Mark Allen, Director and founder of AAL
Having been volunteered to write a blog post on why Lincoln is such a good place to come and work it took me back to my first few days in the city back in 1997 (blimey, 20 years ago!).
I had just finished work on a pipeline and had my contract extended, with accommodation thrown in at Lincoln. Despite having previously lived in Nottinghamshire (the county immediately to the west of Lincolnshire) I had no idea where Lincoln was! I soon tracked it down, booked my train ticket and headed there. At the station I was picked up by my then employer and taken to the accommodation, where I had to wait until the owner was tracked down to a local hostelry where he was slightly the worse for wear. Welcome to Lincoln I thought…
At the time the University had not yet begun its major programme of expansion and Lincoln was not in very good shape. On my first evening I randomly ended up in a rather rough pub that did not do food, so ate some out of date stale crisps, drank a beer and retired for the night on a very empty stomach vowing to leave this place as soon as possible.
Now I realise this is not exactly winning you over, but bear with me….
In the next few years the University (in fact Lincoln has two) oversaw a major programme of expansion which also saw significant investment in the city by retailers, restaurants, and of course pubs: got to cater for the increase in thirsty students. Almost overnight the city was transformed into a vibrant place to be, whilst retaining its sense of character and heritage.
Lincoln Cathedral – it’s pretty darn magnificent
The city is absolutely dominated by the Cathedral and to a lesser extent the castle, and these are located in the picturesque Bailgate area at the top of the hill (Lincolnshire is not flat!), which is steeped in Roman and later history. The Newport Arch is the only complete Roman gateway that you can still drive through. The quirky character of the city really shines through. Where else can you see the largest Steampunk festival in Europe one weekend and the next the famous clog and morris dancing festival (not to be missed!).
Steampunk in progress
This year Lincoln has been voted by university students as the cheapest place in the UK to live, and with its friendly vibe, really gets its hooks into you when you spend some time here. It is not quite on the tourist trail as is, say York, so you don’t get the heaving crowds in the summer, which is also nice.
So to summarise, come to Lincoln! It really is a great place, we have a top team of ultra-friendly people, and it’s cheap! Despite my initial foreboding, being here 20 years almost to the day, I cannot think of a better place to be.