Middlefield Lane Estate

This research project aimed to:

  • Engage people on the Middlefield estate in Gainsborough in an archaeological dig;
  • Collect memories in the form of oral histories from residents of the estate;
  • Learn about how the Utopian design the estate was based on has impacted the community; 
  • Think about how communities today might be empowered to achieve their hopes for the future;
  • Explore how this community wants to be remembered and the memories and heritage they want to pass on.


Oral history has been used to record residents’ memories of life on the estate. You can read more about this on Ian Waites’ blog: Instances of a Changed Society.


The project had a number of outputs, including:

  • Artefacts (some unearthed and some given by residents to represent their life on the estate)
  • Archaeological reports
  • Oral histories
  • A film shared with residents
  • Reconstructed objects made by visitors using modelling clay


The project aimed to reconceptualise Middlefield Lane as a mutable place not always in decline (and thus not inevitably so in the future); develop skills, connections, outlooks and aspirations to help the community contextualise its present and build for a better future; and champion council housing in a period lacking good, affordable, rented housing.?


Project Team

Dr Ian Waites and Professor Carenza Lewis.


Project Funding

AHRC Collected Communities Fund.