Tuesday, 27 January 2009

My Home town.


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?

16 comments:

The Solitary Walker said...

My Home City too. My father replaced the old millstones and grinding gear in his windmill with a spanking new green Ruston & Hornsby diesel engine. It was his pride and joy.

Lincoln Cathedral - I've always thought, one of the grandest cathedrals anywhere - and I've seen quite a few.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I agree Robert. We live near to Durham now, and that one bears comparison, being in a similar situation. I also love Southwell, which is quite near where you live - and of course we live near to Ripon cathedral - they all have their wonderful treasures.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I've never been to Lincoln but it always seems a place I should visit, I enjoyed your descriptions

Raph G. Neckmann said...

How lovely to have such a beautiful landmark to show you that you were nearly home.

I love the 'monkey's uncle' phrase!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks crafty green poet. Lincoln is a lovely city to visit because there is so much to see Providing you are a good walker the climb up to Castle Square, up The Strait and Steep Hill and back down Greestone Stairs is a super walk.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Have you not heard "monkey's uncle" before Raph? Funny how we all have little phrases which vary not just from country to country but within a few miles here in UK.

Leenie said...

No grand cathedrals in this part of the world. We do have a tabernacle that is a little over 100 years old. The lower part of our town was hit by a flood in 1976 when a dam broke. The tabernacle was one of the few buildings to be saved and restored. Enjoyed your post.

willow said...

Lincoln sounds lovely. I adore your old Cathedrals. So much more majestic and beautiful than our American churchs.

The Solitary Walker said...

I was at uni in Durham - and Durham Cathedral's my other favourite!

We went to Southwell Folk Festival last year and really enjoyed it (see write-up on my blog!) The chapter house in Southwell Minster is quite spectacular.

Poet in Residence said...

Sad to say I've never been to Lincoln. But it's on my list, it's definitely on my list!
By the way Weaver that's a lovely bit of tapestry you did. The colours are so vivid and sparkling and I like the idea of the colourful little fish, they made me smile. Yes those fishy colours made me smile!

kimber the wolfgrrrl said...

What a wonderful post! I grew up on the shores of the River Trent --the Canadian version! It's so shallow and small that you can splash across it without getting your knees wet.

I've travelled through Lincoln but never stopped, athough I will be sure to pause and stay and visit next time I'm in the UK.

Heather said...

Your cathedral is still magnificent but don't tell my husband I said so - for him there is only Gloucester Cathedral, and that is his home town. I'm a 'foreigner' from Bucks! Glad you liked my post today. I envy you your aconites - I can't seem to get them to grow for me, but have plenty of snowdrops just about ready to pop.

Abraham Lincoln said...

I really appreciate this material and will have to look my things up and see what I can put down or send you about my connection with the Roman legion that was there. It is all interesting to me and I assume to you also. It is a very historical place to be sure.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

So interesting, and such a lovely cathedral. It must have been some thunderstorm to knock down the spires!!

I so loved your "ordinary day" post!!

Woman in a Window said...

Is it just me who thinks that the whistle at five and the bikes piling home is the most romantic thing ever? So quaint. I bet your father didn't always think so, though.

Dominic Rivron said...

I spent my early life, well, close to Lincoln. I remember once I'd left regularly reading a cartoon strip in the Beano (or Dandy, or suchlike) called Toad in the Hole. This was a fictitious place, cut off from the outside world, where people still lived as if it were the 16th century. It always reminded me -fairly or not- of Lincoln :)

Seriously, it's a place I'd like to go more often.