Pictures of a sailing ship trapped among vast ice floes are to be found on the wall of the Bank House Hotel in King Staithe Square.
They are reproductions of the drawings made by Samuel Gurney Cresswell who was born and spent his early life there – and who was in the first expeditionary party to navigate the long-sought-after Northwest Passage across the Arctic.
Having endured three winters trapped in the ice, he was deputed to lead out a party of sick sailors across the trackless waste, on foot, with only a compass to guide them. He got them all to the east coast of America and lost not a man. On his return to Lynn he was given a hero’s welcome and a banquet in his honour.
If we must have a name-change for the South Quay, in order to attract investors of the proposed development, who better to title it after than Lynn’s own hero, Cresswell? The man who grew up beside the riverfront, and went on to a formidable career in the navy. Certainly far more appropriate than Nelson, whose links with Lynn are tenuous.
One might have expected the borough council to have rather more knowledge of the town’s history, and as Michael King writes (Lynn News letters) ‘to have considered more of what Lynn stands for and its place in world history.’ He advocates George Vancouver another of Lynn’s mighty men, and I have no quarrel with that idea – nor if it comes to that with ‘Richards Quay’, as Cyril Pike suggests, celebrating yet another local who has done so much to promote the town.
Doubtless Cllr Beales will insist that the development needs the name of Nelson to ‘sell it’. Surely the riverfront scheme should be of such quality and inspiration that it will sell itself without having to drag in the Nelson nomenclature – yet again.