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Outrage as council plans to demolish rare 19th Century kiln in South Lynn

West Norfolk Council has announced plans to demolish a Victorian kiln in South Lynn in favour of commercial development.

A notice was put up on July 8 stating that the kiln was set to be demolished between August 12 and September 30.

The rare surviving example of a mid-19th century Dutch-type kiln was previously Grade II-listed thanks to the efforts of former mayoress June Howling, who recognised that it was a valuable piece of the town’s heritage.

Henry Baines Sketch of a similar kiln in Lynn credit: Lynn Museum (13690534)
Henry Baines Sketch of a similar kiln in Lynn credit: Lynn Museum (13690534)

But Elizabeth Nockolds cabinet portfolio holder for heritage, said: “The kiln has been de-listed by Historic England, suggesting that it’s not strong enough historically to be preserved.

“From our point of view the kiln is unsafe and could collapse on someone, it would cost far too much to restore it’s just in an utter state of disrepair.

”It is a shame, and we do understand that some people will be saddened by this, however safety is more important.

“If any proposed development work does take place on the site, it would be nice to have a plaque commemorating the kiln so it isn’t forgotten.”

Councillor Alexandra Kemp told the Lynn News: “We need to acknowledge that heritage and development can co-exist in the same space.

“Lynn’s unique historical features have invaluable tourist value, but one by one the number of heritage sites is dwindling. Personally I’m also concerned about the Custom House.

“It is true that preserving South Lynn’s heritage was ignored, and it was singled out as an area for development.”

Ms Kemp added: “I don’t understand why important parts of Lynn are being destroyed, this is a slice of our history, this is what attracts people to the town.”

June’s husband and former councillor Bryan Howling echoed this sentiment. He said:”It could be used as a feature on a commercial space, it’s such a shame as there are a lot of sites like this are worth looking after.

“As far as I’m aware this is the last one of it’s kind- it’s a real shame.

“It could even be used for educational purposes, as something for schoolchildren to come and learn about Victorian brick-making.”

Speculation on what the cleared space will be used for has varied from a supermarket to a car dealership.

A similar Victorian kiln was featured in 19th-century artist Henry Baines’ work, which is pictured.

The sketch depicts Victorian Lynn in 1867, of which there is a collection on display at King’s Lynn Museum.

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