The Silver Jubilee Appeal

True’s Yard Fisherfolk Museum, King’s Lynn: Silver Jubilee 1991-2016

True’s Yard is a heritage site and town museum which celebrates its Silver Jubilee in 2016. It tells the fascinating story of Lynn’s fishing community, of the men, women and families of the Old North End. To ensure it continues to serve the public for another 25 years the trustees have launched a Silver Jubilee Appeal for £120,000 to invest in the future.

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The purpose of the Silver Jubilee Appeal is to consolidate what has been achieved over the last 25 years and make even more of the Museum’s assets so that future generations can take advantage of the opportunities it offers. Following a recent survey, essential roofing repairs and replacement of windows have been highlighted. The 1904 fishing smack “Activity” dry docked in our Yard also requires major conservation work. IT equipment used by various adult classes is very old and must be replaced too. The Museum receives a modest annual grant from the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, for which the trustees are grateful, but funds are urgently needed to meet the cost of formative capital and community projects.

Trust Chairman Paul Richards says

“To preserve this unique heritage complex called True’s Yard is the first duty of the trustees but our mission is equally educational and we want to reach an even wider audience in this part of England.”

Of particular importance has been the work with primary schools which regularly visit the Museum. The amazingly dedicated founder of True’s Yard, Pat Midgley MBE, gave priority to education and local schools from the first, to introduce the young to the achievements and values of past generations. To foster knowledge and appreciation of English national and local History is also high on the agenda. At True’s Yard the visitor finds a remarkable Timeline covering 900 years telling of people and events in the North End fishing quarter, King’s Lynn and England. As part of the Silver Jubilee celebrations the Museum plans to transform this Timeline into a book for primary school children in the Borough of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk if funding permits.

The Museum was officially opened by HRH, The Prince of Wales, in March 1993 and has twice been extended (1998 and 2009) via grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The latter extension was opened by HM The Queen, accompanied by HRH Prince Phillip, in February 2010.

Since 1991 almost 250,000 people have explored True’s Yard and been delighted and enlightened and delighted by the experience as our visitor books reveal! The Museum is open throughout the year from Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 4pm. It does close over Christmas but re-opens in January.

At the Museum’s heart are the last two surviving fisherfolk cottages in the North End, built around 1800. Our second extension involved the restoration of the only remaining Victorian smokehouse in Lynn. Both cottages and the smokehouse were listed Grade 2 by English Heritage in 2009 to emphasise that True’s Yard is of special historic interest from a regional and even national perspective. Its name springs from the purchase of the premises for £295 by William True in 1818.

True’s Yard is a Charitable Trust overseen by 10 trustees with three members of staff. It is however much dependent on its loyal band of 40 enthusiastic volunteers. They can be found meeting and greeting the public, serving refreshments, looking after the shop, on duty in the research rooms and acting as tour guides of the North End. Such a gallant band help to give the Museum its strong community character. The Friends are a voluntary group which assists the trustees to maintain True’s Yard.

Museum Manager Lindsey Bavin says;

“our volunteers are the backbone of True’s Yard and we are incredibly fortunate to have so many.  The Museum changes the lives of everyone who comes here. Sometimes bringing isolated individuals into the community, and several have even been able to find paid work as a result of their volunteering here.”

In February 2016 True’s Yard is staging a photographic exhibition of Royal visits to Lynn including the Museum which will run until the end of April. On 31st March at St Nicholas Chapel there is a dramatized talk by Ruaraidh Adams-Cairns on the Battle of the Somme (1916-2016) and tickets are available at True’s Yard. Please contact us for the 2016 events programme of special evenings, concerts and garden parties as well as tickets.

A successful Silver Jubilee Appeal will mean that True’s Yard can continue to develop and benefit King’s Lynn and West Norfolk as an exceptional community venue, education and research centre as well as a heritage attraction. Public support will allow us to look forward to a bright future and make a difference to our town over the next 25 years. 

Cllr Elizabeth Nockolds comments:

“It is often said that True’s Yard is one of the jewels of King’s Lynn heritage and Cabinet Member for Culture. It plays an important part in attracting visitors to the town which gives them insight into the austere lives which the people had to endure in the fishing community of the northern part of King’s Lynn. The Borough Council are proud to be involved with the growth and success of its continuing popularity.”

The Museum welcomes individual donations to the Appeal Fund however modest and a Silver Jubilee Register of all donors is being printed. Please make out cheques to: The North End Trust.

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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