Letter: D Waite December 12, 2017

Devil's Alley, King's Lynn
Devil's Alley, King's Lynn
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I refer to letters in your Lynn News on Tuesday last when a number of people expressed objection to using Nelson’s name again for naming the new housing area on the Boal Quay and beyond known as Harding’s Pits, as part of the River Front Delivery Plan, giving support for naming it Vancouver Quay.

I do not agree, Vancouver was unlikely to have been involved in the mush of the housing site area at his time. He is of course more related to the town than Lord Nelson. I feel that his name is used well in naming the town centre already (he lived there) and that using it again and again would diminish his value in favour of gimmickry and adds nothing to the historic record we have in street names in the Friars area.

Architect Henry Bell made his contribution in the 18th century but when Nelson Street and Queen Street were renamed in the 19th century, that was to mark Nelson’s courage and skill and that of his warriors for the nation by the somewhat pompous Victorians and we lost the historic names recording the history of evolution such as Lath Street. We still have Tuesday Market Place and Saturday Market Place and near me, where I have restored or helped to restore all the cottages, lived and worked in Bridge Street overlooking it all for the last 45 years. We have for the record, Millfleet, All Saints Street, The Friars, Whitefriars etc. and, hopefully, will not lose the name Devil’s Alley! We have moved on since the Victorian attitudes which did not respect the historic values expressed by our laws now in assessing historic assets and conservation. At one time the River Nar, forming from water and swamps around it, was used by fishermen harvesting from the sea and boats were stored, built and repaired there. Names such as Blubber Creek still exist. That was followed by the Carmelite Priory, which occupied and dominated much of the land, and Friars Fleet developed on the River Nar loop for their use with others. More recently railway bridges were built across Millfleet and the River Nar for goods arriving by sea in cargo ships pulling into The Nar loop/Friars Fleet to deliver grain into large hoppers. Boal Quay appeared with hard-standing for mobile cranes on rails using the deeper water (used now for the “ Fishing Fleet” on the River Great Ouse, harvesting from the sea) for larger volumes in cargo ships. Under the Harding’s Way bus-only route during excavations there appeared the remains of one of the Carmelite Priory buildings. The rest of the area south became a town rubbish tip. Later the formally named open space area was given Village Green status. To this day, the rest of the area remains undeveloped but it can be, now that we can give support using piles down to the blue clay. Vancouver had nothing to do with any of this.

So my view leans towards something else to name the evolution of the river front plan by selecting a name which is more appropriate for the historic record as in street names. My particular preference is for “Carmelite Quay” and I invite others to give their support.