The Brayford Waterfront consists of the city's former inland port (known as the "Pool") and is fed by the River Witham, spanned by the High Bridge (1160).
In the 18th and 19th centuries it was an important handling center for agricultural products, and today the old warehouses have been turned into hotels and restaurants catering to visitors amid the many moored yachts and canal boats.
From the south side there's a splendid view of the cathedral, and Brayford Wharf North is home to the fascinating National Cycle Museum.
Having developed immensely over the past two millennia, the Brayford Waterfront is now one of the most vibrant and exciting parts of Lincoln. It is no longer surrounded by housing, mills, breweries and engine sheds but by a 21st century university, stylish restaurants and internationally renowned hotels.
History of the Waterfront
The first known settlement in Lincoln, dating back to the first century BC, was around the Brayford Pool area, giving the original name for Lincoln, Lindon: 'Lin' meaning pool and 'don' meaning at the foot of the hill. Timber houses and pottery have been found dating back to that time on the east of the pool. In fact, the famous Witham Shield, belonging to a local tribe's chief, was found in this area which dates back to 300BC and is now housed in the British Museum.
In 48 AD the Romans conquered Lincolnshire and built a fort on the site of Lincoln. Although by the late first century the area was pacified, Lindon grew into a large and prosperous town and reached the peak of prosperity in the early 4th century with a population of between four and six thousand. Lindon was an inland port and so the Romans deepened the Witham so ships could reach the town from the sea. They also dug the Foss Dyke to link the Witham with the River Trent.
The Romans left Britain in the early 5th century but the importance of the port in Lindon remained as the medieval city of Lincoln was built on the area’s wealth, which came mostly from wool that was traded up and down the River Witham and across the Brayford Pool. The walls of the medieval city were extended to the Brayford, where they stopped at Lucy Tower, which today is remembered as Lucy Tower Street.
The Brayford's name dates to the 10th century when the city was occupied by Vikings. Their name for the pool, which was much larger in their time, was 'Breit-ford' which means 'where the river is broad and fordable'.