City growing in prominence

Dining Out

Words by:
Glynis Fox
Featured in:
March 2018

Rising numbers of shoppers and visitors are taking a fresh look at the dramatic difference the latest multimillion-pound investments are making to Lincoln’s streetscape, as Glynis Fox finds out.
Regeneration projects, changes on the travel front, new city apartments complemented by commercial space, the arrival of new national brands and brave moves made by local entrepreneurs, are generating lively conversations.

And some of the most exciting developments were thrust into the spotlight in this year’s Greater Lincolnshire Construction & Property Awards, organised by Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

The city’s higher education centres continue to make an increasing impact on Lincoln’s economy, attracting more people from the UK and overseas to choose the city as the perfect place in which to study.

It’s great news, as Lincoln grows in prominence as a hot tourism destination. A packed calendar of events also promises to bring more visitors our way, in a year when Lincolnshire celebrates the centenary of the RAF.

Lincoln’s Cornhill Quarter continues to undergo an amazing transformation, thanks to a phased £70 million regeneration project – the first part of which has seen the ‘rebirth’ of the city’s iconic Corn Exchange.

The Corn Exchange recently scooped the Heritage Project of the Year category in the Greater Lincolnshire Property & Construction Awards, after the judges were bowled over by a joint entry by Lincolnshire Co-op, the Society’s agent Banks Long & Co (acting as development consultant, project manager and letting agent for the Cornhill Quarter scheme) and building company Lindum.

The first tenants to snap up space were Moss Bros, Flying Tiger Copenhagen and Thomas Cook and they have just been joined by The Cosy Club, a new name in eating for the city, which has taken space upstairs in this landmark building.

The Grade II listed Corn Exchange has a long and fascinating history, having been a traditional market, shopping mall and department store down the decades.

Its restoration gave Lincolnshire Co-op a great opportunity to instil a sense of local pride because the development was made possible by the support of its 280,000 local members and the wider community for more than 150 years.

The revamp also saw the launch of a Cornhill Memories project, where people had the opportunity to share their reminiscences about a part of Lincoln where families once went roller skating, as well as shopping!

The primary use of the Corn Exchange was as a corn market, which took place for two hours every Friday. This was where corn merchants, millers and maltsters bought crops (not just ‘corn’) directly from farmers.

Farmers would bring samples with them and then go around the merchants seeing what price they could get for the crop. Delivery would be arranged for later. The corn merchants would pay a small yearly price for a ‘stand’ or ‘walk’ from which to trade and farmers would buy a yearly pass or pay 2d a week to enter the corn market.

The corn market continued in the Corn Exchange until around 1985: even in the 1970s there were still some 125 stands being used weekly.

The building had many other uses during the rest of the week – hosting events and appearances by touring acts. The local music societies held concerts in the main hall.

In 1909, there was a short-lived roller skating rink, followed in 1910 by the opening of a cinematographic hall. The Corn Exchange continued to be used as a cinema – best known locally as the Exchange Cinema or ‘Ecky’ – until 1956.

It was followed by another roller skating rink, which lasted until c. 1970 and joined by a bingo hall in 1962. Both these uses were in addition to the corn market, with the room cleared every Thursday evening.

The transformation of the Corn Exchange involved project managers liaising with Historic England and the City of Lincoln Council’s planning and conservation officers along the way.

Banks Long & Co also worked closely with Lindum as it worked to reveal the true splendour of the original Corn Exchange, first constructed in 1879. Lindum had to carefully co-ordinate the movement of plant and materials in a way which would minimise the impact on local retailers and shoppers.

The massive Cornhill Quarter project continues. Demolition of all but the façades of shops numbered 30 to 35 Sincil Street has taken place ahead of their extension backwards. This part of the scheme has been designed to provide about 23,000 sq ft of retail space.

‘Exchange Square’ is the focus of a planning application lodged with the City of Lincoln Council for the construction of a carefully-designed contemporary new building – which will be anchored by an exciting boutique cinema Everyman – sited opposite the Corn Exchange.

Below it six new shops and restaurant units will be created, all fronting Exchange Square and providing more than 27,000 sq ft of space.

The restoration of the Corn Exchange has been complemented by the eagerly-awaited opening of the city’s new state-of-the-art bus station, which is part of Lincoln’s £30 million Transport Hub.

It also includes a 1,000-space car park, retail space, a new pedestrian plaza and improvements to the forecourt of the St Mary’s Street railway station.

The bus station has fourteen bus bays from which around 650 buses leave each weekday. Passenger-friendly features include an information desk and interactive display boards, giving information about bus and train times.

People can enjoy a cuppa from The Grand Coffee House, which is run by business couple Julie and Rick Futter. The building’s facilities also include a fully-accessible Changing Places toilet.

Another Lincoln development which has become a big talking point – and which won the Development Project of the Year (Over £5m category) at the Greater Lincolnshire Construction & Property Awards – is One The Brayford.

The brainchild of Jackson & Jackson Developments this stunning conversion of the historic Mill House, boasts eighty-nine luxury apartments, including many enjoying views of the city’s Brayford Pool or Lincoln Cathedral and Castle. The building also includes retail/ leisure and office space.

A £2 million revamp of The Lawn complex in Uphill Lincoln, where R W Stokes & Sons has breathed new life into the former mental hospital, is today nearing completion. Most of the external repairs and fascia work are finished, leaving just the final repairs to the building’s principal colonnaded façade to be done. The Lawn includes Stokes’ roastery and a sixty-seater café. The business has also started sharing its coffee-making expertise by offering barista training.

The extensive complex is also home to other enterprises, including a bridal business, pottery studio and The Lincoln School of Jewellery.

Major developments at the University of Lincoln helped to ensure it enjoyed a record start to its academic year in September, it has been revealed.

A spokesman said the University saw its largest ever intake of new students, after receiving its Gold Award in the national TEF (Teaching Excellence Framework) assessment of university teaching quality in June.

That coincided with the addition of three major new academic and residential buildings for the Brayford Pool Campus – representing capital investments totalling more than £60 million.

The Isaac Newton Building was officially opened by the UK’s most senior scientist, Sir Mark Walport, in October 2017.

A major expansion of the Engineering Hub facing onto Ropewalk and Tritton Road, it houses the University’s engineering, computer science, mathematics and physics specialisms.

It also provides a training base for local employer Siemens.

Then, in December, award-winning health and science journalist Dr Michael Mosley opened the new Sarah Swift Building.

This newly-constructed centre on Brayford Wharf East is home to the University’s Schools of Psychology and Health and Social Care. Features include state-of-the-art education suites for student nurses.

Pupils at Lincoln Minster Preparatory School are excited to welcome a new currency of reward tokens that will celebrate the importance of values such as friendship and kindness.

The token idea was suggested by Year 6 pupil, Martha, who wanted to encourage everyone at the school to think of others.

Once launched, pupils will receive a special token when they are recognised for displaying one of the core values and they can add this to a tube representing their House – similar to token collections for charities in supermarkets. The leading Houses can then be rewarded.

Once Martha had suggested her idea, staff at the Preparatory School launched a competition amongst pupils to find a winning design to feature on the tokens.

The winner of the design competition was Year 5’s Mia.

The tokens have now been produced and delivered to the school and will enter circulation amongst pupils in the coming weeks.

On 27th March, Lincoln based Unique Auctions will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary and the in-house expertise that has earned the business a worldwide following.

Unique’s seventeen-strong team, headed by owner Terry Woodcock, work out of the firm’s 40,000 sq ft unit in Teal Park in the south of the city, handling thousands of valuations and conducting regular sales within its five auction rooms. They also do auctions at customers’ sites.

Justifiably proud to be serving the world from Lincolnshire, Unique has bidders from twenty-four different countries registered with the firm and its website attracts 190,000 hits a month!

And it is poised to expand further, with plans to double the size of its premises, with the addition of a mezzanine floor, later this year.

There’s always plenty to keep staff on their toes, especially with the daily excitement of not knowing what will turn up next to be valued or entered into the next sale. It could be a treasured heirloom or a car boot find with amazing ‘hidden value’.

Everyone has their image of what an auction business does, but few people realise how diverse Unique Auctions is – in effect a ‘one-stop’ auction house. It’s certainly about more than standing at a podium with a raised gavel in your hand – great fun though that might be. Auctions always have an entertainment factor!

“We’ve handled everything from antiques to collectables. People can pop in and use our free valuation service from Mondays to Fridays, between 9am and 3pm. We also provide valuations for insurance and probate purposes for solicitors, will writers and other individuals – although these are chargeable,” said Mr Woodcock.

“We offer partial or full house clearance services, disposing of some unsaleable items and putting others into our upcoming sales.

“We deal with thirty deceased estates a month and handle 4,000 items a month. In ninety per cent of cases there is a house for sale, so that trend has encouraged us to offer the complementary service of property sales.”

Unique Auctions also handles farmhouse clearance and farm sales, which includes the disposal of machinery, vehicles and vintage farm items. Another service is liquidation and overstocking sales, often linked to shop closures, along with industrial and commercial, and goods auctions.

Then there’s the specialist jobs and Mr Woodcock has plenty of tales to tell on that front.

Last year, the owner of a full-sized replica of Captain Cook’s legendary ship HM Bark Endeavour approached Unique Auctions, having found it impossible to sell the vessel – one of only two in the world.

“The Endeavour attracted worldwide interest and was sold just five weeks later for £258,000,” said Mr Woodcock.

Perhaps it’s time you discovered the world of Unique Auctions for yourself.

Rail chiefs have confirmed that the final stages of a £2 million improvement scheme at Lincoln Central Station are now underway.

Lincoln Central Revival has already seen the delivery of a new cycle hub, refurbished roof, station forecourt and car park entrance. Now work to restore the Grade II listed building, reopen the original archways, restore the original ground floor sash windows and repair the original brickwork, is underway.

The 1.8m customers who use the station every year will also be able to enjoy a new waiting room, modern toilets and baby changing facilities, a coffee shop, newsstand and a microbrewery, when the work is finished this summer.

New ticket gates are also being installed in a new location, in a bid to improve the flow of customers to and from their trains.

The revamp is being done in partnership, with funding provided by Network Rail’s National Stations Improvement Programme, Railway Heritage Trust and the City of Lincoln (for the forecourt works – as part of the Lincoln Transport Hub).

East Midlands Trains area manager Sarah Turner said: “The investment at Lincoln will not only restore many of the best features of this historic building, it will create a modern and welcoming station environment for the growing numbers of customers who use the station every day.”

Four million families around the globe have links to one of Lincolnshire’s newest visitor attractions which is now open to the public.

The magnificent International Bomber Command Centre sits on land off Canwick Hill. Its memorial Spire has a direct sightline to Lincoln Cathedral – an iconic landmark for homecoming wartime aircraft returning to county bases – and it is poised to be visited by people worldwide.

IBCC director Nicky Barr said: “One million men and women worked within Bomber Command during the war and the IBCC remembers those who never came back and did not have an opportunity to have their own families.”

In addition to the 31ft high, 73-ton Corten steel Spire, Walls of Names – made in the same material – are engraved with the names of nearly 58,000 who gave their lives serving or supporting Bomber Command.

“An important feature of the walls is that no ranks are shown alongside the names. The main thing is that they are remembered and all equal in their sacrifice,” said Nicky.

Then there is the magnificent Chadwick Centre, which is approached from the car park and the first arrival point for visitors, who can choose to walk through this amazing building and up the pathway straight to the Spire and the Walls, or spend time reflecting on the International and Lincolnshire Peace Gardens.

Fittingly, twenty-seven trees have been planted in the Lincolnshire Peace Garden, each positioned in recognition of Lincolnshire’s twenty-seven individual wartime Bomber Command stations.

Back in the Chadwick Centre, people have the opportunity to browse the IBCC shop, take a trip back in time by visiting the immersive exhibition or relax in the centre’s café.

The centre’s highly flexible accommodation also includes a meeting room and breakout rooms. These can be booked for private functions, including weddings.

The IBCC also has guides to help people, along with impressive research facilities. People can go online and interrogate its Losses Database to find out more about family members lost during their service with Bomber Command.

On 12th April, the IBCC will be in the international spotlight as it celebrates its “invitation only” official opening. From that month, visitors will also be able to access its Archive, which contains all sorts of materials, including training manuals, log books, photographs and much more. This continues to be developed.

Visitors to the IBCC pay to park, but they can visit the shop, café, Memorial Spire, gardens and walls of names free of charge. Admission charges apply for individuals, families or groups who want to explore the centre’s exhibitions.

The IBCC is open from Tuesday to Sunday, between 9.30am and 5pm, but closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Walters Opticians, Hykeham Green, North Hykeham is the second practice independently run by Roy and Anna Walters.

The North Hykeham practice has now been open for twelve successful years. Between both practices they stock one of the largest selections of both designer spectacles and sunglass frames in the area.

There is a contact lens specialist in practice offering many contact lens options to suit most individual needs and budgets.

New to 2017 was the launch of a new tear clinic, a specialised eyecare service to diagnose and manage ocular surface disease, relieving dry eye symptoms and preventing long-term complications.

There have many offers within the practice; from buy one compete pair of spectacles and get a second complete pair half price, to discounts on different designer frames each month.

Please keep an eye on Walters Opticians’ social media and print advertising where each offer will be publicised.

The Valuation and Professional Services Department at Golding Young has offices throughout Lincolnshire, including at the new auction rooms located at Thos Mawer House, Station Road in North Hykeham. The department provides valuations for tax (probate), insurance and company accounting to private and corporate clients and is headed by two RICS Registered Valuers, who are assisted by ten NAVA or SOFAA qualified members of staff. All IHT (probate) valuations are done to the Red Book Standard, incorporating the International Valuation Standards. 2017 was a busy year with the department undertaking valuations across Lincolnshire, the United Kingdom, Egypt and South Africa. The department is available to offer assistance and expert advice on chattels and plant machinery. Accept nothing less than Regulated by RICS, the professionals’ choice for valuation and selling at auction.

For all your valuation needs please visit

BD Lincoln is a family-run business offering garage door installation and repairs across Lincoln, Scunthorpe, Grimsby and Doncaster. For over sixteen years Howard and his team, Nick and Harry, have provided a customer-focused service that is second to none. The company offers a large range of sectional, up and over and roller garage doors to suit all tastes and budgets. With years of experience the team is able to discuss options and offer a personal level of service for all customers. They are main agents for Hormann, Garador and Gliderol. As well as garage doors the team also provide a wide range of accessories including garage door remotes, locks, support cones and cables, handles, counterbalance springs, remote control systems and roller spindles and all their work comes with an installation warranty.

Visit the new showroom at Stirlin Court, Saxilby.

Call the team today on 01522 702429/07779 793564 or visit

There is little more precious in life than your eyesight. Early detection of disease can ensure quick diagnosis, prevention and prompt treatment. Clear View Opticians at 6a Eastgate, Lincoln is owned by Annabelle Magee, a specialist optometrist accepting referrals from other opticians and medical professionals.

The practice has invested in an OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) – the latest state-of-the-art, 3D scan which allows the most in-depth examination of your eye, going beyond what is assessed in a routine eye test. The scan can detect diseases such as macular degeneration, diabetes and macula holes. It can also pick up systemic disease not related to the eye.

“The scan is non-invasive, painless, simple and quick,” said Annabelle, “I can detect the most subtle changes to the retina that without this scan could not be previously seen. Glaucoma can steadily steal up to 40% of your sight before you even realise but with this scan it can be detected and prevented before any sight loss has occurred. Early detection is key and the benefits are huge.”

To book your OCT scan appointment call 01522 538889 or visit

Staff at a leading chain of Lincolnshire solicitors hope they have “made a difference” to the lives of people living with dementia and Alzheimer’s, having raised more than £11,000 for charity.

Chattertons Solicitors & Wealth Management, which has eight branches across the county and in Newark, held a series of fundraising events over the past twelve months for their chosen charity – The Alzheimer’s Society.

Staff dedicated a year of their lives to raise a total of £11,210. Events included a team taking on the gruelling Three Peaks Challenge, completing an epic 24-mile hike in 12 hours. Other activities held to boost the total included a series of quiz nights, bake sales and bowling evenings.

Katherine Bunting, a Chattertons Solicitors & Wealth Management director and commercial property solicitor, said: “Every year the company votes and selects a charity that we will raise money for. Last year we chose The Alzheimer’s Society.

“Because of the nature of the business we are in, looking at wills and probate, a lot of us work with clients and the families of clients who suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s, which is why we felt this charity was a worthwhile cause.

“We are hugely proud of our efforts and truly hope the money we worked hard to raise will help make a difference to many people’s lives.”

Staff gathered together on Tuesday, 13th February, to present the money to the charity.

Olly Larkin, community fundraiser for Alzheimer’s Society, said: “We are grateful to Chattertons Solicitors & Wealth Management for all their hard work and dedication throughout 2017. It is predicted that by 2021, 1 million people will be living with dementia. The money raised by Chattertons will fund research into dementia and support for those currently living with the condition such as our National Dementia Helpline.”

Chattertons Solicitors & Wealth Management is a leading firm of solicitors and provider of wealth management services in the county. It provides a wide range of services delivering advice to individuals and businesses.

For more information about Chattertons, visit

The new meridian collection from JAB ANSTOETZ Systems presents the second generation of their innovative roller blind systems. Thanks to the company’s extraordinary approach, their high-class solutions in transparent or black-out quality, once again provide fresh choices to sun and view protection.

Adrian Davis of Roger Davis Interiors explains: “JAB ANSTOETZ Systems offer a unique mix of textile sophistication and technical innovation which enable us to create extraordinary roller blinds which set striking accents and catch the eye in any interior.”

Themes which feature in the textile collections include Checks & Stripes, Young & Fresh, eighteen fashionable Colour Worlds as well as floral inspired exotics, geometrics and marbled patterns. All the textile qualities in the meridian collection are also suitable for use as panels.

“Like all other roller blinds from JAB ANSTOETZ, the new models are also made exclusively, to exceptional quality, at the company’s headquarters in Germany.”

In the heart of Lincoln’s busy High Street, shoppers flow through the archway of the sixteenth-century Stonebow and Guildhall but make time to explore these historic civic buildings further. This month’s Discover Lincolnshire Weekend is the perfect opportunity to take a tour.

The Guildhall has been in use since 1520, taking up the whole of the second floor of the Stonebow. The Guildhall still hosts Full Council meetings and City Council events. The building is home to an impressive collection of civic regalia, including the sword of Richard II and the Mayor’s Chains of Office. Richard Storey, the Mayor’s Officer and city Swordbearer has instigated an exciting project, in partnership with the University of Lincoln, to conserve and research the city’s rare Royal Charters.

Richard will be available at free Open Days on Friday and Saturday 23rd & 24th March to answer visitor questions about the Guildhall. Tel: 01522 873303 or visit:

Have you wished for a specially commissioned piece of jewellery and thought that it would be beyond your budget? At the Lincoln School of Jewellery, designer and craftsman Martin Drury will not only meet with clients to discuss their bespoke commission, he also offers courses where he teaches his jewellery making skills to members of the public. Based in workshops within The Lawn, off Union Road, Martin is passionate about passing on traditional skills and his course is the perfect introduction to jewellery making. Clients will work in silver to bring their own design and sentiment to the finished piece. For those wanting to admire Martin’s skills rather than emulate them, he offers consultation by appointment – the first stage of creating jewellery which will be bespoke and unique to you.

For further details of Lincoln School of Jewellery telephone 07971 76629 or visit the website:

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