleanliness. Passageways leading to the rear of buildings are often the only surviving trace of the existence of such courts (see St. Botolph’s Character Area). However, towards the end of the Early Industrial period houses adopted a form that was to prevail for the following 100 years or more: Rows of terraced houses. Surviving terraces of this period are relatively rare compared to their Late Victorian/Edwardian counterparts. Often locating along older road infrastructure examples of this type of housing mostly survive in small groups, and are noticeable trough their small scale, high solid to void ratios, traditional materials, plainness and position close to or at the back of the footway (see Northgate and Church Lane Character Area, West Parade and Beaumont Fee Character Area, and Radial Roads Character Area).
    Early 19th century houses at 17-21 Beaumont Fee, the properties are fairly plain in decoration and built on a slope.
    Fig. 2 Three cottages dating to the late 18th of early 19th century in West Parade and Beaumont Fee Character Area
    Like their poorer counterparts, elite buildings of this period are too a comparatively rare occurrence in Lincoln. These large dwellings usually occur in groups along prominent roads and gateways to the city, many of which are now overcome with traffic (see Lindum Hill Character Area, Eastgate Character Area and Newport Character Area) with exception of those within the protective bounds of the Close Wall. The houses often have a symmetrical layout of doors and windows, and are generally plain in style, with the exception of some neo-classical features, notably around entranceways. Several individual houses also survive within the city, again generally along prominent roads, such as the 18th century re-fronted Garmston House (see High Street Character Area) and the large property at the junction of Steep Hill and Danesgate (see Steep Hill and The Strait Character Area).
    Lincoln continued to prosper throughout the 19th century, and the arrival of the railways in 1846 and 1848 was a key catalyst for industrial and residential growth. The great wealth that derived from this period of expansion is manifested in a series of elite suburbs around the city, within which lavish and large scale houses, often within expansive plots, compete for prominence and individuality. Like earlier elite dwellings, the houses are located in prominent locations, and consequently often intermingle with earlier high status residences (see Newland Character Area and Drury Lane Character Area). However, such was the scale of the city’s expansion that entirely new suburbs were created on open land around the city’s fringes (see Yarborough Road and The Avenue Character Area, Lindum Terrace Character Area and Northgate and Church Lane Character Area). Development of formerly open areas allowed for a low density of housing, with houses set in spacious landscaped gardens. The form and decoration of houses is often competing, and can be regarded to some extent as Lincoln’s architectural response to the ‘Battle of the Styles’, most plainly seen in the mixture of Gothic Revival, Tudoresque, and Classical architectural styles in Lindum Terrace Character Area.
    Large detached property from the Late Victorian/Edwardian period with a classical-style doorway and later additions such as a conservatory
    Fig. 3 Large-scale classically proportioned villa in Lindum Terrace with neo-classical stone porch within shallow projecting central bay, and stone dressed window surrounds
    Often accompanying the mature and spacious garden plots are high wall and tall gates, adding to the sense of exclusivity in the middle to high-class suburbs.
    From the Early Industrial period onwards, brick had increasingly become the material of choice. Like with stone, the local availability of clay meant the city had ready access to materials needed for brick manufacturing. In turn, the prevalence of brick as a cheaper construction material defined stone as a high status construction material. Prior to the establishment of major brickworks in the west of the city (see Industrial section below), brick was manufactured by hand in relatively small quantities. This ‘hand made brick’ is used in many areas of the city until the mid 19th century, and contrasts in texture and hue with the later mass manufactured brick. Mass manufactured brick, which became available from local brickworks above West Common and via the new railway lines, differs in size, colour and texture to the hand made brick. Non-local bricks have often been used to emphasise a building’s individuality, most commonly seen in the use of lighter buff or beige coloured brick within decoration, or less frequently to construct entire buildings of facades. It is likely that the non indigenous brick came at a premium, and hence had an associated cachet. This well illustrated by the use of buff coloured brick in the front facades and chimneys of Numbers 49-53 Danesgate, which to their rears are made of a common red brick.
    The most patent expression of brick construction during the period of Lincoln industrial growth, is in the provision of middle to lower class terraced housing. Between 1871 and 1881 Lincoln’s population grew by 10,590 inhabitants, an increase of almost 40%. The need to house a growing workforce and their families was met by the construction of row upon row of terraced housing, mainly on open land to all sides of the city centre. The housing was an alternative to many of the early courts, which had been deemed uninhabitable according to the Public Health Act of 1875. With the new housing came sewerage, running water, pavements, and street lighting, much of which survives in the public realm today.
    Two-storey terraced houses on Scorer Street with bay windows on the ground floor of the properties; a low wall separates the properties from the path in front.
    Fig.4 Late Victorian terraced houses in Sincil Dyke west character Area
    Housing developed at a rapid pace, and on greenfield sites often took place within the framework of the former field enclosures. One or more fields would redeveloped at any one time and, as a result, roads, building lines and plot boundaries often reflect the orientation of former field boundaries (see Monks Road Character Areas).
    A new grid-iron network of roads provided much of the framework for housing in the Post-Railway Expansion and Late Victorian/Edwardian Periods, although existing main roads continued to be the focus for linear expansion (see Newark Road Character Area and Burton Road Character Area). Taken as a whole terraced housing of this period is remarkable for its consistency in scale, form and construction materials. This great expression of regularity is the earliest example of building ‘en masse’ in the city, providing an insight into the use of prefabricated materials within large-scale developments.
    Yet variances exist within what appears to be a conformist and standardised townscape. Variation is most apparent between individual build units as opposed to individual houses. The palette of decorative and construction materials used in terraced houses appears to be finite. Many decorative features, such as patterns of moulded brickwork, different coloured bricks, as well as styles of bay windows or door lintels, are replicated in terraced houses in disparate parts of the city’s late Victorian/Edwardian townscapes. However, through the varied selection and arrangement of materials, a great number of often highly individual permutations are created. When considering the assemblage of terraced houses in Lincoln as a whole, the subtle variations between build units, locally or at a citywide scale, often indicate the former social patterns of a neighbourhood. For example, the large ornate terraced houses with small forecourts and bay windows on the escarpment slope to the west of The Arboretum contrast with those immediately to the south, which are smaller in scale, set at the back of the footway and plain in decoration. The latter houses were closer to the industrial works across the other side of the River Witham, and housed many of the employees that worked there. The cleaner air of the escarpment slope, with its commanding views to the south, was clearly a comparably higher status area to locate. 
    It is from the late 19th century that purpose built semi-detached houses first begin to appear in Lincoln, initiating a period of ‘suburbanisation’ that still continues today. Semi-detached houses were developed for an emerging middle class as an alternative to terraced houses, but were not as grand or costly as a fully detached house. Correspondingly, many early semi-detached houses are located in areas of detached houses, and occasionally form the transition between detached and terraced houses of similar date (see West Parade Character Area). Late Victorian/Edwardian semi-detached properties are most often located within walking distance of the city centre, most commonly along main roads as well as within and bordering the more affluent suburbs. The expansion along main and radial roads took place in the housing boom of the Inter-war period. The increased use of the private motorcar allowed for the linear expansion of middle class housing for considerable distances along main roads (see North and South Lincoln Ribbon Development Character Areas and Skellingthorpe Character Area). Houses of the period of Inter-war expansion have a strong and identifiable character. Houses are set back from roads in spacious plots, commonly with a gabled feature above a single or two-storey bow window and a semi-circular arch over a recessed main entranceway. Coherences in materials and building form demonstrate the continued construction of houses with prefabricated materials and standardised designs, similar to that seen in the late 19th century terraced houses. Semi-detached Inter-war houses are often differentiated from each other through varying decoration in the gable ends facing the road. The designs often included mock-Tudor timber framing, but are occasionally reflect contemporary architectural improvements such as the sunburst decoration, typical of Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles.
    Oversized sunburst decoration on shared gabled end above two storey bay windows.
     Fig. 5 House with sunburst in gable end along one of Lincoln's northerly radial roads
    Although the legacy of terraced housing of the Late Victoria/Edwardian period continued during the Inter-war and Post-war Periods in a handful of areas (see Bracebridge Character Area), there was a concerted move towards the delivery of housing in the form of expansive estates. The developments took place on formerly undeveloped land at the edges of the built up area of the city, and like the earlier Victorian developments, the layout of houses and infrastructure often still reflects the pre-existing pattern of land division. The early 20th century was also a period when Council Housing was first built in Lincoln. The passing of the Housing, Town and Country Planning Act in 1919, committed the Government to subsidise the provision of new houses. House construction in the Inter-war period was also inspired by the need to provide homes for soldiers returning form World War I, known as ‘Homes for Heroes’. The first Council Houses built in Lincoln were constructed on Wragby Road (see St. Giles Character Area) in 1919. The houses formed the front to a large estate lying between Nettleham and Wragby Road, which was largely complete by the mid 1930’s. Several houses dating from this phase of Lincoln’s expansion are evocative of the contemporary architectural styles, as well as the trends of the laying out of large-scale estates. Many dwellings have features of the Arts and Crafts Style, and the layout of streets, buildings and open spaces were clearly influenced by the Garden Suburb Movement (see Swanpool Character Area and St. Giles Character Area). There is often a careful arrangement of buildings along streets and a notable increase on the amount of open space compared to the earlier Late Victorian/Edwardian terraced housing. Many streets have tall mature trees forming avenues, and the boundaries to the front of houses are defined by privet hedges as opposed to hard walls or fences. Roads are well connected too, often forming circular routes, recognising the increased use of the private motor-car.
    Property with projecting bays, including a wing with swept Mansard style roof extended to ground floor level at number 11 Chaucer Drive (Note the more recent addition of mock stone cladding on the left)
    Fig. 6 Housing built c.1919 in the east of St. Giles Character Area. The decoration and form of the houses are clearly inspired by the Arts and Craft Movement with deep flared eaves, mansard roof, harled facades and decorative use of tile
    The Second World War brought housing development in the city to a standstill, and many planned developments in the city were mothballed, only to be resurrected in the Post-war period (see Broadway Character Area). The Post-war period saw the construction of several large public housing estates (see Hartsholme Estate Character Area, Ermine East Character Area and Moorland Character Area). Many developments continued in a similar style to those of the Inter-war period, echoing in an more austere fashion some of the characteristics of the Garden Suburb Movement and Arts and Crafts Style (see Ermine East Character Area and Ermine West Character Area). The austerity of the period led to a plain and pragmatic building style, concisely symbolised by the construction of groups of prefabricated bungalows, several of which survive around the city (see Honington Character Area and St. Giles Character Area).
    Despite the austerity of the Post-war period several other estates at this time illustrate the experimental ways in which Britain as nation was emerging from the rigours of the aftermath of the Second World War. This was the time of the Festival of Britain, where new Modernist concepts were intermingling with the need for inexpensive construction and design methods to create low-cost housing. Many of the estates at this time reflect the experimental change in attitude and the emergence of a modernist style (see Hartsholme Estate Character Area).
    Balconies on apartment blocks within the Character Area
    Fig. 7 Appartment block with robust modernsist conrete features such as balconies, window sills and lintels (Hartsholme Estate Character Area)
    The creation of large-scale housing estates on open land around the city centre continued into the 1960;s and 1970’s. Experimentation with architectural styles was matched with changing ways in which estates were being planned. The series of estates that make up Birchwood Character Area, show evolving ways in which local authority housing was planned between 1960 and 1980, in particular the relationships between communal open spaces, road and pedestrian access, local amenities, and housing.
    Alongside the large-scale public housing developments in the Post-war and Modern periods were numerous smaller scale developments within existing built up areas of the city. These smaller estates often comprehensively redeveloped areas of existing housing, or were developed on remaining areas of open space (see Witham to High Street Character Area, Chapel Lane Character Area and Burton Road Character Area). Often within areas of Late Victorian/Edwardian terraced housing, the more recent developments are in stark contrast to their surroundings. Locating closer to the city centre than their large-scale suburban counterparts, the infill public housing estates are generally higher in density being made up of a mixture of terraced houses and apartment blocks set within communal areas of open space.
    The ‘Right to Buy’ scheme introduced in 1980 has had a dramatic impact on the character of many public housing estates. Uptake of the scheme varies throughout the city, and is frequently localised, often dependent on the form and style of houses, as well as the availability of the scheme itself. Where taken up, the scheme has considerable effects on local character, transforming the regular patterns of the council maintained streets into a plethora of individual expressions, as residents adapt their houses to their own needs (see Birchwood Estate Character Area).
    Row of terraced houses where the porch area has been changed and contains 3 columns, which support the porch area of the house
    Fig. 8 A property in Birchwood Estate Character Area personalised through the additon of a large porch, chnage of the public/private boundary, and brick cleaned front facade
    Throughout the Modern period residential expansion of Lincoln has continued in the form of large-scale estates built on land around the city edges. However, since the 1980’s, the development of housing has increasingly been undertaken as a private enterprise.
    The provision of social or affordable housing still continues, albeit through an agreement between the council and the private developer. The city council is able to impose on the development the provision of an agreed proportion of ‘affordable housing’ or ‘social housing’. This negotiable agreement between council and developer is frequently manifested in the townscape as a nucleated group of affordable homes within a larger residential estate (see St. George’s Character Area). Differences in scale, quality of materials, density and tall plot boundaries often isolate the areas from surrounding privately owned housing.
    Modern two and three storey buildings around Carnoustie Drive and Muirfield Drive
    Fig. 9 Modern housing built using a standard 'palette' of materials and building forms within Birchwood Modern Suburb
    Houses within Modern private developments are generally a mixture of semi-detached and detached properties, except in the case of ‘affordable housing’, which often takes the form of short rows or apartments. The estates often consist of a number of discrete build units, commonly built around a branching network of cul-de-sacs. The lack of any connectivity between streets, and the detached nature of dwellings emphasises the individuality and privacy of houses. However, initial housing construction in the 1980’s and early 1990’s, is dominated by houses within build units are often highly coherent in character as builders sought to reduce costs by using a small number of generic house designs and limited palette of building materials.
  • Commercial
    During the Prehistoric Era the strategic position of the Brayford Pool at the confluence of the River Till and River Witham, the latter of which joined with The Wash, was probably the location of the earliest trading activity in the area. Both the River Witham and the Brayford remained key routes for outgoing and incoming trade until the arrival of the railways in the mid 19th century.
    The foundation of Lincoln with the construction of the Roman fortress at the top of the northern escarpment provided a focus for commercial activity. The escarpment slope as well as the road on the south side of the River Witham (along the modern line of High Street and Newark Road) developed rapidly as a commercial centre, no doubt fuelled by their proximity to the River Witham and its strategic bridging point. The enclosure of the lower northern escarpment slope in the mid to late second century demonstrates the importance of this commercial area. The walled areas of the city, as well as the main arterial roads leading in and out of the city, in particular High Street to the south, still form the structure for the overwhelming majority of commercial activity in the city.
    During the post-Roman period, the city declined rapidly, and it is likely that the walled city provided protection for a small subsistent farming community. There is little visible trace or archaeological evidence at this stage of Lincoln’s history, and trade and commercial activity probably all but ceased. Although there is some evidence for Saxon activity no riverside trading settlement or ‘wic’, as seen in other settlements developing in England at this time, has yet been found in Lincoln. However, evidence does appear to be concentrated more towards the south of the city, suggesting that the River Witham may have had an important role to play. Archaeological evidence tentatively suggests that the city began to re-establish itself towards the end of the 8th and early 9th centuries. A number of roads were re-built, including Flaxengate at the end of the 9th century. Archaeological evidence indicates that trade was occurring with the rest of England as well as Western Europe. The Fossedyke connected Lincoln with the River Trent to the west, and boats were landing on consolidated beaches or ‘hards’ around the Brayford and along the River. Trade was probably concerned with a number of small manufacturing industries such as metallurgy, pottery, brewing as well as agricultural produce. By the time of the time of the Norman Conquest Lincoln was once again a market centre of regional importance. A new waterfront constructed in the 10th century along the north side of the River Witham is testament to its commercial role.
    The High Medieval Era was a period of regeneration in the city, and much of the formulaic roman infrastructure was adapted and re-organised to the needs of Lincoln as a Medieval market centre. During the relatively prosperous times, the city expanded in the form of residential and market suburbs located outside the main gateways to the walled city: These suburbs built up either side of large, often funnel shaped, market places that fed into one of the city’s many gates. The extents of several of these former market places remain apparent in the outline of building plots that have subsequently encroached upon the open space (see St. Botolph’s Character Area, Newland Character Area and Newport Character Area). Shops and commercial properties are still located within these former market suburbs (see aforementioned Character Areas).
    Row of terraced properties along the west side of Newport composed of several build units, illustrating the plot-by-plot development of the Character Area
    Fig.1 Shops along Newport, a former markety place and suburb immediately north of the north gate of the Roman and medieval walled cities
    Within the walled city High Street, Steep Hill and Bailgate, combined to form city’s main commercial centre. A handful of buildings, including Jew's House, one of England's earliest surviving shops, survive along the linear route from this early era of Lincoln’s history. Those that do have often changed in use, fluctuating between residential and commercial occupation. Today the majority are shops, such as Norman House, Jew’s Court, and Leigh Pemberton House, and Numbers 44 and 45 Steep Hill (see Steep Hill and The Strait Character Area and Bailgate and Castle Hill Character Area).
    12th century stone-built Norman House, a landmark building in the far north of the Character Area, and terminating building to views up the slope along Steep Hill. Note the integrated shop window on the right hand side of the building.
    Fig. 2 Norman House dates back to the 12th century
    The breadth of commercial activity either side of High Street, Steep Hill and Bailgate widened in several parts of the city. Markets were located either side of the three interconnecting streets, such as Castle Hill and Cornmarket. Occasionally market places connected with gateways in the city walls (see High Street Character Area). The steepest part of the escarpment slope was also an area of dedicated market places (see Steep Hill and The Strait Character Area and Spring Hill Character Area). High Street was closely connected with the Brayford Pool, allowing for the transfer of goods from the waterfronts to the shops along High Street. A handful of these passageways and lanes survive in the modern townscape (see High Street Character Area and St. Peter at Gowt’s Character Area).
    The city’s fortunes declined in the Early Modern Era and it is likely that commercial activity in the city reduced. Principal causes for the decline were a decline the cloth trade and the loss of the wool staple to Boston in the &'th century. However, a second phase of investment and re-organisation occurred as the city entered another phase of prosperity in the Early Industrial Period. This was a time of the Agricultural Revolution, when Britain saw a massive increase in agricultural productivity. Lincoln’s status as a market centre within an enormous rural hinterland, coupled with its ability to trade along the Witham and Fossedyke, meant the city benefited greatly from the increased agricultural output. The city centre would have been a hive of activity, and many traces of the investment that derived from this prosperous agricultural economy are apparent in buildings and former market places in the city centre. Examples include Butchery Court, off the south side of Clasketgate, where animals were brought to slaughter and sale, as well as the remains of the Butter market, moved from High Street and re-erected within the façade of the Central Market facing City Square (see Sincil Street Character Area).
    Central Market, with rebuilt part of the façade of the former Butter market, facing City Square
    Fig.3 Central Market in Sincil Street Character Area. The central gabled bay is that of the former 18th century Butter Market, originally located on upper High Street
    A number of shop fronts survive from the economic expansion of the city during the Early Industrial period. Typically they are shallow projecting bow windows with multiple panes of glass mounted within the façades of buildings. Examples of these early shop fronts are entirely limited to buildings along or immediately off the combined routes of High Street, Steep Hill and Bailgate, such as Number 1a Gordon Road, Number 108 High Street, and Norman House on Steep Hill (see High Street Character Area, Steep Hill and The Strait Character Area, and Bailgate and Castle Hill Character Area).
    The Industrial Revolution provoked another phase of rapid growth in the city, with the population increasing by almost 40% between 1871 and 1881. The city’s economy expanded correspondingly, with the construction of new shops and markets (see Sincil Street Character Area), as well as the redevelopment of many existing buildings, notably those along the three routes of High Street, Steep Hill and Bailgate. Many shop fronts associated with this period of expansion survive in the current townscape (see Bailgate and Castle Hill Character Area and Steep Hill Character Area).
    Decorative Victorian shopfront at the bottom of Steep Hill
    Fig.4 Example of a decorative late Victorian shop front at Number 9 Steep Hill
    Shop fronts of this period are constructed in wood, and commonly have loosely classical styled features such as narrow pilasters with capitals, scrolled brackets and moulded cornices. Shop windows are large due to low stall risers and fine mullions and transoms. Like with their predecessors, many shop fronts of this date have been built into the facades of earlier buildings, either as part of a change from residential to commercial use, or to upgrade the earlier shop front. Nonetheless, a considerable number of buildings along High Street date from this period of expansion, and the properties are often an expression of the great wealth of the time (see High Street Character Area). The size of the city increased dramatically during the Late Victorian/Edwardian Period, with many thousands of houses constructed around the fringes of the city. Commercial premises developed alongside the new houses, notably along existing major roads, such as Newark Road and Monks Road (see Newark Road Character Area and Milman Road to Frederick Street Character Area).
    Throughout the 20th century, the city’s commercial centre has largely remained based on the combined lengths of High Street, Steep Hill and Bailgate. Properties along these streets show a high degree of individuality. The vast majority have been altered and adapted for successive generations of retail use, and consequently the character of buildings at ground floor level, where shop fronts have been successively changed over time, is relatively more varied than the upper storeys of buildings which have changed comparatively less. This leads to a horizontal division in the building line, which shows the contrasting expressions of the commercial use of buildings over the last 300 years and more.
    New residential and commercial properties that were constructed or converted from previous uses, such as Garmston House at 262 High Street during the 16th and 17th centuries.
     Fig. 5 Modern shopfront within a former 18th century stone house on High Street
    As during other periods, expansion of the city has been accompanied by a growth in the commercial sector. Since the early 20th century this has largely been in the form of dedicated retail centres that have been built alongside large public housing estates (see Hartsholme Estate Character Area, Birchwood Estate Character Area, and Bunkers Hill Character Area). The architectural style of retail centres is often contemporary with that of the surrounding housing, and is frequently of a more experimental or adventurous design.
    The row of shops is a curved three-storey landmark building with a shallow pitched gabled roof with deep eaves and brown pantiles. The row has a curving projection with a glass roof at first-floor level which provides cover along the shop fronts
    Fig. 6 Shopping centre within the Post-war residential estate in Turner Character Area
    In addition to the expansion of the city’s commercial provision through the building of new dedicated shopping centres within residential estates, large scale retail development has taken place within the city centre as well as at the fringes of the city. Both of these forms of commercial expansion have taken the form of large scale retail parks characterised by large squat buildings set within expansive areas of open space, the majority of which is allocated to car parking recognising the dominance of the private motor car (see Tritton Road Industrial Character Area and Outer Circle Drive Character Area). The buildings have oversive entranceways set within solid windowless façades, helping to orientate the customer to the point of arrival.
    Courtyard arrangement of retail units in Valentine’s Park. They share a communal plot with shared parking. Decoration on the buildings consists mainly of coloured cladding and signage
     Fig. 7 Modern retail outlets in Tritton Road Character Area, adjacent to the city centre
    Within the city centre many sites have been redeveloped during the 20th and 21st centuries. Development has often entailed the amalgamation of two or more former building plots, introducing larger buildings onto the High Street, and creating a coarser grain of plots either side of the High Street (see High Street Character Area). The increased width of buildings also reduces the variety of facades making up building lines, giving modern shop fronts a stronger and more commanding outlook onto the street.
  • Recreation

    Lincoln has a long history of recreation, one of the earliest visible traces of which survives in the form of The Park, a former 19th century parambulation along the western wall of the lower city defences (see Orchard Street Charcater Aea). Many public parks survive from the Early Industrial period [1750-1845 AD] onwards, with each one often associated with a specific period of residential expansion, such as the Arboretum or the open greens of Birchwood Estate Character Area.

    View of red and white cast-iron bandstand and surrounding grassed areas.

     Fig. 1 Lincoln's Arboretum
    During the 19th century two private estates developed in the south of the city (see Boutham Park Character Area and Hartsholme Charcater Area). Both Boultham Hall and Hartsholme Hall were demolished during the 20th century, but the former gardens of the houses survive as public parks.
    Two of Lincoln's medieval commons survive in the west and south of the city. Their agricultural function diminished from the 19th century, and the areas have increasingly been used for public recreation, in particular West Common which was host to Lincoln's racecourse between 1773 and 1991, and is currently used for sports pitches and a golf course. South Common has a long hsitory of recreational use, with remains of a Victorian parambulation, a golf course and a number of sports ptiches still apparent. Both commons are used for a variety of recreational uses too including walking, jogging, horse-riding and football.
    East elevation of Lincoln racecourse grandstand and associated stable block
    Fig. 2 Grandstand and stable block of Lincoln's former racecourse on West Common
    Alongside the commercial and retail focus of the High Street and surrounding Character Areas in and around the city centre, this part of the city has also developed as a centre for recreation. A wide range of amenities are located alongside shops including pubs, restaurants, fitness facilities and a cinema. Brayford Pool the upper High Street in particular are a focus for the city’s night time economy.
    The River Witham and Fossedyke Navigation also offer opportunities for recreation such as boating and fishing. In particular; the Fossedyke links the River Witham with the River Trent, allowing acess to and from a wider network of inland waterways and The Wash. In the south of the city, a series of small lakes (see Swanpool Character Area) associated with former gravel extraction form the basis of a nature reserve.
    Leisure facilities in Lincoln, both formal and informal, cater for a much wider population than the residents of Lincoln alone.