9 Autumn 2005: A canal in St Botolph's?

A Canal in St Botolph’s?

Ruth Tinley investigates a feature on the 19th century maps of Lincoln that no longer exists.







he convenience of Historic Town Plans of Lincoln, in atlas format, and the ease with which we can make comparisons, may lead us to question some features, which we have previously overlooked. It was pointed out to me that on the plans from 1842 to 1883 there was a large building in the parish of St Botolph, roughly where Tealby Street was later developed. Perhaps more surprising, there was a ‘canal’ from the Witham, about half way to the High Street, shown in some sources as ‘Coupland’s Wharf’


By referring to the SoL Web site ‘People in Wigford’, to the 1828 Betham & Willson Valuation, and to directories and the census, it became clear that the building was a maltkiln, and it seems reasonable to suppose that the ‘canal’ was a means of transporting the grain for the maltster’s business. In 1828 John Coupland was owner and occupier of a house, coach house, stable, yard, gardens, maltkiln and brewhouse in St Botolph, valued at £100.


Although High Street numbering changed, the Reindeer Inn is a constant point. In 1842 seven properties to the north of it, separated it from a track leading past the maltkiln to the canal, the last but one having rear access to the maltkiln.


Maltings, or maltkilns, were large buildings as they had to have space for storing the intake of barley, passing it through the several stages including spreading and shovelling for which three floors was usual, and for storing the malt waiting for despatch to the brewer.


There remains one building in the city which, although mutilated and now without its cowls, is recognisable as a malting. It is in Milton Street, off Newark Road, where it was no doubt built because it had access to the Lincoln-Honington railway line.

In 18141 John Coupland inherited property from his uncle John Andrew, a merchant, and is shown on a plan at that date as owner of land bordering on the Reindeer Inn. He died in 1855 leaving his property in St Botolph to his brother, Richard Coupland, Farmer, of Waddington. Richard died at Skellingthorpe in 1867 leaving his property in St Botolph in trust2 for his nephew Richard Coupland Bergne for his life. Matthew Smith, merchant, was listed as occupier of the maltkiln in 1856, followed by Francis Newton Lowe until 1881. Lowe was a corn merchant and maltster. [A maltster bought barley, and was therefore also a corn merchant]. In 1883 the R Coupland Trust3 sold property in St Botolph to ‘Mr Lowe’.


At that time the Bargate area was being developed, and a plan of ‘Building Sites in the Parish of St Botolph’ dated 1883 shows S. H. Lowe as the owner of a large plot including the maltkiln and canal. Sutton Harvey Lowe was one of the applicants for permission to construct a new street, Far Bargate, for which he submitted a detailed specification in 1883.


The plan shows R & E Dawber (also maltsters and brewers) owing a large site to the south of the maltklin facing Bargate, and plots on the west as ‘sold’. These buyers probably saw this as a lucrative investment.  The buildings facing High Street, the Reindeer and small houses occupied by ‘Mrs Gadsby and others’ were probably unaffected. Several very small mean houses adjoining the Reindeer remained until after 1945.

When did the ‘canal’ disappear?

 Ruth Tinley



1. LA TSJ 3b/97/15,16

2. LA LD/15/2/33

3. LA Misc.Dep 229

Acknowledgements: I should like to thank John Herridge, Heritage Information Officer, Heritage Team, City of Lincoln Council, Dennis Mills and Jean Towers for their help and advice.