Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Heritage Open Day 2016

Heritage Day Leaflet 2016

Join in England’s annual celebration of local history and architecture. On Sunday 11th September it’s your chance to have a wonderful FREE day out exploring King’s Lynn’s historic buildings.

The King’s Lynn Civic Society working with the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and
West Norfolk, the Red Badge Town Guides, businesses, residents and Friends groups have arranged a great programme so you can visit houses, offices, gardens, churches, chapels, interesting cemeteries, towers, tunnels and even a temple not normally open to the public.

Look out for special events, colourful re-enactors, music, dancing, classic cars and exhibitions. Heritage Open Day is England’s most popular grassroots cultural event. It is also your chance to see good and innovative new build, renovation and plans for the restoration of our historic town.

Full details available for Download Here.


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Summer Fun at Lynn Museum

Lynn Museum GallopersEvery week of August at Lynn Museum there are three different activities to keep the whole family happy – a themed trail, a hands-on activity morning with crafts and object handling and an afternoon storytelling event. With themes changing each week there is always something new to enjoy.

For your budding mini Palaeontologist head down on Tuesday 9 August to get hands on with our fantastic fossil collection and create a range of dinosaur themed crafts including flying dinosaurs!

Discover how children played in the past on Tuesday 23 August. There will be chance to handle real toys and games from the past. Visitors can try their hand at a range of traditional games and make a traditional optical illusion toy to take home. If fairground sideshows are more your style roll up on 16 August and discover how fairground rides were made. Plus enjoy a freshly made mini candy floss!

If you prefer walking like an Egyptian, visit between 9 and 14 August to try your hand at Where My Mummy? Ancient Egyptian trail for a chance to win a small prize. On Thursday 25 August visitors can enjoy Ancient Egyptian Myth from our storyteller who will draw illustrations as he tells tales.

There’s more mythical storytelling on 11 and 18 August with Roman and Anglo-Saxon themes.

For budding pirates visit on Tuesday 30 August and discover things All at Sea. Handle real maritime artefacts, meet our costumed pirates and create some piratical crafts. Any wannabe Captain Ahabs can hurt for whales between 16 and 21 August – if you find them claim your small prize.

All events are included in museum admission. Museum Pass Holders, Friends of Lynn Museum, Under 4s and Children’s University Passport Holders are free!

Lynn Museum Family Events (10.30am – 1pm)

Free with museum admission

Tuesday 9 August – Deadly Dinosaur Crafts and Fantastic Fossils

Tuesday 16 August – All the Fun of the Fair

Tuesday 23 August – Toys and Games from the Past

Tuesday 30 August – All At Sea: Pirate and Sailors

Thursday Story Time (12.30 to 3.30pm)

Free with museum admission

Thursday 11 August – Roman Myths

Thursday 18 August – Anglo-Saxon Tales

Thursday 25 August – Ancient Egyptian Myths

Family Trails
Free with museum admission. 10am to 5pm
Try a different trail for each week of the summer holidays.
Complete five trail and get invited to our Trails Stars Party on Saturday 17 September!
9 – 13 August – Where’s My Mummy? Egyptian Trail
16 – 20 August – Whale Trail
23 – 27 August – Victorians
30 August – 3 September – Twitching Trail
8 – 11 September – Paintings Trail

Lynn Museum Admission Fees
Tuesday – Saturday 10am to 5pm Sunday 12 noon to 4pm
Admission Fees
Adult £4.20
Conc* £4.00
Child £3.20
Family Ticket (1 adult & all children) £10.50
Family Ticket (2 Adults & all children) £14.30
Pop in for £1 from 4pm
*Concession visitors with disabilities, unwaged, over 65s or in full-time education
Free Admission – **Museum Pass Holders, **Friends of Lynn Museum, Museum association and Art Fund members with a valid card, Children’s University members and Under 4s.

Lynn Museum
Market Street
Kings Lynn
Tel: 01553 775001

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Songs from the Sea and Lynn Ballads

trues yard frank-castletonSongs from the Sea & Lynn Ballads is coming to True’s Yard on the 2nd of September at 6-8pm.

Lynn ballads by the talented Mr Gareth Calway of Room at the Hanse and local band The Fried Pirates who’ll be performing history through folk song.

Tickets cost £10 and are available at the museum. Refreshments are included and will be served during the interval.

Please support the Museum in its last outdoor event in Silver Jubilee Calendar. Help them in the final push to reach their target!

Call 01553 770479 or email to book.

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Historic vessel prepares to launch onto the Great Ouse

Baden Powell restorationAn historic King’s Lynn vessel is preparing to moor close to the Custom House in final preparations for a permanent launch onto the river.

The Baden Powell, built in 1900 by Walter Worfolk, is currently having some
professional attention to her hull in a specialist boatyard in St Osyth, near
Colchester, paid for with a Heritage Lottery Fund grant. In August she will be
brought back home by road to a temporary mooring close to the Custom House.

The final work on her superstructure will be carried out there in full public view, before she sails out into the River Great Ouse in 2017 to moor at a buoy nearby.

Then the Baden Powell will start a programme of sailings up and down the
river with paying passengers. For the first time, people will be able to learn from the best possible vantage point how Lynn’s maritime history played such a major role in the development of the town as a trading centre.

She will also be available for sail training by local youth organisations, and
play a full part in river activities.

The King’s Lynn Worfolk Boat Trust is expanding its trustee team to prepare for the
arrival of the restored Baden Powell in the Outer Purfleet in August. New trustee Julie Williams becomes Secretary, while Ken Hill will continue with publicity and newsletters.

Julie brings a lot of experience to her new role, and has already been a great
help in our fund-raising events. Four years ago she took voluntary redundancy after
thirty years in banking, and is a volunteer fundraiser at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Julie Williams

Julie Williams

Tim Clayton, Project Leader, and Dr Paul Richards, Chairman, stay on
board to helm and navigate, while Ron Gray, Dave Hart, Chris Ward and John
Woodford continue to make the new parts that will complete the restoration over the
winter months, with guidance from ex-Worfolk apprentice Vic Pratt. College of West
Anglia engineering lecturer Mark Haizelden has also volunteered, to oversee the
installation of the renovated Thornycroft diesel engine that will provide the power
option for the Baden Powell out in the River Great Ouse and The Wash. Her first
engine was installed in the 1920s, and the Thornycroft is an identical model of the
engine that powered her in her last years as a working boat.

The boat’s first owners, the prominent Cook fishing family, gave her the name
Baden Powell because he was a major national hero at the time, following his
exploits during the Boer War, including the Relief of Mafeking. He went on to start
the Scout movement in 1907.

The recent Baden Powell Is Coming exhibition at the Custom House attracted
628 visitors, and raised £376.71.

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Forties Lynn is just days away!

This Sunday, Forties Lynn is back, and everyone is invited to come along and join the fun!

The Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk’s popular event Forties Lynn: Life on the Home Front returns on 17 July from 10am to 4pm. Once again, the town centre of King’s Lynn will host fun free activities that explore what life was like for those who kept the home fires burning during the Second World War.

Fans of the television series ‘Dad’s Army’ can meet the team from the Dad’s Army museum in Thetford on the Tuesday Market Place, and see Corporal Jones’ butcher’s van, along with a range of other vintage vehicles.

Music performances from Timescape at 10am, 11:30am, 12:30pm and 1:45pm will set the 1940s tone. Visitors can meet British and American wartime characters – including Winston Churchill – as they browse the vintage market.

Visitors will also have a rare chance to explore the air raid shelter beneath the Tuesday Market Place. The tours will be led by the Bridge for Heroes Living History Civil Defence Group. Entry will be free, but there will be a voluntary collection for Bridge for Heroes.

On Baxter’s Plain in the Vancouver Quarter, a 1940s army camp will set up with enactors from the Royal Norfolk Regiment.

In the King’s Lynn Town Hall garden, visitors can meet enactors such as an evacuation billeting officer and an ARP (air raid precautions) warden, and get into the ‘Make Do and Mend’ spirit of the time, by getting tips on surviving on rations, planting a seed as they ‘Dig for Victory’, and collecting a fun ‘sweets ration card’.

Lynn Museum is offering free admission as part of Forties Lynn, and will be offering a range of activities for all ages, including the ever-popular mini-makeover and hairstyling tips from Flamingo Amy. Younger visitors can make a plane for the Spitfire fund, try out Morse code, and collect their sweet rations.

Everyone is encouraged to come along in their best 1940s clothes, and get into the swing of things!

For more information, visit

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Explore the hidden archives of Trues Yard

More old photos ...Old photosThere’s a unique opportunity to explore the fascinating archives at Trues Yard Museum this weekend.

On Saturday 9th July from 10:30am to 3:30pm the Museum is holding an open day for the Pat Midgley Research Centre.

In 2015 True’s Yard Fisherfolk Museum secured £56,500 in Heritage Lottery Funding to improve their archives and research centre. This will give the public an opportunity to explore the archives and discover the wealth of resources the Research Centre has to offer. Staff and volunteers will be on hand to answer your questions.

The Research Centre includes family history files, copies of census, baptism, marriage and death records, and an oral history archive, as well as over 7,000 photographs. It is a unique resource for those interested in local and family history.

This is an exciting time for the Research Centre, which has undergone the first phase of a two year redevelopment project called “Opening up a House of History”. Michelle Andrews, Project Officer has been the guiding hand with her invaluable expertise in conservation.

The Research Centre was renamed in November 2013 in honour of Museum founder, the late Pat Midgley MBE, who was central to the opening of the Museum in 1991. In March 2016 the Museum celebrated its 25th birthday and is currently undertaking a £100,000 Silver Jubilee fundraising appeal to secure its future for the next 25 years.

Museum Manager Lindsey Bavin explains “The Pat Midgley Research Centre archives at True’s Yard are the direct result of one woman’s passion for heritage and the preservation of knowledge. Every piece has been donated, countless hours of research have gone into it over 25 years and many items simply would not be here today were it not for that tenacious woman. We were so pleased to have been awarded Heritage Lottery Funding because it meant we are able to protect that legacy for future generations. We are reaching the half way point of the project and so much has been accomplished but we still have a way to go.”

For further information contact Michelle Andrews on 01553 770479 or by email on You can also visit the Museum’s website and follow it on Facebook and Twitter.

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Celebrate the Roaring Twenties !

The Roaring Twenties is a free family event that is being held to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday.

On Sunday 12 June 1920s-themed events will take place from 10am-4pm, at the Tuesday Market Place, Baxter’s Plain in the Vancouver Quarter, Lynn Museum, and the town hall gardens.

On the Tuesday Market Place The Ragroof Players will hold a tea dance, and DJ sets throughout the day from 10.30 to 4pm. A cocktail bar will be serving 1920s-inspired cocktails and mocktails,a 1970s Citroen van will serve cupcakes, and tea will be available. Fairground stalls will set up on the Tuesday Market Place so visitors can try their luck at games including a coconut shy, ring toss and can stack. Tokens for the games can be collected at Lynn Museum and sweet prizes will be given. Traditional stalls will sell candy floss and popcorn.

Throughout the day costumed characters will stroll around the town, bringing the fashions of the 1920s to life.

At 3.30pm at the Tuesday Market Place there will be a celebration for the Queen’s birthday including the cutting of a birthday cake, and judging of the homemade fancy dress competition. The Ragroof Players and the Bee’s Knees dance troupe will also perform.

The Bee’s Knees Dance troupe will be based on Baxter’s Plain in the Vancouver Quarter, and their performances will include short Charleston classes for people to join in with at 10.30, 11.15, 12.30, 1.15, and 2.30pm.

During the Roaring Twenties event, Lynn Museum will be open with free admission. Visitors can get a flapper-makeover from Flamingo Amy, or try Egyptian-themed craft activities linked to the Norfolk-born archaeologist Howard Carter’s discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922.

From 10am to 4pm in the town hall gardens visitors can watch spectacular falconry displays from Out on a Wing; meet costumed character Florence Ada Coxon, first lady mayor of Lynn; or try their hand at making tricorn and bicorn hats, or Art Deco brooches.

The town hall’s wonderful new exhibition Stories of Lynn will host talks on 1920s fashion at 11am, 1pm and 3pm, in the education room accessible via the town hall garden. The talks will last approximately 20 minutes.

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Tornado Trail launches

tornado modelsFollowing on from the success of last year’s Spitfire trail and to celebrate the borough’s connections with RAF Marham over the last 100 years, 15 sponsored and uniquely decorated model Tornados have been positioned around the town with 24 accompanying history boards telling the story of RAF Marham.

tornado trail mapOrganised by Flight Lieutenant Pauline Petch of the 42F (King’s Lynn) Air Cadets and designed in conjunction with the borough council each sculpture has been sponsored by a local businesses. Trail maps are available from King’s Lynn Tourist Information Centre throughout the summer, or can be Downloaded Here.

The trail includes a prize draw competition. To enter, people need to discover the statement hidden within the displays. Each display contains one letter. For full details, please see the trail map. The sculptures will be in place until 30 September 2016.

Flight Lieutenant Pauline Petch said: “We were astounded by the response to last year’s arts trail. I really hope that this year’s will be just as successful and that people will not only enjoy exploring historic King’s Lynn but will also find out lots of interesting facts about RAF Marham which has been such a huge part of the West Norfolk community over the last 100 years.”

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More added to the Hanse Festival lineup

Fabulous fireworks on the quay, finish off the day.

Fabulous fireworks on the quay, finish off the day.

The Hanse Festival will bring King’s Lynn’s medieval history to life on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 May – and now even more events have been added to the schedule.

The Newport Ship mobile museum exhibition will be in the Hanse House on both days of the festival. This fascinating exhibition tells the story of the discovery, excavation and conservation of the Newport Ship, a 15th-century sailing vessel. The ship was built around 1450, and then lay undisturbed on a riverbed in Newport, Wales, for over 500 years. It is the best preserved example of a 15th-century ship ever found. Hundreds of artefacts were found during the excavation, and the mobile exhibition will have some of these on display. Visitors can learn what life was like aboard, explore the artefacts, and even press a coin similar to those found on the ship.

On Saturday 21 at 5pm, if festival-goers aren’t tempted by the live music in King’s Staithe Square, they can attend a specially organised concert of classical music. The Chanot Ensemble will perform music by Handel, Bach and Pachelbel among other composers. The concert will be in the beautiful venue of All Saints Church, Hillington Square and will be free to attend.

Hanseatic Characters is a chance to learn about some iconic Lynn figures and pioneers from Hanseatic times – as brought to life by the very entertaining Room at the Hanse Theatre Company.

Father William Sawtrey, a 14th-century parish priest, introduces his own story, which the company will act out in medieval style as a Morality Play. Sawtrey met a terrible fate as the first man in England to be burned for his beliefs. He will also relate the story of two of Lynn’s most famous residents: Margery Kempe, medieval visionary and author, and her father John Burnham, Hanseatic merchant, mayor, royal agent and MP for Lynn at the time of Geoffrey Chaucer.

The characters will be in the Reception Room at the Hanse House, with performances on Saturday 21 at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. Tickets are £5 per adult with accompanying children free.

And this packed day will now finish with a firework display! At 10:30pm, as the live music ends, a short firework display will be able to be viewed from the waterfront. The display has been made possible thanks to the generosity of local businesses, as it has sponsored by members of the BNI Hanse of King’s Lynn, and Whitelightning Pyrotechnics.

Cllr Nick Daubney, the English Commissioner to the Hanseatic League, said: “There will be so much going on! These events have been added to an already packed programme of a medieval parade and market, arts and crafts demonstrations, have-a-go archery, Hanse walks and talks, free live music and much more, all happening around King’s Lynn’s historic waterfront”.

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North End Guided Walks

Pilot Street Then & Now

Pilot Street Then & Now

True’s Yard Fisherfolk Museum has begun its annual season of guided walks around the North End area.

The walks start from the Museum in North Street, and are led by experienced local guides all enthusiasts for the rich community history of Lynn’s North End. From medieval merchants in St. Nicholas’ Chapel, to smugglers in Pilot Street these walks are a must for anyone interested in local history.

Dr Paul Richards, Chairman of the North End Trust, says “Few tales of Lynn can rival those found in the North End, its last fisherfolk yard, historic streets and magnificent Chapel”

These walks are available every Wednesday at 2pm from May to September and every Saturday at 12 noon from June to August. Tickets cost just £5 for adults and £2.50 for children, this also includes admission to the Museum and a free drink in the pleasant Georgian tearoom.

For more information contact the Museum on 01553 770479 or email

*True’s Yard Fisherfolk Museum is a heritage site and town museum which tells the fascinating story of Lynn’s fishing community, of the men, women and families of the Old North End. Opened in 1991 due to the tireless efforts of Pat Midgley and the Northenders, it celebrates its Silver Jubilee this year.

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Get ready to discover the Stories of Lynn

Council Leader Nick Daubney stands by one of the stunning  new dispalys.

Council Leader Nick Daubney stands by one of the fascinating new displays. All photos: John Beck

This Easter, King’s Lynn’s stunning new attraction Stories of Lynn will open its doors to the public, inviting them to come in and discover the stories behind the characters that helped shape the town.

Set within the magnificent, newly-revealed vaulted undercroft of the 15th-century Trinity Guildhall, Stories of Lynn is a unique attraction. It combines the town’s fascinating collection of objects and its extensive and nationally significant archive and brings them to life in an interactive and multi-media exhibition.

Listen to Nick Daubney talking to us about Stories of Lynn:

Stories of Lynn - Red RegisterOpening at 10am on 25 March 2016, Stories of Lynn will welcome visitors of all ages who will be able to discover the stories of the seafarers, explorers, merchants, mayors, magistrates and miscreants who shaped 800 years of the town’s history.

Cllr Elizabeth Nockolds said: “This has been a fantastic project that really will bring the town’s history to life. The activities of some of the town’s most influential or notorious characters are documented in the archives and their stories told through the exhibition. It is an exciting and engaging exhibition and with a programme of activities and a new app under development, its appeal should reach an even wider audience. It’s a celebration of the town’s rich history and heritage.”

Stories of Lynn - Display 1The revitalised town hall complex will act as a gateway to the town’s other heritage sites including the Red Mount Chapel, neighbouring King’s Lynn Minster, Greyfriars Tower, True’s Yard, St. Nicholas’ Chapel and Lynn Museum.

Extensive work to the town hall complex and the creation of the new Stories of Lynn exhibition has been made possible by a grant of £1,850,600 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, £800,000 from the Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk and investments from other funders.

Stories of Lynn - Pricelsss Treasures

Stories of Lynn

800 years of Lynn’s history
A timeline of objects immerse visitors into the history of Lynn. An exciting game teaches them about the Hanseatic League, a group of powerful trading towns and cities around the Baltic and North seas. Hanse merchants traded in Lynn, and their imprint on the town is visible to this day.

Lynn’s most celebrated characters, such as Frances (Fanny) Burney and Margery Kempe come to life on the walls, to share their stories with visitors.

Children can dress up in mayoral robes, and examine place settings of meals that Lynn’s mayors would have enjoyed in different eras of history- some more lavish than others.

The Treasury
The Treasury is a dark and dramatic space designed especially to display King’s Lynn’s historic artefacts. On display the King John Cup, a 14th-century drinking vessel, lavishly decorated in gilt and enamel; a very rare example of a secular medieval cup. It will be accompanied by the King John sword and silver maces; magnificent regalia still used to this day in King’s Lynn’s annual mayor-making.

Stocks on display in the Old Gaolhouse.

Stocks on display in the Old Gaolhouse.

The Old Gaol House
In the Old Gaol House visitors can learn of the town hall’s history as King’s Lynn’s magistrate’s court and gaol. Interactive exhibits in the restored gaol cells explore the lives, and deaths, of King’s Lynn’s most notorious citizens. Everyone will be intrigued by the story of one of Lynn’s residents; a school teacher and respected academic who was convicted of murder. Visitors can see his skull, and learn about the old-fashioned theory of phrenology. Young visitors can dress up as gaolers and prisoners, and examine a ducking-stool and leg irons.

The King’s Lynn Borough Archives
Stories of Lynn will house the King’s Lynn Borough Archives, one of the country’s finest borough archives. It contains documents dating back to the 13th Century; which includes King John’s royal charter of 1204, and continuing all the way to the 20th Century. The documents help to tell the story of Lynn as recorded in registers of freemen, accounts, minutes of the town’s governing body and court records, amongst many others. Taking pride of place in the archive is the Red Register, which dates from 1307, and is the oldest complete paper archival book in England.

Working with the Norfolk Record Office, a brand new environmentally-controlled document storage area has been created. Alongside this will be an archive resources room, equipped with a study area and computers. Visitors can use the resources room with the assistance of an expert archivist to view these wonderful documents, by appointment. Visitors can also view digitised versions of the documents on the computers, during and outside of the archive’s opening hours.

The Norfolk Record Office, in collaboration with the borough council, will provide staffing to the archive, along with thousands of digitised images from key documents.

Education and outreach
A programme of educational opportunities, including ‘ask the experts’ sessions, themed masterclasses and an outreach programme, will be developed by Stories of Lynn’s Learning and Engagement Officer, supported by the archivist.

A learning resource room for visiting school groups has been created, along with a changing exhibition space for in-house displays, learning and community work.

Access to the Town Hall
A new extension, housing lift and stairs, has been added to the rear of the Old Goal House providing easy access to the historic first floor building. The first floor contains the 15th-century Stone Hall, and the splendid Georgian Assembly Room and Card Room, which visitors to Stories of Lynn can explore on Tuesdays and Sundays.

Stories of Lynn - LogoStories of Lynn will be open seven days a week, from 10am to 4:30pm, with last admission at 4pm. Tickets will be £5 for adults and £3.50 for concessions and children. A family ticket for two adults and two children will be £13.50. School groups will be charged £4 a pupil for a half day, or £5 a pupil for a full day.

On Tuesdays and Sundays visitors to Stories of Lynn will also be able to visit the magnificent 15th-century Stone Hall, splendid Georgian Assembly Room and the Card Room.

On Sundays a special joint ticket is available giving visitors access to Stories of Lynn, Lynn Museum & the Custom House maritime exhibition. Tickets will be: Adults £7, Concessions £4.50, Child £4.50, Family £16.50.

King’s Lynn Borough Archives will be open Tuesday to Friday, from 12:30pm to 4:30pm, with last admission at 4pm, and on the first Saturday in the month (excluding public holidays) from 10am to 2pm, with last admission at 1:30pm. There is no charge to visit the King’s Lynn Borough Archives.
For more information go to

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Pilot whale skull goes on display in Lynn

lynn museum pilot whaleFollowing on from a recent sell-out talk on whales and whaling in King’s Lynn, Lynn Museum is displaying a pilot whale skull from its collection.

This is the first time that it has been on display. It offers visitors a chance to get up close and see the fascinating interior of the skull.

Pilot whales, like killer whales, belong to the dolphin family and are the most commonly beached of large marine mammals.

Lynn Museum tells the fascinating story of West Norfolk and is home to Seahenge, the unique 4,000 year old timber circle. The award winning museum is housed in a former Victorian Baptist Chapel in the heart of King’s Lynn.

Open 10am -5pm, Tuesday to Saturday. Admission is free until the end of March. Lynn Museum is located near the bus station King’s Lynn.

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New Downham Heritage Centre set to open

Downham Market’s new Heritage and Learning Centre is set to open on Monday 28th March.

Local people will be the first to be invited to discover more about the history of their town, as the new Heritage and Learning Centre – Discover Downham opens its doors in time for the Easter School holidays.

The centre will be a hub for tourists, the local community and schools and will also be available for groups and societies to hire.

Downham Market and District Heritage Society volunteers have spent the last few months putting the new displays together which focus on Fenland life and the development of the town including its trades, industries and shops.

The Society raised £650,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, WREN, and other local charitable organisations to facilitate the move to brand new premises at the Old Fire Station in Priory Road.

The centre will open to the public on Monday 28th March, and from then on will be open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays 10am -4pm. Thecentre is free to visit.

On the opening day, Monday 28th March, there will be family activities, from 10.30am – 11.30am, and 2pm-3pm and refreshments available for visitors.

Downham Market and District Heritage Society Chairman Dave Flower said ‘This is an exciting time for us, as we can see years of hard work by our volunteers coming together to provide this vital asset for the local community. We are very grateful to our funders, the Heritage Lottery Fund and WREN for all the support they have given us’.

*Kings Lynns latest attraction “Stories of Lynn” is also due to open this Easter, on Friday 25th March.

The new Lynn exhibition, situated inside King’s Lynn Town Hall on the Saturday Market Place, will take visitors on a journey of discovery through 800 years of the the town’s history.

Interactive exhibits, fascinating artefacts and a nationally significant borough archive will all tell the tales of the seafarers, explorers, merchants, mayors, magistrates and miscreants who helped shape King’s Lynn, one of England’s most important medieval port towns.

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A mediaeval Christmas comes to King’s Lynn

Mediaeval Babes.

Mediaeval Babes.

King’s Lynn hosts a mediaeval Christmas from 11-13 December, consisting of a market, a lavish banquet, and a carol concert by the Mediaeval Baebes.

The event begins on Friday 11 December with a mediaeval market in the Tuesday Market Place. From 2pm until 8pm, shoppers can browse rows of stalls selling handcrafted items; including jewellery, leather goods, bottles and barrels, homewares, trinkets and festive decorations.

The market will include food and drink stalls, selling spit-roasted pig, baked chestnuts, honey meads, spiced wines, and food made to authentic Tudor recipes. Visitors will have the chance to try their hand at archery. There will be games and activities for children to take part in. Many of the stallholders will be in traditional costume, including a jester.

As an added attraction, the Mary Rose pop-up museum will also be part of the market. The Mary Rose is a Tudor ship that sank in 1545 and remained at the bottom of the sea until it was raised in 1982. The Mary Rose was Henry VIII’s flagship, and provides an incomparable insight into maritime history.

Since it was raised, the ship, along with over 19,000 artefacts recovered with it, has become part of an award-winning museum in the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. The museum is about to enter a period of closure until summer 2016, and while it is closed a pop-up museum will be touring the UK, visiting festivals and historic events.

The Mary Rose pop-up museum features real and replica artefacts, a shop, and activities where visitors can learn about the ship’s long and fascinating history. King’s Lynn’s mediaeval Christmas is the only event that the pop-up museum is due to visit in December.

The market continues on Saturday 12 December from 10am to 8pm, and Sunday 13 from 10am to 4pm, so there are plenty of opportunities to visit this wonderful and unusual attraction.

On the evening of Friday 11 December, a traditional mediaeval banquet takes place in the Town Hall, Saturday Market Place, King’s Lynn.

From 8pm until late, an evening of memorable entertainment takes place in this genuinely mediaeval venue. The Trinity Guildhall was built in the 1420s and its impressive stone floor, exposed beams, and great south window make the perfect setting for this night of mediaeval feasting in the company of the Mayor of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk, Cllr Colin Manning, and the Mayoress, Mrs Julie Manning, and 60 other guests.

The banquet will be prepared by master chef Gerry Rhodes, and will consist of 20 dishes served, as they would have been in the Middle Ages, over 6 ‘removes’ (courses). The dishes will include legges of fowl with a Saracen sauce; procession of a boar’s head; urchins (minced meat with herbs fashioned into hedgehogs); a tipsy moyse of berries (stiff cream with fruit soaked in fruit liquor);subtleties of marchpane and fruit leathers. The full menu can be viewed at

As was traditional in mediaeval times, during the 6 removes music will be performed, and games played. Live music will be performed on the lute, a rauschpfeife and other traditional instruments. The games are based on traditional mediaeval revelries and include: The Wishing Tree, where every guests places a wish for his or her heart’s desire on a tree as they arrive and the wishes are to be granted by St Nicholas; The Tankard Game, a simple knock-out game to win a tankard and a chalice; a Wassail Race, you may choose not to drink from the wassail bowl, but it must reach the top table to win.

Mediaeval dress is optional. Tickets are £50 per person and are available from King’s Lynn’s Tourist Information Centre or

The mediaeval Christmas draws to a spectacular close with a Christmas carol concert from the Mediaeval Baebes. On Sunday 13 December the Mediaeval Baebes provide a remarkable evening of music, dance and theatre in the magnificent venue of St Nicholas’ Chapel in St Ann’s Street, King’s Lynn. The group will perform Christmas carol classics from their top ten album “Of Kings & Angels” as well as other contemporary and traditional songs. Doors open at 7:30pm. Tickets cost £20 and are available from

For more information on all of these events, please visit

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Fifth Stories of Lynn lecture

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

Dr Paul Richards gives Michael Portillo a copy of his book about the Hanseatic League. Photo: John Beck

The fifth in the successful series of autumn lectures telling the Stories of Lynn takes place on Tuesday, 10 November 2015 at the Town Hall in King’s Lynn at 6.15pm.

The lecture entitled ‘The Merchants of Lynn & Their World 1685 – 1789’ will be given by Dr Paul Richards.

Born and bred in King’s Lynn, Paul Richards studied for both BA and PhD degrees in History at Birmingham University. He taught in further and higher education at the College of West Anglia and part-time for several university extra-mural departments as well as The Open University.

Paul was a borough councillor (St Margaret’s ward) and Mayor (1998-2000) before becoming an Honorary Alderman. In 2013 he was commissioned as a Deputy Lieutenant of Norfolk and in 2015 made an Honorary Borough Freeman. Paul is also a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (London) and of the Royal Society of Arts.

His ‘History of King’s Lynn’ was published in 1990 and ‘King’s Lynn Through Time’ in 2014. Amongst other interests, he is trust chairman at True’s Yard Fisherfolk Museum, a King’s Lynn Festival director and town guide.

In the 18th century, Lynn was in the premier league of English port towns, with buoyant international trade. Its merchants built vessels in their own shipyards to import and export wine, corn, salt, coal, timber and luxury goods.

The wealth generated by commerce allowed them to redesign their riverside mansions in the fashionable classical style evident today. Dinner parties and musical soirées in these grand houses reinforced the common interests of those ten or twelve families who governed Georgian Lynn.

In this lecture, Dr Richards reveals the lifestyles of these merchants of Lynn who were as much urban lords as traders. Interwoven by marriages and business partnerships, they controlled the social and political life of Lynn from the Town Hall, much extended in 1767 by the classical Assembly Rooms.

Each of the lectures lasts for about 1 hour and costs just £2.50 to attend. Lectures take place at 6.15pm in Town Hall’s magnificent Georgian Assembly Room. Refreshments are provided.

The series of lectures concludes with:

24 November – Mr Adrian Parker – The Angel Roof of St Nicholas Chapel

About Stories of Lynn

Opening in 2016, Stories of Lynn will enhance and remodel the town hall complex, allowing people to explore the buildings and learn more about the economic and social history of King’s Lynn – one of England’s most important medieval port towns.

Using the archive, collections and fabric of the buildings, innovative interpretation devices and a diverse activity plan, the attraction will unlock the stories of the seafarers, explorers, merchants, mayors, magistrates and miscreants who have shaped King’s Lynn.

Although based within King’s Lynn Town Hall, Stories of Lynn will act as a gateway to other heritage sites and attractions in King’s Lynn, drawing together elements of the town’s history to provide a complete story of our unique heritage.

The project has been made possible thanks to a £1,850,600 Heritage Lottery Fund grant and £800,000 investment by the borough council and has been developed by the Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk in partnership with Norfolk Museums Service and Norfolk Record Office.

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Remembrance Sunday ceremonies

Poppy Crosses in Tower GardensMore wreaths than ever will be laid at the War Memorial in Tower Gardens, Kings Lynn this Sunday, 8 November, as local people gather to pay their respects to all those who have lost their lives in the two World Wars and since 1945 up to the present day.

This year’s event will be particularly poignant as 2015 marks the 70th anniversaries of VE Day and VJ Day, and the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Once again a very large public attendance is expected.

The event will start with a parade from Saturday Market Place along St James’s Street to the Tower Gardens. The parade will be led by veterans from all three armed services and any veteran wishing to be included in this should arrive at Saturday Market Place by 10.15am.

The Mayor will lead a procession of civic representatives from the Town Hall to the War Memorial where he, along with representatives from various organisations, will lay a wreath. Over 50 wreaths will be laid this year, following which prayers will be led by The Rt Revd Jonathan Meyrick, Bishop of Lynn.

The King’s Lynn Town Band will play solemn music in the Tower Gardens from 10.45am and the civic procession will leave from the Town Hall at 10.48 am, followed by the general procession, consisting of members of the Royal British Legion, a contingent from Royal Air Force Marham, and members of the Sea, Army, Air, and Police Cadet Forces.

The bugler will play The Last Post, signalling the beginning of the two-minute silence and the start of the ceremony at 11 am.

Following the ceremony, at approximately 11.45 am, the civic procession will parade to King’s Lynn Minster, where a service will be conducted by the Reverend Canon Christopher Ivory.

Elsewhere in the borough, wreaths will be laid to mark the occasion. Deputy Mayor Cllr David Whitby will lay a wreath at St Faith’s Church, Gaywood. The Mayor will also lay a wreath in Downham Market on Sunday afternoon.

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