Several cities in the UK have used lottery and european money to invest arts centres and galleries as a cataylst for re-generation. The Baltic complex in Gateshead is a good example of this approach or the Tate complex in St.Ives, Cornwall.
Sleaford is one of the smaller towns that has adopted this approach with the launch of 'The Hub', a national centre for showcasing craft work. It has been formed out of an old seed warehouse (Hubbard's seeds - hence the name). It currently contains two sallish exhibition spaces, a number of educational projects, cafe & shop. A number of workshops are springing up around it.
There is little to see at the moment, but it may well grow into something bigger and I'm told the various workshops are very well delivered.
Entrance is free, although activities are charged.
It seems that Christians have worshipped here since the 11th Century; although the Church was built in the 12th century. Work started around circa 1180 AD and from that point onwards there have been major works undertaken through the middle ages right up until the current time.
This facility known as The Hub - is located in the town centre of Sleaford, and is operated (along with a wider range of other facilities) by North Kesteven District Council through a company called Leisure Connection. This is perhaps an unusual place to house such a wonderful exhibition space - thriving market town or not, culture is certainly on the map in Sleaford.
Their self stated objective is "to celebrate, promote and exhibit the very best of international craft and design". I think I can safely say that I personally feel that they have acheived this with out question.
They are open every day (apart from Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day) and provide space for exhibitions, workshops as well as supporting research and eductaional activity.
Saint Deny's sound like he should be the patron saint of American Hamburgers. In fact it is the same saint that is remembered in the far more famous church of St. Denis in Paris.
The parish church cannot be seen as in the same league as other Lincolnshire churches such as Lincoln cathedral, Boston stump or Louth church. It is still a fine church in it's own right, with some very good quality information boards put up by a local charity in different parts of the building.
Of special note is the very fine stained glass in the window in the North Transcept. In the chancel is the family monument to the Carre family who as rich merhant family provides Grammar schools, almshouses and hospitals. And what thanks did the family get ? the statues get hacked about by Cromwell bother-boys. You can still make out the scars Apparantly they also used the church to stable the horses. They have cleaned it up since.
If Constable had come form Lincolnshire rather than Suffolf, then paintings of this place would be hanging all over the national Gallery. That would have changed the face of tourism in this town.
Cogglesford mill lies just to the East of the town, just about a 15 minute walk from the centre of town.
Restored by the local council, the mill is open every day from easter until October and has some displays of local farming methods and the like. The machinery is also put to use occassionally.
The real draw is the picturesque surrounds with several little weirs providing the perfect environment in which to see swans, ducks and Herons.
A lovely little place to spend a warm summer afternoon, and have a picnic and a glass or two.
It also has a rather good little cafe restaurant attached.
Money's mill is located in the middle of a car park, by a supermarket, right in the centre of town.
This impressively high building was an actual mill dating back to 1798 on the banks of a canal of the the River Slea which has now been filled in.
The sails have gone, but it is still an impressive looking building - and only a little phallic looking.