The Fishermen’s Heritage Centre and Peter Coke Shell Gallery will remain closed until Easter. This year we will be opening for Easter between Saturday 1st and Monday 17th April. We will then close again during the quiet period following Easter until the main summer season starts on Saturday 29th April. During the closed season work has been progressing on several fronts.
The large wooden doors of the lifeboat shed have become increasingly difficult to open and close and rust has weakened the hinges. It has become necessary to fit new doors, in time for the new season. There has also been a problem with rain and snow being blown into the shed on strong northerly winds. This problem will partly be solved by fitting new doors, but further steps are also being investigated to keep the shed waterproof. The timbers of the lifeboat have adjusted to the salty environment and are in very good condition for their age, but any fresh (i.e. non-salty) water getting into the bottom of the boat could cause deterioration, so extra measures may be necessary to prevent this happening. CCF cadets from Greshams School under the leadership of Gareth Burnell have erected a temporary shelter over the front of the boat made from disused canvas tents. The work has now been completed but there has not been time for a thorough clean-up before the start of the season, so visitors may find the lifeboat shed a little more dusty than usual.
In the shell gallery a thorough clean has been carried out and some rearrangement of the exhibits made to enable pieces which have been in storage recently to replace other pieces which have been on display. A large stock of shells for sale has been purchased, so look out for new acquisitions.
Meanwhile the coffee morning talks have continued (see Events page). See Opening Times for full details of when the Heritage Centre and Shell Gallery will be open this year.
In early September the Society organised a very enjoyable trip on the Lucy Lavers lifeboat based at Wells-next-the-Sea. Another such trip could be arranged if members and friends are interested.
2016’s art exhibition organised by our hard-working Art Committee was again a great success. The total of paintings on display was 360, fifty more than the previous year, and of these 68 were sold, yielding a profit of around £600.
The photograph shows Town Mayor David Gooch who opened the exhibition talking to members on the preview evening.
The raffle prize was generously donated by local artist Les Casey and was won by a lady from Nottinghamshire.
The good cause to benefit was the Sheringham Play Park Appeal, as the equipment on the Cromer Road play area (near the Tesco store) needs updating.
A cheque for £600 was presented to the Appeal organisers by Chairman Peter Strudwick and Art Secretary Maureen Cooper.
On Saturday 14th May the Sheringham Society took part in the North Norfolk Stories Festival. Visitors to the Fishermen’s Heritage Centre were able to ask the Hon. Charlotte Upcher, paying a visit back to Sheringham from 1838, why she was motivated to commission Sheringham’s very first lifeboat, the Augusta. Her daughter-in-law, Caroline Upcher, told why she ordered its replacement in 1894.
Meanwhile in the Shell Gallery 19th century sailors revealed to visitors the secrets of sailors’ valentines and children were invited to help make a reproduction of one. Owing to the strong cold northerly wind which had set in there were fewer visitors than anticipated, but this gave those who did turn up a better opportunity to get involved.
The top photograph shows, from the left, Maureen Cooper, Peter Strudwick, Hilary Nelson, John and Maureen Gardiner in their period costumes. (A further sailor, William Rusdell, had already changed out of his costume when the photo was taken.) The second shows Maureen Cooper at the beginning of the session with, on the left, the empty frame for the sailor’s valentine which participating children had, by its end, made into a very accurate copy of the prototype on the right.