Abraham Lincoln left a comment on my textile art blog yesterday, to the effect that some of his ancestors came from the Lincoln area. So = abe - this blog is really for you, to tell you a little about Lincoln. I am sure they have a web site in Lincoln that you can go to if you would like to know more.
All of us have a "Home Town" (or village) and wherever we go in the world, there is always a place in our hearts for the place where we were born.
Lincoln is my home city. I was born there and lived the first twenty five years of my life within three miles of it. In those (far off!) days Lincoln was a major engineering city and most of the men in the city worked for one or the other of the engineering works - Ruston and Hornsby, Ruston Bucyrus, Robeys and Clayton Dewandre. I grew up with the sound of the steam hammer at Clayton Dewandre's Foundry going day and night throughout the year, apart from the holidays. At 5pm, the sirens went in the town and all the workmen came out on their bicycles for the journey home. There were thousands of them. My mother would hear the siren and know it was time to put my father's tea on - he would be home within the half hour.
Now most of the engineering works have closed or located elsewhere, the huge railway sidings lie empty and unused and Lincoln has become, once again, "just" a cathedral city.
Lincolnshire is a county of flat fenland, much of it reclaimed from the North Sea with the help of the Dutch. But Lincoln itself is neatly divided into two parts - Uphill and Downhill. Uphill is dominated by the magnificent Norman Cathedral (started in 1072) and the nearby Castle (started in 1068), both of which stand on the limestone plateau. Downhill has the slow-moving River Witham which makes a dramatic turn to the East in the centre of Lincoln, thus creating Brayford Pool. This was linked by the Romans to Torksey and the River Trent, thus creating a waterway through to the North Sea. The FossDyke is still a waterway today, although mainly for pleasure craft.
The Romans also built two major roads, The Ermine Street and the Fosse Way - both still in existence and are still two major roads in and out of the City.
Lindum Colonia, as Lincoln was to the Romans, was in the fourth century the capital of one of the four provinces of Britain, so you will see that it has been a thriving city for a very long time.
I went to school within the confines of the Cathedral, making my way to class up the Greestone Stairs every schoolday for seven years.
When we moved to The Midlands we would come home to see my parents. As we came through the little market town of Newark and out onto the Fosseway, we would play, "Last one to see the cathedral is a monkey's uncle!" And as we rounded the corner, there it would be - perched on the top of a hill towering up out of fenland and the Trent valley. We all knew exactly where to look and would call out in unison "Seen it!"
When it was first built the cathedral had spires on top of the towers - these were brought down many centuries ago in a thunderstorm. Wouldn't it have looked magnificent then?