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

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).

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

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).

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)

Regeneration Game (100 one bar variations on a C major scale)

I wrote Regeneration Game in the summer of 1993 whilst house sitting in Kensington, London. There was a grand piano and a lot of space. It was a summer of transition; I’d given up my flat in Lansdowne Crescent* and I was buying a flat in Wilbury Villas, Hove (now the city of Brighton and Hove).
*Lansdowne Cresecnt is the street where Jimi Hendrix died at the Samarkand Hotel in 1970,

I had worked with Ikon Corporation, a London gallery for contemporary furniture and design, who had commissioned music from me for four exhibitions. One day I called in and they had a copy of Paolo Pallucco’s 100 Sedie In Una Notte (100 chairs in one night), a book cataloguing a design project, published in 1990.

The 100 Sedie begins with a neutral, black, square dining chair: Square seat, square back and four square legs. The designer then goes on to create 100 variations on this basic design by, for example, extending, reducing or reshaping the back, or the seat or the legs.

I decided to write a version in music. To do so I needed a neutral theme in music to correspond to Pallucco’s basic chair design. I decided to use a C major scale, that is, a one octave ascending C major scale notated in quarter notes, starting on middle C and ending one octave higher (with a time signature of 8/4).
I then wrote 100 one bar variations on the theme, the first of which is the same C major scale, but descending; a retrograde.

The score is available to download from the British Music Collection. Print copy available from

Regeneration Game at British Music Collection

SOUNDkiosk website

Regeneration Game (100 one bar variations on a C major scale)

Sonata 1997 (composition)

Sonata 1997 notebook page Sonata 1997 page 1 Sonata 1997 page 2

The structure that emerged during the composition of Sonata 1997 was a series of short sections with a hiatus of one to two bars between them.

I placed these short sections into a series of 8 ABCBA arch structures. Once I had one ABCBA section I could perceive the scale of the whole composition. The sonata opens with a section based on a 12 tone row. Other sections use a limited pitch palette and the composition ends with a coda consisting of a repeated-pitch cadence.

The illustrations are a section of my notebook from February 19? and the corresponding sections in the typeset score.

On the notebook page you can see how I changed the way the chords are written from fully notated rhythm to a series of double whole notes; and on the lower right of the page, the opposite.

The score of the sonata is available from the British Music Collection:

Sonata 1997 (composition)