The History of True's Yard

True's Yard is virtually all that remains of King's Lynn's old fishing community, the North End

Emptying the fishing net
Emptying the fishing net aboard the Merlin
Tom Boots Benefer Samphire Cart
Tom 'Boots' Benefer and his Samphire Cart

The Mangle

The mangle was used to remove excess water from clothes after washing; turning the handle was often a chore given to children.  Located in the yard it was shared between all the families who lived there. 

The Smokehouse

The last surviving smokehouse in the North End; herring were smoked here from the 1880s or earlier.  This particular smokehouse and adjacent shop on St Anne’s Street were owned by Mr Thomas Westwood, a former fisherman of North Street.  He married Mary Anne Benefer in 1869 in St Nicholas’ Chapel and raised three daughters and two sons.  The daughters almost certainly would have been employed in the shop and smokehouse.

The Samphire Cart

Donated by the Benefer family, it has been used by five generations to hawk samphire.  Samphire is an edible sea plant, known as the poor man’s asparagus.

The Activity

Built in 1904 by the Hornigold brothers (two fishermen) she is a typical Lynn half-decker shrimp and shell fishing smack.  The Activity was used to harvest shrimps in the summer months, whilst at other times of the year she could be used to gather cockles and mussels.  The Lynn fishermen are referred to as ‘inshore fishermen’; they do not go to deep sea.

The Activity has a shallow draught in order for it to navigate the largely shallow waters of the Wash at low tide.

The sea and ships contributed so much to the town in the past.  Today, the rich merchant’s houses in the riverside streets contrast with the tiny cottages of the fisherfolk at True’s Yard.

The Smithy

This building was once the North End blacksmith’s shop, in the days when nothing was thrown away but repaired whenever possible.  This is the main Museum space, displaying more artefacts kindly donated by North End families.

Don’t forget to visit our tea rooms and gift shop.  The shop was once the North End bakery and it had a particularly important function; as cooking facilities were limited in the cottages, anything that couldn’t be either boiled or fried would be taken to the baker who, for a penny, would cook it in his large oven.

Duggie Carter
Duggie Carter
dock company wartime fire brigade
Members of King's Lynn dock company wartime fire brigade, circa 1914

Admission Prices

Adults £3

Seniors (over 60) £2.50

Children (under 5′s go free) £1.50

Family (2 adults + 2 children) £6

Research Centre Free

Opening Hours

Tuesday - Saturday 10am-4pm Last admission 3:30pm

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