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Town set for biggest ever Heritage Festival

PUBLISHED: 12:07 06 September 2019 | UPDATED: 12:07 06 September 2019

The Marina Theatre in Lowestoft will be part of the National Heritage Open Day, with backstage tours and free workshops taking place at the theatre on Saturday, September 14 between 11am and 4pm. Picture: www.vistaviews.co.uk

The Marina Theatre in Lowestoft will be part of the National Heritage Open Day, with backstage tours and free workshops taking place at the theatre on Saturday, September 14 between 11am and 4pm. Picture: www.vistaviews.co.uk

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Exhibitions, tours, bus rides, music and talks are all set to feature among an incredible array of activities.

Diana Moore and Paul King, who are organising the Heritage Open Day events in Lowestoft. Picture: East Suffolk Lines Community Rail PartnershipDiana Moore and Paul King, who are organising the Heritage Open Day events in Lowestoft. Picture: East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership

Next Friday, September 13 Lowestoft's hugely popular Heritage Open Days Festival will return - with more than 85 free events scheduled over the following 10 days.

This year the festival boasts a huge mix of the town's architectural, cultural, industrial, maritime and wartime life - with something on offer for all.

Lowestoft signal box, which will open to the public during the Heritage Open Days. Pictures: Network RailLowestoft signal box, which will open to the public during the Heritage Open Days. Pictures: Network Rail

Organisers are hoping to build upon the success of last year's festival, where Lowestoft hosted more events than any town in Suffolk with an estimated 10,000 people participating - placing Lowestoft's Festival within the top 20 of more than 800 towns taking part nationally.

On Saturday, September 14, there is a chance to take nostalgic trips back in time on board an historic Lowestoft Corporation bus, as along with other vintage vehicles from their collection, the East Anglia Transport Museum will be running a half-hourly free bus service around the town, connecting with the Railway Station, town centre, seafront, Pakefield, Oulton Broad and the Museum.

The new Parcels Office Public Exhibition Space at Lowestoft Railway Station will host the return of photographer David Pearce with his Departures exhibition during the Heritage Open Days. Picture: Lowestoft Central ProjectThe new Parcels Office Public Exhibition Space at Lowestoft Railway Station will host the return of photographer David Pearce with his Departures exhibition during the Heritage Open Days. Picture: Lowestoft Central Project

The town's maritime heritage will be celebrated at various locations including Heritage Quay with Mincarlo and Excelsior open for tours.

Visitors can also explore the Royal Norfolk & Suffolk Yacht Club at Royal Plain or the International Boatbuilding Training College on Lake Lothing. Lowestoft Museum, located within Nicholas Everitt Park in Oulton Broad, will be hosting a number of free activities.

The long-awaited publication of The Grit by Dean Parkin and Jack Rose, which has been recently revised, will be launched during the festival.

Mr Parkin will curate a special Grit Exhibition, present slideshows sharing extracts and rare photos, and sign copies of the book at Christ Church on September 21.

The Easterly Artists group will hold a pop-up exhibition at 161-165 London Road North on this year's national HODs theme - People Power.

The chairman of Lowestoft HODs, Paul King, said: "Once again this year's event has grown more than we could ever have imagined with both new and rare opportunities to explore Lowestoft's illustrious history.

"We are grateful to the numerous organisations and individuals that are making our 2019 event so special and look forward to welcoming both residents and visitors to the festival."

Exhibitions

Over two weekends, Network Rail and the Wherry Lines Community Rail Partnership are hosting tours of Lowestoft Signal Box, which has overseen rail movements in and out of the town for over 100 years.

Continuing the railway theme, the newly restored public exhibition space created in the former Parcels Office at Lowestoft Railway Station will host the festival box office throughout the event and has a full afternoon of free talks on September 14 including one by BBC Televisions "Flog it" presenter, Elizabeth Talbot.

From September 15 to September 22 the Parcels Office will host the Departures Exhibition featuring images of the local railway scene taken over the past five decades.

Historic photographs will also be on display throughout the festival at the Port House, which will open daily with the biggest Old Lowestoft picture exhibition ever staged by Bert Collyer.

Events aplenty

With the former Pakefield Lighthouse in the grounds of Pontins open too, in north Lowestoft the Town Hall will be open with stalls from local groups and tours of the building.

Many properties along the High Street will open their doors to the public including the former chemist shop and for the first time, 30 High Street, previously home of Admiral Sir Thomas Allin.

There are also events relating to the recently created Heritage Action Zone and The Ness project with a children's art workshop on September 21 and a series of talks on September 22 taking place at clothing company, Blackshore in Whapload Road.

Information on Lowestoft Scores will be exhibited at Flint House with pre-booked walking tours led by historian Ivan Bunn.

Backstage tours and free workshops are taking place at the Marina Theatre on Saturday, September 14 between 11am and 4pm.

Expect pop-up performances, stage tech sessions, theatre make-up demos, and much more.

You might want to make your own vintage poster at Edwin Mitchell Finch's lino printing table, take part in theatre skills sessions, dress up in our photo-booth, or take our quiz to be in with a chance to win tickets to see Snow White, the Marina's Pantomime this year.

Guided Heritage Tours will be held at 11am, 1pm and 3pm - U13's must be accompanied by an adult.

Tours are also available at the former Sailors and Fisherman's' Bethel, now home to the Lowestoft Players.

Top of the Tower tours will take place at Our Lady Star of Sea Church in Gordon Road and throughout the festival various historic buildings will be hosting free musical events and concerts.

Advanced booking is required for some events during the festival but those wishing to take part are advised to check online or call in at the Lowestoft Heritage Open Days box office which will be located throughout the Festival in the former Parcels Office at the town's Railway Station.

More than 7,000 printed guides to the festival have so far been distributed or visit www.heritageopendays.org.uk for more information.

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