Little Tract 3: Holmes Road & Far Wharf

Location: Lincoln, England
range.badge.finds to parts.unrealistic.jams (what3words)
Sat:53.230551, -0.548961

23rd Oct 2017 is a cold Autumn day. Air is a mist of rain. That is, it’s damp. I pass through here on the way to the High Street or to cross the road bridge to Tritton Road roundabout and beyond.
From Foss Bank, I walk along Far Wharf and come to Holmes Road on the left before passing under the Brayford Way road bridge. That’s my most frequented route.

Emotion 25: Contented – in a state of peaceful happiness or satisfaction.
Emotion 11: Apprehensive – anticipating something with anxiety or fear. *

Holmes Road runs north/south from Carholme Road (north) to the water’s edge (south). The eastern side, the Brayford Way bridge has a concrete, solid edge with an area of brick-bound soft estate and, with a concrete footway, has a high albedo. The western side is almost all brick; Hayes Wharf and the much older building, College Mews, warming the road with the morning light.

Unlisted emotion: Traumoil – trauma induced turmoil.

Holmes Road has been truncated (or docked?) in a number of ways:

  1. Vehicle access is now limited in length to reach only as far as the rear of Haye’s Wharf student accommodation building. There are just two kerbside parking spaces. It is, however, perfectly legal to park anywhere in a city if two of the vehicle’s wheels are on a footway.
  2. Holmes Road is named after an area south of the waterway and at one time it connected to The Holmes (or Holmes Common) via a drawbridge, removed in 1996. The Holmes is the area now occupied by the main campus of the University of Lincoln. Previously an area of railway lines, sidings, sheds and warehouses. Before then, watery common land partly drained only by the delph drain.
  3. Energy once flowed north/south via road and bridge but is now blocked (or docked?) from crossing at a now complex pedestrian/cycle junction as Holmes Road reaches the water. Holmes Road meets Far Wharf and an unnamed thoroughfare that passes under the road bridge. With energy flow curtailed (or docked?) here, cyclists use the pedestrian-only Far Wharf and pedestrians walk in the cycle lane, so conflict can more easily be provoked and bike rage is not unknown having even led to one death.
    A thorough movement assessment may be needed.
    This is the point at which the waterway widens and at which it could well be claimed that the Foss Dyke Navigation (canal) becomes Lincoln’s inland port, the Brayford Pool.


Holmes Road.jpg

Emotion 74: Lonely – sad because one has no friends or company; solitary; unfrequented and remote. *

Far Wharf is unmarked by name at any point, has a pedestrian only access, and has a concrete wall and the canal to one side with housing to the other. A local resident of 83, born and lived in the immediate area since birth tells us Far Wharf is known as Town End. One day we met while walking beside the Brayford Pool when she asked: “Is it true that the Brayford [Pool] doesn’t have a bottom?” I don’t know how to reply and say: Erm.” Our local resident takes this as a cue to continue: “Is it true that it goes on for ever?” I say that I don’t think it is very deep at all, perhaps only a few feet. She seems satisfied by this and doesn’t pursue it any further. But I am left thinking that, some 80 years ago, she was told this by adults to warn her not to go near the water and it had stayed with her ever since.

Jim Simm 2017

“Holmes Road was laid out in the 19th century and led to a public wharf and a drawbridge (removed in 1996) giving access to the Holmes.”
Lincoln Townscape Assessment, Brayford Inherited Character Area Statement, October 2008.

It’s replacement, the Brayford Bridge (Brayford Way) opened in 1997. Its 20th anniversary (2017) was neither marked nor celebrated.

Emotion 74: Lonely – sad because one has no friends or company; solitary; unfrequented and remote. *

* Emotions Defined from Mapping Weird Stuff blog with the additional emotion of ‘traumoil’ by Jim Simm

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). Jim Simm is an unreliable narrator.

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 3: Holmes Road & Far Wharf

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)

Review Satie/Cage: Cabaret per Nulla

Satie – Cage
Cabaret per Nulla

Sabina Meyer, voice
Marco Dalpane, piano/prepared piano

Ants Records AG-13

Pairing Erik Satie with John Cage is a good fit. In his collection of writings, Silence, John Cage tells us: “It’s not a question of Satie’s relevance. He’s indispensable.” (Silence p.82).

I’ve been playing Satie/Cage piano programmes since the early 80s and I’m far from being the only one. John Cage’s early piano music is easy to describe as Satiesque.

But this CD takes a step further and plays a very pleasing game. To stage a Cabaret for Nothing suggests DADA but there’s more to the album (a programme perhaps) than that. Sabina Meyer’s style is very enjoyable and varies widely from a light delivery in some of the Satie songs which reminds me of Hugues Cuenod’s recording of Socrate with Geoffrey Parsons (Nimbus NI 5027), to a unique, dramatic performance of Cage’s Aria. The liner notes tell us Marco Dalpane “plays [Cage] the way Cage thought Satie ought to be played.” Somehow, listening to the recordings, I know what that means! Definitely a Satiesque Cage.

Meyer and Dalpane really ‘get’ Satie. It takes a very particular sense of humour to get the seriousness of Satie’s humour, and I feel I’m hearing that on this CD.

I love this CD and it’s now in my top 7 Cage and Satie recordings. I’ll be returning to it many times. In addition to this, my top 7 also includes:

Erik Satie, Le Fils des Etoiles, Christopher Hobbs. London HALL docu 1
Erik Satie arr. John Cage, Socrate (version for two pianos), Dezső Ránkí and Edít Klukon. BMC 100.
John Cage, Sonatas and Interludes, John Tilbury. Explore Records (Re-release of 1975 recording) EXP0004
Erik Satie, Socrate, Hugues Cuenod and Geoffrey Parsons. Nimbus NI 5027
John Cage, 3 Compositions by John Cage, Teodoro Anzellotti (accordian). Winter & Winter No 910 080-2
Erik Satie, Works by Erik Satie, Teodoro Anzellotti (accordian). Winter & Winter No 910 031-2

Cabaret per Nulla is available from the Ants Records website:

Here is an excerpt on SoundCloud of John Cage’s The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs:

Review Satie/Cage: Cabaret per Nulla

Christopher Wood (1911 – 1990)

I studied piano with Christopher Wood in 1981 and 1982 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. I’ve struggled until recently to find any mention of him online. He was a wonderful composer, teacher and performer. I attended recitals he gave at the Lit and Phil in Newcastle which were always a pleasure. Now I’ve discovered the following pdf referring to a collection of manuscripts and other items in the library of Trinity Laban Conservatoire which includes the following biography:

“Christopher Wood began his musical career as a chorister at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor. He studied music at Magdalene College, University of Cambridge, where Boris Ord was one of his teachers, and then at the RCM, under Herbert Howells, Gordon Jacobs and Arthur Benjamin. In the summer vacations he studied conducting at the Salzburg Mozarteum with Clemens Krauss, Bruno Walter and Herbert von Karajan. His principal piano teacher was Adelina de Lara, a pupil of Clara Schumann and Brahms. He studied the harpsichord with Rudolphe Dolmetsch and Dorothy Swainson.
Wood had a lifelong career in music as both teacher and performer. As a harpsichordist, he played a part in the early music revival. He was a friend of the Dolmetsch family and played in the Haslemere Festival from 1947 onwards. Several of his own compositions are for viols or the recorder.
From 1947 to 1967 he was on the staff of Trinity College of Music, where he taught piano, harpsichord, orchestration, harmony and counterpoint. For much of his life he lectured in adult and further education, latterly in Newcastle-on-Tyne.
He made recordings of the Bach Harpsichord Concertos and the Handel Suites and produced editions of baroque sonatas for several publishers.
His only published composition is his Third Piano Sonata (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1943), but he was a prolific composer writing across a wide variety of genres, from piano solos to opera.
In 2001, Trinity College of Music received the present collection which, in addition to the autograph scores of most of his works, includes much biographical and documentary material.
Rosemary Firman Chief Librarian
October 2002”

The whole pdf can be downloaded with this link:

Christopher Wood (1911 – 1990)

Organ and Silence by Tom Johnson. Review.

Some time ago some CDs arrived from Ants Records. Ants Records’ output is diverse and always fascinating. Here is a brief look at one of those CDs:

Composer Tom Johnson’s Organ and Silence (2000) performed by Wesley Roberts. I found this had an ‘edge of the seat’ quality throughout. Fragments, or bursts of activity, of organ sound are alternated with periods of silence. (sound and silence equally part of the music, of course). The regular pattern of sound and silence sets up some sense of certainty and an equivalent sense of anticipation.

We’ve had decades now to process and absorb the role, in music, of silence as a presence rather than an absence, but there are so many ways in which this understanding can be expressed or used. I’m making reference here to John Cage’s non-silent 4’33” of 1952 of course.

In Tom Johnson’s Organ and Silence I’m hearing music related to the late (1980s) piano music of Morton Feldman and from my point of view as a composer bridges a space between Feldman’s late piano works and my own Waterways of Lincoln composition projects begun in 2012, especially 5 Nocturnes and 5 Diurnes.

I hope these few brief comments engourage people to check this out as I highly recommend this CD. The notes on the linked page are probably clearer than my own. Ants Records:

Organ and Silence on Ants website

Organ and Silence by Tom Johnson. Review.