Special report: How a £5m boost will aim to transform King’s Lynn’s heritage
08:47 18 June 2014
Archant © 2014
West Norfolk council have secured nearly £3m in funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and have agreed to match it themselves to carry out a number of projects in King’s Lynn.
A £2.9m scheme will attempt to transform Lynn’s historic Town Hall and Saturday Market Place.
West Norfolk council’s plans involve building work to the Trinity Guildhall as well as changes to the flow of traffic through the market place.
Council leader Nick Daubney said: “It’s a huge investment by the Heritage Lottery Fund and a huge investment by the local authority.
“Together the schemes will support the restoration of the historic fabric of the area and allow people greater access to our fascinating collections and archives.”
An important part of the project will be the renovating of the town’s archives which will lead to an exhibition called Stories of Lynn.
Based on the archives stored in the town hall a multi-media exhibition will be developed bring to life the stories and experiences of the people who created the town.
A full-time archivist will be employed to help make the archives more accessible.
During the works the vaulted structure of the undercroft of the 15th-century Trinity Guild Hall, which is at the centre of the town hall complex, will be revealed.
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Trues Yard museum is all that remains of King’s Lynn’s old fishing community, the North End, which existed for hundreds of years.
Old Gaol House is King’s Lynn’s 1930s police station and cells.
King’s Lynn Minster was founded in 1101 and is situated in the historic surroundings of the Saturday Market Place in the heart of King’s Lynn.
King’s Lynn Festival continues to provide high quality performances of classical music, recitals, choral and jazz plus talks, exhibitions and films.
Festival Too was created in 1985, a pop music event in town to complement the King’s Lynn Festival.
The iconic Custom House is home to the tourist information centre.
The Corn Exchange puts on shows, including pantomime, stand up comedy, opera and live music.
King’s Lynn Stars speedway is in the elite league and one of the top teams in the country.
Hanse House is a 15th century warehouse which been transformed into a seven-day indoor market and wedding venue.
The Waterfront features historical buildings and restaurants.
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It will create an extensive exhibition space with room for visiting exhibitions and will allow treasures such as the King John Cup and extensive silver spoon collection to be displayed.
Elizabeth Nockolds, council portfolio holder for culture, said: “We are thrilled that the Heritage Lottery Fund has decided to support our exciting scheme.
“For eight centuries the town hall has been at the heart of King’s Lynn’s civic life; it contains a vast, and in some cases internationally significant, archive and fascinating collections. The Stories of Lynn attraction will help to bring this past to life, allowing local people to explore their heritage and attracting visitors to the town.”
With help from Norfolk County Council the Saturday Market Place will be remodelled.
The project aims to enhance the heritage of the area and improve the connections between the town hall, town centre and historic waterfront.
This will involve widening the footpath in front of the town hall from the junction with St Margaret’s Place to the junction with St James’ Street, improving access to the building, and resurfacing the market place.
Changes will be made to the one-way system and the number of parking spaces will be reduced.
Nearby restaurants like Market Bistro will be encouraged to have street furniture.
Work on the Saturday Market Place will begin in August, with work to the town hall complex scheduled to begin in early 2015.
A £1m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund alongside funding from the council will be used to protect and enhance the St Margaret’s Conservation Area in King’s Lynn.
This includes the traditional shopping streets of Tower Street, St James’ Street and the south end of High Street, as well as the Saturday Market Place.
The area features 92 listed buildings as well as two scheduled ancient monuments – the Trinity Guildhall and Greyfriars’ Tower, pictured.
The scheme will see a fund created to help owners of eligible buildings in the area carry out works that bring property back in to use.
They will be able to apply for grants to make structural and external repairs to historic buildings, restore architectural features, bring vacant buildings back into use and restore historic shop fronts.
Alistair Beales, council portfolio holder for regeneration, said: “We are working to showcase King’s Lynn’s impressive heritage. This latest investment will help to transform the St Margaret’s area of the town and, when taken alongside other schemes such as the Tuesday Market Place enhancements, help to put King’s Lynn on the map as a heritage destination.”
A set of guidelines has been created to decide if a building is eligible for funding and what work can be funded.
Any grants over £25,000 will need to be approved by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Lead officer Ostap Paparega said: “One of the main objectives is bringing back in to use historic buildings.
“The aim, along with the other projects, is to enhance the whole area which will make it better for everybody.”
Training opportunities and community initiatives will also be developed as part of the project.
This will include enabling young people studying crafts and trades locally to learn about traditional and specialist restoration procedures, including the use of authentic materials such as lime mortar.
Projects involving young people are hoped to encourage more people to find out about the history of the area.
Any work must be carried out by 2019 to receive a grant.