Tract 18.2: 5 Interzones, Sincil Dyke at Titanic Building / Great Northern Terrace.

Location: Lincoln, England
bind.remind.deals (what3words)
Sat:53.225309, -0.528765

That first day, my first Psycho Jog to Great Northern Terrace, I thought I would be walking a long way so I began with a bus to the temporary bus station at Tentercroft Street. Then by foot, I crossed the bridge over Sincil Dyke, under Pelham Bridge and on to Great Northern Terrace. We will meet Sincil Dyke again further downstream.

Pedestrian access only on one side of Great Northern Terrace with, every few metres, an entrance/vehicle access to business premises. The road, the area, seems lawless. Cars travel as if there is no longer a speed limit. Large vehicles turn into premises without hesitation. Pedestrians jump forward or back to secure their safety on the precarious footway.
I felt a sense of fear that day as the opposite, northern side of the road is commanded by a tall, long, green cast iron wall.

Why fear?

Well, first, being in the presence of large, imposing, industrial, machine-era objects or buildings. Secondly, not knowing its original, nor its current purpose. Then, what is it shielding or protecting? Which side am I on, the protected side or the protected-from?
In its presence my fear is of these three unknowns.

I could check Google Earth but I don’t.

My perception of time and distance is distorted, my pace seems to slow down. Is this a reasonable response to an edgeland location?

An area opens up to the left, that is, across the road. There is a parking area. I can now see what is behind the tall, long, green cast iron wall. Then, to the right, there are railway sidings (two tracks). A small area with white plastic chairs and a table with a plastic red gingham cloth. There is an entrance to a bus depot/garage. Just a little to the right a bridge crosses Sincil Dyke (also known as Sincil Dike and Sincil Drain). Half way across the bridge I look down at the water, my first view of Sincil Dyke at this point. As I look ahead I see a vast industrial era building and I quickly get a sense of being in the right place for a new Waterways of Lincoln project.

Of this general area, the Lincoln Townscape Assessment (2009) tells us:

[The area’s] use for industry and large out-of-town retail has been influenced by its position on the floodplain as this has left the area relatively undeveloped in comparison with other areas in such close proximity to the city centre.

Buildings are predominantly detached and situated in their own plots, but there are also a few rows of attached properties, and some groups of buildings within industrial estates

Due to its location between the built-up area of the city and its rural fringe there are rural views along the river and drain corridors, views onto the rural south escarpment, and views to the north east onto the Cathedral and upper city on the north escarpment.

These short excerpts describe an area of classic edgelands.

Sincil Dyke lkng NW

Several buses pass, entering the bus depot behind me. The noise seems to be concentrated here, and their sound and their speed disturbs me. Partly through noise, partly through a localising, enclosed quality which is dominant here, the place seems unsettled, trapped by its own topography.

[Aside]
The bus driver told me, by way of a warning, never to get tattoos on my forearms: “You’ll never be able to wear short sleeved shirts again, unless, maybe, you’re going to some… tattoo convention… something like that.” This was some time ago and I wonder sometimes if he still holds such a strong opinion on this. Last time I saw him he was working on the checkouts in Waitrose.
This was some years ago and it seems tattoos are much more socially acceptable than even just 10 years ago.

Back to my present, standing in the middle of the bridge.
Ahead of me is the Titanic Building, now known as Witham Park House. ‘Titanic Building’ is a much better name than ‘Witham Park House’. This is self evident.
Another noise and turning back on myself again I immediately realise that the railway sidings are in a direct line ahead. That is, it seems immediately apparent that this bridge was built to carry a rail line over the Dyke. This would make sense as the Titanic Building, built for heavy industry, would need railway access.

Permeability and vitality are terms used to describe the characteristics of an urban space.
“Permeability describes the extent to which urban forms permit (or restrict) movement of people and vehicles in different directions”. (Wikipedia at 26/9/2018)
“In the context of urban planning, [the] vitality of a place is its capacity to grow or develop its liveliness and level of economic activity”. (Wikipedia. Same date)

A few words on permeability and vitality from Lincoln Townscape Assessment, and some personal thoughts:

Permeability is limited as the river, drain, railway lines and major road of Broadgate/Pelham Bridge are all large, linear barriers with few crossing points that restrict both pedestrian and vehicular access from one area into another

The edgelands of my childhood were areas of possibility and opportunity. They resonated and, as a result, they shimmered. But the possibility and the opportunity are always obscure, they have to be discerned by a capable mind. Through discernment, a capable mind found in possibility and opportunity a hope of escape, and a liberation was achieved.

Vitality in the Character Area is fairly high due to the numbers of staff and visitors using the area but this is mainly confined to business hours. Some leisure-related uses have extended business hours such as the gymnasium and go-karting centre.

Our location would at first appear to be limiting, a trap, but what we really need to do is to see its potential for liberation while keeping in mind what the Townscape Project informs us about vitality and permeability. The opportunities may well lie outside business hours, and the liberation is one of time, not a topographical escape route, or at least a possibility of one.

Great Northern Terrace is a classic road to nowhere, but as we sidestep it to reach our location we are stepping onto an ancient path which followed Sincil Dyke (also known at this place as the South Delph) as far as South Lincolnshire.

Sincil Dyke lkng S

It’s worth spending a while to consider local ley lines. Ley lines undoubtedly exist.
Our ancestral wisdom tells us that it is wise and more convenient to make a journey from A to B by the shortest and most direct route. This alone could explain the abundance of ley lines in Britain, especially those linking settlements and sites of ritual.

At a number of sites in the vicinity there is a distinct feel of intense earth energy. This sense of intense energy certainly seems to be concentrated at our location. There are a number of meeting points and crossing points here: A complex road junction, the bridge across the dyke, a railway sidings which originally continued over the bridge, access to the bus depot, and complex, uneasy, pedestrian access in a number of directions, precarious and unsafe. A site significant in the ancient world has been empowered and intensified by post-industrial development. It is secret, occult knowledge that our location is at the crossing of ley lines. This was recently confirmed by expert dowsing and I am told this is confirmation specifically of the intensity of the location’s water energy, and that this is stronger than any local earth energy.

What is apparent is that any ley lines of water energy would not be linear. Is it possible that the ancient symbol of the serpent, found in some earthworks, is a reference to water energy and to fluid, non-linear leys? Does it seem more likely that fluid, water ley lines, like water itself would follow the path of least resistance, rather than the most direct route?

At the nearby Monk’s Abbey, now a ruin, there is the site of a chalybeate spring. That is, a spring noted for being rich in iron. Gutch and Peacock (Folk-lore Concerning Lincolnshire, 1908) say: “There is a valuable chalybeate spring apparently connected with what was once ‘Monk’s Abbey,’ which is dedicated to St. Mary Magdalen. It is popularly esteemed for its cures of ‘bad legs’ and other physical troubles.”

The spring, when following a downhill course off Lincoln’s escarpment would flow into our watercourse system which includes both the River Witham and Sincil Dyke. The intense water energy survives despite canalizing and rerouting of the waterways themselves over the years.

Clearly more research needs to be done in this area.

[Aside]
We need to be aware that most stone circles and other stone monuments in England are found towards the west of the country. This is because most henges and circles in the east were wooden and have been lost. With the loss of ancient sites we have lost some leys.

Maps and records do show that railway lines were removed in a number of locations, including the crossing of Sincil Dyke.

Wherever railway lines are removed a residual fear remains, a result of rain, steam and speed. Many places with lost railway lines retain the ghost of the line, they were developed as picturesque walks, but the lines were ‘axed’, leaving scars on the land. Beeching’s legacy.

Part of the lost history of the area is very recent history. In an ‘historic’ city like Lincoln we find more attention devoted to the Roman, Medieval and Victorian periods, but increasingly this is catching up with the present.
Elements of post industrial histories were not considered worthy of record and were left to living memory alone. The unimportant remains unrecorded, leaving histories of absence.

In Voice of the Fire (page 306), Alan Moore refers back to earlier chapters:

“Although at times unnerving, this was always the intention, this erasing of a line dividing the incontrovertible from the invented. History, unendingly revised and reinterpreted, is seen upon examination as merely a different class of fiction; becomes hazardous if viewed as having any innate truth beyond this. Still, it is a fiction that we must inhabit. Lacking any territory that is not subjective, we can only live upon the map. All that remains in question is whose map we choose, whether we live within the world’s insistent texts or else replace them with a stronger language of our own.”

In all honesty, I can only offer histories of the present; histories which become place in a seamless progression of nows. Histories of place, or histories as place. And without ambiguities, without uncertainties, without doubts, there really is no point to exploring the edgelands.

In order to take Gertrude Stein’s “there is no there there” into a new context, I need my chosen locations to be in No-place: Utopia. If I know where I am, city centre, suburbia, countryside, without ambiguity, then I’m no longer there. Lincoln High Street follows an ancient route but is no utopia.

Jim Simm 2018

 

This is a Tract, part of Waterways of Lincoln. This part of the project, 5 Interzones includes music by Jamie Crofts, actions in the form of walks (Treks) and word works by Jim Simm (Tracts). Jim Simm is an unreliable narrator.

Tract:
An area of land.
A publication, a brochure.

© 2018 Jamie Crofts.

For a hard copy of any SOUNDkiosk Tracts, email Jim Simm: jim DOT soundkiosk AT gmail DOT com

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Tract 18.2: 5 Interzones, Sincil Dyke at Titanic Building / Great Northern Terrace.

Little Tract 2: Brayford Head (South)

Location: Lincoln, England
buck.desks.finds (what3words)
Sat:53.228372, -0.542998

From the High Street which is the spine of Lincoln, descending the steps to the left of the High Bridge Café, I walk west along the river bank, under the Wigford road bridge and see the now very familiar Brayford Head on the right hand side. 211 paces all together.#

There is a seating area with three benches looking outwards towards the Brayford Pool. This seating area is an uneven quadrilateral or tetragon, paved with bricks, and enjoys a direct relationship with the water.

A sharp breeze off the Brayford drags an air from the west into the city (the lower-case devil rides on the wind at many points in Lincoln especially around the Cathedral).

An old proverb says, “The devil looks over Lincoln.” There are myths which vary in detail but all have this one detail of the ‘devil over Lincoln’ in common. Also, circa 1256, some monks in Lincoln “deduced a proverb to express the ill aspect of envious and malicious men at such good things they don’t like: ‘He looks as the devil over Lincoln.’” Lincolnshire Folk-Lore, Gutch/Peacock. Folk Lore Society, 1908.

Not all devils are the same and it is this devil, the surveilling, which flies on the wind towards the east end of the Brayford Pool today.
The symbolic devil was a necessary invention; thus it is said, “for good to thrive, the devil must live.” Anon

Four cygnets. Green algae. Trees are shedding leaves. Two moorhens standing on a floating plank, preening. Jack Daniels bottle (glass), Dr Pepper bottle (plastic). The water slaps against the concrete bank. Take away packaging (polystyrene). I think you’d say these things are ‘bobbing’ on the water.
Autumn is everyone’s favourite season, surveys say.

Brayford Head is the site of what was once the main river crossing at this point in the city. The Lincoln Townscape Assessment tells us:’The narrowing of the channel and bank walls of the former Brayford Swing Bridge, built by the Great Northern Railway in 1868 and removed in 1972, can still be seen beneath Wigford Way at Brayford Head.’
(Lincoln Townscape Assessment, Brayford Inherited Character Area Statement. City of Lincoln Council, 2008)
There is still evidence of the Swing Bridge today.

Two fish related proverbs:
‘Witham pike, England hath none like.’ Anglorum Speculum

‘Thence to Witham, having red [read?] there
That the fattest Eele was bred there.’ Barnabee’s Journall.

[Note: Importance of the waterways as a food source.]

The waterways here were once thoroughfares; important trade routes and routes for the exchange of news, information and gossip. The River Witham fed by the Brayford Pool at Brayford Head connects Lincoln with Boston in the south of Lincolnshire where the Witham connects with The Haven and flows into the sea at The Wash. The Wash is to England as The Bite is to the fictional continent of Westeros.

Brayford Head bridge.jpg

Image from information board at Brayford Head South: “The swing bridge seen in 1961 from Brayford East, looking down the waterside past where you are standing now.”

Today is the final flight of the year for the Hurricane Bomber, now circling over the city. Lincolnshire is sometimes called Bomber County which is also the name of a beer made by Tom Wood’s, a brewery based at Barnetby, in the north of the county, in the wapentake of Yarborough. The City of Lincoln itself was in the wapentake of Lawress, itself within the part of Lindsay. Wikipedia: “According to Whites 1856 Lincolnshire, Lawress Wapentake was one of the south-western divisions of the parts of Lindsey, in the Deanery and Archdeaconry of Stow, and consisting of the East Division and the West Division.”

Jim Simm, 2017

Afterword:
In his A Tour through the Whole Island of Great Britain (1724), Daniel Defoe writes of Lincoln:
“The situation of the city is very particular; one part is on the flat and in a bottom, so that the Wittham, a little river that runs through the town, flows sometimes into the street.”

Parting Lincolnshire rhyme:
Cheshire for men,
Berkshire for dogs,
Bedfordshire for naked flesh,
And Lincolnshire for bogs.

Landmarks and junctions of the River Witham between Lincoln and Boston:
A57 bridge
Lincoln High Bridge or Glory Hole
A15 Lindum Road Bridge
Stamp End Lock and sluice
South Delph
Barlings Eau
Short Ferry Bridge
Old River Witham
Branston Delph
Bardney Lock
Bardney Bridge
Nocton Delph and flood doors
Catchwater Drain and flood doors
Kirkstead Bridge
Timberland Delph and flood doors
Gibsons Cut, Horncastle Canal
Billinghay Skirth and flood doors
A153 Tattershall Bridge
Horncastle Canal (abandoned)
and Dogdyke Marina
Kyme Eau and flood doors
Langrick Bridge
Anton’s Gowt lock
Witham Navigable Drians
Grand Sluice and sea lock
A1137 bridge (tidal below here)
A16 bridge
Railway swing bridge
Black Sluice pumping station
South Forty-Foot Drain lock
Boston Docks
Maud Foster Drain
The Haven

Source: Wikipedia October 2017

This is a Little Tract, part of the Little Cities project. Little Cities is an arts based, deep-topographical, exploration of the edgelands of the City of Lincoln in England. Little Cities projects include electronic music (Little Tracks) for battery powered synths by Jamie Crofts, actions in the form of walks (Little Treks) and word works by Jim Simm (Little Tracts).

Tract:
An area of land.
A publication, a brochure.

Little Tracts is a SOUNDkiosk
project. © 2017 Jamie Crofts.

For a hard copy of any Little Tracts, email Jamie Crofts: kiosk4sound AT gmail DOT com

 

Little Tract 2: Brayford Head (South)

Little Tract 1: Brayford Head (North)

Location: Lincoln, England
expect.liner.origin (what3words)
Sat:53.228498, -0.543068

Brayford Head was at one time the main crossing of the River Witham at this point. Replaced by Wigford Way, a road bridge in the 1960s. This road, the A57, connects Lincoln with Liverpool.
Today : I do a 360° scan, anticlockwise standing adjacent Brayford Wharf North. Beginning 360° at Wigford Way Bridge:
Artwork on bridge – (a light box) asks: “Where Have You Been”.
Other side of bridge asks “Where Are You Going?”.

Tourist information point, map & direction signs. Royal William IV, oldest building in immediate area. Offers 20% off for film goers (Odeon cinema is next door). Wagamama building built on stilts over the water. (Group of women on the bus once insisting: “Chinese back’anders”).
Extractor, I guess from the kitchen has round hole design.

Water surface still but through centre of water rough, light rippling.
I think: “Tristan Gooley, How to Read Water says this means movement under the surface. At least I think that’s what he said.”
Just one swan on the water. In my survey for 5 Diurnes (the Brayford Pool, Lincoln, by day) most people listed swans as one of the things they most like about the Brayford Pool. Now most swans have gone, some think, because of large scale building projects in the area.

Backtracking: People coming and going, walking, eating by the water all clearly happening on Brayford Wharf North today. Willow trees prominent on the south bank of Brayford Pool. Looking south now: Bridges over Witham. Arches so low, has been unnavigable since, I think, the arrival of the railways. I feel alone standing on this spot. People don’t seem to step to the side to view the Brayford Pool from this point.

I feel I’ve become invisible. I’m talking into my voice recorder and not feeling at all self conscious. Next 30° of my 360° scan takes me to watching traffic on Brayford Wharf East. Only side of the Brayford that has a roadway along its bank. (Brayford North is mixed use and is supposed to be access only).
Drawn to red British Heart Foundation van. Sign reads: “Free and Fast collection of your unwanted items” on the side.

Seating area across the Witham, see Tract, Brayford Head South. Two people sitting. Both are looking down. On separate seats. Benches. Neither looking at the view. Neither smoking or looking at phone. Just looking at the ground a short distance in front of them.

Back to 360°/0°. Witham flowing quickly but surface is smooth. No wind today. In exploring the waterways and edgelands of Lincoln for five years, I’ve come to understand that all urban waterways are also edgelands. But, even having concluded this, and that I’m standing on the bank of two waterways, I fnd that simply to step off the main thoroughfare at this point is to enter more deeply into an edgeland. (Familiarity with the location has left me with little to say in terms of seeing new things. Fewer observations.) Edgelands are the transitional, liminal areas at the edges of our cities, though not necessarily the city’s outskirts.

“Every little part
of the city
is the city itself.”

 

Brayford Belle information board:
“Parties Afloat: Available all year round for your Special Occasions, Birthdays, Hen Nights, Anniversaries, Cruises, or any other social gatherings.”
Stag Nights prominent by omission? Would they be too rowdy or boistrous? Are they included under ‘other social gatherings’ (lower case)? For me, for this location, I’m finding that familiarity is breeding content. I’m surprised that I have more to say; I’d expected less.

Jim Simm, 2017

Envoi:
Distance to Lincoln High Street from here is 221 paces via the glory hole steps. The High Street is the backbone of Lincoln running from south to north of the city. The same road extends north via Steep Hill to Bailgate, Newport, Riseholme Road and, leaving the city, forms the A15. This almost straight road is Ermine Street, a Roman road built on the routes of more ancient roads. Ermine Street begins (or ends) at Broadgate in the City of London and includes Shoreditch High Street, Kingsland High Street and the A10. 221 paces to Ermine Street. (Paces to… alt film title? Paces to Baker Street. But that’s only 23). I skip to memories of the southern end of Ermine Street. Shoreditch High Street. The L.A. in the early 90s. Before Silicone Roundabout (Old Street) and the hipsters. Barren then. Fast moving traffic. Though an important, major route for 2000+ years. Was more route than street back in the early 90s. Mainly passing through.

 

This is a Little Tract, part of the Little Cities project. Little Cities is an arts based, deep-topographical, exploration of the edgelands of the City of Lincoln in England. Little Cities projects include electronic music (Little Tracks) for battery powered synths by Jamie Crofts, actions in the form of walks (Little Treks) and word works by Jim Simm (Little Tracts).

Tract:
An area of land.
A publication, a brochure.

Little Tracts is a SOUNDkiosk
project. © 2017 Jamie Crofts.

For a hard copy of any Little Tracts, email Jamie Crofts: kiosk4sound AT gmail DOT com

 

Little Tract 1: Brayford Head (North)