The new archive at True’s Yard Museum in Lynn is a “gold mine of maritime England” says the man overseeing the exciting heritage project.
This collaboration between the museum and the former Eastern Sea Fisheries, now known as Eastern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA), has been the product of years of hard work by volunteers.
Now the archive is open to anyone with an interest in fishing history and marine life in the East of England, after files from the 1890’s to the 1970’s were catalogued and preserved.
Dr Paul Richards, historian and chair of trustees for the Museum, said: “This is an archive of regional, if not national importance.
“This organisation was set up to monitor pollution on the East of England coast along with dangers to fishing stocks.
“It is a very comprehensive log and makes a wonderful new resource for us. IFCA still use the archives, but it is now open to anyone with an interest in the history of the fishing industry.”
Making up part of the larger Pat Midgley Resource Centre, which also contains local family history and photo archives, it will be open at the same times as the museum.
Funded by Norfolk County Council, the Friends of True’s Yard and IFCA, a team of volunteers gave up their time to organise and catalogue the entire 120 years’ of files.
An opening ceremony was held on Friday, when Dr Richards and the team of volunteers were joined by Phil Haslem, chief executive of IFCA.
Mr Haslem, who retired in 2012 from his role as a naval commander, said: “The story of The Wash is now available for everyone to access, we had it all filed, but nothing compared to what the volunteers have done. They’ve done a tremendous job.
“We’ve got our office back and it’s much better for those who want to go the extra mile when walking around True’s Yard and want to know more about the fishing history.”