Set in 8 acres, The Lawn, a former mental hospital, is a museum complex located opposite the recently opened West Gate of Lincoln Castle. The key feature of The Lawn is the Sir Joseph Banks Tropical Conservatory.
Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1820) was a naturalist, explorer, plant collector and unofficial first director of Kew Gardens in London. Banks sailed with James Cook on the Endeavour. He was elected President of the Royal Society and remained President until his death.
Sir Joseph Banks brought back many specimens from his travels. He helped to establish the Botanic Gardens at Kew, near London, not only as a repository of thousands of living specimens from all over the world, but as a centre for the introduction of plants to new regions, including breadfruit and tea. His herbarium and library in London became a centre of taxonomic research, freely available to scholars from all over the world, and after his death it became part of the British Museum. Banks farmed in Lincolnshire and his house was at Revesby.
A portrait of Sir Joseph Banks hangs in the Usher Art Gallery in Lincoln. It originally belonged to the late Australian billionaire Kerry Packer (died December 2005), but he was persuaded to sell by the good folk of Lincolnshire.
Also at The Lawn is the John Dawber Garden.
From The Lawn a panoramic view opens up of Lincoln and the surrounding countryside.
The Lawn is for sale. The first local people and visitors learnt of this was when a small notice was placed in the Lincolnshire Echo.
Opponents of the sale have complained at the lack of proper consultation. It is not lack of, there has been no consultation. A small notice in the local paper is not consultation, it is notification, and minimal notification at that. Even those with businesses at The Lawn were not consulted.
Not a single person responded to the so-called consultation. I wonder why?
This is not an asset for the City Council to sell. It belongs to the people. The Council merely holds it in trust on behalf of the people.
By putting The Lawn up for sale, by not engaging in consultation, the City Council is showing arrogant contempt for the people of Lincoln.
What we are seeing is Shock Doctrine. Budgets cuts being used as an excuse to ram through an ideological driven agenda to sell off all public services and assets, privatisation.
What next, Lincoln Castle, South Common or West Common, Boutham Park, Arboretum?
If there are to be cuts than let’s start with executive salaries which more than doubled under neo-Labour. Let’s cut the gravy train of Councillor’s expenses.
A committee has been formed to consider the sale of The Lawn. This should be seen for what it is, greenwash, a fig leaf to cover a rubber-stamping exercise. The self-same people who put The Lawn up for sale, who tried to slip the sale past the public are now to consider the sale. They have already shown themselves incapable of managing and safeguarding an historic city. All that matters is enabling a fast buck to be made. With property prices falling it is not even a sensible time to sell. It is the public who should decide, it is their asset.
The City Planners are either brain-dead and lacking in vision, or worse still corrupt and in the pocket of developers and Big Business.
Look around Lincoln and see the eyesores that have been thrown up in the last decade or so. Unsightly tower blocks that blot out the historic skyline. In the town centre, an eyesore on the side of the river, sandwiched between historic buildings. Brayford Pool, an historic basin, in the 1960s it still had its warehouses. These could have been restored, but no, demolished and eyesores erected, each competing with the other for the prize of ugliest building. A vital Tourist Information Centre in the City centre closed, and that uphill closed during holidays with visitors wandering around looking lost.
Running and maintaining The Lawn costs council taxpayers £47,000 a year. This is less than the cost of one worthless senior jobsworth.
It is because of decisions like this that occupation camps such as St Paul’s in-the-Camp have spread across the country, an estimated 60 camps.
The Lawn would be the ideal location for Occupy Lincoln.
The John Dawber Garden could be used as a community garden, heritage varieties grown, fruit and vegetables for sale, seed swaps in the spring.
If The Lawn is failing, it is because of the Council, the same Council that now wants to sell The Lawn against strong local opposition.
The Leader of the Council claims to be acting for the people of Lincoln. His idea of a sick joke? If he were acting in the interests of the people of Lincoln, the sale would not be on the agenda. Instead he would be looking at how best to make use of The Lawn to the benefit of the people of Lincoln.
The Lawn used to be a pioneering mental hospital of world repute. It would appear the lunatics have taken over the asylum.
Hands off our Lawn has formed to oppose the sale. If you see them in the High Street, then please stop and have a chat and sign the petition. or if you do not see them, please sign their on-line petition.
Top story Occupy Global and Local LSE (Thursday 29 December 2011).
- Comment: The case against selling The Lawn
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- Why the people of Lincoln must maintain a stake in The Lawn
- No proper consultation on sell-off of The Lawn in Lincoln, say angry opponents
- Time Is Running Out for The Lawn