New project celebrating town’s historic fishing village is launched
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Hundreds of people fascinated by a town's former glories came together to learn about an exciting new project.
Led by poet and writer Dean Parkin, 'The Grit' is a community-driven scheme devised by Poetry People as a way to celebrate Lowestoft's historic fishing village.
The area, known by locals as either the Beach Village or The Grit, was once home to 2,500 people, 13 pubs, three schools, two churches, shops and cafés.
However, the Second World War, flooding in 1953 and the demise of the fishing industry led to The Grit's decline and, by the early 1970s, only a few houses remained as new industries moved in.
But now Poetry People, in partnership with Lowestoft Rising and Lowestoft Maritime Museum, are embarking on a venture that includes primary school workshops, teaching resources, a live touring show and a celebration day in Sparrow's Nest park.
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On Saturday, those interested in the village's rich history gathered at Christ Church Centre on Whapload Road to hear about what the project entails, exchange stories and view an intriguing exhibition.
'The turnout for the gathering has been amazing,' said Mr Parkin. 'You're hopeful that local people will be interested but, until the day itself, you really don't know.
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'Those who have spoken to me are so encouraging and passionate about what we're trying to do.
'Our motto is to 'put The Grit back into Lowestoft'; we want this to be more than nostalgia, but also a celebration.'
The project, armed with a £55,000 National Lottery grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, is also an opportunity for the reissue of a book celebrating the fishing village and the people who lived there.
Also titled The Grit, it was published in 1997 having been co-written by Mr Parkin and Jack Rose, a popular fisherman and historian.
'This is a great chance to refresh the book and coincide its publication with the project,' added Mr Parkin.
'We want to find as many new images and stories as we can. There's a Beach Village community which is still very much alive on Facebook and to see them interacting with each other has been incredible.'