2. Our origins - Ancient Houses in Lincoln survey

The direct origins of The Survey of Lincoln lie in a project initiated by Lincoln Civic Trust in July 1970. The Trust’s Historic Buildings and Records Committee formed a working party/sub-committee to produce a survey of ancient houses in the city of Lincoln. In practice, work had actually begun the previous August when Stanley Jones had (at the informal request of the Trust) started an architectural survey.

Stanley Jones was joined by Christopher Bedford (who acted as Honorary Secretary of the sub-committee, and assisted with measurements with help from Dr David Smith. Dr Kathleen Major, Mrs Joan Varley and Chris Johnson (a subsequent Secretary) undertook medieval and later documentary research. Professor Maurice Barley provided advice on publication matters.

The survey proved more time consuming than expected, with much more documentary material needing study but with more interesting architectural revelations than anticipated. The first volume of results – The Survey of Ancient Houses in Lincoln : Fascicule I - Priorygate to Pottergate was published in 1984, with three other volumes appearing in 1987 and 1996. Copies remain on sale.

Minutes of Lincoln Civic Trust record that in 1994 that members of the Ancient Houses survey team (some very well advanced in years) intended to resign after the publication of the fourth volume. By that date the interest of the project had attracted younger participants and some of those wanted to continue researching but with a different (and perhaps less exhausting) remit.

From the Survey of Ancient Houses in Lincoln sprung The Survey of Lincoln, renewing enthusiasm for researching and publishing aspects of the history of the city. It is a happy coincidence that the Silver Jubilee of The Survey of Lincoln shares the 50th anniversary of the Ancient Houses project.

GT 9/1/2020

Bob Pilling has reminded me that there were regular meetings of the SAH sub-committee, after which Kathleen Major would often invite members to lunch (at her personal expense) at Lincoln's Edward King House or the White Hart where the discussions would continue. The Agenda for a meeting on 21/11/1992 asked those attending to state their preference in advance for Soup of the Day or Smoked Mackerel; Chicken Marengo or Vegetable Lasagne; Dutch Apple Pie or Profiteroles, followed by coffee!