Saxilby and District History Group

Bridge Street Conservation Area

During recent work on producing the Neighbourhood Plan, we were made aware that Historic England had designated the Bridge Street Conservation Area as 'at risk'.

In a project led by the Parish Council, we have now formed a working group. Our aim is to look at ways of improving the area. We hope to encourage many of you to take part, and feed us ideas for the improvement of this area.

Please contact the Parish Council with any ideas you may have.

The land between the moorings and the railway line has been designated a protected green space, and we hope to examine ways of cleaning this area and turning it into a small nature reserve, for example.

Along with the Canal and River Trust, we have organised several Canal Clean-up Days.

We also intend to seek advice from other agencies such as Historic England and West Lindsey District Council.

Considerable engineering works were undertaken on the Foss Canal in 1744 as part of the national waterway system.  At the same time, main roads were being taken over by Turnpike Trusts, bodies who maintained lengths of road in return for tolls charged on the users. One of the most important of these was the link between Lincoln and the ferry at Dunham, now the A57.

Regular stagecoach services were introduced, with one particular service running daily between Lincoln and Manchester via Saxilby and Gainsborough.

The growth of these services led to the reconstruction and building of inns. Stables can still be seen at the rear of of the 'Sun', and the existing building at Drinsey Nook, the 'Old Buffalo' inn, was used to change horses.

It was to serve users of both the canal and road that businesses flourished on Bridge Street. It is no accident that the two buildings adjacent to Saxilby bridge (now the footbridge) were public houses, the Sun being first established here in 1742.

The Ship Inn followed in the late 18th century, and a further pub, the Oddfellows Arms, was built next to the former Tongs DIY. Landlord Joseph Wheatley also operated a coal yard from the 'Ship'.

We have evidence of a bridge here since 1648, and before a swing bridge was built in 1823, there is mention of a drawbridge. The swing bridge was removed in 1937 when Saxilby By-pass was opened.

Immediately west of the bridge the village wharf was established, where both passengers (there was a twice weekly steam packet service to Lincoln market) and goods could be dealt with.

In addition to the two pubs, by the time of the First World War several businesses had developed, including a blacksmith's, saddler, hairdresser and cycle dealer, shoemaker, butcher, baker and general grocer.

Most of the buildings date from the late 19th century, with 20th century additions and alterations.

There were two blacksmith's shops on Bridge Street. One, at the rear of the former DIY, was operated by Edward Cavill. His family lived in the nearby cottages, which gave rise to the site being known as 'Cavill's Yard'.

At this time, the former DIY store was occupied by  Trafford Watson, a saddler. George Tong, an agricultural implement maker based formerly in Lincoln, purchased the store and surrounding land in the 1920's. He is also listed as an 'egg and butter salesman' in a 1922 commercial directory!

The second blacksmiths forge, with Tom Watson's saddler's shop next door, was located at what is now the entrance to Bridge Place, run by Francis Dickenson.

John Parman had set up as a hairdresser in the 1840's. His son Edward followed him in the business, and established a shop on Bridge Street. He also diversified, being listed variously in trades directories as a jeweller, photographer and motor proprietor.

His shop is now Tangletree Cottage.

In addition to this shop, Edward had a newsagent and tobacconist, in premises now occupied by 'Way Ahead' hairdressers.

Adjacent to Tangletree Cottage is an unusual shaped private house, once a coal merchant. Before this was rebuilt, the building was a baker and confectioner. Run by Thomas Wheatley, whose brother was landlord of the 'Ship', it was taken over by his blind wife following his death in 1900.

Many of you will fondly remember the 'Wayward Sole' Fish and Chip shop. Built in 1894, this was originally owned by Fred Kirton, a boot and shoe maker.

The Co-operative store opened in 1883. Jonathan Wilson became the manager, having previously run his own store on the same site.

Also along the street were William Smith, plumber and the shop currently occupied by Magpie Fabrics was a butcher.

The concrete floodwall running alongside Bridge Street was installed in the mid 1960's to alleviate flooding, which had in times past reached the Village Hall. This is one particular aspect of the street scene we will seek to improve, either with planting or painting.