Iconic Custom House to reopen to visitors after months of closure

The water in the Purfleet in King's Lynn has been drained away. Picture: Ian Burt

King's Lynn's Custom House Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

An historic King's Lynn building will finally reopen its doors this months after concerns had previously been raised over its future. 

The 17th-century Custom House will be open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from July 21 thanks to volunteers from the King's Lynn Civic Society who have worked closely with West Norfolk Council. 

The building had been closed for more than two years for refurbishment work with the tourist information centre being relocated to the Stories of Lynn museum in the Saturday Market Place. 

One door for exiting and entering the building had previously been deemed unsafe during the pandemic, with the reopening delayed until it felt more safe to do so. 

There had also been concerns over who would take on the building as it was deemed unsuitable for hospitality and retail due to its lack of a lift. 

Custom House in King's Lynn. Picture: Taz Ali

Custom House in King's Lynn. - Credit: Taz Ali

But now, around 10 volunteers from King's Lynn Civic Society have ensured the iconic building has a purpose again. 

Chairwoman Alison Gifford said: "We plan to open the building every Wednesday and Saturday from now until Heritage Open Day on September 12.

"This is a chance for people to discover that the King’s Lynn Civic Society is much more than meetings and talks, we enjoy doing practical activities that invite others to enjoy the rich heritage of our town.”

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She said the ground floor will have an exhibition on the Civic Society with details upstairs about the Custom House and Henry Bell who built the building in 1683 as a merchants’ exchange. 

Ms Gifford added that the history of Margery Kempe and paintings from  Norfolk artist Emily Chapman will also be displayed.

Cllr Elizabeth Nockolds, heritage and culture champion at West Norfolk Council said: “I’m delighted to see the doors of the Custom House building open again.

"I would encourage people to go and explore this iconic building and I thank Alison and the Civic Society for volunteering to open it up to the public.”

From Wednesday, July 21, the Custom House will open every Wednesday and Saturday between 10am and 3pm.