Heritage Open Day 2021

Yesterday was Heritage Open Day 2021, and this is my account of the day as I experienced it.

Heritage Open Day in King’s Lynn happens on the second Sunday in September (except last year when for reasons not needing elaboration it did not happen at all), which this year was yesterday. This post describes the day as I experienced it, and is rather longer than my usual posts.


There is a classic car show in the Tuesday Market Place in conjunction with Heritage Open Day, and viewed as the museum pieces that such contraptions should become some of the specimens are seriously impressive…


The first building I visited this time round was The Custom House, one of the two most iconic buildings in Lynn (The Townhall/ Guildhall is the other). They have an excellent little display upstairs, and it was well worth venturing indoors to see it…


A favourite of mine, standing on its own in the middle of an area of parkland, with the bandstand visible through the trees and the ruins of the Guanock Gate about 100 yards away. There are actually two chapels, the upper chapel and the lower chapel, and the thick walls and small windows that the outside of the building features are testament to the need to guard against religious persecution in earlier times…


This is near the top end of Millfleet, and most of the year if one spots it one can glimspe through the gate and see some of it. It was fully open for Heritage Open Day, and with lots of extra information made available…


I know this place well, but was interested to see what might be happening there in Heritage Open Day, and have no regrets about having ventured in.


I was assigned the 2PM to 4PM shift at Hampton Court Garden, also referred to as the Secret Garden, because most of the time very few people are aware of it’s existence – the only clue from the street any time other than Heritage Open Day is a very ordinary looking navy blue door set into the wall, an even the passage providing direct access from the courtyard is one that you would only know as such if you had been told (the extreme lowness of the door into the garden that way means that it cannot be used on Heritage Open Day for Health and Safety reasons). There are at least three places called Hampton Court, the famous one in Surrey, another in Herefordshire, and this one (Wolsey’s former pad in Surrey is the parvenu of the three). This Hampton Court is named in honour of John Hampton who was responsible for the newest side of the courtyard, which actually made it a courtyard (even this, two centuries younger than anything else there, dates from the 17th century). He was a baker who made good use of being based at the heart of a town that was the third busiest port in England at the time – he specialized in ship’s biscuits, for which he had a captive market.

The part of Hampton Court visible from the garden dates from 1440 and started life as an arcade fronted warehouse facing directly onto the river (it is the last surviving example of such a frontage in England). The earliest part of Hampton Court dates from 1350, and the first expansion happened in 1400.

The warehouse lost its raison d’etre through two factors: ships got bigger, and the river silted up. A new quayside was constructed resulting in the relocation of the river to its current location fractionally east of Hampton Court, and this left the warehouse quite literally high and dry.

It was nearly lost forever in the mid 20th century, because in the 1930s Hampton Court was basically derelict. At one time the council intended to knock it down and replace it with a modern block of flats but then a very determined lady by the name of Mrs Lane came on the scene. She bought the place up bit by bit and renovation work started. From this the King’s Lynn Preservation Trust came into being, and they own the freehold on Hampton Court to this day, with the individual flats, which are all different from one another, being leasehold properties.

My chief responsibility in my stewarding role was take note of numbers of people coming to visit. These numbers were reassuringly high – by the end of the day the tally was in the region of 500 visitors, and there were many expression of surprise and delight from those to whom it was a new place.


These remaining photographs were taken at various places in and around town during the day but do not belong in any specific section…

A Thriller To Start The Women’s Ashes

An account of the opening salvos in the Women’s Ashes and some photographs.


Unlike the original Ashes, which have been fought for since 1882, the Women’s Ashes is contested across multiple formats. The current scoring system awards two points for a win in a limited overs match, 1 for a no-result and 0 for a defeat, while the sole test match is worth four points. 

A Classic Match

The first of three ODIs that the women will be contesting took place at the Allan Border Field in Brisbane. Australia won the toss and put England in to bat. Several England players got starts but none managed to build a really substantial score, Lauren Winfield leading the way with 48. A total of 228 off 50 overs did not look like it was good enough, and in the end it wasn’t.

Eng;land bowled better than they had batted, and at 87-4 Australia were looking distinctly shaky. Alex Hartley failed to hold a return catch offered by veteran Alex Blackwell when the latter had 35 to her name, and Australia were behind the rate, Talia McGrath having occupied 26 balls for a score of 7. This missed chance and some aggression from Ash Gardner (27 off 18) made the difference, Australia getting home in the final over with Blackwell unbeaten on 67. 

A highlight of this match was the preponderance of quality spin bowling on show – in Gardner, Amanda-Jade Wellington and Jess Jonassen Australia had three high-class practitioners, while Hartley and the experienced Laura Marsh both bowled well for England.

More details and official reports here.


This applies across the board, and not just to cricket between England and Australia, but this seems a suitable place to mention this. I see the distinction between these categories as that between a restricted (“Women’s”) and an open category – if a woman is able to play alongside the men she should have the right to do so – the existence of Women only teams is an acknowledgement that few women could because the men are generally larger and stronger. Similarly if a disabled athlete happens to be performing comparably to their able-bodied counterparts they should be able to compete alongside them. 

In terms of cricket I would expect that a woman who earned selection for ‘The Ashes’ as opposed ‘The Women’s Ashes’ would not be a specialist fast-bowler, but I could see spinners, wicket-keepers or batters earning selection.


Here are some recent photographs…

FWContrasting ducksFarming implementMaids HeadMoorhens, Bawsey DrainMoorhen, Bawsey DrainGulls, Bawsey DrainMoorhen, The WalksSouth GateSouth Gate 2Swan, the NarSwans, The NarSwans, The Nar IIFlying birdsFlying birds IIShip and craneHH an RSCustom House

New flats
A new building among the old.

Thoresby CollegeMinsterTHTH2

Midweek Mixture

Some stuff I have seen recently on the internet, a little teaser of a problem and some photographs from today’s ‘ecotherapy’ session.


I spent most of this morning indulging in ‘ecotherapy’ (i.e. getting out and about in the open air – my thanks to The Gentleman for the term), which also provide me with photographs which will end this post. In between times I will share various pieces that have caught my eye recently. 


I start this section with a petition that has been set up on thepetitionsite calling for Michael Gove to be replaced as Defra minister (see graphic below, which also functions as a link):

GOVE is bad for the environment. Demand new Defra Minister!

It is pretty much impossible for any replacement to be worse than the Downright Dishonourable Mr Gove, although while this dreadful government remains in office the right person for the job will not be selected. In the hope that Jeremy Corbyn, or someone who can influence him might see this I say, as I did when naming my fantasy cabinet a while back that the right person for this role is Caroline Lucas.


It makes perfect sense for Australia to be looking at solar power in a big way, just as here in Norfolk we should take advantage of our biggest renewable resource by building many more wind turbines. I am therefore delighted to share this story from the treehugger website titled “Australia will be home to world’s largest single-tower solar thermal power plant“, the feature graphic from which I produce below:

australia solar thermal tower


This is the title of a piece in The Economist. After 120 years of dominating the scene the internal combustion engine’s days are numbered, and the end for this pollution generating monstrosity cannot come soon enough. I include their feature graphic below.


This one comes from thewildlifeplanet.com and the species that may be being brought back from extinction is the Caspian tiger. The plan involves using DNA from the Siberian tiger, a rare but surviving species that is closely related to the Caspian tiger. A potential living area for the revived species has been identified in Kazakhstan. The map below shows the areas reckoned to have been inhabited by the common ancestor of these tiger species when it was around 10,000 years ago.


I end this section of the post with a nod to Anna and the brief post she put up yesterdya about her continuing fight to protect nature under the title “I went to my church“, one picture from which I reproduce below.


I am going to present these links as a bulleted list, amplifying some of them a little:

  • Our government has recently reneged on promised rail electrification programs in Wales and in northern England (yes, largely due to privatisation and consequent neglect our railways are so backward that not all of them have yet been electrified, some services still being run by diesel locomotives). Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK has put up a short post outlining how these electrifications could be funded.
  • The title of my next piece, from Buzzfeed, should be sufficient: “People Who Use Wheelchairs Are Being Forced To Crawl On To Trains And It’s 2017
  • The last piece in this section come from the skwawkbox. The first features a video from Double Down News which referring back to an incident from last year is utterly devastating for Virgin Trains, as it shows conclusively that Jeremy Corbyn was telling the truth when he described that train as ‘ram-packed’ and Virgin’s subseqnet denials, including one from the boss, Richard Branson, were lies. The most devastating footage comes about halfway through the video, which is embedded below, and shows the reserved seats filling (as one might expect) moments after Corbyn had walked past them. The skwawkbox piece is titled “DOUBLE DOWN VIDEO SCOOP PROVES WHAT WE TOLD YOU LAST YEAR: #TRAINGATE WAS FULL“.


Britain’s First Past the Post (FPTP) system of electing representatives has had its day. Those who support this system claim that it delivers stable majority governments, but it has failed to do this three times running (no majority in 2010, wafer-thin majority for Cameron in 2015, May running a minority government with the support of the vile DUP in 2017. I have three recent pieces dealing with this topic for your attention. 

  1. Setting the scene for the other two a post on theconversation.com titled “Wasted votes, hyper-marginals and disillusion: reform group issues damning report on election 2017
  2. The Electoral Reform Society’s introduction to their full report titled “June’s election was the third strike for Westminster’s voting system. It’s out” and…
  3. The full report itself, titled “The 2017 General Election: Volatile Voting, Random Results“.  

As well as the voting system needing reform, the results in Northern Ireland showed that it is time for the Labour Party to abandon its pact with the SDLP and field candidates of its own – the recent Stormont election successes of Gerry Carroll and Eamonn McCann have demonstrated that non-sectarian socialists standing as such can win in Northern Ireland.


I generally finish my posts by putting up some of my own photographs. Before getting to those I have a teaser for you:

coin tosses restricted

The above table shows two putative sets of coin toss records, each for one coin tossed thirty times. Which is more like to be genuine based on what you can see?

a) series one
b) series two

If you want to have a public stab at answering this feel free to use the comments, although I will say neither yea nor nay until I put my next post up, which will include an answer to this little teaser. 

Now for those photographs…

featureimageTortoiseshell3flying butterfly

Mother and child
The junior duck in this picture is just developing her adult feathers, but continues to be chaperoned by her mother.

Moorhen2Moorhen1White butterfly3white butterfly2PollinatorTortoiseshell2Tortoiseshell1white butterflyCH2CHMini waterfall




Celebrating the arrival of Spring…


By way of an introduction to this post, which is celebrating some welcome good weather here is a video recording of Spring from Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons”. 

If you enjoy classical music you might like to visit young singer and Royal College of Music student Charlotte Hoather’s website by clicking here.


Since the epic storms I wrote about a while back, the weather has been gradually improving. Within the last few weeks I have been able to leave the flat without a coat, and then yesterday I switched the heating off. Today, for the first time in 2017, I am making use of my outside space:


Also today, although they have been in evidence for a few days now, I managed to photograph some butterflies, again for the first time of the year.

This was the first one I captured.


The fourth and best of the four butterfly pictures I was able to get today.

Where did I locate these little beauties? All within walking distance of my little town centre flat – two near Hardings Pits and two near Bawsey Drain, gained during…


It being bright, sunny and reasonably warm I set off on a walk just after 10, and was out for over two hours in total. Here are some of the non-butterfly related pictures I took while out and about.

The first seven pictures in this set are not actually from the very beginning of the walk – it has been a long while since I saw this many cormorants on what I call “Cormorant Platform”


This buoy is not in its regular position – there is only one seal living in the Great Ouse, and no sand to be found. Norfolk does have one big seal colony, at Blakeney Point, which although part of the mainland is accessible only by boat – there is no road link as it is quite rightly a fiercely protected area.



Birds, Buildings and Quilts

Some historic buildings, a quilt and some birds plus a notice from the Environment Agency.

The title is a reference to what I have been photographing over the weekend. To start with some of the buildings:

1)Greyfriars Tower, all that remains above ground of the Franciscan priory…

This is a montage created for putting up on twitter, the rest of the gallery follows...
This is a montage created for putting up on twitter, the rest of the gallery follows…

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2) King’s Lynn Public Library…

Once again, we start with a montage...
Once again, we start with a montage…

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3)Custom House…

This is the last multiple image
This is the last multiple image

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4)The Red Mount Chapel, Guanock Gate and various interesting bits of buildings…


West Lynn Church
West Lynn Church

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I chose to include this with the buildings, although it also features birds!
I chose to include this with the buildings, although it also features birds!


The quilt reference is to a very elaborate quilt that my aunt made and will be submitting to a competition, for which she required photographs of it. I have provided two versions of each picture, one with very little editing, and one with much more editing….

The first five images of this quilt are the fully edited ones.
The first five images of this quilt are the fully edited ones.

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These next five images have been cropped but not fully edited.
These next five images have been cropped but not fully edited.

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Now we have some bird images…

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To finish, a notice from the Environment Agency…


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A King’s Lynn Walk

An account of a walk in an around King’s Lynn.

This walk started and finished at my compact town centre flat, and with frequent photography stops occupied two and a quarter hours.

I was on my way down the stairs that take me to street level when I took my first pic of the day, the top of the Clifton House Tower…


From there I crossed the Baker Lane Car Park, took the bridge over the upper Purfleet and headed for the lower Purfleet and the Custom House…


Just in shot above you can see part of the statue of Captain Vancouver…


Where the lower Purfleet joins the Great Ouse is a glass sculpture…


The next point of interest is the new jetty on the Great Ouse, not in use at the moment in deep midwinter…


Hot on the heels of this comes Marriott’s Warehouse, which required two shots to do it justice…

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Next up was the carcass of the old Somerfeld and Thomas building…


After crossing the lower Millfleet on the bridge that has a high water mark from December 2013 the next site was the remains of Boal Quay…


A few minutes later came the meeting of the Nar and Ouse, and the structure I have dubbed ‘Cormorant Platform’. Sadly none of the birds in question were there today, but still the picture is a fine one…


My next port of call was Hardings Pits…

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Crossing the Nar as I headed towards the next stage of the walk I got this picture…


Next, as I headed towards the parkland areas came one of King’s Lynn’s most distinctive landmarks, the South Gate…


From here I walked along London Road as far as the light controlled crossing, crossed and headed through Terrace Court and an alleyway to the Seven Sisters entrance to the parkland area…


As I headed towards Guanock Gate and the Vancouver Garden I got a sight of The Walks, home to King’s Lynn Town FC (only two more promotions needed to gain league status)…


The Guanock Gate came next, closely followed by a shot of the Red Mount Chapel looking along the upper Millfleet…

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Next came the Vancouver Garden, which I entered via one bridge and left via the other (these are the only two means of getting in or out unless you fancy a dip in open water – definitely not recommended in an English January! This area is always worth a good few photographs, and so it proved once again…

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A few minutes after this I arrived at Tennyson Road, and two more interesting things, the educational fence, a sample fo which I photographed and the King’s Lynn signal box…

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From there until Lynn Sport, a few minutes later, there is nothing of great significance, though for the first part of that distance the path runs between two academies for those interested in such things. Lynn Sport has some interesting stuff outside it, notable the brickwork bus and the ornate mile post. It also boasts an elaborate weathercock…

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Shortly after this comes the first glimpse of Bawsey Drain, which I was going to follow all the way back to town, but I started with a shot looking the other way…


The walk along Bawsey Drain did yield a few interesting (for me at least) shots, reproduced below, the large number of flying birds as approached the town end of it being particularly impressive…

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Getting a good shot of St Nicholas Chapel is a challenge because you need to be far enough away to get it all in. Also, it is undergoing repairs/ renovations at the moment. I was pleased with this one…


From St Nic’s it was on to the Tuesday Market Place, where as well as getting a full shot of the Corn Market I also noticed a glass sculpture on the same lines as the one where the lower Purfleet meets the Great Ouse…

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Finally, I delayed my return home just sufficiently to get some shots of the Guildhall (8 in total) and King’s Lynn Minster…

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I enjoyed doing this walk, and enhancing my photo collection.

Places to Visit in King’s Lynn

A personal (and therefore idiosyncratic) view of places to visit in King’s Lynn

I am inspired to write this because some pictures I posted on twitter helped to convince one of my followers (@MrStuchbery) that King’s Lynn would be worth a visit. Thus post will comprise a personal list of the places I think should not be missed on a visit to King’s Lynn:

  1. King’s Lynn Minster, nee St Margaret’s Church. This vast Norman edifice dominates the recently revamped Saturday Market Place, which is at one end of the High Street.
  2. The Custom House & Lower Purfleet. I am treating these two together because the Custom House backs on to the Lower Purfleet. The Custom House is King’s Lynn’s most iconic building and calls for little comment from me. As well as being generally scenic, the Lower Purfleet is home to two favourites of mine, the statue of Captain George Vancouver after whom the Canadian City is named and the compass shaped display of King’s Lynn navigators, including Friar Nicholas who may have reached the Americas over a hundred years before Christopher Columbus.
  3. The Tuesday Market Place. Revamped fairly recently and now possessing much more open space, this is surrounded on all sides by historic buildings, the Corn Exchange first among equals.
  4. St Nicholas’ Chapel. This building, currently under repair is remarkable both inside and out.
  5. Bawsey Drain. In spite of the uninspiring name and the fact that it is too often used as a dumping ground, a walk along the banks of this waterway, one of the four that keeps King’s Lynn from being submerged, can be very rewarding.
  6. Lynn Sport. This is a modern building, but outside it there are some interesting things, including a brick bus and a very ornate mile post. Also it represents the start of a parkland section of walking if you have gone out along Bawsey Drain.
  7. The Walks, The Red Mount Chapel, The Vancouver Garden, Guanock Gate and Seven Sisters. This parkland area is home to a wide variety of bird and animal life, the Red Mount Chapel and Guanock Gate are highly scenic, while leaving via Seven Sisters keeps on track for my next site. For more on the Red Mount Chapel, see the post dedicated to it in my series on Heritage Open Day: https://aspiblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/15/heritage-open-day-9-the-red-mount-chapel/
  8. The South Gate. Rather than write further about this here, I simply direct you to the appropriate blog post: https://aspiblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/15/heritage-open-day-8-the-south-gate-a-medieval-tardis/
  9. Harding’s Pits. This is lovely to walk through and it gets to you to the banks of the Great Ouse for you route back to the town, which is a useful bonus. There are various wooden sculptures that may take your fancy, and there will be trees laden with fruit at all times of the year.
  10. “Cormorant Platform”. Situated where the Nar joins the Ouse, I have named this structure in honour of its most frequent users, and if you are keen on bird life it provides many opportunities for superb pictures, with West Lynn Church on the opposite bank being ideally situated for providing a backdrop. Pictures from here feature regularly in my blog posts, e.g: https://aspiblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/30/kings-lynn-in-two-moods/
  11. Old Boal Quay/ The Dike. This immediately follows or precedes “Cormorant Platform” depending on your direction of travel, and is always enjoyable.
  12. The Millfleet and South Quay. This takes us back to the Lower Purfleet, and completes a long but manageable circuit. Between the carcass of Somerfeld and Thomas, Marriott’s Warehouse, the new jetty, and of course the Millfleet itself, the bridge over which is now adorned by a high water mark from the December 2013 storm surge this is a very interesting little area.
  13. King’s Lynn Public Library. This extraordinary building sits at the top end of Millfleet, looking across the start of the Broadwalk (another way in to the parkland areas). Adjacent to the library are the main King’s Lynn war memorial and Greyfriars Tower, the remnants of the Franciscan Friary.
  14. Separated from these by the width of Millfleet is the tiny Jewish Cemetery, worth a brief diversion because it is so unusual.
  15. Coming back to where we started, facing King’s Lynn Minster across the Saturday Market Place is the Guildhall, with its unique chessboard frontage. This is a building that everyone should see.
  16. Last of all, at the bus station you will find the Lynn Museum, prize exhibit “Sea Henge”.

I have some photos from today, which bear some relation to what I have been writing about…

A minor landmark that did not get mentioned in the test
A minor landmark that did not get mentioned in the test

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Yesterday started with another walk around King’s Lynn, with attendant photo opportunities. A Sunday lunch in East Rudham followed, and then a stroll home from my aunt’s by way of the riverside. My personal twitter account is booming at present – long my it continue. Enjoy some photos (even with the old camera they are not so bad!)…


The autumn flowers are in bloom in St James Park, King's Lynn
The autumn flowers are in bloom in St James Park, King’s Lynn

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It was not just humans who took walks yesterday!
It was not just humans who took walks yesterday!

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Can you spot the squirrel?(it IS in there).
Can you spot the squirrel?(it IS in there).

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These quinces, grown on my mother's tree in Greece, weigh 5 Kilograms between them.
These quinces, grown on my mother’s tree in Greece, weigh 5 Kilograms between them.

Picture display on the side of Custom House, King's Lynn
Picture display on the side of Custom House, King’s Lynn