Monks Road

This grid includes part of Monks Road and the Arboretum, Spa Road, Winn Street, Monks Abbey....

This week we visit Monks Road, starting at the beautiful Arboretum and ending on the industrial Spa Road.  We consider the impact immigration has had on the area and find out what life on Monks Road was like during the Second World War.  Meanwhile, Paul rues not opening Lincoln's first vintage shop - and just what was Phil “Invisible Touch” Collins up to under the Spa Road railway bridge?  All this plus another round of A Question of Lincoln.  Click the player below to listen or subscribe to us on iTunes by click on the logo on the right...






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The History of Q10

by Joanna Hughes of the Lincolnshire Archives

If you've ever travelled through this gridsquare on Monks Road you no doubt seen the oldest historical building in this area –the remains of the what’s commonly referred to as the Abbey – which can be seen in the recreational ground. There's still loads for archaeologists to find out about the area around this ruin. It'sa quite a rare type of building and the estate must have been considered pretty important by its mother church, the great Benedictine Abbey of St Mary in York.

The ruins aren't massive but they've clearly have stood the test of time over the centuries. The origins of this site may go way back to Roman times, probably part of the Greetwell Roman villa estate...there was maybe an even earlier religious site here, standing as it does at the head of an ancient causeway over the River Witham known to be near here at Stamp End.

As we come forward through the centuries, the history of this gridsquare rapidly starts to run in tandem with Lincoln's industrial development - Lincoln was expanding at an awesome rate in the nineteenth century, with its new railways, factories and foundries. This had once been a peaceful agricultural area (have a look at the photo on www.lincstothepast.com  at the photo of Monks’ Lane or even Love Lane as it used to be known). 

Now this all changed beyond recognition with the creation of streets of buildings to house the city's growing working population. Along with the housing came other buildings to serve the community’s spiritual and temporal needs; churches, chapels, shops, schools and pubs were all created around this time and many can still be seen today, some still serving their original use, others converted to serve today's needs like the conversion of the Congregational Chapel into the Co op and Post Office.

In the twentieth century, Lincoln’s industrial importance during the Second World War (our factories and foundries developed the tank, for example), made it vulnerable to attack from German bombers. It’s hard to imagine how it must have felt to be living in this area during the war. At the Lincolnshire Archives we’ve got an old A4 Letts diary, which contains the daily observations of a young girl living in the Monk’s Road area. Interspersed amongst all the things important in the life of a young teenager living in 1941, like receiving the Sunday School Prize, going to see the latest Bette Davis film at the Savoy and selling daisies door to door for a bit of pocket money, there are entries like this:

27 January 1941 “...Air Raid Warning...2 o’clock...went straight to the shelters. All clear 3.20. Very cold in shelters.

15 February 1941 “Dad went fire watching on the station at 11 o’clock...just after 11 hear machine gun fire...a lot of planes about”

12 March 1941 “Incendiary bombs dropped..about 80..Carholme Road..one on Rustons”

7 May 1941 “about 1 o’clock bombs dropped at Boultham and Waddington..got up..windows and doors rattled

10 May 1941 ...”went down to Boultham in afternoon to see bomb damage with Mam, Dad and Doris on bus”

21 July 1941 “...One of our bombers crashed on Lindum Hill about 4am. Saw glare in sky..”

22 July 1941 “...went with Mam to see plane crash on Lindum Hill, all four of the crew were killed and Senior Mistress of Girls High school..plane crashed into Mistresses’ boarding house..3 escaped without injury..”

A photograph held at the Archives shows this incident of the Hampden Bomber which crashed on Greestone Steps, just off Lindum Hill.

(My favourite comment from the diary is “...to Savoy to see ‘Target For Tonight’ – the experiences of a crew of a Wellington Bomber over Germany, also ‘The Letter’ with Bette Davis...enjoyed ‘Target For Tonight’...didn’t like the other picture very much..”

This diary is just a fascinating glimpse into Lincoln during the war, a frightening time when the city was vulnerable to night raids and air crashes yet seen through the calm, rational eyes of a young girl living in the area of this week’s gridsquare.