GALLERY: Pubs we must 'love or lose' on Lincolnshire coast are celebrated in exhibition
Throughout history pubs have been at the heart of communities – places where locals meet to socialise, play traditional games and even iron out local issues.
However, since the Second World War they have been in decline and now – following the pandemic and with the rising cost of living – it is feared even more will be calling ‘last orders’.
A free exhibition that has been unveiled in North Sea Observatory at Chapel Point is hoped to change all that and make people fall in love with their pubs again.
It is part of Lincolnshire County Council’s Inns on the Edge project, which shows how the coast’s communities shaped inns and taverns between Boston and Grimsby.
But amongst the tales of how the Tudor style pubs were designed to evoke notions of old ‘Merrie England’ there is a stark warning – “if you don’t use them you will lose them”.
Just 97 pubs over 50 years old remain open in the project area, according to the project’s research.
What is even more sad is traces of the 298 that were once open along the coast are fast disappearing. Already 108 have been demolished – mostly in Grimsby and Boston and knocked down in the 1960s and 70s.
The year-long Inns on the Edge project was made possible with funding from Historic England and conducted by Lincolnshire County Council officers, including the new role of Inns on the Edge project officer.
Naturally the job of being paid to visit pubs attracted wide interest – and the man lucky enough to land it was Marc Knighton.
Over the past nine months he and his team have been visiting pubs in the project area and some of their fascinating findings are on show in displays at the exhibition.
Mr Knighton said: “It’s been a fascinating job. The Lincolnshire coast is a land of shifting sands and changing fortunes. It is a landscape with a rich history just waiting to be discovered.
"It has been a real privilege to visit the pubs with their different architectural styles and the amazing people who run them.
"The exhibition explores the stories of some of the area’s inns and taverns and how they were shaped by Lincolnshire’s coastal communities. Visitors will discover tales of smugglers, shipwrecks, ghosts and local legends.
“There are also be exhibits to help bring back memories, with features on the games, drinks and people that make Lincolnshire's pubs special.
”We hope the exhibition helps people learn more about their local pub and the difficulties they face.”
Colin Davie, Executive Councillor: Economic Development, Environment and Planning, officially opened the exhibition.
"It is clear we have lost a large number of wonderful village pubs that were the centre of communities for many years,” he said.
"The message I think now is we must work together to protect these wonderful assets for future generations otherwise we will lose them.”
The free exhibition will be on display at North Sea Observatory until Sunday, May 29.
Other venues already confirmed include:
• University of Lincoln, David Chiddick Building, from 20 to 24 June.
• Skegness, Tower Gardens Pavilion, 6 and 7 August.