History of Pakefield comes alive in new book

A Pakefield Scrapbook, compiled by John Holmes. Pakefield School in 1954, with Mr Holmes brother Bar

A Pakefield Scrapbook, compiled by John Holmes. Pakefield School in 1954, with Mr Holmes brother Barry second from the right on the fourth row. - Credit: Archant

Today it is very much part of Lowestoft, but Pakefield has its own history which now features in a new book.

A Pakefield Scrapbook, compiled by John Holmes. Dew's grocery shop in the Glendower building.

A Pakefield Scrapbook, compiled by John Holmes. Dew's grocery shop in the Glendower building. - Credit: Archant

Drawing on a selection of material from his previous Pakefield publications, local historian John Holmes has produced a fascinating insight into the life of the former fishing community.

NEW PUBLICATION: A Pakefield Scrapbook, by John Holmes. Picture: SUPPLIED.

NEW PUBLICATION: A Pakefield Scrapbook, by John Holmes. Picture: SUPPLIED. - Credit: Archant

A Pakefield Scrapbook takes the reader back to what life was like for people growing up in the area.

As Mr Holmes says in the introduction: 'My purpose is to leave a record of what Pakefield and its community was like up to and just after the second world war. It is hoped that it will see funds raised for very necessary local charities and worthy causes.'

From a short history of Pakefield church, which features a picture of the thatched roof in ruins after bombs were dropped in April 1941, to tales of heroism involving Pakefield's lifeboat crew, A Pakefield Scrapbook takes the reader on a trip down memory lane.


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Mr Holmes, said: 'I grew up in Pakefield during and after the second world war, and although we didn't have material we certainly enjoyed a great sense of community.

'This sense of community still exists as it is confirmed when my friend Bernard Cook and I do a slideshow in the church hall – it is always packed to capacity.'

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Speaking about the book, Mr Holmes said: 'My recent publication is intended to reflect the sense of community many of us enjoyed and also to remember those who are no longer with us, but we still have many happy memories of them.'

One of the two main photographs on the front cover of the book is what Mr Holmes describes as 'Pakefield's own Last of the Summer Wine Group'. It consists of four friends – Bernard Cook, Richard Goldspink, Eric Carter and Des Gosling – 'enjoying a mardle' on the cliffs.

The book contains an array of captivating old black and white photographs and the personal recollections of Mr Holmes, who says it 'shows that Pakefield was, and is, a good place to live in'.

Old public houses, Mrs Cripps's tea room and Pakefield Village Green are all recalled – before they fell victim to coastal erosion.

Schooldays, a blacksmith's shop, charabancs, Pakefield Cinema, beach huts, Pakefield Hotel and even Pakefield's own telephone exchange also feature.

One chapter recalls Mr Holmes's early memories after moving to Pakefield in 1940. Then aged about three, his family came to live in Ship Road 'after being bombed out of London' and he started at Pakefield School in 1942.

His mother, Vera, to whom the book is dedicated, was originally from Kessingland and Mr Holmes said: 'I felt that Pakefield was my real home.'

In this chapter, entitled We Were Hard Up But Happy, Mr Holmes recalls the harsh realities of wartime and he adds: 'The community spirit helped us get through.'

Recalling a host of prominent characters, the book also includes many personal memories of life in Pakefield. Features are provided by Bernard Blowers, Eric Crossland, Bernard 'Pud' Foreman, aviation historian Bob Collis, who details Pakefield at war, and others.

Mr Holmes also recalls notable Pakefield residents past and present, including war veteran Ernie Betts and successful author and illustrator Michael Foreman.

All income from the sale of the book, which costs £5 and is now available from Waterstones and the Spar shop in Pakefield, will go to worthy causes, such as the Louise Hamilton Centre at the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston.

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