Mystery of Lowestoft town sign trawlers is uncovered
- Credit: Nick Butcher
It is a mystery which only the most eagle-eyed will have detected.
Lowestoft's town sign, which for years bore the image of a fishing vessel as centrepiece, in homage to its maritime heritage, was replaced by a another featuring a different vessel.
But after a recent revamp of the latest sign, a local historian has trawled the archives to get to the bottom of this riddle.
Malcolm White traced the history of the current post, and the one it replaced, as well as the vessels depicted, to conclude that the original craft was dropped, so that one with a more local sounding name could be used.
The original sign, unveiled in 1969, depicted the LT64 Montserrat, an example of a typical diesel trawler of the period. The sign was carved and made by the building department of Lowestoft College, under the leadership of Norman Rhodes, and included the words Borough of Lowestoft at the bottom.
It was originally placed prominently near the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club. But when works began on the bascule bridge in the early 1970s, it was moved to the High Street.
It became dilapidated and, at some point, was taken down. The exact date is unclear but it is thought to have been before 1990. All the other elements remained unchanged, except the vessel, and the wording, as Lowestoft was no longer a 'borough'. The new vessel was the LT247 Lowestoft Lady.
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'It was considered more appropriate to have a vessel with a local sounding name included on the sign,' he said. 'It would have been changed in the early life of the sign but I don't know exactly when it would have been.
'It is highly likely that the council would have been responsible for changing the vessel – they may have thought it would be a good idea to have Lowestoft in the name of the trawler. Both of these trawlers were well known in the port.'
The recent restoration was carried out by S.O.L.D (Special Objectives for the Local Disabled) where they had to remake, redraw and repaint the sign – taking a considerable amount of their time and effort to complete.
The sign also depicts other elements reflecting Lowestoft's maritime history – including a fisherman, an outline of the port, the Brooke Marine shipbuilding yard and the Naval Patrol Service War Memorial.
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