Sunday, 4 November 2012

Ladies Day

Graham kindly drove Lesley and I into the station at Downham Market so that we could have a day out in King's Lynn by train, doing what we enjoy most - having a good old poke around and trying to get a feel for days of old. You won't  get a lot of historical facts from me, as Lesley is our Historian, but I have to give you a bit of background to make sense of the place.
King's Lynns geographical position on the extensive inland waterway system made it ideal for trading and by the 13th Century was one of England's most important ports. It attracted traders from the Hanseatic League; a group of German Cities whose ships travelled in convoys for protection against pirates. They bought in fish, furs, timber, wax and pitch and took away wool, cloth and salt. Their influence and wealth in this town can still be seen in abundance.

 Now I'm not really into all this stuff but we left at 9.30 and returned at 4.30 and hardly scratched the surface - what an amazing town. I could spend at least another 2 days here and that's without retail therapy.

Greyfriars Tower
Greyfriars Memorial
King's Lynn Minster
We nipped in here for 3 reasons: it was open, it was free and it just started lashing down with rain 

The Holy Trinity Guildhall dating back to the 1420s and is part of the Town Hall complex
 Then we wandered out onto the South Quay - it was perishingly cold and, given we'd left in the sunshine, neither of us had sufficient clothing on. We'd tried to re-enter civilised society by looking vaguely respectable - we'd even eschewed walking boots and wellies, our reward was to be frozen. At that point I made a brilliant discovery; my woolly dog walking hat was in my rucksack, hurrah! That helped a bit.
 Across the River is the church of West Lynn - a pedestrian ferry still runs  across the Ouse when there is enough water

 The Green Quay exhibition area was closed but the area itself is still interesting

Sculpture reflecting the fish drying industry
An amazing level of detail
The last remaining warehouses of the Hanseatic League
This is the Old Custom House and was still used as such until relatively recently - it's a small museum now and one of the exhibits made me smile. It was a chest known as a King's or Armada chest. One of these was owned by Henry Hare, a Customs Collector. On his death in 1733 it was found to contain over £3,000 in gold coins and was escorted to London by, 'trusty guard' - it must have been worth millions in todays money?
 One of the buildings in this 'listed' area was boarded up and the boards painted with 'muriels' (you have to be a certain age to remember that one)

 I think they're lovely and stopped the building standing out like a sore thumb

 This enormous building is the Baptist Chapel and is situated adjacent to the area where the poor fisherfolk lived, although they weren't allowed in it or to be buried there. The Chapel is bigger than a lot of cathedrals
 These 2 cottages are the only two remaining one up one down fisherfolk cottages and now form part of a Museum which also houses a smoke house in True's Yard
 We missed the gaol, The Walks, Red Mount Chapel, South Gate, etc., etc. We were intending to have something a bit special for lunch but we simply ran out of day and ended up with a pint and egg and chips; nothing wrong with that though (oh and coffee and toasted teacakes in the St George's Guildhall Arts Centre). I will definitely go back for more it's like no other place I've been to.


  1. Replies
    1. It's amazing how many of her 'sayings' that are still part of our language.
      Please, please tell me how Ozzie is doing.

  2. My dad did a lot of restoration work on the Kings Lynn Customs House about 60 years ago.
    P.S. Graham makes a fine cup of tea

    1. That's something to be very proud of - Lesley and I were sorry we missed you; I hope he gave you biscuits too!
      Glad to see you made it back safely to your home moorings