Including tea shops

Keith Parkins
Jul 19, 2017 · 7 min read
Steep Hill

An Iron Age settlement by the Brayford, pre-dates the Roman city of Lindum Colonia, from which Lincoln derives its name.

A Norman Castle and Cathedral dominates the skyline, or did until ugly high rise blocks were built.

Brayford was an important port, second only to London, ships sailing down the River Witham, the cargo wool.

Until the 1960s, Brayford was lined on two sides by mills and warehouses, now long gone, replaced by ugly eyesores.

These warehouses and mills could have been renovated, ground floor small shops, coffee shops, first floor offices and studios, upper floors apartments.

To have renovated would have created a very pleasant environment, but greed and piss-poor planning rule ok.

Lincoln was an important heavy engineering town. It was in Lincoln the first tanks were built, that revolutionised modern warfare.

Lincolnshire is an agricultural county, therefore at first sight, an anomaly Lincoln a centre of heavy engineering. But that is the reason why. Production of agricultural machinery for wealthy Lincolnshire farmers.

Many foundries, all that now remains are their names. Up until the 1960s, when the closing whistle went, the streets would be black with scurrying workers as they poured out of the foundries, most walking, some pushing bicycles, very rare to see a car.

Little now remains of past glories, once skilled jobs replaced by precarious, part-time, low-paid, soul-destroying McShit Jobs.

The High Street give it a miss, with a few exceptions of coffee shops worth a visit, the same chains selling the same consumer junk found in every other town, Clone Town writ large.

Sincil Street which runs parallel to the High Street, used to be worth a visit, together with a market. Now the market is a shadow of its former self, Sincil Street blighted by redevelopment, empty boarded-up shops.

The area bounded by the High Street and Sincil Street is pedestrianised, only traffic is allowed through before ten o’clock in the morning and after four o’clock in the afternoon, and it can be guaranteed any time between times.

Yet another example of the lack of intelligent town centre planning.

Streets names ending in gate, reflect Viking influence a corruption of the Scandinavian gaten.

The area to visit is top of the High Street and walk upwards, The Strait, Steep Hill, finally Castle Hill, Bailgate, Lincoln Castle and Lincoln Cathedral.

Lincoln and the surrounding countryside are dominated by Lincoln Castle and Lincoln Cathedral sitting on top of the hill. Or was, before the erection of the ugly high rise blocks.

Housed within the Lincoln Castle is a copy of the original Magna Carta. It is currently on loan from Lincoln Cathedral, and has its own dedicated exhibition.

Dating from the Middle Ages, Magna Carta is the most important document conferring democracy and civil rights. It is embedded in English Common Law and has been quoted and drawn on throughout the ages, from the US Constitution (especially the Bill of Rights) through to the UN Charter.

There are only four surviving copies of the original Magna Carta: two in the British Museum, and one each held by Salisbury Cathedral and Lincoln Cathedral.

Lincoln is unusual for a town of this size, there may be the same chains as everywhere else, but the chain coffee shops, Costa and tax-dodging Starbucks and Caffè Nero do not have the dominance as would expect for town of this size, though this is starting to change. The lack of chains is thanks to Stokes, a fourth generation family business and it is with Stokes we will start.

Also featured, a couple of tea shops.

In the pedestrianised town centre, in the High Street, the River Witham flows under a Norman bridge. On this Bridge lies a Tudor building, within Stokes on High Bridge. Ground floor a coffee shop and retail selling loose tea and coffee beans, on the next two floors, food is served, well worth a wander around.

The Little Bicycle Coffee Shop can be found in this part of town, or could.

Heading towards The Stonebow, do not pass through, instead turn left and find Coffee Aroma on the right.

Retrace steps, pass through The Stonebow, and up the High Street. On the right opposite Park Street can be found Henry’s tea room and Madame Waffle.

To the top of the High Street, up The Strait, where Steep Hill begins, take a right and this will lead to The Collection.

Retrace the steps, climb up Steep Hill. Halfway up Steep Hill, can be found Makushi coffee shop, then a little further on, Bookstop Cafe and Pimento.

Or, from The Collection, walk up Well Lane, then choice of carry on or take Danesgate. If take Danesgate, will bring out on Steep Hill opposite Makushi.

At the top of Steep Hill, Castle Hill, a square. To the right, Lincoln Cathedral, straight on Bailgate and a Roman arch at the end, to the left Lincoln Castle, and walk on through and out the other gate to The Lawn.

When you support indie coffee shops, your are maintaining the vitality of our town centres. When you support chains, you are part of the problem, you are destroying the local economy.

Stokes on High Bridge

Stokes on High Bridge

Stokes is a very old coffee business, dating from 1902, now a fourth generation family business. The current location of Stokes on High Bridge, in a Tudor building on a Norman Bridge over the River Witham dates from 1937.

Of late the coffee not as good as in the past.

The Little Bicycle Coffee Shop

The Little Bicycle Coffee Shop

Being a bicycle, strictly speaking a tricycle, moves around.

Often a guest coffee, beans usually sourced from Makushi, changes with the season, usually a different source each month.

Coffee Aroma

Coffee Aroma

A Victorian building with three levels and outside seating, though the local council is giving them grief over the outside seating.

Beans sourced from Hasbean, a seasonal blend. Unusual in that always prominently displays the roast date.



Henry’s tea rooms will sadly close.

Beans supplied by Stokes.

Note: Henry’s closed Easter Saturday 2017. Loss of a popular tea shop.

Madame Waffle

Madame Waffle

Do not be fooled by the exterior, which has the look of a chain fast food joint.

Step inside and be pleasantly surprised.

Down in the cellar an undercroft.

On sale Standart.

Beans sourced from Square Mile.

Occasional live music.

Stokes at The Collection

Stokes at The Collection

The Collection is a museum and art complex, a modern museum linked to the Usher Gallery.

Occasional live music.



Makushi is located halfway up Steep Hill. A good place for a rest.

Older than it looks from the outside, original stone walls, recycled wood with ironwork for tables. Within an undercroft. A long communal table within the undercroft.

At the rear a little garden, and No Smoking.

They roast their own beans in house. The roast is on the light side, bringing forth the subtle flavours. The beans are single source with information on origin, coffee variety.

Standart and coffee books available to browse.

Bookstop Cafe

Bookstop Cafe

Not a place for coffee, noteworthy because located within a Norman undercroft, with a stunning view looking straight down Steep Hill.

Stocks secondhand books and books by local authors.

Occasional literary events.


Pimento tea rooms

Many different rooms, located near the top of Steep Hill.

Entrance is unusual as walk through one of two shops, one of which has now been added to the tea rooms.

Quirky, wonderful ambience.

Serves vegetarian food.

The place for tea.

Occasional live music.

The Lawn

The Lawn

The Lawn is not yet open.

When open, Stokes will locate their roastery, open a coffee shop, provide training and open a tea and coffee museum.

The Lawn used to house the Joseph Banks Conservatory. For some perverse reason it has been demolished and relocated.

Stunning views over Lincoln and the Trent Valley.

The Lawn is mired in controversy. It was put up for sale with no public consultation. Sold against strong local opposition. Sold for only £250,000. The Joseph Banks Conservatory demolished to make way for a car park. Trees cut down to make way for a car park. Under the table deal with the local council?

Stokes Coffee Roastery

vintage cast iron roaster beans roasted on naked gas flame

Stokes coffee roastery located in a Victorian warehouse in Mill Lane, turn left after passing through The Stonebow, then first right.

Not open to the public.

Two coffee roasters. A modern computer controlled roaster with digital read out and display, the beans roasted by hot air. A vintage cast iron roaster, the beans roasted by a direct gas flame on the revolving roasting drum.

Over a tonne of beans roasted a week. When the roastery relocates to The Lawn, additional coffee roasters and production upped to three tonnes a week, at least that is the intention.

The Little Bicycle Coffee Shop

Musings on all things coffee and occasionally tea

Keith Parkins

Written by

Writer, thinker, deep ecologist, social commentator, activist, enjoys music, literature and good food.

The Little Bicycle Coffee Shop

Musings on all things coffee and occasionally tea

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