The History of Boultham Park, Lincoln

1700 onwards

Boultham Park is listed in English Heritage’s Register of Historic Parks and Gardens as Grade 2 and therefore ‘of special interest which warrants every effort being made to preserve them’. It is a Critical Natural Asset and has been designated by Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust as a site of nature conservation importance. The lake represents 5% of the total wetlands habitat in Lincoln.

Boultham Park was acquired by Richard Ellison 3rd as a wedding present for his illegitimate son Colonel Richard Ellison in 1830. His father Richard Ellison 2nd founded the first bank in Lincoln (more latterly National Westminster Bank). Richard Ellison 3rd was the High Sheriff and an MP for Lincoln between 1796 and 1812.

Boultham Hall Drive
Boultham Hall

1800 onwards

The estate underwent a period of development under Colonel Richard Ellison, who was a Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant of Lincolnshire. In 1857 a large ornamental lake was excavated. The hall was rebuilt and enlarged during 1874 and was thrown open for garden parties, galas and fetes. It is shown on maps as a 3 storey brick house with 7 chimney stacks. There was a large glasshouse on the south side of the house surrounded by a rockery garden. Some of the decorative features included a neo-gothic sundial, a bird bath (now in St Helens Church), and a large monument to a favourite horse called Simon (now in Simon’s Green). Upon Col Ellison’s death in 1881, Boultham Hall passed to his son Lt Colonel R G Ellison, who died in 1909 after which the hall became vacant.

1914 onwards

During the First World War, the house served as a convalescence home for soldiers with the Hall Drive Bridge being known as Soldiers Bridge as this was as far as the residents were permitted to walk. During World War Two, areas of the park were planted with sugar beet as part of the Dig for Victory campaign. On the site of the larger original estate the first tanks were developed. To maintain secrecy they were called ‘water carriers for the people of Mesopotamia’. Local people struggled with this name and referred to them as ‘tanks’, and this name remains today.


BOULTHAM HALL in WORLD WAR I – (An abridged extract from his forthcoming book “Lincoln during the Great War 1914 -1919”.) By Rod Willis

1915 WW1 Boultham Hall
Boultham Hall

1945 onwards

After the war much of the land was sold for new housing. The remaining grounds were finally secured by the City Council in 1929. The grounds were laid out as a public park with the hall being demolished in 1959. The only remaining evidence of the hall until 2017 was the original pediment and steps. Following the park’s restoration, the hall footprint has now been made visible.

The original walks through the park have been largely retained, all be it with tarmac paving. The three remaining substantial buildings from the original estate around the park are St Helen’s Church (grade 2 listed), Home Farm (now a private residence) and the stable block/ coach house. This last-mentioned building was altered during council ownership and has lost its original E shape. Having been vacant since 2001, it was semi-derelict until the Restoration Project plans converted it in 2017 into the Linkage Boultham Park Education Centre, a college campus for young people with learning disabilities.

In the graveyard of St Helen’s church is the Ellison family memorial along with a stone that Major RG Ellison brought back from Sevastapol in memory of his men who had died during the Crimean war. There are two cannon balls at the base that have been made into vases and the impact of a cannon ball can be clearly seen on the stone.

St. Helens church
Boultham Park - Fountain Gardens

In the period between 1932 and 1967 crazy paving paths were added to the formal fountain garden (most likely 1936). The formal topiary of the yew trees in this area remains today. The bandstand was also added in 1936 being large enough to accommodate 40 performers. Further additions during this period were the ornamental gates at the Western entrance which originated from the home of Joseph Ruston in the Greetwell Road area of Lincoln.

Linkage-COLC-HLF Logo

In 2013 the City Council and Linkage were awarded £2.7million by the Heritage Lottery Fund / Big Lottery Fund ‘Parks for People’ programme to restore and improve Boultham Park. The project restored key heritage features, planting, views and vistas, including the bandstand, ‘fountain’ garden with crazy paving, hall footprint, sun dial, bridges and gateways. The old stable block was restored and turned in to the Boultham Park Education Centre, the central facility of Linkage College’s Boultham Park campus. A café and glasshouse were built on the Linkage land, again part of the college campus and providing important facilities to the local and park community. All of these buildings are available for community use, and the café is open every day for lovely food and drinks, and is a great meeting place. There is a Changing Places facility in the education centre, available for the community to use, and accessible toilets inside the café, and on the outside of the café. Dogs are welcome in the outdoor seating area.

The project also brought about a significant interest in events, activities and volunteering in the park, and this continues to grow. There are now many more community-led activities, and many more people keen to get involved.

The Boultham Park Advisory Group has been key in the success of the project, and continues to be a strong and influential group in the park.

See the EVENTS and COMMUNITY & VOLUNTEERING tabs for more information.

The project also resulted in the development of the archive, and improving awareness of Boultham Park’s rich and fascinating history.

We’re always keen to add more information to the archive. If you have any old photos or documents, or memories that you would be happy to talk to us about, please get in touch.

Boultham Park Regeneration Given Green Light

Work can begin on a £4 million project to transform Boultham Park in Lincoln into a reinvented open space with an education centre, cafe and horticulture centre.
Karl McCartney joins young people to Discover Boultham Park

Karl McCartney joins young people to Discover Boultham Park

Young people with special needs were invited to explore Boultham Park and take part in activities as part of the “Discover in a Day” project.