Archive for the ‘History’ Category

King’s Lynn Heritage Day ~ more pictures

All photos on this page courtesy of Kevin Elfleet.

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King’s Lynn Heritage Day ~ in pictures

Heritage Day was the biggest ever this year, with thousands of visitors flocking into King’s Lynn …

Tuesday Market Place was packed with visitors to Lynn's first ever Classic Car Day.

Tuesday Market Place was packed with visitors to Lynn’s first ever Classic Car Day.

Ther was a long queue of people wanting to visit the air raid shelters.

There was a long queue of people wanting to visit the air raid shelters.

The only surviving "Cooper Car" made in King's Lynn!

The only surviving “Cooper Car” made in King’s Lynn!

Enthusiasts gather round a Model T Ford.

Enthusiasts gather round a Model T Ford.

A familiar sight on Heritage Day - Boats on Legs!

A familiar sight on Heritage Day – Boats on Legs!

Priory Cottages Garden, near the Minster,  was open for the first time.

Priory Cottages Garden, near the Minster, was open for the first time.

A peek inside Hampton Court's Secret Garden.

A peek inside Hampton Court’s Secret Garden.

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Over 200 vehicles expected for Classic Car Day

Cllrs Chris Crofts and Nick Daubney try out the Cooper Car.

A real coup for the event is Cooper Roller Bearings’s agreement to display ‘The Cooper Car’

King’s Lynn is the place to be on Sunday 14 September with the popular Heritage Open Day and the inaugural King’s Lynn Classic Car day all taking place.

Over 50 places of interest will be available for visitors to see free of charge and over 200 vehicles are expected to fill the town’s historic Tuesday Market Place adding further to the free activities available on Sunday.

Interest in the King’s Lynn Classic Car Day has been such that it has already been relocated to the Tuesday Market Place from its original planned venue of the town’s waterfront.

1919 Ford Model T. Photo: S Foskett

1919 Ford Model T. Photo: S Foskett

Vehicles that will be on display on Sunday include a Model T Ford, an e-type Jaguar, an Austin ‘Chummy’, a Chevvy pick up, a Ford Mustang and a Riley 6, to name but a few.

A real coup for the event is Cooper Roller Bearings Company Limited’s agreement to display ‘The Cooper Car’ – the only surviving example of the six cars that were made at the Cooper factory in King’s Lynn in the early 1900s.

The Cooper cars were handsome models typical of the Edwardian era. They had a two-stroke, four-cylinder, 3.5-litre, 22-horse-power engine. Six forward gears and two reverse gears and was the only engine in which the valves added to the power.

The car had a top speed of 40mph and cost £380. At the time, motoring journals praised their ingenious design. The car is rarely displayed so it is a real opportunity to see such a vehicle.

Flashback to April when classic cars invaded the Vancouver Quarter.

Flashback to April when classic cars invaded the Vancouver Quarter.

During the event, vehicle exhibitors will be asked to vote for the car they believe to be deserving of the Les Daubney Best In Show Award. The Award will be announced at the end of the day.

The Tuesday Market Place air raid shelters will also be open for the day and will be manned by volunteers from Bridge for Heroes, a local charity which provides support to the HM Armed Forces community, veterans and their families through respite breaks, compensation claims, pensions advice, veteran advice and guidance and housing advice.

The King’s Lynn Civic Society working with English Heritage, the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, the King’s Lynn Preservation Trust, the King’s Lynn Town Guides and Friends groups, have arranged a jam-packed programme of activities and open buildings for the Heritage Open Days. Download the brochure for details including special events, talks and exhibitions.

Vintage London Bus

Veteran bus will provide free transport on Heritage Day.

There is also a veteran bus arranged which is free for everyone to use on the day. So, if you feel that some places are a bit far to get to on foot, simply hop on the bus (see bus stops and timetable information on the back page of the 2014 programme.)

These free events take place between 10am and 4pm and car parking on the day costs just £1 from 9am.

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Heritage Open Day 2014 ~ Bigger and better than ever!

Cover of this years programme.

Cover of this year’s programme.

This year’s Heritage Open Day on Sunday 14th September promises to be bigger and better than ever, with over 50 King’s Lynn properties open to the public and lots of new events, including exhibitions, open gardens, story telling, music, art and dance demonstrations.

Also new this year will be a Classic Car Show to be held on the Tuesday Market Place, and a chance to go underground in an air raid shelter.

At the first King’s Lynn Classic Car Day, visitors will be able to see the “Cooper Car”, one of only 6 ever made at the Cooper Roller Bearings factory in 1909, and the only one to survive.

World War 2 air raid shelters were re-discovered during work on the Tuesday Market Place last year. The shelters were adapted for use from existing underground tunnels in 1939, and included two toilets and wooden benches around the walls.

The remains of a Benedictine Priory attached to St Margaret’s Church can be visited at Priory Gardens, and there will be access to Hampton Court Secret Garden via St Margaret’s Lane.

Visitors will be able to climb aboard the Three Counties catamaran, moored at the pontoons down on the quay and learn all about the Inland Fisheries Conservation Authority and the work they do around our coast.

There are also 14 artistically created landscape projects to view at various locations throughout the town created by highly talented artists and landscapers from France with the help of local people. These are all interspersed amongst King’s Lynn’s historic streets, gardens and along the waterfront, all worthwhile taking the time to explore and enjoy.

Heritage Open Day takes place in King’s Lynn on Sunday 14th September 2014 from 10am to 4pm. Full details can viewed by clicking the link below …

View or Download Full Programme (pdf)

Inside one of the air raid shelters under the Tuesday Market Place.

Inside one of the air raid shelters under the Tuesday Market Place.

King's Lynn Councillors and representatives of Coopers launch the new Classic Car Day.

King’s Lynn Councillors and representatives of Coopers launch the new Classic Car Day.

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Freedom Parade ~ RAF will march through Lynn

Freedom of the Borough Parade 2

Personnel from Royal Air Force Marham will exercise their Freedom of Borough and parade through King’s Lynn on Sunday 10 August.

Two flights of serving personnel will form the Freedom Parade, which will take place at 12 noon on Sunday 10 August in the Tuesday Market Place, King’s Lynn.

The station was first granted the Freedom of the Borough in 1981, which allows personnel to march through the town with ‘bayonets fixed, colours flying and bands playing’. Today, the parade has become an opportunity for local people to show their support of the station and its personnel.

Ahead of the parade, at 11.00, the Marham Bluebirds Military Wives Choir will perform and there will be an opportunity to explore stands by local charities Scottie’s Little Soldiers and Bridge for Heroes.

Deputy Borough Mayor, Cllr Colin Manning, said: “We have a long and strong association with Royal Air Force Marham and the Freedom Parade is the perfect way to celebrate our connections and thank the men and women from RAF Marham for their service to our community. I hope lots of people join us on Sunday 10 August to show their support.”

Group Captain Harvey Smyth, Officer Commanding Royal Air Force Marham, said: “We are very much looking forward to excercising our Freedom of the Borough. It’s always a memorable occasion and the warm reception we receive from the local community is a great boost to our service men and women.”

The parade will march on from Common Staithe Quay and form up on the Tuesday Market Place at 11.40. The civic procession, led by the mayor’s Staffbearer, Swordbearer and Macebearers and including Deputy Borough Mayor Cllr Colin Manning and Deputy Mayoress, Julie Manning, will proceed from the town hall along High Street and arrive at Tuesday Market Place just before noon. The deputy major will take the salute and inspect the parade before addressing those assembled on the Tuesday Market Place. The Band of the Royal Air Force Regiment will play by permission of the Air Force Board of the Defence Council.

A parking offer, enabling people to park from 10 am onwards (until midnight on surface car parks and 11.30 pm at the St James’ multi-storey car park) for just £1 will be offered on the day of the parade. The offer applies to all borough council owned car parks.

To prepare for the parade, Tuesday Market Place and Common Staithe Quay will be cordoned off in the early hours of Sunday morning. The car park will be closed from midnight on Saturday 9 August. For security reasons, any cars still in the roped off areas will be removed by the police. Also, for security reasons, there may be some very brief intermittent road closures in Tuesday Market Place and the junctions surrounding it, along with Page Stair Lane and Water Lane, between 0900 and 1300. The road around Tuesday Market Place will be closed from 1130 for one hour during the parade.

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Pictures ~ Commemoration and Lighting of Candles in Tower Gardens

Tower Gardens War Memorial 1

On Monday August 4th members of the Royal British Legion and a crowd of several hundred people took part in a very moving event in Tower Gardens commemorating the start of the First World War.

After tributes, readings and hymns, candles were lit …

Tower Gardens War Memorial 2

Tower Gardens War Memorial 3

Tower Gardens War Memorial 4

Tower Gardens War Memorial 6

Tower Gardens War Memorial 5

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Single candle projected on Custom House for Lights Out

Photos: Kevin Elfleet

Photos: Kevin Elfleet

‘Night Sailors’, the stunning projection show which has been lighting up the Custom House will be taking a pause tonight, and between 10pm and 11pm, only a single candle will be displayed.

The candle is being displayed as part of the Lights Out initiative, which is encouraging people to turn out their lights to commemorate the outbreak of WW1 a hundred years ago.

Cllr Nick Daubney, Leader of the Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk, said: “We felt this was a fitting way to show that we were acknowleding Lights Out. We are grateful to the artist Julia Dantonnet, for making the changes to her creation and hope that it inspires others to take part in the initiative and to turn their lights out between 10pm and 11pm tonight.”

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Public invited to take part in LIGHTS OUT event

Lights Out

In one of the most ambitious UK-wide events ever organised, everyone in the UK is being invited to take part in LIGHTS OUT by turning off their lights from 10pm to 11pm on Monday 4 August and to leave on a single light or candle for a shared moment of reflection to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

Members of the public can take part in whatever way they choose, either at home or by going out to experience a LIGHTS OUT event in their local area.

The project is being organised by 14-18 NOW, the official cultural programme for the First World War Centenary Commemorations.

The inspiration for LIGHTS OUT comes from a famous remark made on the eve of the outbreak of war by the then Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey: “The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our life-time”. Britain declared war on Germany at 11pm on 4 August 1914 ushering in one of the darkest periods in our history.

The centenary will be marked by a series of events and services across the UK on 4 August in which members of the public are invited to participate. These range widely to include: the motorbike community of Portsmouth gathering at the Viewpoint and shining hundreds of headlights across the city; a special service at Bevis Marks Synagogue, the oldest synagogue in London; a projection of the night sky as it was on 3 August 1914 at Birmingham’s Thinktank Planetarium; a torch-lit procession at the Bowes Museum in Teesdale; and a candlelit vigil at a replica WW1 trench in Newtonabbey.

In Piccadilly Circus, a “roll of honour” will be screened on the world-famous Piccadilly Lights, commemorating over 2,000 residents from Westminster who fought and died in the First World War.

Thousands of iconic buildings, landmarks and institutions across the UK have agreed to take part by turning off their lights at 10pm that evening. They include Blackpool Illuminations, the Houses of parliament, Tate, the Eden Project, the Imperial War Museums, Wales Millennium Centre, Durham Cathedral, Gateshead Millennium Bridge, Old Trafford, Lincoln Castle and the National History Museum. Across the City of London a number of buildings and offices will go dark including St Pauls’ Cathedral and Bloomberg’s European headquarters.

The Royal British Legion is supporting LIGHTS OUT and has launched a campaign for at least one million candles to be lit across the UK. Other organisations supporting LIGHTS OUT include the Football Association, Women’s Institute, Marks & Spencer, Lancashire County Cricket Club, Home Office and the British Library.

Tower Gardens War Memorial 600 rounded

Here in King’s Lynn at 7.30pm there will be a Commemoration Event attended by local dignitaries, churches and schools, with a Service of Remembrance in Tower Gardens, featuring a Lighting of Candles ceremony.

Everyone can take part in this tribute to those who lost their lives in the Great War, and are asked to provide their own candles. Commemorative candles can be obtained from Marks & Spencer.

Dignitaries, Churches and Schools are attending and everyone is invited to attend this unique occasion. Afterwards everyone welcome at the The Royal British Legion Club.

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Review ~ Not About Heroes

We were privileged to view the opening night of Not About Heroes, at the Westacre Theatre on Thursday.

Not About Heroes is the story of the friendship of Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, who were brought together during the First World War under strange and strained circumstances and encouraged each other to write poems about their dreadful experiences on the battlefield.

It’s an evocative play, written by Stephen MacDonald and culled from the letters, diaries and poems of the two poets. It proves to be a warm, moving and insightful account of the trajectory of this short but ‘strangely fruitful’ friendship.

Drama students Ross Chandler (as Sassoon) and Oliver Parkes (as Owen) really immersed themselves in the characters to give a very moving and convincing performance.

It gave us real feel for how it felt to be on the front line, and left us drained emotionally. But we wouldn’t have missed one of the best dramas we have ever seen, and would highly recommend that you go along and see it.

Not About Heroes is showing at the Westacre Theatre on the following dates: Friday 1, Saturday 2,Thursday 7, Friday 8 and Saturday 9 August at 7.30pm.

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Amazing lightshow at the Customs House

Photos: Kevin Elfleet

Photos: Kevin Elfleet

Visitors to Lynn’s iconic Custom House can see an amazing lightshow projected onto the building every evening for the next few months.

The show called ‘Night Sailors’ is the creation of artist Julia Dantonnet, and forms part of the borough council’s two-year Art, Cities and Landscape project with Maison De La Culture in Amiens, France.

Inspired by sailors past, including George Vancouver, who were able to go overseas and discover the world by observing celestial bodies with measuring instruments – compass, arbalestrille, astrolabe and sextant. This installation enlightens one of King’s Lynn’s most iconic landmarks with architectural projections, inviting people to explore the town’s historical, cultural and scientific heritage.

The light show lasts about 15 minutes and takes place at 10pm every evening and is repeated until 11.30pm. Shows will continue daily over the next few months but will start earlier as the nights draw in.

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Michael Portillo opens refurbished railway station

Broadcaster Michael Portillo came to King’s Lynn on Tuesday morning to re-open the re-furbished 1950’s style railway station.

He said he thought it was very fitting the station was decorated in blue, as it was after all a Royal Station!

Michael Portillo arrives at King's Lynn station

Michael Portillo arrives at King’s Lynn station

Dr Paul Richards gives Michael a copy of his book about the Hanseatic League.

Dr Paul Richards gives Michael a copy of his book about the Hanseatic League.

About to unveil the plaque!

About to unveil the plaque!

Unveiling the plaque

Unveiling the plaque

The plaque

The plaque

Signing autographs

Signing autographs

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A Peek at our Week

sock toy by Alana Cooper, Setchey

We start with a look at our latest ‘family member’ – A sock toy made by Alana Cooper, who runs Canetoad Crafts in Setchy near King’s Lynn. (

We came across Alana while visiting the Rainbow Craft Summer Solstice in Tydd St Mary near Long Sutton over the weekend. It was a wonderful afternoon, with dozens of unique craft stalls and some excellent live music.

They are planning to bring back the show next year, and it should be well worth another visit!

One of the musicians playing was Mickey Flynn ( who certainly rocked the festival with his raspy voice and mean guitar playing.

Mickey now lives in Suffolk, after touring the country as a lead guitarist and frontman with various bands for over 25 years.

hardwick road cemetery graves railway disaster

Dr Julian Litten led us on a fascinating guided tour of Hardwick Road Cemetery on Sunday called ‘Blown to Kingdom Come’.

We saw the tombstones of John and Susannah Laird, two of the ‘unfortunate sufferers whose death was caused on the Lynn and Hunstanton Railway’ in 1863.

5 people were killed when a train from Hunstanton to Lynn hit a bullock resulting in their carriage being ‘smashed utterly to pieces.”

Amongst other deceased ‘blown to kingdom come’ in the cemetery was Alice Gazley who was ‘killed during raid by German airship on King’s Lynn” on January 19th 1915.

Montage by Peter Swann

Montage by Peter Swann

On the right is a montage of memories from South Africa by artist Peter Swann. This was one of the works we saw at the 5 IN 3D Exhibition at Greyfriars Art Space in St James Street.

The intriguing sculptures by Ben Emerson looked deceptively like bits of wreckage from old war machines, but they are in fact made from ceramics. Such titles as Warbird, Depth Charge and Fuselage F250 will give you an idea of the kind of work he does.

We really enjoyed the excellent mixed media exhibition which also included works by other local artists Ben Emerson, Ann Roberts and Tom Thompson.

The 5 IN 3D Exhibition is open until July 4th from 10am to 4pm. When you are in town, the free exhibition is certainly worth making a detour for!

Turning to a different subject, while visiting the Body Shop at Springfields near Spalding we were told the branch in Lynn has NOT been closed but it is being ‘refurbished.’

Finally a couple of interesting websites we can recommend to you: presents the unique Aerofilms collection of aerial photographs from 1919-1953, including some intersting ones of King’s Lynn. Contains Hundreds of archive films from Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire.

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Fascinating guided walks of the North End

Pilot Street Now and Then

Pilot Street – Then and Now (composite image)

For the next few months visitors can once again enjoy some fascinating guided walks around the historic North End fishing quarter of King’s Lynn.

True's Yard Cottages

The 2 Georgian fisherfolk cottages at True’s which have recently been refurbished. One is decorated in the Victorian style and the other 1930s.

Highlights of the walks include Pilot Street, the ‘High Street of the North End’, tales of smuggling and murders, Thomas Westwood’s Smokehouse and a visit to the last two remaining fisherfolk cottages in the town. New to the tour this year is the Tuesday Market Place and its fisherfolk connections.

Each tour is different and families are welcome. The tours begin and end at the True’s Yard Museum where refreshments are available to purchase.

The North End Guided Walks the place every Wednesday at 1pm until the end of September, and on Saturdays at 11am during June, July & August

The price is £4.00 which includes admission to the Museum. Children are half price. Group and private bookings are also available.

Contact True’s Yard for more information on 01553 770479 or email



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A Peek at our Week

hardwick road cemetary website

This week we heard about the fabulous new website for the Friends of Hardwick Road Cemetery. The new site has been in beta mode since January and is already generating several enquiries each month.

They are planning to expand the Gallery Section over the coming months, and keep the site updated with details of the Heritage Lottery project ‘Yesterday’s People for Today’s Society’ that will result in installation of six information panels around the cemetery in early July and the start of the conservation of 7 memorials. You can find a list of their upcoming walks for 2014 on the new website can at

We went to a fascinating talk about carved angels in the roofs of Norfolk churches. Of course we have some fabulous carved angels in the roof of our own St Nicholas Chapel, but you check out some of the others here …

We were told that Norfolk Wildlife are running events throughout the year in the Gaywood Valley. You can view all the events by downloading the events leaflet (pdf).

And lastly, we very much enjoyed the Hanse Festival. It was a beautiful day for it, and it certainly brought the crowds out.

The evening concert on King Staithe Square was very relaxing. We enjoyed a pint of cider while listening to the wonderful Mediaeval Babes.

You can view a great selection of photos of the festival HERE and HERE

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Hansa Festival ~ more pictures

Pictures kindly supplied to us by Kevin Elfleet:












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Lynn’s vintage ‘Cooper Car’ launches new event

Cllrs Chris Crofts and Nick Daubney try out the Cooper Car.

Cllrs Chris Crofts and Nick Daubney try out the Cooper Car.

One of King’s Lynn’s true hidden gems was rolled out onto the car park of Cooper Roller Bearings on Friday. The ‘Cooper Car’ is one of only 6 ever made at the Cooper Factory in the early 1900s, and is the only surviving example.

The car will be taking part in the first ever King’s Lynn Classic Car Day, taking place on 14 September 2014, as part of this year’s Heritage Open Days.

King's Lynn Councillors and representatives of Coopers launch the new Classic Car Day.

The Mayor of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, Councillors and representatives of Coopers launch the new Classic Car Day.

The new event is the brainchild of Cllr Chris Crofts, who himself owns a classic 1973 Vauxhall Viva 4-door saloon.

He explained: “Hundreds of people visit the town for Heritage Open Days and I felt that by putting an additional attraction on along the waterfront that people would also head there and enjoy the environment, support the businesses in that area, and take advantage of visiting the historic buildings that surround the waterside. The quay front is perfect for lining up the classic cars for people to view.”

The drivers view looks very different to modern cars!

The drivers view looks very different to modern cars!

The event was launched launched on Friday, to encourage owners of classic vehicles to get in touch and register their vehicle online

Cllr Crofts added: “Many people will be unaware that cars were ever made in King’s Lynn. To be able to display the only surviving example at our Classic Car Day means a great deal to us, and we are confident it will attract people to the event. We are truly grateful to Cooper’s for agreeing to this opportunity.”

Pat Smith, Site Director at Cooper Roller Bearings Company Ltd, said: “Cooper has over 120 years of history in the town, having been continually based on the Wisbech Road site. Today the company is known throughout the world as the leader and specialist in the design and manufacture of split bearing technologies. However, in the early days Cooper also produced Steam Diggers, Bombs, Clutches and even a few Cars!

“We are proud of our engineering heritage and long association with King’s Lynn. Therefore we welcome the opportunity to participate in this event by displaying the Cooper car, and greatly look forward to joining the many classic car enthusiasts and visitors for the day.”

The event will take place between 10am and 4pm on Sunday, 14 September. Anyone wishing to show their vehicle will need to complete the online exhibitor’s entry form by 10 August 2014.

Alison Gifford, Chair of the King’s Lynn Civic Society, which organises the Heritage Open Day, added: “This really is an exciting addition to what is already a very popular day.”

The Mayor, Cllr Barry Ayres, said: “As Mayor and a keen classic car enthusiast myself, I am absolutely delighted to be involved with this event. I am really looking forward to the day and hope that many enthusiasts like me, will come along to exhibit their vehicles.”

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