Lincoln Bailgate 1940's Weekend 2015

Dear Readers,

As I previously blogged at the end of May there was a 1940s weekend right here in Lincoln on the Bailgate. I was pretty excited about the fact that finally there was a 40's event on our very own doorstep and also really excited to wear my new dress. I have taken a little time to think about what I'm going to say and how to say it because if I'm honest I was a little disappointed with the weekend. I've decided to alternate between positive and constructive comments to give it a good mixture.

1. Location - the location was perfect for me. Right on my doorstep the Bailgate is just a 5 - 10 minute walk (depending on heels) from my door. I also think that the surrounding area really lent itself to the event with the backdrop of the amazing Cathedral and Castle (the grounds of which are now free to enter). I love my home front events and always prefer those to a muddy field of tanks and explosions. Even the cobbles of the Bailgate are easier to walk on in my heels than a field of rabbit holes and dug outs.

2. Local Participation - this was mixed as in some parts it felt as though the local business went to lots of effort with some great displays and doing additional things, such as the Afternoon Tea at Lady's Rose's Edwardian Tea Room. In other parts though it felt that the local businesses were not on board with it which is such a shame. Despite being the first time the event has been held it still drew a good crowd of visitors so not to make at least a little effort seems almost a bit ungrateful. There are a lot of other parts of the city that don't get as much attention as the Bailgate and those areas would probably be really grateful of the extra trade an event like this would bring.

3. Turn out - as mentioned before the event was really well attended and this was only the first one they have done. Once word of mouth spreads more people will attend, hopefully more re-enactors too, as this really helps the give an event atmosphere.

4. Shopping - there were a number of stalls which I felt were not even remotely vintage or 1940's which is a shame. The shopping is a big thing at events and also if people attend who are not re-enactors but see it and want to get involved then it can give people a good starter for ten to have some experienced vintage sellers to talk to and by from. I think it also makes the event feel less like a 1940's one and more like a craft fair if the stalls are not vintage. That said there were two stalls down near the Strait selling vintage which looked really good and I may have purchased a cute little hand knitted jumper.

5. Music and dancing - at one point we stopped to have some lunch and sat outside in the sun with swing music drifting through the air. This lovely little experience was thanks to the Louth Lindy Hop Club who were dancing in the square near St Paul's Lane. Music, bands, and dancing are always an important part of the entertainment at a 1940's event. Although I don't dance myself I love the music and watching others dance. They really drew quite a crowd of spectators so it's not just me who likes this I guess.

6. Lay out - I feel that more could have been done with the layout as there were some areas which were relatively unused but would have made really great backdrops for some living history groups. The event also extended down from the Bailgate to some stalls on the Strait but this felt a little disjointed and could have used some other points of interest along the way.

Lincoln Big are planning on holding another 1940's weekend on the Bailgate next year too which I am planning on going to because it's a fun event in a good location. I hope have been balanced in my opinions of the event but I wanted to be totally honest with you readers on my thoughts. It is the first event they have held and I'm certain it's going to improve every time. There is also a 1940's day being held on the Brayford Waterfront here in Lincoln on the 23rd August 2015 from 10am - 4.30pm. There will be singers, living history displays, vintage vehicles and a Blitz fire engine display so it sounds like it's going to be a really good day. Maybe see you there!

Did you go the the 1940's Weekend on the Bailgate? What, for you, makes a really great 1940's event? I really love to know.



  1. Hi Rowena,
    I was very interested to read your comments about this event and I think all your points sound valid.
    I thought you might be interested to hear about my experience.
    I wanted to attend the event, both as a seller and with my wartime car. Unfortunately Lincoln BIG didn't make it exactly easy to do either!
    Although I had contact with the individual organising the trade stands there could have been a lot more information forthcoming. No stalls were provided (unlike the monthly antiques fair at Castlegate) so I would have to take my gazebo which is fine but I am unable to fix it on hard standing and obviously selling what I do, I cannot risk not using some cover even though it's allegedly Summer! I felt that the organizers didn't really appreciate that a lot of money's worth of stock could potentially get ruined. I would also have to pack up at the end of the first day and set up again next morning which is a huge faff. Many two day events have security to alleviate this. Hearing you say that there were not many true vintage stalls makes me quite angry when I would have loved to have been there maybe selling to people like you!
    The person organizing the classic cars was copied in twice to emails from BIG and was asked to contact me but never did. I'm not sure what else I could've done to get in touch and book my car in.
    I'm amazed there is another event planned for Brayford this year when it seems there's a lot of teething problems to iron out.
    Like you I was excited to hear that Lincoln was finally having a 40's event in the city as although there are a few in the county Lincoln itself does seem to have missed the boat somewhat. I would love to support it but it's a two way street. If they don't make an effort to reach the right sellers/re-enactors/classic car owners etc... the public won't come again because there's nothing to see or do and the event will be over before it even has a chance.
    And that would be a shame, both for locals like me who want to do business there and the attending public.
    Hope I haven't waffled too much!
    I always read and enjoy your blog although I'm more of a lurker than a commenter these days! It's nice to read of someone else in Lincoln into the vintage scene.
    You both looked great by the way.

    1. Hi! Thank you so much for your comment. It's so nice to hear feedback.
      I felt a little torn about writing what I did because I didn't want to be too harsh but I'm really glad I was honest with everyone. I'm really sorry to hear that those with a passion and knowledge about the era were unable to attend because it's people like that who give authenticity to an event. There were lots of visitors but so few were dressed in 40s that at times I felt a tourist attraction.
      I haven't had much to do with Lincoln big but since the event I have tried to contact them with some ideas and to get involved so that we can hopefully improve the event next year. But this has been to no avail which is such a shame.
      I'm surprised there's an event on the Brayford too. I think it's odd to do two without ironing out the problems from the first. Also in not sure about the Odeon and Wagamammas as a backdrop to a wartime event.
      I'm so pleased you got touch! I'd love to meet you at some events. I shall keep trying to speak to Lincoln big. I'm passionate about this city and vintage so fingers crossed I can do something to help.
      Rowena xxx