Heritage

Part of Horncastle Railway Station, which was demolished 40 years ago, has survived and is still in use, according to the town’s History and Heritage Society.

A significant part of the building, which was demolished in 1985 to make way for new premises for Bush Tyres, is still in use for its original purpose.

Near to Horncastle, the flagstones which once paved the platform found a new home when they were bought and moved to a property in the district which was being renovated.

They were carefully relaid around the property and today continue to provide a firm and steady surface for pedestrians – just as the original Horncastle Railway Company intended when it built the station in 1855.

Publicity surrounding the discovery of relics and artefacts relating to the Horncastle station has helped to build up knowledge of the line and the role it played in the area.

This includes a milepost, trespass signs, an original hand-lamp (from Woodhall Spa), draughtsmen’s. plans, original tickets, photographs, and even the suggestion that a narrow-gauge train from an old brickworks may be buried under a housing development.

The final half-mile post recovered from the debris on the old Horncastle station site and now preserved privately in the garden of a house in the town.| Photo: Horncastle History & Heritage Society

Very rare Great Northern Railway ticket (pre-1922) from Horncastle to Willoughby (junction for the Mablethorpe Loop Line). | Photo: Dr Chris Extence

Dr Ian Marshman, Chairman of the Horncastle History and Heritage Society, said: “This is a remarkable survival.

“We can’t say where the Horncastle railway flagstones are now in use, but it was an interesting experience to stand on them, just as thousands of passengers had once stood – including the hundreds of soldiers who departed in both world wars, some never to return again.

“Not to mention the countless people off to work, on a train trip to London or the seaside, all things we can no longer do since the station closed. What stories those stones could tell.”

The mystery has also been solved as to what happened to the model of Horncastle Railway Station, which was once displayed in the erstwhile Horncastle Museum.

The missing model of Horncastle station taken in the 1970s when it was on display in the now-closed Horncastle Museum. | Photo: Horncastle History & Heritage Society

The model was built by the late captain Reggie Tweed and had been donated to the museum, but appears to have been lost when it closed.

A retired school teacher recently contacted Dr Ian Marshman and told him he remembered the model being brought by a local historian to Horncastle Community Primary School during a project on the Victorians.

The model was left at the school for safe keeping and was used to illustrate lessons.

It went into storage under the school’s water tower, along with other odds and ends, and then the area flooded. The model and other stored items were damaged beyond repair and had to be thrown away.

Dr Marshman said: “We’re very grateful for this information – and it’s good to know that although the model might not have survived, that several retired teachers still remembered that children had enjoyed using it. It’s also nice to be able to say that we might have finally solved the mystery.”

Locomotive 69808 about to set off from Horncastle with a train for Boston. The flagstones lining the platform edges have recently been rediscovered. | Photo: Wm.Woolhouse Collection/Lincs Coast Light Railway Trust

Horncastle and Woodhall Spa’s railway closed half a century ago. On Saturday, April 3, 2021 it was the 50 year anniversary of the last train rolling out of Horncastle.

The freight was a freight bound for Lincoln, via Woodhall Spa, Woodhall Junction, Stixwould, Southrey and Bardney.

This is where trains had continued to service the sugar beet factory after the closure of the passenger service from Firsby and Woodhall Junction in October 1970.

For Horncastle and Woodhall Spa, it was the end of the line for a service that began on August 11, 1855.

Locomotive 69523 in Horncastle station with the regular two carriages used on the service to Woodhall Spa and Woodhall Junction. | Photo: Wm. Woolhouse Collection/Lincs Coast Light Railway Trust.

The anniversary was marked by a virtual exhibition. Two planned physical exhibitions will take place once coronavirus restrictions have eased further.

An amphibious vehicle that was recovered from below ground after 74 years in Crowland has been sent to a restoration site, and the man who found it is in search for a museum to house it.

The Buffalo LVT (landing vehicle trapped) spent 74 years underground after it sank during an operation to construct a temporary dam.

It was one of 30 amphibious vehicles placed in a horseshoe formation to shore up a breached bank, though only sixteen of them remain in place for flood defences to this day.

The tank had been washed away during a flood defence operation in 1947.

Daniel Abbott, a 41-year-old farmer from Crowland, found the vehicle after three years of examining records and exploring the area.

After a five-day haul, with help from North Level Internal Drainage Board, Crowland Cranes and Tear’s Recovery, the 50-man team lifted the vehicle out from the hole on May 1; from 30 feet below the ground.

The Buffalo was then taken away from its underground home and hauled through Crowland, with hundreds in town to witness it.

The Buffalo passes Crowland’s famous Trinity Bridge on its way to the restoration site.

It was taken to its restoration site on pretty much the opposite route to what it had taken in 1947 before sinking.

Members of Crowland LVT Association helped with the clean-up, and Daniel could not believe the condition it was in.

He said: “Every time I touch it, it surprises me, it really is in very good condition.

“We’d soon cleaned up the majority of it and found that the ramp works, which is great. It only took three hours to get that working.

“It might need a new engine and I think a couple of track links are going to have to be replaced.”

Daniel Abbott (centre) with some of the many volunteers on the project.

The recovery and restoration project of the Buffalo LVT has so far cost nothing, but a fundraising effort is underway to have the vehicle form part of a museum in Crowland.

A gofundme has been set up for the project to assist with the vehicle’s restoration, with an initial £2,000 target in place.

Daniel hopes that the museum can help tell the story of the floods in the town that ended up sinking the Buffalo for over 70 years.

He says he thinks he knows where a second landing vehicle is too, but is focused on repairing and cleaning the first one before anything else.

“It’s great that many of the people who recovered the Buffalo have been helping to clean it down.

“If we have to get a new engine that will be expensive. Let’s get one sorted before we move on to thinking about the other. That might be a couple of years away.”

He added: “Every day is a lesson and I’m always learning, which is nice.”

People will be able to visit the amazing Lincoln Cathedral again as of Monday, May 17.

All are invited to visit and have a look around one of Lincolnshire’s most iconic buildings, with volunteer guides on hand to answer any of your historic questions about the cathedral.

A discount admission price of £5 for adults, with under 16s going in free, will be in place from Monday, May 17 to Saturday, June 5 to encourage visitors.

COVID-19 measures will still be in place at the cathedral, including one-way systems, hand sanitising stations, and the use of face coverings in all areas of Lincoln Cathedral.

While the daily worship at the cathedral will continue as normal, there will also be more events being hosted in the coming months, welcoming the return of music.

On Saturday, June 26, the assistant director of music and sub-organist of Lincoln Cathedral, Jeffrey Makinson, will hold a concert on the famous Father Willis organ.

As well as this, on Friday, July 9 the Cathedral Choir will host an evening of uplifting music at the Cloister.

The Very Revd Christine Wilson, Dean of Lincoln, said that the Cathedral was, at its heart, a place of welcome and hospitality.

“It is a pleasure to welcome tourists and pilgrims back to Lincoln Cathedral, and to be able to once again share the engaging history, faith and architecture of this inspiring place.

“Lincoln is a vibrant city and we are fortunate to have so many wonderful independent businesses in such beautiful surroundings.

“The last year has been a difficult time for everyone and as we take the first steps towards safely enjoying the summer months, it is uplifting to see the area come to life again and to see all those businesses opening again and hopefully beginning to thrive once more.

“The coming year promises to be an exciting one for the Cathedral with the opening of new facilities, and the long-awaited return of events and music.

“Every care has been taken to ensure the wellbeing of every person that visits the Cathedral, volunteers, works or worships here, and we’re excited to take this first step forwards.”

Also read: Bishop of Lincoln to retire at the end of the year

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