Wigford Street Furniture - Notes


A survey of street furniture in Wigford* was carried out over two Sundays in September 2004 by John Herridge, Heritage Officer at the City of Lincoln Council, recording what were recognised to be predominantly locally-made metal street furniture stamped with makers’ names. There were a few exceptions such as un-stamped products not made recently, and those made elsewhere. Modern (ie, post-1960s) products were not recorded. A selection of photographs was taken to record the main types.

This work was inspired by Catherine Wilson’s survey of street furniture on Motherby Hill in 1979 (Wilson 1980). Most of the historic lamp standards she recorded have now been replaced, although the railings mainly survive. Elsewhere in the city, pavement relaying and resurfacing, services up-grading and work to individual properties have resulted in the steady loss of many locally-made items from the streetscape. An added factor in the current climate is the upsurge of thefts of metal to be sold for their scrap value.

The results were recorded by walking the area street-by-street and transferring the information to an MS Access database (not reproduced here). Lincoln Heritage Database Managed by the Heritage Team, DDES, City of Lincoln Council, City Hall, Beaumont Fee, Lincoln LN1 1DD. Email: heritage@lincoln.gov.uk

* The area bounded by the River Witham to the north and west and Sincil Dyke to the south and east.

Makers or suppliers

City Castings, Lincoln

Duckering, Lincoln

W Foster, Lincoln

Lincoln Co-op Society, Lincoln

Lincoln Corporation Water Works (?)

C R Lucas & Son Lincoln

M Pearson, Lincoln

Penney and Porter, Lincoln

Penney & Co, Lincoln

Porter & Co, Lincoln

W Rainforth, Lincoln


J Blancborough, Brigg

McDowall, Steven and Co Ltd, London and Glasgow (pillar box)

Hayward (Bros), London (pavement lights)

Further reading: Wilson C M, 1980, Street Furniture of Motherby Hill, Industrial Archaeology Notes 1979, Lincolnshire History and Archaeology, vol 15, pp 57-5), Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology

Survival in 2004 appeared to be most successful in residential streets with the High Street retaining very little. For example, there were 39 items in Foster Street, 31 in Scorer Street and 25 in Vernon Street, with only 12 in the long High Street. This probably reflects the many alterations to the carriageway and pavements in the High Street. In contrast with the uphill area, there were no historic lamp standards in situ, and only four wall and pillar Post Office posting boxes.

In total, 352 items were recorded from 15 known makers or suppliers. The types and numbers were:

Pavement rainwater gulleys 109

Rainwater gutter grids 90

Street/building cast-iron wall-mounted signs 56

Circular ventilation/inspection covers 48

Rectangular inspection chamber covers 18

Pavement lights 7

Fire hydrant/point covers 5

Bridge lamps 4

Stop-cock covers 4

Post office pillar boxes 3

Water meter covers 2

Lamp standard (resited) 1

Locking coal chute cover 1

Conduit floor grille 1

Railway notice 1

Railings 1

Post office wall-mounted posting box 1

Notes on some manufacturers

(from the Lincoln Heritage Database, Monuments database, City of Lincoln Council). Dates refer to the use of buildings rather the existence of the company

City Castings, Lincoln

No information

Duckering, Lincoln

Duckerings Waterside Works, 53 Waterside North/Rosemary Lane c1845-1962

Works situated on Waterside North on the east side of Brooks Brewery and pub, stretching northwards along the line of Rosemary Lane to Croft Street. Established in 1845 by Richard Duckering as an iron and brass foundry. Advertised in 1848 [as Burton and Duckering) as makers of ovens, boilers ploughs, drill and thrashing machine castings. A new foundry was built on Rosemary Lane in 1878 and the business was extended to general engineering in 1885, making grinding mills, millstones, steam engines, saw benches and kitchen ranges. Sheds added in 1885 on Sparrow Lane, boiler house in 1902. Toilets in 1916 (by Ruston and Proctor). Still visible in Lincoln are Duckering-made cast-iron railing posts, drain covers, pavement rainwater channels and street signs. Duckerings retail shop and showroom were at 25-29 Monks Road from 1907-1960s? The works were closed in 1961 and the YMCA built on the northern part of the site in 1969, with the southern half given over to a car park.

W Foster, Lincoln (1)

Fosters Wellington Foundry, 42-45 Waterside North/St Rumbolds Street c1856-c1988

Situated on Waterside North east of City Iron and Wire Works and west of Brooks Brewery. Foster owned a flour mill here from c1846 comprising a brick windmill, tenement, stables, granaries and pig sties. It may have been that owned by T Rook in 1842 (Whites Directory). 1851 census; Thomas Moore miller at 45 Waterside North. It was converted to steam power in 1847. Foster began to make thrashing machines and corn mills in 1849 and abandoned milling completely in 1856. 1857 directory, 42 Waterside North; 1867 directory, 42-45 Waterside North. A foundry and engineering shops were built. Main products were thrashing machines, traction engines and road locomotives. The first portable steam engine was produced in 1858. The business became a limited company in 1877 after Fosters death in 1876 and up to 1890 also produced maize shellers, chaff cutters, hay stackers, fixed engines, boilers, corn grinders and saw benches. Had 200 employees in 1885. Brick making plant manufactured c1888. First traction engine made 1889. Acquired and moved some operations to new site at New Boultham in 1883 but retained old factory until sold to Rainforths in c1900, who were still there in 1941. New workshops added in 1910. The last chimney was demolished in 1940. Fosters moved completely in 1899/1900. Rustons later used the premises as their Waterside North works. Occupied by Lincolnshire Chronicle, Lincolnshire Standard Group (LSG) Newspapers 1924-1992? (along with the premises on west side). The works were demolished in the late 1980s and the site is now a surface car park. Some of Fosters cast iron street furniture remains eg lamppost with head of Duke of Wellington on Steep Hill.

W Foster, Lincoln (2)

Wm. Fosters Wellington Works, Firth Road, Derby Grounds, New Boultham 1883-1984

The company was outgrowing its site on Waterside North and there were no railway connections there, so a 5 acre site was acquired in 1883 from the Ellisons to build a foundry and wood works for the manufacture of thrashing machines and other vehicles. Until 1900 the company occupied both sites. The new site occupied the area between Waterloo Street on the west, the later Rustons Boiler Works on the north, Rustons Boultham Works to the south and Cannons Glue Works to the east. This long building is shown on Padley 1883; in 1884 applications to build foundry, smiths shop boiler house etc, architects Goddard and Co; by the time of the OS 1886 railway sidings had been connected to them. New boiler houses and machine store in 1893 and 1894. In 1898 a further 6 acres were acquired and new buildings were completed by 1900, Goddard and Son, architects, Otter and Broughton, builders. New fitting and erecting shop, offices and extensions to wood works in 1899; testing shop in 1909, drawing stores in 1913, erecting shop, extensions to boiler shop etc in 1916, to machine shop in 1917. Fosters moved all their operations there and sold the Waterside Works to Rainforths. The new iron foundry, with a siding at each end, is shown on the 1930 OS map at south side of site. Also included in the facility by the 1920s were a boiler shop, erecting shop, turning shop and machinists dept. Fosters acquired Gwynnes Pumps of Hammersmith [est. 1849) in 1927. Later became Allen-Gwynnes Pumps and relocated out of Lincoln in 1960s. Wellington Works closed in 1968, but were occupied by Ruston Bucyrus and Ruston Gas Turbines with demolition in 1983/4. The site is now part of a retail park and its car park. Main products c1880s-1914 were thrashing machines, traction engines, road locomotives, and wide variety of agricultural machinery including chaff cutters, corn grinding mills and hay stackers. In 1880s introduced brick making plant. Fosters also made toffee-making machines for Poppletons confectionery factory. The Lincoln Brick Company produced the bricks for the 1900 works. 1915-1918 developed and produced first military tanks under direction of William Tritton. Tanks were tested on south side of Avoiding Line at what came to be known as Fosters Field. SK 96469 70453, Burton Hall park and South Common. Other military products were artillery and traction haulage. Thrashing sets and traction engines were made until 1939, with the last ever set in the UK rolled out in 1942. With Gwynnes, manufactured centrifugal fen, mine, fire and sewage hydraulic pumps; gravel dredgers. An example of a Foster tank is in Museum of Lincs. Life. Another example unearthed in France in October 1998. The staircase ironwork in the Drill Hall (1890) was made by the company

C R Lucas & Son Lincoln South Range, St Marys Guildhall, High Street 1896-2011

The south range was built in 1896 for C C Sibthorp, as a joiners and undertakers store, office, shop and shed, the builder and occupier being S C Basker, using stone from 18th-century cottages south of the west range demolished to make way for the new Sibthorp Street. 1903-1960s C R Lucas, builders workshops (later at Great Northern Terrace)

M Pearson, Lincoln Engineering works, Beevor Street/Waterloo Street c1904-c1985

Boultham Iron Works. Matthew Pearson and Son in 1905-1930 (directories); 1961, 1975 W J Bell and Co Ltd, tool merchants ("Billy" Bell); demolished for the construction of Tritton Road. Some Pearson street furniture survives in the city.

Penney & Co

Penney and Porter, Lincoln City Iron & Wire Works, 6 Broadgate / 37 Waterside North 1883-c1946

Early occupants of the site were Henry Walker, wireworker, in 1835, Samuel Mitten in 1841, Wm. and John Penney in 1860, solely John Penney in 1862. Messrs Penney and Co [John Walter Hinchley Penney and Co. City Iron and Wire Works, Iron and Brass Founders etc] in 1883. The site was between St Rumbold Street and Waterside North with entrance from east side of Broadgate. Company was formed in 1855 and acc to 1867 directory was at 16 Broadgate. Products were many but the speciality in 1885 was adjustable corn screens for threshing machines, including those of Clayton and Shuttleworth. Workforce then was 120. A shop built c1883 is that on the 1886 OS map which consisted of 2 workshops, one above the other, c61m x 12m. The site also contained a foundry, joinery, 2 chimneys and a crane. Amalgamated with Porter and Co in 1910 to become Penney and Porter. Parts of the buildings were later used as printing works. The company moved to Waterside South to part of the former premises of Ruston and Hornsby in c1938 and to Outer Circle Road in 1961, until closure in 1968. Site now occupied by British Telecom Telephone Exchange and car park to the south.

Porter & Co, Lincoln J T B Porter Gowts Bridge Works, Peel Street c1860-1910

Formerly tanning yard until c1840s. The site was at the west end of modern Peel Street south of Little Gowts Drain and next to the Upper Witham, at the rear of 69a-73 High Street, approached by a track from High Street. Peel Street was extended along to the works in 1901. Porters added to the existing tan yard buildings. Their activities were as gas engineers and iron founders. Examples of street furniture survive in the form of railing posts on Motherby Hill etc. Made stanchions for 1891 eastern mill in Doughtys Oil Mill and wrought ironwork for the roof of the Drill Hall (1890). Amalgamated with Penney and Co in 1910 to become Penny and Porter and moved to Waterside South. Houses were built on the site in 1910 when Peel Street was extended to the river.

W Rainforth, Lincoln Britannia Iron and Wire Works, St Rumbold Street c1829-c1980

Site situated on the north side of St Rumbold Street east of Friars Lane. Formerly the churchyard of St Augustines Church. In 1829 it was occupied by John Key, millwright whose workshop was a converted cow house on the Friars Lane frontage; in 1845-8, it was occupied by Thomas and Richard Garton, tobacco manufacturers, with lessee Catherine Garton 1848-1854; in 1854 sublet to Robert Robey and Watkinson, iron founders. Tenanted by Michael Penistan 1856-1865, iron and brass founder, who is at 11 Magpies Square as a grocer in the 1851 census. There is one building along Friars Lane side on 1842 and 1851 Padley maps, added to on St Rumbold Street side by the 1868 revision, apparently by Thomas Brogden, who leased it to Clarke Bros and Odling, machinists. Leased to William Rainforth in 1871, manufacturer of agricultural machinery, who had previously at 10 Swanpool Court. He purchased the site in 1880. By 1885 the firm employed 70-80 men, the main products being rotary and flat corn screens and other agricultural implements. The plant consisted of 2 engines together with lathes, slotting machines, drills and steam hammers, at the time of the report of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1885. New drying shed in 1891, gas engine house in 1893, further additions in 1901. The site appears unaltered on 1930 OS map. In 1900 Rainforths acquired the former Fosters Wellington Foundry across St Rumbold Street stretching to Waterside South. Among later occupants were Algernon Bates, coach and carriage builder (1908), F Applewhite, makers of wooden gun wheels in WW1 and bus and coach builders 1914-c1928 and Edwin Bowman, motor radiator manufacturer in 1941. Rustons built lavatories on this site in 1917. 1950 Ruston and Hornsby. Site occupied 1992 by Lincolnshire Archives Office. Product note: several cast iron pavement rain gullies and other street furniture produced by Rainforth remain in situ in the city.

Haywards of Borough, London

Manufactures of locking coal chute plates and pavement lights from the 1860s. The plates, locked from the inside, covered a chute used to drop coal into cellars, from where it could be more easily taken to fireplaces.

As for pavement lights, Haywards made its fortune with a patent for glass prisms, fitted to an iron cover, that threw light into the back of dingy coal cellars and basements.