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Hunstanton Heritage Centre set to reopen

PUBLISHED: 13:45 12 August 2020 | UPDATED: 13:45 12 August 2020

City of Norwich Pipe Band marched through town as part of the official opening of Hunstanton Heritage Centre. Picture: Chris Bishop

City of Norwich Pipe Band marched through town as part of the official opening of Hunstanton Heritage Centre. Picture: Chris Bishop

Archant

A popular heritage centre charting the history of a unique seaside town is set to reopen.

The Heritage Centre in Hunstanton. Pictured is the pavilion fire in 1939. Picture: Ian BurtThe Heritage Centre in Hunstanton. Pictured is the pavilion fire in 1939. Picture: Ian Burt

Hunstanton Heritage Centre opened in a former bank on Northgate, near the High Street, in February.

Volunteers had spent months converting the NatWest branch to house their collections, including installing a cinema in what used to be its vault, before a ribbon cutting on Valentine’s Day.

Just over a month later, the centre was forced to close a the country went into lockdown.

Now the town’s civic society says it hopes to welcome visitors again from Saturday, when the building will be open from 1 - 5pm. It will then open between the same times on Sunday, and future weekends.

The Heritage Centre in Hunstanton. The pier was destroyed by fire in 2002. Picture: Ian BurtThe Heritage Centre in Hunstanton. The pier was destroyed by fire in 2002. Picture: Ian Burt

Terry Ashworth, one of the volunteers, said visitors would be limited to three or four family groups at a time.

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Opening is also subject to enough volunteers being on hand, with a minimum of three needed - one on the door to control numbers, one at the front counter and one to answer any questions about the collections.

The former bank was bought by retired surgeon and civic society member Andrew Murray after the centre lost its former premises near the seafront.

The Heritage Centre in Hunstanton. Pictured is a Hunstanton postcard from yesteryear. Picture: Ian BurtThe Heritage Centre in Hunstanton. Pictured is a Hunstanton postcard from yesteryear. Picture: Ian Burt

Its collections span the history of the town from prehistoric times to the present day.

Hunstanton was built to offer a purpose-built seaside town after lord of the manor Henry LeStrange noticed sea bathing was becoming a popular pastime.

The first building was the Golden Lion Hotel, which overlooks The Green, which was built in 1846.

The coming of the railway brought prosperity to the town but the line closed in 1969. There centre has a wealth of information on the old line, along with the town’s Victorian pier which blew down in a storm in 1978.

The Heritage Centre in Hunstanton. Pictured is Hunstanton Railway Station. Picture: Ian BurtThe Heritage Centre in Hunstanton. Pictured is Hunstanton Railway Station. Picture: Ian Burt

Its collections also include a wealth of photographs of events including the 1953 floods, in which more than 60 lost their lives.

Mrs Ashworth said anyone willing to volunteer could call her on 01485 535292.


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