Excellent review of four of Survey of Lincoln's brilliant booklets

Written on Saturday 22nd August 2020

 https://www.balh.org.uk/publication-review-july-2020-reviews

 

 

Extract fromJuly 2020 Online Reviews

 

LINCOLN’SCASTLE, BAIL AND CLOSE edited by Andrew Walker (Surveyof Lincoln 2015 78pp ISBN 9780993126307) £6.95; PUBS IN LINCOLN: a history edited by Andrew Walker (Surveyof Lincoln 2017 76pp ISBN 9780993126338 £7.50; SHOPS AND SHOPPING IN LINCOLN: ahistory editedby Andrew Walker (Survey of Lincoln 2018 76pp ISBN 9780993126345)£7.50; GEORGEBOOLE’S LINCOLN 1815-49 editedby Andrew Walker (Survey of Lincoln 2019 80ppISBN9780993126352) £8.50

 

The Survey of Lincoln isa splendid ongoing local history project which brings together a large numberof contributors—over 30 different researchers have supplied chapters for thesefour books—under the supervision of the distinguished historian of Lincoln andLincolnshire, Andrew Walker. Beginning in 2000, there have now been sixteenbooks in the series. The publications are laden with maps, tables, postcardsand other contemporary images and modern photographs, making them visually veryattractive. The themes of each publication are clearly carefully chosen toensure that the series is wide-ranging and the essays in each book arerelatively short and easy to read. Clearly the intention is to reach notespecially to an academic audience—although for someone like me who has writtenabout some of the leading citizens of Victorian Lincoln, they contain muchinteresting information—but for local people with a thirst for knowledge aboutthe history of their own city. In this intention they succeed admirably.

Lincoln’sCastle, Bail and Close has seventeen essays,each of a few pages. When, forty years ago, I made the first of what have becomemany research trips to Lincoln, I was provided with lunch by a member of theThomas Cooper Memorial Church. In his garden were small pieces of Roman potterythat he regularly uncovered. I didn’t find things like that in my own garden! Iwas allowed to choose a piece of pottery as a memento; I still have it. So Iread Michael J. Jones’ very informative contribution on Roman and medievalremains with great interest. An essay with some nice surprises is by MaryLucas, revealing hidden places in Lincoln Cathedral, such as the bishop’sprison (known as the wynde),where disobedient clerks and choristers found themselves. Other essays tell thestories of the Judges’ Lodgings in the castle grounds, built in 1812 andsumptuously furnished; and of the water tanks installed in uphill Lincoln toprotect against incendiary bombs.

 

Shopsand Shopping contains sixteen essays, mostlyconcentrating on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. There is aninteresting portrait by Beryl George of the shops in the centre of the city inthe nineteenth century: most were local enterprises such as greengrocers but bythe 1880s there were branches of Boots and Freeman, Hardy and Willis. ShirleyBrook and Adam Cartwright guide us through the city’s butcher’s shops, andGeoff Tann ensures that corner shops are not forgotten. It all amounts to anengaging exploration of the social history of the city. Pubs in Lincoln featuresnineteen essays, again focusing on the later period. The Crown Brewery of theRudgard family (who played a significant part in the governance of the city) isexamined by Chris Page. The stories of particular pubs (including the GreenDragon, a favourite watering hole of mine when I am in the city) are recovered.There are also useful chapters on the role which pubs played in Lincoln’s oftenstormy elections, and on temperance.

 

GeorgeBoole’s Lincoln 1815-49 looks from differentperspectives at one of the city’s most famous sons. Boole’s father was ashoemaker, but he rose to become a celebrated mathematician and logician. Acompendium of manuscript material relating to him was recently published(see TLH 49:3 2019), but a shorter account will be of great use to those who want to knowsomething, but not everything, about this man. So we have an excellent chapter fromAndrew Walker on the self-improvement societies of early Victorian Lincoln, aswell as interesting discussions on such matters as Boole’s years as aschoolmaster, his involvement with the Mechanics Institute, and the memorialglass window in the Cathedral. These four books offer fascinating glimpses intoLincoln’s past. They should serve as a model for how local historians canpresent to the public the stories of other cities and towns in provincialEngland.

 

StephenRoberts is the author of Lincolnin 1837 and otherbooks.

 


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