Welcome to the new website for the Friends of Lincoln’s Inn Fields.
We have a Facebook page too.
There is a useful history of Lincoln’s Inn Fields on the Camden Council website.
Lincoln’s Inn Fields is protected by Parliament in law – it’s worth a look at the Act especially if you are interested in organising an event – the legislation puts unusual restrictions on use of the Fields.
The long saga of The Terrace restaurant has moved on another iteration with news that it is to become Lincoln’s Bar and Kitchen. Finchannel.com says:
‘The 88-cover restaurant, in which Benugo will invest £500,000 in the redesign and the refurbishment of the building, is set to open in July in conjunction with Camden’s historic Sir John Soane’s Museum
‘Path, the group’s preferred designers, will oversee the revamp, according to Caterer and Hotelkeeper.
‘Lincoln’s bar and Kitchen will aim to celebrate the space, the largest public square in London that is used by residents, local workers and museum visitors, with a diverse range of food options including table service in the restaurant or items from a quick ‘grab and go’ natural food menu.
‘Up to 64 diners will be accommodated inside, while a further 24 can be seated outside when the weather permits.
For more PR read on at BigHospitality.
The Soane Museum is a member of the Friends of Lincoln’s Inn Fields.
Margaret Thatchers funeral tomorrow will see closure of Fleet Street and the Strand from at least 0730 to as late as 1500. The Holborn traffic circulation relies on these two arteries so there will be much congestion in the roads around the Fields. It isn’t yet clear if/how traffic will get to the Fields.
Closures will be in place from 0730 – full details on the special TFL page, check there for most up to date stuff – areas in red are affected by closures on the picture to the left from TfL/MPS.
Note in particular that on TfLs map Kingsway Southbound looks like it will be closed from Holborn Station and possibly closed altogether. Light traffic will apparently be allowed across Waterloo bridge and into the underpass to go North it seems .
‘Roads west of Aldwych are expected to reopen by midday, Aldwych and roads to the east are expected to reopen by 15:00.‘
Looking at the map I can’t quite work out how any traffic will be able to get to Lincoln’s Inn Fields at all – unless it goes over the river and comes back over Waterloo Bridge and through the underpass. But as the Olympics showed there is no guarantee that the right turn off Kingsway will operate. Will ask TfL.
Also don’t rely on Boris bikes several local points will be suspended
‘Bouverie Street, Temple
Chancery Lane, Holborn
Carey Street, Holborn
Milford Lane, Temple
Houghton Street, Strand
Kingsway Southbound, Strand
Kingsway, Covent Garden’
Buses will also be in disarray.
Probably time to dust off those home working plans.
The Fields were invaded by a hundred or so tweed-wearers on bicycles today from the London Tweed Run. It was all quite surreal with penny-farthings a plenty.
The new hedge and fence on three corners of the park is part of a plan to protect the grass from people walking diagonally across the Fields. It was kind of obvious that when the railings were removed that people would walk across on the shortest possible route. Even through the shrubberies. The ground was being eroded away and had become quite muddy. Indeed until the Victorians parkified the Fields there had been diagonal paths, not indirect promenades. Gordon Square up near the UCL complex and Euston suffers terrible erosion as people walk desire lines and ignore the decorative paths.
The English Heritage 2009 masterplan allowed for hedges at the corners, but it’s finally gone in – a spikey mix of dog rose, hawthorne and beech. This should look lovely at all times of year – flowers in spring summer, beech leaves in the winter but will takes some years to establish and the fence is there to protect it.
Sir Robert Hunter was one of the co-founders of The National Trust. He was a lawyer with an office at 6 Lincoln’s Inn Fields (a building more famous recently for being “The Apprentice House 2013″ in this year’s season of the BBC talent/light entertainment show). The Trust was created in part to buy up public spaces, preserve them and keep them open them to the public.
The Fields were closed to the general public during the time Hunter was a lawyer here in the 1880s and 90s. As there were no residents – the area was already all offices no one really got to use the space. Given the severe overcrowding of this part of London at that time, this grated with Hunter. He fought an unsuccessful campaign to open up the Fields prior to the final successful push in 1893-4 (leading to the Act that governs the Fields today). Hunter wrote an eloquent, passionate article for English Illustrated Magazine in 1894 to urge the case for the opening up of the Fields. I am indebted to Ben Cowell of the National Trust for bringing this wonderful period piece to my attention.
Hunter does a skillful rhetorical job of both praising the trustees for saving the Fields from development over the years and also pointing out the social injustice of a huge private space in a city that desperately needed public parks. The full article is here Sir Robert Hunter on LIF
There is an intriguing pre-fabricated building in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, the former Terrace Restaurant. It has a chequered history – the act of Parliament governning the Fields bans buildings that aren’t in connection with the ‘convenient use and maintenance’ of the Fields. The Terrace was an ok-ish destination restaurant – ie not intended for people using the Fields. ‘Convenient use’ would seem to mean selling drinks and snacks to park-goers, not three course meals. Trade seemed to fall off and there was a lease problem with the Council and the restaurant stopped trading.
The Friends have encouraged the council to re-let the building, which has been empty for some time. But to do so in a way that is useful for people in the park – either vending drinks and snacks or offering educational services. The council have worked hard on the invitation to tender which is below and includes provision of snacks, which is good. Interesting points are:
There must be no minimum order value or restrictions such as main meals only at a certain period of the day.
A range of hot and cold beverages and snacks, as well as a takeaway service must be available whilst the refreshment facility is open.
The building is to be used for providing an A3 café/ restaurant as per planning permission.
When the refreshment facility is open there must be a takeaway service offered.
The lease is due to start on 20 April so hopefully it will be open this summer. It’s a ten year lease with a five year break clause. Would be interesting to hear other’s views on the tender.
Lincoln Inn Field ITT Jan 2013
This small but important road at the rear of Lincoln’s Inn Fields had fallen in to very poor repair. It was resurfaced just before Xmas 2012.
Whetstone Park crops up in Pepys diaries (16 November 1668) . He was chasing after his wife’s former maid Deb, with whom he had been caught having an affair. It doesn’t sound like a very salubrious place:
‘…away to Holborne, about Whetstone’s Park, where I never was in my life before, where I understand by my wife’s discourse that Deb. is gone, which do trouble me mightily that the poor girle should be in a desperate condition forced to go thereabouts’