Annual Report

Because we were unable to hold an AGM in 2020, two annual reports are shown here, for 2019 and 2020.

SHERINGHAM AND DISTRICT SOCIETY: REPORT OF THE TRUSTEES

The Trustees present their annual report of the Society for the year ended 31 December 2019.

Status

The Sheringham and District Society is a registered charity (No. 280951) formed in August 1979. It is governed by a constitution revised in May 2011 to reflect the Society’s name change from the previous Sheringham and District Preservation Society. A further change in April 2017 fixed the quorum at an AGM.

Principal activities

The main objectives of the Society, as defined by the constitution, are to preserve and improve features of historic interest, to promote high standards of planning and architecture and to stimulate interest in the area of benefit, which is the town of Sheringham and the parishes of Upper Sheringham and Beeston Regis. These aims are promoted by the Executive Committee, which normally meets monthly. All planning applications in the area are reviewed and comments referred to the Town or District Council where necessary.

The Society is responsible for the upkeep and operation of the Fishermen’s Heritage Centre (home of the historic Henry Ramey Upcher Lifeboat) and the Peter Coke Shell Gallery. Both were opened for public viewing at Easter 2006 and remain open for as many hours as possible during the summer months each year, and during the Easter and Autumn school holidays.

Monthly coffee mornings are held with speakers on topics of local and area interest. An art exhibition has been organised annually from the earliest years of the Society’s existence. As well as providing an opportunity for local artists to show and sell their work, the exhibition is now a well-anticipated annual fixture for residents and visitors. A newsletter is distributed to members three times a year, a website is maintained and social events are organised.

Review of developments, activities and achievements during the year

The Buildings

The Society continues to put a large proportion of its energies into the operation of the Fishermen’s Heritage Centre and the Peter Coke Shell Gallery. The Society has renewed the lease with the Town Council who own the buildings.

Exterior cracks in the rendering on the buildings were repaired and inside damp repair work was completed.

The Fishermen’s Heritage Centre saw a total of 7,642 visitors in 2019. That is 17% down on 2018 and 44% down on the most recent peak in 2016. The rota of volunteers meant that the centre was open every day except that on Mondays, one Wednesday a month, every other Thursday, and every Friday it could only open for one session. Saturdays were variable due to the volunteers’ other commitments. The continued opening very much depends on new volunteers coming forward.

The 2019 season in the Peter Coke Shell Gallery was a huge success with a total of 11,757 visitors and healthy sales to match. Three new volunteers joined the team, which now uses a WhatsApp group to keep in contact. Many thanks go to all of the volunteers who make the exhibition a success. Contact was made with the Volunteer Hub in Cromer to list both the Fishermen’s Heritage Centre and the Shell Gallery. The Gallery has joined in with the movement to reduce the amount of plastic used.

The small craft shop next to the gallery continued to be rented out for the sale of locally made craft goods and other items of interest.

Membership activities

Three issues of the newsletter were distributed to members during the year and the Society’s website continues to provide a useful source of information for members and non-members. Two Volunteer events were held during the year, at the start and end of the season. The annual Christmas lunch was held at the Tyneside Club, greatly enjoyed by the 30 members and guests attending. The regular monthly coffee mornings were very popular with an increased number of members and visitors attending, close to the maximum capacity of the hall. Many interesting speakers gave talks covering a wide range of topics of local interest. No trips were organised this year.

The annual Art Exhibition was held, this year in a smaller hall due to renovation work being carried out in the main Masonic hall. Even so, the event was a great success with 253 paintings by 53 artists displayed. By the time expenses were paid there was a profit that enabled a cheque for £700 to be presented to the representative of Macmillan Cancer Support, which was received with many thanks.

The Society was a point of contact for several enquiries about historical family connections in Sheringham.

Planning and Development

The Society continued to monitor all planning applications and is usually represented at Town Council planning meetings. We do make comments at meetings when we think it is necessary and write to the Town Council if required on specific applications. The major projects, namely the extension to the Burlington Hotel, the new Splash leisure centre and flats on the old police station site are continuing. There is still no movement on the old Shannocks hotel. The Society was successful in ensuring that the brick-built bus shelter by the old Sheringham station was renovated rather than demolished. The work was supported by a 50% contribution from the Society to the costs and the artwork restoration. The Society has also made a donation to the Sheringham Playpark Revamp volunteer group towards equipment suitable for less able children. This play-park was seen as a useful asset to the town, and an opportunity to help younger generations.

Partnerships

The Society is a member of Maritime Heritage East (MHE) and supplies material for the MHE website which promotes visitor attractions along the East Anglian coast. The Society is also a member of Museums Norfolk, the Association of Independent Museums (AIM) and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).

The Society continues to develop a good relationship with the Sheringham Museum at the Mo and had an exchange of ideas about museums at a meeting with their representatives during the year. The Society also actively supports the Sheringham Carnival.

Membership

At the end of 2019 there were 11 life members (90 years and over in age) and 175 ordinary members, of whom 101 had already contributed their subscriptions for 2020. The Society continues to rely on subscriptions, on donations and, importantly, on the unpaid services of volunteers.

Looking forward

At the time that this report was being prepared the Covid-19 pandemic was evolving and changing the way of life for everyone. The Executive Committee is keeping the situation under review but expects that the Society’s activities will be severely curtailed in 2020, probably for the whole year.

The Committee of Trustees believes the Society continues to make good progress and its affairs to be satisfactory. Like many other organisations though, the Society does need more volunteers both for the Fishermen’s Heritage Centre and Shell Gallery, as well as on the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee consists of a number of members who have been in post for many years and an influx of younger members is urgently required.

Peter Strudwick
Chairman, on behalf of the Trustees April 2020

SHERINGHAM AND DISTRICT SOCIETY: REPORT OF THE TRUSTEES

The Trustees present their annual report of the Society for the year ended 31 December 2020.

Status

The Sheringham and District Society is a registered charity (No. 280951) formed in August 1979. It is governed by a constitution revised in May 2011 to reflect the Society’s name change from the previous Sheringham and District Preservation Society. A further change in April 2017 fixed the quorum at an AGM.

Principal activities

The main objectives of the Society, as defined by the constitution, are to preserve and improve features of historic interest, to promote high standards of planning and architecture and to stimulate interest in the area of benefit, which is the town of Sheringham and the parishes of Upper Sheringham and Beeston Regis. These aims are promoted by the Executive Committee, which normally meets monthly. All planning applications in the area are reviewed and comments referred to the Town or District Council where necessary.

The Society is responsible for the upkeep and operation of the Fishermen’s Lifeboat Museum (home of the historic Henry Ramey Upcher Lifeboat and formerly known as the Fishermen’s Heritage Centre) and the Peter Coke Shell Gallery.

Social activities are normally held throughout the year: monthly coffee mornings with speakers on topics of local and area interest; an annual Art Exhibition; and other social events are organised for members.

A newsletter is distributed to members several times a year, and a website is maintained.

Needless to say, all events were cancelled after the first Covid-19 pandemic lockdown in March 2020 and the venues have been closed. With concern for the well-being of the public, our members and especially our volunteers, the Executive Committee considered the available advice and took the decision that there would be no resumption of any activities until it was totally safe to do so.

Review of developments, activities and achievements during 2020

Finances

As reported by the Treasurer, the Society has benefitted from several grants during 2020, principally those awarded to provide support to museums during lockdown. In addition, the Executive Committee was pleased to be contacted by the Tedworth Charitable Trust and to receive a grant from them with the condition that it be used towards core maintenance costs of the buildings.

Fishermen’s Lifeboat Museum

In November 2020, the Executive Committee took the decision to rename the Fishermen’s Heritage Centre as the Fishermen’s Lifeboat Museum. The “Fishermen’s Heritage Centre” was a well established title since 2006, however, the Heritage Centre as originally envisaged had not materialised after the installation of Peter Coke’s shell work. It was felt that the word “Heritage” raised expectations on the part of the public. Therefore the title “Fishermen’s Heritage Centre” will be phased out when and where possible and the original designation of the venue as a lifeboat museum re-established.

The Buildings

The Society has renewed the lease for the Fishermen’s Lifeboat Museum (former Fishermen’s Heritage Centre) and the Peter Coke Shell Gallery with the Town Council, who own the buildings.

During the time that the venues have been closed, considerable maintenance work has been carried out to repair damage to the building roofs, to renovate the internal walls of the boat shed, and to improve the lighting there. A full redecoration of the middle room has been carried out and works started to refurbish the exhibits. New display cabinets have been installed in the Peter Coke Shell Gallery.

Membership activities

After the initial coffee mornings in January and February 2020, all further activities had to be cancelled. There was no Art Exhibition and no opportunities for social events.

Contacts with members have been maintained by increasing the number of issues of the Newsletter to keep members updated with the development work throughout the year.

Planning and Development

The Society continued to monitor all planning applications and is usually represented at Town Council planning meetings taking place by video-conference. We do make comments at meetings when we think it is necessary and write to the Town Council if required on specific applications. The major projects, namely the extension to the Burlington Hotel, the new Splash leisure centre and flats on the old police station site are continuing. There was no movement on the old Shannocks hotel.

Partnerships

The Society is a member of Maritime Heritage East (MHE) and supplies material for the MHE website which promotes visitor attractions along the East Anglian coast. The Society is also a member of Museums Norfolk, the Association of Independent Museums (AIM) and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE). The Society has taken part in several surveys promoting the resumption of tourism in the East of England.

Membership

At the end of 2020 there were 9 life members (90 years and over in age) and about 140 ordinary members. The Executive Committee had decided that, as all activities were cancelled, no membership subscriptions would be payable for 2020.

Looking forward

At the time that this report was being prepared the evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic was still uncertain, though with hope for a better future soon. The Executive Committee is keeping the situation under review and hopes that the Society’s activities can be resumed in the summer of 2021.

The Trustees believe the Society continues to make good progress and its affairs to be satisfactory. Like many other organisations though, the Society does need more volunteers both for the Fishermen’s Lifeboat Museum and the Shell Gallery, as well as on the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee consists of a number of members who have been in post for many years and an influx of younger members is urgently required.

Peter Strudwick
Chairman, on behalf of the Trustees April 2021

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