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Annual Heritage Open Days event draws in visitors intrigued by Lowestoft’s history and culture

PUBLISHED: 16:07 12 September 2017

The Church of Our Lady Star of the Sea was available to view on Heritage Open Days. Picture: Mick Howes

The Church of Our Lady Star of the Sea was available to view on Heritage Open Days. Picture: Mick Howes

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There was a rare chance to view some of Lowestoft’s hidden treasures as the annual Heritage Open Days festivities graced the town.

The view from the top of Our Lady Star of the Sea church on Gordon Road. Picture: Mick Howes The view from the top of Our Lady Star of the Sea church on Gordon Road. Picture: Mick Howes

From September 7 to 10, visitors were invited to explore and experience 18 cultural beacons signifying Lowestoft’s adsorbing history.

Among the highlights was an opportunity to soak up the interior of the majestic Lowestoft Town Hall, noted for its grand facade and three magnificent stained glass windows.

There was also a chance to climb aboard the last surviving fishing vessel built in Lowestoft, the Mincarlo trawler, which was retired in 1989 and is now permanently docked at Heritage Quay.

An exhibition at the Town Hall was hosted by historians Burt Collyer (pictured) and Bob Collis. Picture: Mick Howes An exhibition at the Town Hall was hosted by historians Burt Collyer (pictured) and Bob Collis. Picture: Mick Howes

Paul King, who moved to Suffolk two years ago and is a Heritage Open Days organiser, expressed how determined he has been for Lowestoft people to embrace the countless heritage sites that surround them.

“I’ve always been interested in heritage, but when I moved to Lowestoft I realised there was nothing much open for people to see,” said Mr King.

“There are so many lovely old buildings here and they weren’t being appreciated.

There was a rare chance to see the inside of the clock tower at the Town Hall. Picture: Mick Howes There was a rare chance to see the inside of the clock tower at the Town Hall. Picture: Mick Howes

“Having researched some of the history, I compiled a list of possible sites that could take part in the Heritage Open Days and helped them to register.”

The annual Heritage Open Days event began in 1991 with the aim of increasing appreciation for England’s cultural spectacles.

A total of 141 locations across Suffolk took part in this year’s four-day celebration, during which Lowestoft also offered church tours, insights into the history of local landmarks and a chance to go behind the scenes at the Marina Theatre.

Maria Hill was offering a 'Taste of History' at the Flint House Restaurant on the High Street. Picture: Mick Howes Maria Hill was offering a 'Taste of History' at the Flint House Restaurant on the High Street. Picture: Mick Howes

“This year’s efforts have been about putting Lowestoft on the heritage map and people are looking at what’s around them in a different way,” added Mr King.

“The celebration was very much a success and we constantly had numerous visitors looking around the sites.”

As for the future, Mr King believes the celebration of local history and culture has the potential to go from strength to strength.

Marina Knight, who owns the High Street Haberdashery, with some Lowestoft designs. Picture: Mick Howes Marina Knight, who owns the High Street Haberdashery, with some Lowestoft designs. Picture: Mick Howes

“We definitely want to take it forward into 2018 and hopefully we can get even more sites involved next year,” he said.

“I’d like to thank everybody that took part for making it so successful.”

Visitors were able to see the inside the old council chamber at Lowestoft Town Hall after the Town Council agreed to open it to the public. Picture: Mick Howes Visitors were able to see the inside the old council chamber at Lowestoft Town Hall after the Town Council agreed to open it to the public. Picture: Mick Howes

Jane Haverson examines an image of King George II who once stayed at 45 High Street. Picture: Mick Howes Jane Haverson examines an image of King George II who once stayed at 45 High Street. Picture: Mick Howes

An old view of 45 High Street on display. Picture: Mick Howes An old view of 45 High Street on display. Picture: Mick Howes

Mary Hunt stands beside a  Claud Castleton VC exhibition at St Nicholas Church, Morton Road. Picture: Mick Howes Mary Hunt stands beside a Claud Castleton VC exhibition at St Nicholas Church, Morton Road. Picture: Mick Howes

Steven Kirk gave an organ recital at the Church of Our Lady Star of the Sea. Picture: Mick Howes Steven Kirk gave an organ recital at the Church of Our Lady Star of the Sea. Picture: Mick Howes

Views from the top of the tower at the Our Lady Star of the Sea church. Picture: Mick Howes Views from the top of the tower at the Our Lady Star of the Sea church. Picture: Mick Howes

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