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Town remembers lost village

PUBLISHED: 13:00 04 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:12 06 July 2010

FOR more than a hundred years it was home to thousands of fisherman, net and sail makers and at one point 13 pubs and its own brewery.

And on Sunday hundreds of people from Lowestoft gathered in Christ Church to reminisce and discover the secrets about the town's long vanished Beach Village.

FOR more than a hundred years it was home to thousands of fisherman, net and sail makers and at one point 13 pubs and its own brewery.

And on Sunday hundreds of people from Lowestoft gathered in Christ Church to reminisce and discover the secrets about the town's long vanished Beach Village.

The village sprung up in the first half of the 19th century as Lowestoft's fishing industry started to thrive because of Sir Morton Peto's development of the town's fish market.

At its height about 2,500 people lived in 500 houses in the cramped village, which began to be demolished in 1955 as part of a council slum clearance.

The history day and church service in Whapload Road marked the 57th anniversary of the 1953 floods which swamped Beach Village and contributed to its demolition.

As part of the Beach Village reunion service the Rev Matthew Payne interviewed Pam Read who was church organist at Christ Church for 60 years and used to sing hymns in Beach Village.

Miss Read, 79, remembered singing by the “Hallelujah lamppost” by the Rising Sun pub which was the last building to be demolished in the village in October 1968.

Recalling the floods of 1953 she spoke of how the waters poured into Christ Church. She said: “I can remember the church being flooded and going down on the Sunday and seeing hymn books floating around.”

Miss Read at first worked in a pharmacy in the town before she began work as a medical superintendent for Colne Shipping which supplied the trawlers used by Beach Village fishermen.

She vividly recalled standing on the deck of the St Claude after one of its young crew was killed by a loose fishing net and praying for his family.

Miss Read said: “It is good for people to remember Lowestoft's history and in particular its fishing roots and thank God for what we have got today.”

Beach Village, which had its own Eagle Brewery, was bombed in the second world war and the slum clearance demolition from the 1950s paved the way for industry to move to the area - especially Birds Eye.

As well as the reunion service, people were invited to see a large scale replica of the village in the Beach Village Heritage Centre on Rant Score and view photographs from the long gone site in the church hall.

On Wednesday, February 17 Terry Lynes from the heritage centre will be giving a multi-media talk - Life on the Beach - in Christ Church Hall in Herring Fishery Score from 7.30pm.

Christ Church is launching a Songs of Praise style event every first Monday of the month from 3pm starting from March 7.

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