Platinum Jubilee

Horncastle History & Heritage Society is delighted to have received a £10,000 grant from Lincolnshire Community Foundation and Arts Council England’s Let’s Create Jubilee Fund to help celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The Society is working with Horncastle Town Council and organisations across the town on a programme of festivities culminating on the Platinum Jubilee Weekend. Keep posted to find out more.

A People’s History of Horncastle in Photos

We are appealing for people to share their old photos to help create a ‘People’s History of Horncastle’ exhibition opening on Thursday 5th May until until Saturday 18th June. The exhibition will be open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays 10am-4pm.

The interactive exhibition will feature a timeline of life in the town from 1952 to 2022, but we need your help to fill it with photos!

Anyone can share a photo for the exhibition, provided you know what year it was taken between 1952 and 2022. Photos need to have been taken in Horncastle, and should include at least one person (ie not just photos of buildings), and you must have their permission to share it. Please also make sure you give us a caption describing what is happening in the photo.

You can share a photo by email to or bring an original photograph in to be scanned at the Joseph Banks Centre during opening hours Thursday to Saturday 10am to 4pm.

Chairman of the Society, Dr Ian Marshman said: “It is easy to look at our historic town and think nothing ever changes, but when you look back at the past 70 years that the Queen has reigned over, life in Horncastle has changed beyond recognition.”

“In 1952 when the Queen’s reign began Horncastle was still in decline from its early 19th century heyday. The town was half the size it is today, and a population of 3,800 it was 25% smaller than it had been in the 1850s, and people were moving away to find work. Most residents still lived and worked right here in the town, fewer people had cars, and many older homes had facilities that hadn’t improved much since the Victorians.”

By submitting your photo you agree that Horncastle History & Heritage Society can reproduce the photo and the caption you provide and display it in the exhibition, and to help promote and evaluate the exhibition. If the photo includes people who are still living, please ensure you have their permission to share it with us.

Please do not post original photographs as we may struggle to return them. If you would like to donate any original photographs to the Society’s Town Archive please contact us first to discuss this.

Quilt Image

Horncastle & District Scrubs Commemorative Exhibition

This temporary exhibition, which runs from the 4th Nov to 4th Dec, celebrates the efforts of hundreds of volunteers from Horncastle and Distribution Scrubs.

The group formed in response to the PPE shortages experienced by NHS, Care & other frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Operating from spare rooms, dining tables and The Stanhope Hall, this dedicated group contributed thousands of sets of scrubs and other needed items to hospitals, doctors, dentists and other health and care teams across the county.

Local volunteers were supported by teams from Lincoln University, HMP Lincoln and local businesses for fabric cutting to specific patterns. Then the sewing, overlocking, quality control, logistics, packaging, admin and delivery teams all played their parts in the coordinated effort.

The exhibition includes the first public viewing of a Commemorative Quilt created to mark this time. The quilt represents a wall of strength and is built from bricks individually designed and created by over 100 of the group’s volunteers.

Also on display will be a set of scrubs, that is being presented to Horncastle History & Heritage Society for the town archives, as well as other items created by the group.

The special set of scrubs is made from a unique rainbow fabric designed by Tessa Semple former head of design at Liberty of London. It was used only to make scrubs for the NHS, and was commissioned after 11 year old Noah Evans (son of the DJ Chris Evans) raised over £120,000 to buy fabric for the Scrubbers.

Ian Marshman, Chairman of the Society said: “We were delighted to receive this set of scrubs, which we hope will show future generations how volunteers from Horncastle came together during this global pandemic. What the Horncastle Scrubbers have achieved is inspirational.”

Photo: The Horncastle & District Scrubs Commemorate Quilt is unfolded at the Joseph Banks Centre. Held by Tracey Leyland (Horncastle & District Scrubs), Paul Scott (volunteer curator Joseph Banks Centre), Shelley Wills (Horncastle Scrubs), and Ian Marshman (Chairman of Horncastle History & Heritage Society).


End of The Line Exhibition

End of The Line Exhibition

After the success of the virtual exhibition which commemorated the 50th anniversary of the closure of the Horncastle Railway, easing of lock-down restrictions means the “real exhibition” is open from Thursday 29th July to Saturday 4th September 2021 here at the Joseph Banks Centre.

The exhibition will offer visitors the chance to see discover the history of the railway which opened in 1855 linking Horncastle and Woodhall Spa to the main Lincolnshire Loop Line at Kirkstead. It will include recently rediscovered photographs of the line which have never previously displayed in the town, as well as original items from the railway preserved in Horncastle History & Heritage Society’s Town Archive.

Chairman of the Society, Dr Ian Marshman said:

“Today many people don’t realise Horncastle ever had a railway, as almost every trace of the station is gone. We hope this exhibition will show how the line changed life in Horncastle.

“There are many fascinating stories to be told, such as how local people fought to build the line in 1850s and how it broadened horizons for ordinary people living here. It is also tantalising to discover how history could have taken a different path, with several schemes having been proposed that would have put Horncastle on the main route from Lincoln to the coast.”

Talk on the Last 10 Years of East Lincolnshire’s Railways

Join railway historian Mike Fowler on Friday 13th August for a talk examining the significant events in the 1960s that led to the closure of most of East Lincolnshire’s railway network on October 5th 1970.

The talk will feature films of interviews with railway staff who worked on the routes, video footage and old photos of the lost lines.

Many local stations will get a mention, from town’s left cut off from the rail network like Horncastle, Louth and Mablethorpe, to rural stops like Midville and Willoughby, and once busy junctions like Woodhall and Firsby.

There will also be local railway books and framed railway carriage prints of East Lincolnshire scenes for sale. Doors and a licensed bar will be open from 6:30pm, with the talk starting at 7:30pm sharp.

The talk will be held at Horncastle Community Centre, Manor House Street, Horncastle, LN9 5HJ.
Admission £4, or £2 for members of Horncastle History & Heritage Society.

Exhibition Special Open Week 14th-22nd August

For one week only we present a rare chance to see artefacts saved from the Horncastle and Woodhall Spa branch line, and other nearby stations. Loaned by private collections, many of the items have never been on display in the town before!

From beautiful railway posters promoting local resorts, to carriage prints, old signs and real artefacts that once kept local railways running.

On Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th there will also be an opportunity to see a working model of Horncastle Station made by a local modeller. What better way to capture the spirit of the lost branch line that closed 50 years ago this year.Admission is free.

Open 10am-4pm daily.

Part of the End of the Line Exhibition on the history of the Horncastle Railway which will continue until 4th September. Usual opening times for which are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays 10am-4pm.

Spa Trail

Today, much of the route forms part of the Spa Trail for walkers and cyclists between Horncastle and Woodhall Spa, since it opened in 2010. Thanks to funding from Lincolnshire County Council’s Countryside Service, the Society has produced a new leaflet and map to promote the trail.

It’s hoped that with staycations increasingly popular this year, local people and visitors will be encouraged to explore the trail, which features a collection of sculptures and information boards about the railway’s history.

Local railway enthusiast, Chris Bates, who helped compile the exhibition, said:

“It is interesting to think that the line probably carries more ‘passengers’ today than it did when it closed. Even without its rails, it continues to be a great asset to the town”.

The free leaflet can be collected from the Joseph Banks Centre, or as a free download from Horncastle Walkers Are Welcome.

Dr Marshman added:

“It’s a great asset for Horncastle that the town now has a dedicated exhibition space in the relaunched Joseph Banks Centre, where local heritage, nature and culture can be celebrated. The refreshed tourist information centre for the area is also proving popular, with people popping in to pick up walk and cycle leaflets”

In addition, at the “other end” of the Horncastle branch, the award-winning Woodhall Spa Cottage Museum has included much information about the railway and some exhibits in its displays. The Society would like to thank the Cottage Museum for its help preparing the exhibition.