How Local Is Local Heritage? A Case Study of the County of Lincolnshire

    • Cover Photo
    • Presentation speakers
      • Abigail Hunt, Lincoln Business School, University of Lincoln, Brayford, UK


    In 2016 the Lincolnshire electorate overwhelmingly voted Leave in the UK’s European Union (EU) Referendum. The proportion of the vote to leave the EU ranged from 56.9% to 75.6% across the nine Local Authority areas (BBC 2017). On- going fractious relationships between existing local communities and new communities migrating from European countries have been captured in the local, regional, and national news. So, politically, culturally, and socially, a significant proportion of the people of Lincolnshire actively reject Europe and Europeans. Paradoxically, people from countries currently in Europe have left an indelible mark on the intangible and tangible heritage of the county. The Roman’s left roads that still mark the landscape such as the Fosse Way and Ermine Street (Roman Lincolnshire, 2018). The landscape is peppered with the largest group of remaining Anglo Saxon churches in the country (Lincolnshire Museums 1979), and many place names across the county have Anglo Saxon and Viking origins (Heritage Lincolnshire, 2018). During the seventeenth century the south of the county was transformed by Dutch drainage engineers (Victoria County History, 2017). As farming intensified in the nineteenth century, outbuildings were built across the county to house migrant Irish labourers, many of which still stand today (Hunt, 2013). In the early twentieth century Dutch bulb growers moved to the Spalding area, which led to the development of events like Spalding Tulip Parade. More recently as agriculture, horticulture, and food processing have become more industrial groups of people from countries in Southern and Eastern Europe have settled in the county, introducing new ideas to local culture and changing townscapes. Finally, the results of the 2015 People of the British Isles project showed participants from Central and Southern England (including Lincolnshire) had ancestors from France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden (Leslie et al, 2015). This paper will argue that whilst there appears to be a current rejection of Europe and Europeans by local people in Lincolnshire, they live in a county that owes much of its rich heritage to people from countries that are currently part of Europe. It is intended that this will be the first part of a study to explore the disconnect between the European influence on their heritage and current views about Europe and European migration in the county.