Bench 62: junction of Grimsby Road and St Mary's Lane


An impromptu bus stop, this. There's no sign. You have to be in the know. We're at the corner of Grimsby Road and St Mary's Lane. The Lincoln bus hangs a right here going out of town and into St Mary's. If you stick your hand out it'll stop for you.

The same won't work for the Grimsby bus though. If you're riding the 51 north the the bus turns right and goes up North Holme Road - past Bench 48 - and stopping here's not practical for taking the corner. Best you run up to the next stop; just past the hospital entrance and Benches 49 and 50.

Like Bench Zero, this piece of street furniture is dedicated to Noel Fairburn. Unlike almost all of the others I've come across in Louth though, this is a two-seater at best; by no means the usual three-seat arrangement. It makes you wonder what the thinking was. Perhaps there was a survey; two-thirds the anticipated footfall, so two-thirds the arse-space.

Plus, it's metal. Wood's our main man when it comes to benches in this town, but this example appears unique. A curious design. Angular and unpromising-looking in terms of comfort. You'd be willing the bus to get here that bit faster, especially in the winter months.

Are these places that meant something to Noel Fairburn? Why the different kinds of bench for the different locations? What were the thought processes?

Still, it does its job and its certainly low-maintenance. Sturdy enough to cope with the college kids that pick up the early Lincoln bus from here. I try it out. I's not, in all fairness, much to write home about in the comfort stakes. It strikes me that this is the first time I've ever sat here.

I take a minute with that. No, I can't recall ever sitting here before. Not that I've ever had a reason to do so - this is on the other side of town for my usual meanderings, as a child or as an adult, and if I was ever headed this way I'd naturally either head up the opposite side of the road or else I'd cut through the Old Cemetery to St Mary's Lane. All the pavement does is give you a long-way-round option; there's no continuation up Grimsby Road.

And the views aren't too bad. Late Regency homes hereabouts. The closer you get to the town centre, the older the houses get. You're a little back from the road, and Grimsby Road's wide-enough to let the traffic pass by without you hiccuping on exhaust fumes.

On the other side, it's proving to be not that hospitable a perch. I get up, stretch, hitch up my jeans. Circulation going again, and I'm ready to be off.

Popular with dog-walkers, this. You can construct a circuit by looping through the Old Cem (what used to be called St Mary's Burying Ground) - we'll be getting there ourselves soon enough - and this is as good a tie-your-laces point as any.

There's something about the (presumably) steel construction that lends itself to a bit of surreptitious mud-scraping from your walking shoes. You don't want to be treading muck in when you get home, do you?

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The Google Street View image is from September 2009. Here's the updated map showing all of the benches visited to date.

Eamonn Griffin

Field notes for a personal geography of a Lincolnshire market town. You can find me here on Twitter: @eamonngriffin and also here: www.eamonngriffinwriting.com
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