Against a historic terraced house, a young film crew stand in the street.  A woman in  vintage dress stands in the background, smoking a cigarette.
A Chapel Street History Film with the Kick the Dust Work Experience Group Samuel Hudson and Chloe Braithwaite on camera, Ryan Stott on sound boom (left to right) with Kathy Hipperson as Susan Jay of Chapel Street © Kathy Hipperson
A Chapel Street History Film with the Kick the Dust Work Experience Group Samuel Hudson and Chloe Braithwaite on camera, Ryan Stott on sound boom (left to right) with Kathy Hipperson as Susan Jay of Chapel Street © Kathy Hipperson

Celebrating the King's Lynn Heritage Action Zone

Historic England and the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk are celebrating the successful completion of the King’s Lynn Heritage Action Zone, which over the past five years has demonstrated that heritage can be a powerful force for levelling up.

The King’s Lynn Heritage Action Zone has produced three research documents, listed one of England’s earliest reinforced concrete buildings, engaged local school children to better understand their heritage, and supported students to produce a short film.

King’s Lynn has a rich history and this project has highlighted new and exciting examples of our heritage. By promoting our past to local residents and visitors more people have enjoyed what historic Lynn has to offer. With the Town Deal, we can build on this success and welcome many more people to West Norfolk.

James Wild, MP for North West Norfolk

Telling stories of the past

The King’s Lynn Heritage Action Zone has engaged many local schools, teaching them about the heritage of the town through hands-on arts and cultural activities under Historic England’s Heritage Schools programme. Around 10,000 young people across King’s Lynn have been engaged in learning about their local heritage.

Children from St Martha’s Catholic Primary School in King’s Lynn learned about the town’s history through a fun activity to recreate some of its buildings using recycled materials. Photographs of their work will be added to the list entries for the buildings, on Historic England’s website.

It’s wonderful to see how, over the past five years, the Heritage Action Zone has brought King’s Lynn’s remarkable history to life for people who visit and live in the historic town. I’m particularly delighted to see young people so excited by their local history. The historic information that’s been discovered, and made accessible to everyone, will help to celebrate King’s Lynn’s unique character and guide the town’s future development. I’m really looking forward to seeing what’s next for King’s Lynn.

Tony Calladine, East of England Regional Director Historic England

Students from the College of West Anglia, Historic England and the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk co-produced Building on the Past, a short film telling the story of King’s Lynn’s Chapel Street.

Set in 1964, the film tells the story of former Chapel Street resident Susan Jay as she prepares to be rehoused away from her dilapidated house, which was demolished to create the Chapel Street car park.

Arts and media students from the College of West Anglia were chosen to be part of the film crew, as part of the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s ‘Kick the Dust’ work experience group. They led the project, interviewing former local residents, briefing actors, choosing images and making the final edits, gaining a range of new professional skills in the process.

From the extensive research at the beginning, to the filming in the cold rain at the end, everyone was committed, and I believe that shines through in our final product. Thank you so much for this incredible journey.

Chloe Braithwaite, Student

Protecting historic buildings

Two buildings were listed at Grade II: one of England’s earliest reinforced concrete buildings at 33-39 St James Street (presently the premises for Kwik Fit) and the former Lloyd's Bank at Tuesday Market Place.

Built in 1908, 33-39 James Street is the former offices, showroom and warehouse of the Building Material Company (King’s Lynn) Ltd. It is a rare and early example of a complete concrete-framed building surviving from the inter-war period.

The former Lloyds’ Bank at Tuesday Market Place was built in 1928 to the designs of Henry Munro Cautley (1876-1959) who practiced in Ipswich between 1901 and 1957. Built in a Baroque style, with beautiful sculptural embellishments, it is a striking building of refined architectural character and presence.

King’s Lynn is a town with a wonderful history. The Heritage Action Zone has helped us to learn more about this history and how the power of the historic environment can be used to help us safeguard its future. The King’s Lynn Heritage Action Zone has produced some really interesting research documents, protected important buildings through a review of listed buildings and worked with lots of local school children to help them better understand their local heritage.

The Heritage Action Zone programme is just the start of things for King’s Lynn. The work that has already taken place will be built on, by learning about and celebrating its past we are able to inform the town’s future development.

Cllr Richard Blunt, cabinet member for regeneration and development Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk

Hands-on help

Supporting business owners of historic buildings, the Heritage Action Zone has carried out a programme of essential gutter clearance for 37 buildings and created a booklet on basic maintenance for historic buildings.

Investigation and survey work has been carried out on the Grade II listed Sommerfeld and Thomas warehouse on South Quay.

This late 18th-century warehouse is the sole survivor of an extensive grain storage and processing complex on the King’s Lynn waterfront. It was owned by the Bagge family, prominent brewers in King’s Lynn.

The building has been secured and made safe. Full repair of the historic warehouse, funded by the government’s Coastal Revival Fund, will start later this year.

New research into old King's Lynn

The Heritage Action Zone set out to discover more about the history of the town to inform its future development. This resulted in three research documents to better understand the areas of Chapel Street, Common Staithe Quay and the Southgates (one of the best-known buildings in King’s Lynn).