C19 public garden and arboretum laid out by Edward Milner with later C19 additions designed by Henry Ernest Milner and an early C19 garden incorporated in the mid C20.
The Lincoln Commons Act of 1870 enabled Lincoln Corporation to purchase Monks Ley Common. Three acres (1.25ha) were sold for housing to finance the creation of public gardens. Named the Arboretum, these were designed and laid out by Edward Milner (1819-84) in 1870-2 and opened in 1872. Additional land was donated in 1894 and laid out by Edward Milner's son, Henry Ernest Milner (1845-1906). To mark the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, the garden of the adjoining Coldbath House was added in 1953. The Arboretum remains (2000) in local authority ownership.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Lincoln Arboretum is situated in the centre of the city of Lincoln and comprises 8.8ha. The northern boundary is Lindum Terrace and Sewell Road, with three large Victorian villas in the centre overlooking the Arboretum. Monks Road forms the southern boundary. The eastern boundary adjoins Parker's Piece open space to the north and Monks Road Primary School to the south. The backs of the houses on Arboretum Avenue form the southern part of the western boundary with open space to the north. The Arboretum slopes from north to south and its setting is urban.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
The main entrance to the Arboretum is through the gates at the south-west corner of the site, off Monks Road. Adjacent and to the north stands the West Gate Lodge and the Refreshment Room (both listed grade II) designed by Edward Milner in 1872. The two buildings are built of dressed rubble-stone with ashlar dressings, the two-storey lodge being joined to the single-storey refreshment room by an ashlar porch on the south front. There are four entrances into the northern part of the site: one in the north-west corner of the Arboretum off Lindum Terrace, one to the east of the three houses on the northern boundary, one off the junction of Lindum Terrace and Sewell Road, and one in the north-east corner of the Arboretum off Sewell Road. The north-west entrance through iron gates set between brick gate piers was created when the north-west extension was opened in 1894, as marked by a plaque set in the wall beside the entrance. This gate replaced an earlier entrance on the former north-west edge of the Arboretum. The two entrances midway along the northern boundary were created when the private garden of Coldbath House was added to the Arboretum in the early 1950s, the easternmost having ornamental gates inscribed 1953 set between brick gate piers. The small entrance in the north-east corner of the site stands beside the brick-built, two-storey Upper Lodge and is one of the original 1870s entrances (Ward 1888). There are two pedestrian entrances to the east, one from the open space, Parker's Piece, and one from the school on the eastern boundary; these were created in the 1960s. In the south-east corner of the Arboretum is another of the original 1870s entrances, now marked by bollards.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS
The Arboretum is made up of three areas which were acquired and laid out separately: the main rectangular area north of Monks Road, an area of c 5ha designed by Edward Milner; the north-west corner designed by Henry Ernest Milner; and the north-east corner which was the site of Coldbath House and its grounds.
The design of the main area of the Arboretum as laid out by E Milner comprises a formal terrace which runs from west to east along the northern edge of the site, off which lead serpentine paths which wind through a wooded perimeter belt (Padley, 1883; OS 1888).
On entering the Arboretum from the main entrance in the south-west corner of the site, paths lead north and north-east. The path north passes to the east of a circular fenced flower bed and then curving north-east divides, one serpentine path leading towards the north-west and the other dropping south-east as the main cross path. Off this path, 90m from the main entrance, is a cast-iron shelter with an ogee zinc roof (late C19 by Lockerbie and Wilson of Birmingham, listed grade II). Immediately north of this, stone steps lead up to the Terrace. The serpentine path continues into the north-west corner of the site around a circle of grass with a conifer in the centre, then returns eastwards. The path then splits, with one branch leading north then north-west and the other going south-east then north-west as a semicircle, the destination of both routes being the entrance off the west end of Lindum Terrace road. From the base of the semicircle a path leads south to a flight of steps which connects with the north end of the Arboretum's Terrace below.
The Terrace runs from west to east across the northern part of the grounds. At each end it widens to give a rectangular area containing a flower bed edged with stone aligned with the flights of steps which lead down from it. The central section of the Terrace is planted with an avenue of limes, its midway point marked on both the north and south sides by further flights of steps. The first of the three flights of stone steps leading north from the Terrace centre mark the site of the pavilion, designed by E Milner, which was demolished in 1948. North and north-east of the pavilion site is an area which was formerly the garden of Coldbath House; this was incorporated into the Arboretum in the early 1950s after the house was bombed in the Second World War. The House was located immediately south-west of the gates off Sewell Road. The present (1999) layout of paths reflects in part the design of the private garden. Some 90m south-west of the gates, as shown on the OS map of 1907, is a summerhouse with adjoining walls. In the centre of the Coldbath House garden area, approached down brick steps, is what is known as the Cold Bath. This comprises a brick entrance with a metal gate set in a stone gateway leading into the lower rounded part of the structure.
Steps lead down from the south side of the centre point of the main terrace. Now (1999) overhung with trees, these lead to a path aligned with the steps which extends south to join the main cross path of the site. On an axis with the steps, 30m to the south, is an over life-size statue of a lion (listed grade II). Built of stone and set on a pedestal, the statue was presented to the city by F J Clarke, Mayor in 1872 and stands within a semicircular path set among trees, mainly beech and horse chestnut. From the statue the main path continues for 40m east where it divides, one branch leading south then west along the southern boundary in a serpentine fashion to meet the paths at the main entrance. Off this latter path, 40m to the south of its junction with main cross path, a path leads east across the three-lobed lake carried by two green wooden ornamental bridges. At the west end of the lake is an island with a fountain surrounded by bamboo and grasses. The fountain is set on three legs with a rusticated stone top and on top of that a small rock from which water gushes. Continuing along the main cross path a spur leads north-east to a circular feature, a rose garden enclosed within a circular hedge laid out in the 1960s with cross paths and a central bench. This was the site of a maze of sweet briar (Ward 1888), an original feature of the Arboretum, which was removed in 1932. From the rose garden the path continues up to the steps down from the eastern end of the Terrace. The main cross path continues south-eastwards for 10m then divides, one path leading north-east to the steps at the eastern end of the Terrace and the other path leading south-east to join the path from the western bridge. The path from the western bridge continues over the eastern bridge and along the northern boundary of the eastern part of the lake. The path then divides, one path leading south to leave the Arboretum at the east end of Monks Road and the other leading north to the steps down from the eastern end of the Terrace. A spur from the latter path curves eastwards to the eastern end of the Terrace.
In the centre of the southern part of the Arboretum is the bandstand which was gifted by the Brass Band Contest Committee in 1884 (Arboretum Committee Minutes). The bandstand (Messrs George Smith and Co, Glasgow, listed grade II) is of cast iron with an ashlar plinth and galvanized zinc sheet roof. The plinth is inscribed with the city wards and name of the then Mayor, F J Clarke and the borough surveyor, R MacBrair.
W Ward, Historical Guide to Lincoln (c 1888) [in HLF Application]
J Anthony, The Gardens of Britain 6, (1979)
The Arboretum, Lincoln: An Application to the Heritage Lottery Fund Urban Parks Programme, (Land Use Consultants June 1998)
[all reproduced in HLF Application]
Marrat, Map of Lincoln, 1817
Padley, Map of Lincoln, 1868
Padley, Map of Lincoln, 1883
OS 6" to 1 mile: 2nd edition published 1908
OS 25" to 1 mile: 2nd edition published 1908
Arboretum Committee Minutes 1883-1928 (Li/1/19/1), (Lincolnshire Archives)
Description written: February 2000
Register Inspector: CEB
Edited: June 2002