Lincoln pubs – the stories behind their names

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Lincoln pubs – the stories behind their names

Dr Andrew Walker, of Rose Bruford College, introduces the latest publication he has edited in the Survey of Lincoln’s growing series of publications – Pubs in Lincoln: A History.

This new book plots the history of the city’s pubs and breweries. It launches on Saturday, November 18 at St Peter at Gowts Church Hall, Sibthorp Street at 10am.

Pubs in Lincoln: A History explores a prominent aspect of Lincoln’s society, culture and economy – its pubs and breweries. The book ranges mainly over 200 years from the early nineteenth century and examines various buildings and structures within the city that were – or continue to be – associated with some aspect of the drinks trade.

Placed under the Survey of Lincoln’s magnifying glass are breweries, maltings, inns, public houses, beerhouses and, by way of a counterbalance, temperance facilities. Seventeen contributors to the edited collection examine various aspects of this fascinating history, through a series of short chapters, illustrated with both historic and contemporary images. In the first part of the work, attention is paid to some of the maltings and breweries that formed a significant part of the Lincoln townscape in some cases up until the mid-twentieth century.

The ‘Lion and Snake’ public house, Bailgate, 1905. (Maurice Hodson collection).
The ‘Lion and Snake’ public house, Bailgate, 1905. (Maurice Hodson collection).
These chapters look at premises such as the Crown Brewery on Waterside South, Dawber’s Brewery, situated on Depot Street and Carholme Road, and the extensive maltings of Bass, Ratcliff and Gretton on Brayford Pool.

As other chapters in the volume make clear, many of the city’s pubs had what today might be referred to as ‘micro-breweries’ on their premises, though by the end of the nineteenth century these were limited in number. Until the introduction of the beerhouse in 1830, the terms ‘inn’, ‘tavern’ and ‘alehouse’ tended to refer to drinking houses of diminishing size. Inns were invariably the largest, offering accommodation. Some of these, such as in the case of The Saracen’s Head on the High Street, linked to the coaching trade. A disproportionately high number of such drinking houses have survived. The tavern tended to sell wine rather than beer and usually did not offer food or accommodation.

The North Wharf of Brayford Pool, c. 1900. On the far right are the maltings of Bass,Ratcliff and Gretton. The oast house chimneys provided a familiar landmark at the time. (Maurice Hodson collection).
The North Wharf of Brayford Pool, c. 1900. On the far right are the maltings of Bass,Ratcliff and Gretton. The oast house chimneys provided a familiar landmark at the time. (Maurice Hodson collection).
From 1830, the Sale of Beer Act introduced the beerhouse, a new lightly-regulated form of pub, selling just beer that had become significantly cheaper following the abolition of beer duty, in a failed attempt to reduce significantly the consumption of spirits.
Beerhouses in Lincoln, as elsewhere, largely replaced the alehouse. Over time, many of these beerhouses became fully-fledged licensed properties, with many continuing in existence into the 21 century, including The Morning Star on Greetwellgate, The Strugglers on Westgate, and The Victoria Inn on Union Road. One chapter in the volume examines the origins of the names of some of the city’s former beerhouses, inns, taverns and alehouses.

Within the volume there are a number of profiles provided of specific public houses within the city, and a focus upon two pubs that were brought into the city following boundary changes in 1920, The Waggon and Horses and The Plough, both on Newark Road.

The ‘Turk’s Head’ public house, October 2009 (Adam O’Meara).
The ‘Turk’s Head’ public house, October 2009 (Adam O’Meara).
Elsewhere within the volume, a number of subjects linked to drink are pursued, with some focus in each chapter being given to the structural developments and changes associated with the city’s pubs. One chapter looks specifically at the building plans produced from the 1860s onwards and deposited with the city council with regard to the building of new licensed premises and the alterations associated with existing pubs.

Changing fashions in the patterns of consumption of alcohol become clear when such building plans are examined. In a separate chapter attention is paid to tracing changes in the patterns of women’s drinking and the strategies used by the drinks trade to attract them into newly-designed pubs, such as The Bowling Green on Wragby Road.

At the beginning of the twentieth century there was considerable concern in some quarters regarding the extent of drinking in the city. This was perhaps most prominently aired by the Bishop of Lincoln, Edward Lee Hicks, in 1911, who expressed particular alarm at the link between drinking and low morals. There had been a temperance presence in the city, since the 1830s and continued as a relative prominent presence in Lincoln until the second half of the twentieth century.

Dressed up for a day out? A group photograph outside the ‘Stag’s Head’ public house, Newport, 1922 (courtesy of Mrs A.E. Feneley). (The current ‘Stag’s Head’ was built on this site in 1924.)
Dressed up for a day out? A group photograph outside the ‘Stag’s Head’ public house, Newport, 1922 (courtesy of Mrs A.E. Feneley). (The current ‘Stag’s Head’ was built on this site in 1924.)
Pubs have been for many centuries important venues for much political, social and cultural activity. The spatial configuration of pubs is often informed by the varying needs of these types of interactions. One chapter examines how the internal layout of some pubs with their ‘long rooms’ made them the ideal venue for much political activity during the nineteenth century.

On the High Street, The Saracen’s Head and The Spread Eagle Inn were often the location of Conservative Party election meetings whilst a little further south, on the same street, The Queen Inn would host Liberal Party meetings at election times, notwithstanding some elements of that party’s sympathy for the temperance movement. The external, as well as internal, features of several licensed premises enabled particular leisure activities to be pursued.

The High Street south of the Stonebow: the ‘Spread Eagle’ and the ‘Saracen’s Head’ on the right, c. 1925. (Maurice Hodson collection.
The High Street south of the Stonebow: the ‘Spread Eagle’ and the ‘Saracen’s Head’ on the right, c. 1925. (Maurice Hodson collection).
The links between pub and sport and leisure activity are explored with reference to a wide range of pubs including The Abbey in the West, The Adam and Eve, The Harlequin, and The Peacock. Chapters focusing upon the twentieth-century include an examination of pubs in wartime Lincoln.

The challenges presented to pubs during wartime and the changing legislation that prompted much stricter licensing hours during the First World War, some elements of which extended for much of the rest of the century, prompted a number of licensees to fall foul of the law.

The chapter also charts the important social role played by city-centre hostelries, particularly during the Second World War when many military personnel from the county’s air bases regularly travelled to Lincoln to enjoy evenings at premises such as The Saracen’s Head.

The Drury Lane Brewery in the foreground, c. 1905. (Maurice Hodson collection).
The Drury Lane Brewery in the foreground, c. 1905. (Maurice Hodson collection).
Another chapter examines pubs built in the twentieth century serving the needs of the city’s council estate residents, some of which have had relatively short lives.

Such pubs that have closed in recent years including The Lincoln Imp on the Ermine Estate, The Wild Life on the Birchwood Estate and The Parklands , serving the Boultham Housing Estate, whilst others have been reinvented such as The Crown & Arrows, formerly The Peter de Wint, on Moorland Avenue. The changing face of the drinks trade and its impact upon 21-century Lincoln is the focus of the final chapter in the volume.

Pubs in Lincoln: A History. Edited by Andrew Walker
Pubs in Lincoln: A History. Edited by Andrew Walker
The changing patterns of alcohol consumption and leisure habits have had a considerable impact upon the distribution and type of licensed premises in the city in recent years.

This chapter explores the altered provision of licensed premises within the city that presents a very different picture from that in Victorian times. A range of additional information relating to the history of the city’s pubs will also be posted on the Survey of Lincoln’s website to accompany the book’s launch – www.thesurveyoflincoln.co.uk

‘Pubs in Lincoln: A History’ will be on sale, priced £7.50 in many of the city’s bookshops from Saturday, November 18.

SOURCE: www.lincolnshirelive.co.uk

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