Hundreds flock to 'hugely successful' Lowestoft maritime heritage fair

The Excelsior took centre stage at the Lowestoft Maritime Heritage Fair.

The Excelsior took centre stage at the Lowestoft Maritime Heritage Fair. - Credit: Mick Howes

Lowestoft’s fishing traditions were celebrated as hundreds of people enjoyed a special event.

The historic Lowestoft-based sailing smack Excelsior was open to the public to look around as part of a special celebration.

Marking its 100th birthday in style, the sole remaining working example of a traditional Lowestoft sailing smack was showcased as part of the continuing Lowestoft Heritage Open Days.

With the Lowestoft Heritage Open Days Festival offering almost 120 free to explore events across town between September 10 and September 19, the town's fishing heritage was celebrated last Saturday.

The John Ward Trio at the Lowestoft Maritime Heritage Fair.

The John Ward Trio at the Lowestoft Maritime Heritage Fair. - Credit: Mick Howes

At the event at Heritage Quay on South Pier there was the chance to look around the historic vessel and even climb the rigging, while the celebration of maritime life also included lots of stalls to view as well as live music from the Lowestoft Longshoremen and John Ward Trio.

A spokesman for The Excelsior said: "It was hugely successful with a great many visitors and all those exhibiting were delighted.

John Wylson shaking hands with Mark Trevitt, who originally worked in partnership to rebuild Excelsior's structure.

The Excelsior took centre stage at the Lowestoft Maritime Heritage Fair. John Wylson shaking hands with Mark Trevitt, who originally worked in partnership to rebuild Excelsior's structure. - Credit: Mick Howes


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"Hundreds of people queued to take a look round Excelsior, so all in all it was a very worthwhile event!"

Featuring demonstrations and exhibitions of traditional drifter and trawler net making, full-size fisherman's ganseys were also on display.

John Mallett, Blacksmith, at the Lowestoft Maritime Heritage Fair.

John Mallett, Blacksmith, at the Lowestoft Maritime Heritage Fair. - Credit: Mick Howes

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There was also the chance to take part in have-a-go activities and to speak with staff and volunteers as the International Boatbuilding Training College, Waveney Valley Smokehouse, Artists from Another Angle Studio, and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission all formed part of the displays.

Rob Harbord and Lyn Tupper, from IBTC, wire eye splice making at the Lowestoft Maritime Heritage Fair.

Rob Harbord and Lyn Tupper, from the International Boatbuilding Training College, wire eye splice making at the Lowestoft Maritime Heritage Fair. - Credit: Mick Howes

One of the stallholders said: “It was a popular event and very well attended.

"Crafts on display included knitting fishermen’s jumpers and the International Boatbuilding Training College demonstrating boatbuilding skills including making wire eye splices.

Alice Taylor, net-making, at the Lowestoft Maritime Heritage Fair.

Alice Taylor, net-making, at the Lowestoft Maritime Heritage Fair. - Credit: Mick Howes

"A blacksmith and net maker also showed off their abilities while CEFAS experts answered questions on marine life.

John Mallett, Blacksmith, at the Lowestoft Maritime Heritage Fair.

John Mallett, Blacksmith, at the Lowestoft Maritime Heritage Fair. - Credit: Mick Howes

"A local smoke house displayed their range of smoked fish products and described the processes involved.”

Hailing the success of the continuing Lowestoft Heritage Open Days, the mayor of Lowestoft Alan Green said: "Lowestoft’s Heritage Open Day programme is testament to the heritage the town council are committed to.

"Thanks to so many involved in making Lowestoft one of the top Heritage Open Day locations."

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