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Published: November 22nd 2018
We headed towards Lincoln along the 46, the modern incarnation of the old Roman Road – the Fosse Way. A holiday place a few miles out optimistically stated Cathedral View, although the through the gloom and low cloud of this morning there was no real prospect. It was forecast to be a beautiful day later, so pretty much everywhere within miles of the city could make the view claim. At one time, the Cathedral had the highest tower in Europe. We headed round the very efficient ring road, which offers easy access to the older part of the city. We passed the Lincoln Imp pub, which has always amused me since I once noted somebody add a P on to the sign back in the days when I used to do the odd business appointment in the city. We parked up among the beautiful homes that frequent the area. The sun was bursting through by now, although the sheer size of the Cathedral cast a large shadow over everything on this eastern side. The breakfast diners were enjoying their view from the restaurant of the old Eastgate Hotel directly across the road. I always used to stay here back in the
day, when it was part of the Posthouse chain.
The Visit Lincoln website proclaims, “One of Britain’s Best Small Cities”. It is difficult to disagree with the statement, especially if you approach from the Eastgate direction. The cluster of shops and small businesses here instantly give you the feel that this is a better sort of place and full of interesting things to explore, even if retail is not your thing. The Other Half wandered in and out of a few shops in pursuit of different ideas for Christmas. I studied the very impressive selection of gins in a window – some of which featured homage to the county’s heritage as a key hub in the RAF bomber command campaigns of yesteryear. Studying was far as it went – I don’t like mothers ruin. I always knew of the RAF link, but it wasn’t until I started to write this that I discovered that Lincoln was the birthplace of tank manufacture in Britain. Fosters – an agricultural machinery company – and specifically William Tritton, led the way in designing the first tanks from 1915 onwards. He had originally come up with a machine with the snappy title
of Tritton Trench Crosser, but transferred his efforts to those we became more familiar with. The production was mainly outsourced to the big industrial cities, but Lincoln was the place for the ideas. The antiques market didn’t open until 11 am, so we set off down Steep Hill.
The hill links what is effectively the old town and new town. The Lincoln Castle and Lincoln Cathedral are perched high with a commanding view of the local countryside, but the Victorian expansion carried on below with the arrival of the railways on the flatter land beneath. The route that links them is Steep Hill. It is not difficult to see where the name emanates from and whilst it isn’t the steepest in the country, it is possibly the one with the most shops and bars on. The premier tourist attractions lie at the top, so the direction of travel for many is to be heading up the incline. It doesn’t take long before you see random visitors struggling, pausing by the side to catch their breath and wishing they had sought an alternative. We passed in the other direction, but would of course have to climb back later
– twice as it happens in my case. We stopped for a coffee at the base, just by the old entrance gate to the city and watched the world continue to go by. The majority of the mainstream shopping is down here, with some tucked away in the shopping centre adjacent to the canal that leads into Brayford Pool.
The descent of Steep Hill means you miss the view. The best vistas are to be had as you plod slowly uphill. The narrow incline is flanked on both sides by historic buildings, such as the Jews House. The Cathedral looms over at all times. I cut across to the Usher Gallery, which houses a Turner and a Lowry, but seems largely undisturbed by the masses walking up the nearby hill. The extent of the Cathedral palaces show their hand more from this side. We stopped in the small market place that links the Castle – which retains one of few remaining copies of the 1215 version Magna Carta - and the Cathedral. The Castle also has a 1217 version displayed too. The Other Half toyed with the idea of buying some artisan cheeses on one of the
stalls taking advantage of folk buying Christmas presents, but decided otherwise. We wandered further up the hill, where the White Hart sign stood out proud against the blue sky.
Of course, I had arrived in the city with a purpose and 3 o’clock was fast approaching. I was supporting Marske united on their journey into the unknown of the Evostik Leagues and today was another first for them with a visit to Lincoln United. The footballing pedigree of Lincoln is usually represented by the Imps of City, but today the only team in town were United. The Sun Hat Villas Stadium was tucked away near the Hartsholme Country Park a couple of miles west of the centre. A surprisingly developed ground with a classic press box. Is there a better press box at this level of football? The ground was fuller than usual for this near top of the table clash. It was international break weekend, so most of the Premier League and Championship teams had no game. A fair few had travelled down from the North East and I recognised a couple from the North East Premier Seaside Resort, who presumably live in this
part of the country now. A highly entertaining game with some shocking defending ended in a 3-2 defeat for the Mount Pleasant gang. It would be a long way home.
Appendix 1 Evostik League Division 1 (East) Lincoln United FC 3 Marske United 2 Date:
Saturday 17th November 2018 @1500 Hours Venue:
Sun Hat Villas Stadium, Ashby Avenue, Lincoln. LN6 0DY Attendance
: 278 Scorers
: 1-0 Blunden (Lincoln Utd) 12 Mins, 1-1 Powell (Marske Utd) 41 Mins, 2-1 Hemagou (Lincoln Utd) 67 Mins, 2-2 Powell (Marske Utd) 84 Mins, 3-2 Cotton (Lincoln Utd) 85 Mins.
Tot: 2.51s; Tpl: 0.05s; cc: 31; qc: 197; dbt: 0.1318s; 1; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 1;
; mem: 2mb