On this week in Lincoln: Wool production and alcohol consumption

The Greyfriars on Saltergate was transformed into a wool knitting factory this week in 1691, a move thought to be the first stage of the county’s industrialisation.

— On this week in Lincoln is part of a new series, reflecting each week on different highlights throughout the city’s history. In the final instalment, Josh Francis found this week in June was quite a busy one in history.


This week in Lincoln in the 1700s brought on various significant events, including the establishment of industry and magistrates imposing their powers.

On June 8, 1786 Lincoln magistrates began to clamp down the increasing consumption of alcohol in public houses. They focused especially on the use of pubs on the Lords day (Sunday).

Despite the discouragement of alcohol, almost 90 years earlier in 1690 the ‘Act for the Encouraging of the Distillation of Brandy and Sprits from Corn’ was passed, encouraging the production of spirits like gin.

Four years after this act was passed, it was found alcohol production had gone up to almost 1 million gallons.

A year later, on June 7, 1691, the Greyfriars on Saltergate was transformed into a wool knitting factory and was met with positivity from the local community.

It’s thought that this was the first stage of the county’s industrialisation, despite being hindered previously because the transportation method was by water. It is also believed that the cotton industry itself was already well established at the time.

The production of wool led to the establishment of a textile industry in the 19th century.

Finally, in 1783 the vicarage of St. Peter Arches received their new Reverend, Francis Swan. St Peter Arches was also a churchyard, but is now home to a section of the High Street down to Lincoln’s Central Market.