Tuesday, 3 June 2014

A new lease of life for Lincoln's Newport Arch

Lincoln's most famous Roman relic has just been reopened following months of repair and restoration.  Newport Arch, the 3rd Century northern gateway into Roman Lincoln, is renowned for being the only Roman archway in Britain still used by traffic - despite a few vehicles trying to end its long life over the years.  In fact, it hasn't just been clumsy driving that has threatened the arch's existence.  At certain points, certain people seem to have cared very little about it.  I'm reminded of a quote from 1774:

'Sir Cecil Wray, the Solomon of these parts, I much fear is doing all he can to pull down the finest Roman antiquity in the Island, a Roman arch belonging to the old Roman station Lindum, near Lincoln, and all this to break apieces to mend the turnpike roads.'

Despite some minor grumbles from local businesses over the time the work has taken and the complete closure of the arch being required, it can't be denied that the restoration was urgently needed.  The arch had already been placed on the English Heritage Buildings at Risk register in 2012 and the City Council deserve credit for making the long term stability of the arch a priority and getting the work done.  Despite generous grants from WREN, the project still cost a not inconsiderable £140,000.

So now that the arch is completely open again, let's hope its still standing and continuing to be one of Lincoln's treasures in another 1,700 years.

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