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New guide paves way for museum's season

PUBLISHED: 18:22 13 April 2012

Maritime Lowestoft guide launch at Lowestoft Maritime Museum.
Left to right above are Waveney District Councillor Bruce Provan, museum chairman Peter Parker, Waveney MP Peter Aldous and Richard Barton-Wood.

Maritime Lowestoft guide launch at Lowestoft Maritime Museum. Left to right above are Waveney District Councillor Bruce Provan, museum chairman Peter Parker, Waveney MP Peter Aldous and Richard Barton-Wood.

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A NEW guide to Lowestoft's rich seafaring heritage has been unveiled.

Waveney MP Peter Aldous attended the official launch of the new 24-page guide which gives an insight into the town’s rich history through the exhibits and displays at the Lowestoft Maritime Museum.

Maritime Lowestoft tells of the growth of the town’s port, its lighthouses, fish market, shipbuilding industry and the “humble herring” which had such a huge impact on the lives of local people. It also explains how Sir Christopher Cockerell invented the hovercraft and looks at Lowestoft’s role in the war, among many other topics.

The museum was set up in 1958 by the Lowestoft and East Suffolk Maritime Society. Today, it is still maintained and staffed by its members on a voluntary basis and the premises are grant-aided by Waveney District Council.

In 1978, The Duke of Edinburgh opened a major extension and in May 2010, the Princess Royal opened newly-refurbished facilities and award-winning displays, part-funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

And now the museum in Sparrow’s Nest gardens is taking its “next step” by offering visitors the new colour guide, which has been designed and printed by PostPrint of East Harling, with text and photography by Richard Barton-Wood.

The museum’s chairman, Peter Parker, said: “The guide tells the story of Lowestoft’s maritime history, as seen through the exhibits, but it is also a useful information booklet to the maritime history of Lowestoft in general.”

The museum, which won the award for best small attraction at the Tourism in Suffolk Awards 2011, and was runner-up in the EDP Tourism Awards 2011, is run by the Lowestoft and East Suffolk Maritime Society and is dependent on volunteers to operate. It re-opened in 2010 after a major extension and refurbishment, partly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Explaining how the new guide came about, museum treasurer Carol Daines said: “We decided in the autumn, about October, it was time to give it a go – and this is the next stage for us following our refurbishment. We want more people to know we are here and get more people involved as volunteers.

“Lowestoft has a great history and the guide tells you the story as you go around the museum. We have put a lot of effort into it.”

Mr Aldous praised the guide and said it would be an asset to the town. He said: “I think it provides us with a very clear resume of Lowestoft’s history and also the future as well.

“I think an awful lot of people when they come and go on holiday actually want to know something about the area they are visiting and this sums up Lowestoft’s history and heritage admirably.”

Mr Barton-Wood added: “It is an entirely East Anglian production and I am very pleased with how it looks.”

The museum opened for Easter last Friday and is open until tomorrow. It reopens for the summer season on April 28, opening daily from 10am to 5pm with last admissions at 4pm.

The guide, which costs £2.50, is available from the museum or from Cooks Furniture Store in London Road North.

Next month, the museum is teaming up with the Mincarlo, Anchor Smokehouse, Suffolk Records Office and the Alfred Corry Lifeboat Museum in Southwold to hold three days of events over the bank holiday.

The Hook on Heritage events will start on May 5 from 10am to 4pm at Heritage Quay, Lowestoft, with locals encouraged to go aboard the historic Mincarlo sidewinder trawler, to discover more about the town’s fishing history at the Suffolk Records Office in Lowestoft Library and take a tour the Anchor Smokehouse.

On Sunday, May 6, between 10am and 4pm, a Roll Out The Lifeboat event is being held at the Alfred Corry Lifeboat Museum and on May 7, there will be Something Fishy in Sparrow’s Nest with people offered “three for one” entry and free activities at the maritime museum.

● To become a volunteer at the museum, ring 01502 561963, or for more information visit www.lowestoftmaritimemuseum.org.uk

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