The Society was founded in 1979 as a result of a relatively small boundary dispute. This acted as a catalyst which brought together a group of likeminded people who were conscious that there were many things waiting to be done which would not be done without co-operation and determination. The initial energy and enthusiasm has kept the Society active as it now looks to recruiting a younger generation to continue the same work and find new avenues to explore as it responds to changing requirements.
The Society’s principal achievements are summarised below:
Contributing approximately £80,000 from the Society’s own resources to a wide variety of local projects which have improved and conserved the local environment and made life more pleasant for residents and visitors
Securing a further £100,000 in grants from external sources for local projects
Opening the Henry Ramey Upcher lifeboat shed to visitors on behalf of the town since 1983 and successfully renovating the Fishing Sheds, open from 2006, to provide further exhibition space; the Society now takes full responsibility on behalf of Sheringham Town Council for the Fishermen’s Heritage Centre, incorporating the HRU lifeboat in its shed, the Peter Coke Shell Gallery, containing shell artworks generously donated to the Society by Peter Coke, a small craft shop which the Society rents out and the garden adjacent.
Mounting an annual art exhibition since 1979, providing a showcase for local artists and an attraction for residents and visitors
Initiating environmental conservation projects (clearing of undergrowth and litter, planting of trees, shrubs and bulbs) which have improved the appearance of the area (and led to the formation of Sheringham in Bloom); within this category are included the massive task of clearing Upper Sheringham Churchyard after years of neglect, participation by members in the formation of the Beeston Common Management Group and initiating periodic cleaning of the beach and beck
Agitating for a town museum which led to the formation of Sheringham Museum Trust, to which the Society has contributed generously
Being on the alert for problems and deficiencies in and about the town (e.g. missing street signs, lights which don’t work, where benches are needed, curbing vandalism) by alerting the authorities and also taking direct action
Scrutinising planning applications, acting directly and through persuasion to conserve historic buildings, protesting against overdevelopment and contributing to planning policy
Setting up a heritage walk with blue plaques on significant historic buildings and encouraging research into the history of Sheringham and Beeston Regis