AGM 2022

The society’s AGM was held on 29th April. As indicated beforehand, both our long-serving Chairman and Treasurer (Peter Strudwick and Barbara Emery, respectively) resigned from their posts. Peter continues as Vice Chairman and we are currently without a Chairperson. Barbara continues as a Trustee and has been replaced as Treasurer by Barry Blacklock (treasurer@sheringhamsociety.com). Anne Strudwick is no longer Vice Chair but continues as a member of the committee of management.

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Open for the summer

The Fishermen’s Lifeboat Museum and Peter Coke Shell Gallery opened to visitors on Saturday 9th April in time for the Easter period and will remain open until the end of September. Normal opening times in previous years were 12 noon to 4 pm daily, but owing to the retirement of some of our previous volunteers following the Covid shutdowns, and unexpected illnesses at present, we are not able to attain this level of opening until more volunteers come forward. Please see our Opening times page for details.

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Urgent Appeal to North Norfolk Residents

As we look forward through 2022 after all the disruption caused by the pandemic, our society is in a perilous state. We have reached the point where, after conscientiously continuing in post for much longer than they originally intended, our Chairman, Vice Chairman and Treasurer are determined that they really must retire at our forthcoming AGM in April. For the society to continue functioning after that date we must have replacements prepared to take their places by then. Our current chairman and treasurer will still be on hand to provide guidance to their successors.

Our society has existed for more than 40 years and a quick tour of this website will show those unfamiliar with our achievements that we have made a very significant contribution to the life of Sheringham during this period. In particular the Fishermen’s Lifeboat Museum and Peter Coke Shell Gallery which we run welcome thousands of visitors each year, making a considerable addition to what the town can offer visitors as well as local residents. We also carry out the usual functions of a civic society concerning planning and architecture, publish information about the town’s history, run an annual art exhibition and organise other events for members and friends.

If you feel able to contribute to the running of the society by becoming a member of our management committee, please, please speak to our outgoing chairman, Peter Strudwick, on Sheringham 823657 without delay.

We also need to strengthen our team of stewards who welcome visitors to the lifeboat museum and the shell gallery. Here are some quotes from volunteer Karen Sims taken from the recent newsletter. “I love sharing my passion for shells with the adults and children who visit. It’s also fun playing shopkeeper! My two-hour shifts on a Saturday really brighten up my weeks and give me something pleasurable to really focus on. I absolutely love it!” Again, please speak to Peter as above, if you can help us.

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East Anglian Air Ambulance Donation

At November’s Coffee Morning talk 2021, the first to be held since Covid restrictions were introduced the previous year, a cheque for £600, the profits from the 2021 Art Exhibition, was presented to the speaker, Nick Siragher, from the East Anglian Air Ambulance by our chairman, Peter Strudwick.

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Half-term Opening

We were pleased to be able to welcome lots of visitors to the Fishermen’s Lifeboat Museum and the Peter Coke Shell Gallery during the half-term holiday at the end of October last year. The photograph shows a happy group of young visitors with the flag which flies above the lifeboat museum when it is open. (Permission was obtained from the accompanying adults for the publication of this photograph.)

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The Emery Family and the Boat

The Henry Ramey Upcher Lifeboat, the main exhibit in the Fishermen’s Lifeboat Museum (FLM), was constructed in 1894 by Lewis “Buffalo” Emery, part of probably the most prominent of the boatbuilding families in Sheringham in the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries. We are fortunate to have many members of this family still living in Sheringham with some of them heavily involved in the activities of the Sheringham Society. Our treasurer until the 2022 AGM was Barbara Emery; she also regularly acts as steward in the FLM. Mike Emery and his late wife (another Barbara) also acted as stewards. The photograph shows Mike (right) recreating a pose alongside the lifeboat adopted by Reginald Emery of a previous generation in a 1950s photograph. Accompanying him is Malcolm Emery, known professionally as Raz the Clown. We understand that a book on the boatbuilding family is due to be published and the photograph was required for this.

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Finding the SS Commodore

Sheringham photographer Chris Taylor, who also forms part of the lifeboat crew and is a member of the Sheringham Shantymen, had a long-standing ambition to find the remains of the SS (steamship) Commodore.

The SS Commodore, carrying a cargo of coal, was blown ashore just to the west of the town during a storm in November 1896. The Henry Ramey Upcher (HRU) lifeboat, preserved in the Fishermen’s Lifeboat Museum, described on this site, was launched to rescue the crew of 14 and three Sheringham fishermen who had been taken aboard to offer support. The HRU had been in service for just over two years. As the storm intensified the Commodore was wrecked and subsequently was blown up by Trinity House as it constituted a danger to shipping.

Chris knew roughly where the Commodore’s remains were but had never found them until he chanced upon them very recently. His discovery made the local and national news and he has even been interviewed on an American television station.

The winter of 1896/97 was an exceptionally stormy one. In the January following the wreck of the Commodore the slipway from the RNLI lifeboat station (now Oddfellows Hall) was washed away in a storm, rendering the lifeboat station no longer usable.

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