Lincoln Building Applications Project 1866 - 1952


Lincolnshire Archives now holds an invaluable series of building application records compiled by the City of Lincoln Engineer’s Department, starting in 1866 when the city adopted the Public Health Act of 1858. This system of building control continued in use until 1952, after which the current town planning system was initiated under the 1947 Act.

Especially at first, the emphasis was on the sanitary aspects of development, which included a request on the application form for details of building material, distance from the frontage of the site, height of building (as a control on room heights) and the form of drainage, both rain water and waste water. Alterations to existing buildings required applications as well as for new build. Not only was residential accommodation affected, but also many other types of development – factories, workshops, commercial, agricultural, educational, religious, and so forth. Each completed application form was to be accompanied by the requisite number of site plans, and building plans and elevations to make it clear as to what was intended. These are attractive drawings, usually coloured.

Names of architects (or builders) in addition to owners are usually attached to the plans as well as to the forms, which makes it possible to study the professional work of architects and the influence of developers. The applications were quite frequently sent back to applicants for revision, or approved with conditions attached.

The City of Lincoln Council Heritage Team rescued this archive from oblivion and set about creating a database in the form of the spreadsheets offered here. John Herridge, Heritage Services Officer, was the person principally responsible.

The collection has been transferred to Lincolnshire Archives, who have allowed The Survey of Lincoln to upload the database. Readers wishing to make use of the original material are asked to email

who will be able to advise about availability in advance of a visit.

Please quote for each application of interest: the ledger reference number, name of owner and date of approval.

Cautionary Note

The database – reproduced on this website as a spreadsheet - does not include every building application made to the Council in 1866-1952, but it includes every application recorded in the official ledgers.

Some applications may never have been recorded at the time, others have been lost or some documents have been lost from surviving groups, and there are significant gaps:

    • Oct 1867-Dec 1868 (ledger nos. 50-99)

    • Nov 1879-March 1881 (ledger nos. 1101-1200)

    • Nov 1908-August 1910 (ledger nos. 4557-4797)

    • April 1932-March 1952 (ledger nos. 7001-9673) - sent to Lincolnshire Archives in the 1990s and at present presumed missing or selected ones only were retained.

Total of all applications 9673

Sent to LAO in 1990s 2673

Missing (significant gaps 391 plus others 332) 723

Grand total of missing 3396

Nevertheless the majority of the applications in the database have survived and the ledger entries on their own can be very useful. We hope your search will be fruitful.

Links to the Spreadsheet

This spreadsheet was uploaded as a Google Fusion Table which became unavailable on 2/12/2019. It has been uploaded again in a different format but at present no option has been identified for viewing a list of multiple instances of a search term. This will be corrected when a method is identified. In the meantime, a search using CTRL F will find instances of a search term which can be viewed individually.

Link to the Spreadsheet: Lincoln Building Applications spreadsheet