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King's Lynn brick kiln 'was allowed to fall into dilapidation', Lynn News letters

That’s what the council said about the magnificent Paul’s Mill chimney that stood on Boal Quay and it had to be taken down. So unsafe that when the demolition crew came with their sledgehammers they had a huge task ahead, and took far longer to break down the intricate and well-built brickwork than they had ever allowed for.

I spoke to the foreman at the time and he was in awe of the skill that had produced the chimney – and amazed that it was not to be retained as a superb example.

For generations it had been a landmark on the Lynn skyline and it should be there still as a fine landmark which could have been the centrepiece of any development scheme.

Brick kiln at South Lynn (4457193)
Brick kiln at South Lynn (4457193)

But it had to go, along with the house where Vancouver lived and now, the brick kiln.

From the time June Howling achieved its listed status, the kiln was an embarrassment, an obstacle to any development of the area, and so no maintenance was ever done and it was ‘allowed’ to dwindle into dilapidation by the very authority whose task it is to protect listed buildings and ensure their owners care for and protect them.

What message does this send to owners of inconveniently listed structures? Just wait and leave them to get into a parlous and ‘dangerous’ state – and then you can knock them down.

The house of Gustav Metzger, subject of the festival’s exhibition this year, is another of Lynn’s lost buildings. When it was discovered that beneath its sorry exterior there stood an important ancient structure, a stop was placed on its development while an application was made for spot-listing. The listing came through, the building was saved – until an unhappy accident with a bulldozer in the night gave the developer the building site he needed. He was fined – for a fraction of the sum the scheme later achieved.

Sally Turff


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