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Ambitious and exciting programme unveiled as Gainsborough gets restoration project underway!

Hickman Arms Pub, taken in the 1800s (Credit Gainsborough Heritage Centre)

As well as a series of exciting events to celebrate and promote the work of the Townscape Heritage Initiative, residents can expect to see work finally begin on selected buildings on Lord Street and the Market Place from May onwards.

Thanks to funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Townscape Heritage Initiative aims to restore the “historic heart of Gainsborough,” by improving the standard of repair and reinstating the original appearance of properties within the Town Centre Conservation Area of Gainsborough; a scheme which was begun officially last year.

Townscape Heritage Activity Co-ordinator, Theresa Workman, said: “We are getting ready to begin our incredible opportunity, to restore the very heart of Gainsborough Town centre. By restoring pride in some of the town’s most visible buildings on the Market Place and on Lord Street, we want to bring the town back to its former glory – full of character and prospering, with residents pride in their local town centre renewed.

“On top of beginning the work to restore the buildings this year, we are committed to planning a range of fun activities to promote and enjoy the journey the town is about to go on. We are incredibly fortunate to have this opportunity, and we want to share it with as many people as possible. On top of that, let’s face it – we all need something to look forward to, and we hope that by revealing our plans, you can pencil some exciting things into your calendar – and then, all being well, we can celebrate every single one of them!”

Subject to Government restrictions and guidelines related to Covid-19, the outline of the THI’s 2021 programme is as follows:

  • 13 April – Merrye Olde Market on Lord Street –

    A historic street market containing 12 market stalls – each featuring stall holders in costume – will celebrate links to Gainsborough’s history. Expect Medieval cooks, Georgian dancers, Vikings and much more – including a historic hat competition for children (details of which will be sent to all Primary Schools beforehand). Details of how to enter for those children who can’t attend the Market will be released at a future date.

  • May – Beginning of development on listed buildings –

    Residents can expect to see work begin from May onwards, on those buildings involved in the THI project. Expect to soon see Historic Heart Boards (explained below), as well as College students and volunteers assisting with the project (subject to Covid regulations).

  • Historic Heart Award –

    The team at the THI will soon begin organising training with shop workers in town centre stores, to learn and promote the heritage of Gainsborough. This aims to provide an opportunity for everyone who works in the town to have the knowledge to promote Gainsborough on a daily basis.

  • Historic Heart Boards –

    Residents can soon expect to see boards placed outside the buildings scheduled to be restored. These boards will explain the history of the buildings and how they are going to be improved and restored over the next few months and years.

  • Lincoln and Gainsborough Colleges to be invited to see building work –

    16 and 17-year-olds from both Gainsborough and Lincoln Colleges will be invited on tours of the buildings to gain practical insight into restoration projects. This is an important moment in the project – creating a local generation who understand ‘building conservation’ is vital for keeping skills within the community.

  • Launch of THI website –

    Partnering with the Gainsborough Heritage Centre, information will soon be made available online about the THI project – including volunteering opportunities. Although practical and in-person volunteering at present is not possible, anyone interested in helping out as a Remote Researcher can email for more information.

  • Launch of Heritage Trails –

    A downloadable leaflet – as well as a printed leaflet – will be launched in the summer of 2021. This leaflet will contain a circular trail to follow, taking in all the sights and attractions of Gainsborough town centre, providing a full-day of tourism for those visiting – or perhaps those living within Gainsborough.

  • Big Draw Event – September

    As part of this year’s promotional events, the THI team will also hold their own Big Draw event. Working with a local artist, residents will have the opportunity to create art work in an outdoor space, contributing to a large, displayed piece of artwork. Absolutely everyone will be welcome to this free event – with all ages and abilities catered for.

All the above events will include input from many of our partner agencies – including the National Lottery, English Heritage, local history groups and Gainsborough Heritage Centre; and we are incredibly grateful to those organisations for their support.

All events will be subject to Government restrictions and regulations at the time, with further details of the events being released closer to the dates.

Fun facts – did you know?

  • Back in the 1840s Gainsborough had over 40 pubs, inns and taverns, 7 of which were on Lord Street.
  • Lord Street was originally called Pottergate. It was destroyed by fire in 1774. It was rebuilt by the Lord of the manor at the time, and was renamed Lord Street.
  • Many of the older shops in the Market Place were originally grand 18th century townhouses.

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