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Hunstanton columnist’s sadness over library and nostalgia about trains





On September 12 two letters in the Lynn News reminded me that I am not alone when it comes to worrying about the apparent lack of interest in preserving and enhancing the character of West Norfolk. Steve Mackinder's letter was not the first to express concern about the future of the splendid building which, to the best of my knowledge, has housed Lynn library for more than a century. It was designed by architect Herbert J Green and funded with money from the Scottish- American philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie.

The reason I know this, without having to consult Google, is because I have used the library's resources to study the way local newspapers reported important events in Hunstanton. For example, the two ladies who quite literally had to jump for their lives when the pier pavilion caught fire in 1939. The Lynn Advertiser's report is the most detailed I could find, and it gave the two ladies an opportunity to correct something a national newspaper had got wrong. They objected to being described as middle-aged, as they were still only in their thirties.

As a member of the Hunstanton Society's newly-formed History Group, I know how important it can be to get the 'facts' straight from the horse's mouth. I was so anxious to put the record straight about the writer of a letter to the Lynn News in January 1869, that last week I turned up for September's History Group meeting a week early, while blissfully thinking I was going to be five minutes late!

Hunstanton Railway Station and Sandringham Hotel
Hunstanton Railway Station and Sandringham Hotel

Enough said when it comes to the problems I have with time. Returning to the other significant letter in the Lynn News on September 12. In it David Fleming expressed the opinion that my home town is getting too large and feels overcrowded. His comments followed a short break he had just spent in the resort from his home in Downham. Without knowing his age, I can only wonder if David is old enough to have experienced travelling to Hunstanton by train from Downham, or from further afield.

A traffic jam on the A149
A traffic jam on the A149

Oddly enough, thoughts of the train arriving at Downham station bring back happy memories for me, because no matter how long I had been away, it was always wonderful to know that I was back in Norfolk and would soon be among family and friends once more. This was especially the case between 1956 and 1958 when I chose to do my National Service in the RAF. Had it been necessary to complete the journey by bus, the memories would most probably have faded away long ago.

The former Hunstanton Railway station
The former Hunstanton Railway station

Fast forward to the present time, and I can only imagine how drivers of cars, buses, ambulances etc would welcome a return of the railway, even if only because it would mean fewer cars and shorter tailbacks on the A149.



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