9 lost historic buildings and businesses of King's Lynn
- Credit: Lost King's Lynn
They are at the same time familiar and strange, townscapes lost to history.
Author Paul Richards’ Lost King’s Lynn presents a portrait of a town and a way of life that has radically changed or disappeared today in his new book to “…illustrate the remarkable story of what the town has lost, for better or worse.”
Five chapters in the lavishly-illustrated book are linked to specific neighbourhoods or streets within the town and the sixth looks at Lynn itself since the 1960s.
Mr Richards said: “Lynn retains an exceptional historic built environment to connect us with what was for centuries a premier English seaport and market town, but its identity has been reshaped over the last 150 years.”
Born and bred in King’s Lynn, Mr Richards studied history and taught at the College of West Anglia and for the Open University. He has been a borough councillor, mayor and is an honorary alderman for the town.
Trustee of True’s Yard Fisherfolk Museum, a member of the King’s Lynn Festival board and a town guide, Mr Richards has written several books and articles about the town. Find out more and buy the book at amberley-books.com/lost-king-s-lynn.html
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Photographs of Lost King’s Lynn
1.W H Smiths and Sons c1910. As national chains developed, firms such as WH Smiths began to open stores across the country. King’s Lynn’s branch opened in 1906 and in this photograph, festive shoppers are being enticed inside.
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2. High Street c1950: King’s Lynn’s principal shopping street was open to traffic in 1950.
3. After the First World War, shipbuilding began again at Lynn. The King’s Lynn Shipbuilding Company built two trawlers for Spanish owners which it is believed are pictured here. The yard closed due to lack of orders – its last ship was built in 1930 and was the steam trawler the Lydia Eva, now moored in Great Yarmouth.
4. Tuesday Market Place c1968: This shot of the weekly provision market is a clear indication of just what a vital part of the town’s life it was. Tuesday was the busiest day of the week for King’s Lynn until the 1980s when Saturdays took the title.
5. True’s Yard, 1933: North End yards, where most fisherfolk lived, had disappeared by the 1960s other than this well-known town yard. Two of its six cottages escaped demolition and now form part of a museum. Timo Van Pelt and Sam Southgate are seen standing outside the cottages.
6. Victorian Warehouse, Bentinck Dock, 1972: The Dock & Railway Company built big brick warehouses to store grain imports from Argentina and Black Sea ports in addition to wheat for export. They remained important until the early 1970s. This Victorian warehouse was demolished in 1973 and replaced by the tall concrete silo prominent on Lynn’s shoreline today.
7. Atto’s Yard, Norfolk Street c1930: This street once accommodated more yards than any other in Lynn. Atto’s Yard was on the site now occupied by Lidl supermarket. In 1901, William Capps was a general carter living here with wife Sarah, two young daughters and a son. There were 12 houses in the yard that were listed for demolition by the council’s slum clearance committee in 1933.
8. R&A Taylor, Norfolk Street, 1907: The Taylor family were seed merchants in Lynn for several generations and sold flower and vegetable seeds to gardeners and clover and root seeds to farmers. The business closed in 1982 and the premises have been lost.
9. The Purfleet Quay, King Street, 1936: On both sides of the Purfleet are extensive wine cellars built around 1700 when the corn and wine seaborne trades enriched Lynn's merchants. The cellar entrance in this photograph has the sign 'Thos. Peatling & Sons Bonding and Blending Vaults'. The family firm was established in 1826 and shipped wine into Lynn for storage until the 1970s.