Ruston building to be demolished despite preservation calls

The demolition of a 100-year-old Lincoln factory used during the First World War to produce aircraft engines has been given the go-ahead – despite calls for at least part of the building to be protected.

Officers at the City of Lincoln Council have approved an application by John Rumsey, of Riverstone Dev 1, to level the city’s former Ruston Works and William Sinclair buildings.

Objectors to the demolition called for all or part of the building to be preserved.

Stephen Pepper, whose property backs onto the factory wrote to the council to say: “Within this preserved building could be the inclusion of facilities that the city population has needed for years such as a public swimming baths and an ice rink with on-site car parking.

“Also it would be a great location for a museum for example for the preservation of the Fire Engines which were housed at RAF Scampton which are again looking for another home after their new home in a factory Gainsborough has not come to fruition.”

Ruston Works Building, Lincoln. Photo: Richard Humphrey

Ruston Factory opened in 1918 and was the country’s largest producer of aircraft engines during the First World War before it was put up for sale by developers.

It was last in use as a fertiliser manufacturer in 2015 when it was the former home of William Sinclair Horticulture.

In October, The Lincolnite was given a peak inside by a reader.

Thomas Baines believed that at least the “Ruston Facade” should be protected, adding: “This is cherished landmark and a local asset that should be preserved as part of the development – much like the Marshall’s yard development in Gainsborough.

“This end bay of Rustons boiler works is the last remaining bay of a huge factory – generations of people from Lincoln have worked at Rustons and this wall should be preserved and incorporated as part of a successful new development.”

However, the application form from Mr Rumsey said the works would include the demolition of “all existing buildings…hard-standings and below ground foundations.”

It said: “All of the existing buildings on site are derelict and have been subject to considerable vandalism.

“The state of the existing buildings represent a health and safety risk and are unfit for occupation.

“The buildings also require demolition in preparation for new development and regeneration subject to the required consents.”

The sites of the two factories have previously been suggested for residential and commercial development.

Since the premises were vacated, the building has suffered from fire damage.

Officers applied a condition that the works could only take place between 8am-4pm Monday to Friday, 8am and 1pm on Saturdays and shall not be carried out on Sundays or Bank Holidays.

Watch this video below from MACE Archives of when Ruston Factory was still in use in 1952.


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