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Two shipwrecks and a Victorian chemist shop among those given special historic status

PUBLISHED: 11:36 20 December 2019 | UPDATED: 11:37 20 December 2019

A Victorian chemist store in High Street, Lowestoft, has become Grade II listed. PHOTO: Patricia Payne / Historic England

A Victorian chemist store in High Street, Lowestoft, has become Grade II listed. PHOTO: Patricia Payne / Historic England

© Historic England Archive

A Victorian chemist store, an innovative train station and two shipwrecks have been listed as historic places to be protected.

A Victorian chemist store in High Street, Lowestoft, has become Grade II listed. PHOTO: Patricia Payne / Historic EnglandA Victorian chemist store in High Street, Lowestoft, has become Grade II listed. PHOTO: Patricia Payne / Historic England

The places, in Lowestoft, Halesworth and off the Great Yarmouth coast, feature on a list of more than 500 places added to the National Heritage List in 2019.

Included on the list is a Victorian chemist shop in Lowestoft's historic High Street, which has become a Grade II listed building.

Purpose built for 'Chemist and Druggist' Robert Morris in 1851, the shop retains its original and largely unaltered Italianate shopfront, with its arched windows and decorative mouldings, with very few remaining intact today.

Lettering in the window says the family dispensing chemist business was first established in 1817, more than 30 years before the store was built, while the store was still in use as a pharmacy until 2012.

A Victorian chemist store in High Street, Lowestoft, has become Grade II listed. PHOTO: Patricia Payne / Historic EnglandA Victorian chemist store in High Street, Lowestoft, has become Grade II listed. PHOTO: Patricia Payne / Historic England

A spokesperson for Historic England said: "Inside, mirror backed shelving and cupboards held goods under gilt labels for 'poisons' and 'surgical appliances' while wooden drawers with glass handles stored dried and powdered chemicals - a feature known as a 'drug run'.

"The interior fixtures and fittings have been adapted and replaced over the years, reflecting the evolution of the shop, so what we see today is a combination of Victorian and mid-20th century design."

In Halesworth, the town's train station's moving platforms have also become Grade II listed.

The set of four movable railway platforms were constructed in 1888 as an innovative engineering solution in a bid to extend the platforms to accommodate longer trains.

Halesworth train station's movable platforms, dated 1956. PHOTO: Archant ArchiveHalesworth train station's movable platforms, dated 1956. PHOTO: Archant Archive

A Historic England spokesperson said: "The popularity of the railway brought with it growing passenger numbers, but at Halesworth the platform could not be extended easily because of the topography of the land and its proximity to the main road to Bungay.

"Instead, movable platforms on wheels were installed, which could be extended over the road when in use, or pulled back to allow traffic through level crossing gates."

The platforms were designed to be operated by one person, and provided a useful bridge for transferring luggage across the tracks while closed.

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The platforms were in use until the 1950s, when a new road to Bungay was built bridging the railway to the north. While the moving platforms were no longer required to move, they remain in place are are permanently set.

Two shipwrecks off Hemsby Gap, the Seagull and Xanthe shipwrecks have also been included.

A 19th century paddle steamer, the Seagull was built in 1848 in Belfast, and was used as a cargo vessel for around 20 years before sinking in a collision in 1868.

On route from Hull to Rotterdam at the time, the ship had a cargo of raw cotton on board.

The Xanthe, whose wreck lies off Hemsby Gap. PHOTO: Historic EnglandThe Xanthe, whose wreck lies off Hemsby Gap. PHOTO: Historic England

The wreckage was identified after the discovery of the bell inscribed 'Seagull 1848' by a local diver in 1994.

A spokesperson for Historic England said: "The ship is a rare early example of a sail-assisted paddle steamer, a type of ship that became obsolete in the mid-19th century with the development of propeller driven vessels."

Shortly after the sinking of the Seagull, the Xanthe sank after a collision in 1869 off Horsey Gap.

No one was killed in the sinking of the ship built in Hull in 1862.

The ship had been used to trade coal and ore between the Tyne, in Newcastle, and Spain.

Despite being discovered in the late 1980s by a survey ship, the wreckage was only dived by local divers in 1991.

Both vessels remain upright and largely intact on the seabed, while remains of the Seagull's paddle wheels can also be seen.

An abundance of coal can also be seen inside the Xanthe due to the absence of decking, while the ship's early compound engine appears to have survived the wreckage.

Tony Calladine, Historic England's regional director, said: "A fascinating range of historic buildings and sites are added to the List each year, and 2019 is no exception. Examples of our wonderful heritage have been newly protected, illustrating how the East of England has been shaped by people and their buildings for thousands of years.

"By celebrating the extraordinary historic places which surround us, above and below ground, we hope to inspire in people a greater interest in our shared heritage, and a commitment to pass it on."

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