Lincoln Greyfriars: Heritage centre plan for 13th Century friary

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Artists impression of Greyfriars plansImage source, City of Lincoln Council
Image caption,
Greyfriars has been closed to the public for the last 20 years

A former 13th Century friary in the heart of Lincoln is to be converted into a cafe and heritage centre.

Greyfriars, off Broadgate, has been closed for 20 years, but is set to reopen as part of a City of Lincoln Council project costing about £1.7m.

The plans include a cafe on the ground floor and a heritage centre and event space on the first floor.

Councillor Gary Hewson said the upcoming refurbishment would be a "great achievement".

Image source, Dave Hitchborne/Geograph
Image caption,
Greyfriars in Lincoln is thought to be the oldest surviving Franciscan friary building in England.

Research into the building suggests it dates to the 13th Century, according to council documents.

As such, it is "one of the oldest surviving Franciscan friary buildings in Europe and the oldest in England", they add.

The building began life as a friary and over the years has also been a free school, wool factory, a mechanics' institute and a museum.

It most recently closed in 2004 due to lack of visitors, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

The plans were brought forward by the council, which has worked in partnership with Heritage Lincolnshire to find a new use for the building.

Under the proposals, the original western entrance on Free School Lane will be re-instated and the Victorian extension will be demolished.

The project has received £175,000 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Image source, City of Lincoln Council
Image caption,
The plans include a ground floor cafe and a heritage centre and events space on the first floor

Councillor Gary Hewson told a planning committee on Wednesday: "It is important to make the building viable, thus the café.

"We have always been looking to bring this building back into use, and it's a great achievement it's finally happened.

"It has been derelict for a great number of years, which puts it at higher risk. This will present more opportunities."

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