Victorian Lincoln

Lincoln is a city in the East Midlands region of England with a long and fascinating history. The Victorian era…

Lincoln is a city in the East Midlands region of England with a long and fascinating history. The Victorian era played a huge role in shaping the city into the vibrant and bustling place it is today.

In the early 19th century, Lincoln was a thriving market town with a population of around 10,000 people. The arrival of the railway in the 1840s transformed the city’s fortunes. Lincoln became a major railway hub, with connections to London, Manchester, and other major cities. This led to a significant increase in trade and commerce, as well as a growing population. By 1901, the population of Lincoln had reached over 50,000 people.

The opening of the electric tramway down Lincoln High Street, 1905. Photo: Lincolnshire Archives

Even more fascinatingly the Castle’s housed a special Victorian Prison. This was designed as a ‘separate system’ and was an isolating regime. This kept prisoners apart from the corrupting influence of their fellow prisoners. The Victorians believed that this would encourage them to reflect and repent of their wrongdoings. Men, women, and children as young as eight were held here from 1848 to 1878 for crimes ranging from stealing a waistcoat and Bible all the way to highway robbery and murder.

Inside Lincoln Castle Victorian Prison

Lincoln really boomed during the introduction of the industrial revolution and began to excel in the engineering industry, in particular through the production of air engines and tanks. In 1916, the first ever tanks were designed and built here, giving the city the nickname ‘Tank Town’. These machines were paraded through the city before going to war and later significantly shortened the First World War, preventing way more casualties.

The royal train passing the British Railways Grain Warehouse on the Brayford in 1957. Photo: Lincolnshire Archives

Today, our lovely city is vibrant and thriving with a rich history that is celebrated and preserved through its many museums and heritage sites and art galleries. From the impressive Gothic cathedral to the historic castle and the picturesque Brayford Pool, there is much to see and explore in this fascinating city. Whether you are a history fanatic or simply looking to sip your toes in the vast number of stories the city holds, Lincoln is sure to captivate and inspire.

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