Up until the mid 19th century building materials in the city were almost entirely sourced locally. Arguably the most identifiable of Lincoln’s vernacular materials is the limestone quarried from the north and south escarpments. The stone is prevalent in those buildings surviving from Lincoln’s early history, and is most clearly seen in the Cathedral and the Castle, but also in the numerous buildings within the historic core. as well as the ancient city walls themselves. Although mostly confined to the city centre, the material is used elsewhere in Lincoln, most often in churches as well as farmhouses and associated buildings which have since been incorporated into residential areas (see Glebe Park Character Area and North Lincoln Ribbon Development Character Area).
Fig. 1 Lincoln Cathedral and surrounding buildings within the Cathedral Close built of Lincoln limestone
During the Early Modern Era [1350-1750 AD] buildings were increasingly constructed of timber and, to a lesser extent at first, brick. Many timber famed buildings, identified by their jettied upper floors, survive from the late 15th century onwards (see Bailgate and Castle Hill Character Area and Hugh Street Character Area). Brick is likely to have begun to be used in the city from the 14th century, but does not appear to become a commonly used building material until the 18th century.
Fig. 2 The Chancery at 11 Minster Yard ,Lincoln's oldest surviving brick built building
Up until the First World War, when brick were increasingly imported from brickworks outside Lincoln, bricks were predominatly manufactured locally. Clay was quarried from the escarpment slopes from the Roman period for pottery, tiles and other clay products, but from the 18th century it was increasingly extracted for brick manufacture. For most of the 18th and 19th and early 20th centuries brick making took place on and industrial scale in Lincoln, with the main brickworks locating on the west side of the city (see West Parade and Burton Ridge Character Areas).
Fig. 3 Lincoln brick built houses in Witham to High Street Character Area. Note how the window lintels are accentuated using a lighter Gault coloured brick
The local brick, which is used in a vast number of buildings constructed in Lincoln between the 13th and early 20th centuries, differs in colour, texture, and size to the bricks imported from outside of the city, giving many houses a look and feel individual to the city. It may be that the use of other coloured bricks in properties, such as the light buff Gault clay brick used in several houses, may have been a mark of distinction, especially when the locally made red brick was the more economic option.
The importation of building materials from the mid 19th century onwards signalled a change to the palette of materials used in building construction in Lincoln. Mnay construction materials ceased to be a reflection of local resources, manufacturing techniques, or styles, and instead began to reflect regional and national trends in construction and architecture. Materials such as concrete used during the Post-war period, and more recently synthetic materials, have increasingly influenced the character of development in Lincoln over the last 100 years. Architectural trends experienced across the nation also influenced the style and construction of housing and buildings in Lincoln. Expressions of contemporary architecture are often seen in prominent landmark buildings, such as the art deco cinema on lower High Street, (see St. Peter at Gowts Character Area) and the experimental parabolic designs of local architect Sam Scorer (see Brayford and Ermine East Character Areas), but also in the style and layout of public housing estates (see St. Giles and Character Area and Birchwood Estate Character Area).
Fig. 4 The art deco style 'Ritz' former cinema on High Street
Modern development in the city is now almost a prefabricated process, with building materials and designs part of a national and international house construction industry. Domestic buildings often emulate former architectural styles by using a range of mass produced architectural components, such as neo-classical porches, and tiled kneelers typical of the Arts and Crafts movement. Many bespoke developments, most of seen for commercial properties, are post-modern in style, usinga mixture of modern materials such as the Lincoln University campus, the Think Tank, and the Stralizia (see Lincoln University South, Tritton Road Industrial and Spring Hill Character Areas respectively).
Fig. 5 Lincoln's 'Think Tank'