The Greenland Fishery

  • The Greenland Fishery
  • The Greenland Fishery
  • The Greenland Fishery
  • The Greenland Fishery
  • The Greenland Fishery
  • The Greenland Fishery
  • The Greenland Fishery
  • The Greenland Fishery
  • The Greenland Fishery

One of the last timber framed buildings to have been erected in King’s Lynn

The Greenland Fishery

Location: Bridge Street, King’s Lynn PE30 5AB

Built: 1605

The interior features an important series of Jacobean wall-paintings

‘Atkin’s Mansion’ was built in 1605 by wealthy merchant John Atkin, who was twice mayor of the borough. The house was built in a prominent position on what was then the main route into King’s Lynn from the south. It remained in the Atkins family until his grandson, Thomas Atkin ‘of London’ sold it.

It was certainly a grand house, possibly the last great timber framed house to be built in Lynn, with enormous brick chimney stacks. The first floor hall ran the length of the building and was lit by oriel windows.

The house was subsequently divided into two, the southern portion becoming a public house called ‘The Fisherman’s Arms’ or ‘The Waterman’s Arms’. By 1796 it had been renamed the ‘The Greenland Fishery Inn’ to mark the importance of the whaling industry to the town during those years (1770s to 1820s) when a small fleet was sent out to Greenland and the Davis Straits to fish for whales and seals.

By 1900 the house was in poor condition, deemed unfit for habitation, and in 1911 the owners were ordered to repair it or demolish it. They offered it to the Borough Council for £50 but the offer was declined: the repair bill was estimated at £300. It was rescued in 1912 by Edward Milligan Beloe (the second), who bought the whole complex: street range (including a baker’s shop), small former pub called The Cottage and further land at the back. Beloe restored the whole building and set up The Greenland Fishery Museum on the first and second floors. Visitors entered through the baker’s shop.

The museum housed an eclectic but important collection. Beloe recognised the value of domestic and agricultural implements and tools that were going out of use. His collection included the relics of Eugene Aram, paintings by local artists, pilgrim badges and whalebones.

Following Beloe’s death in 1932, his widow sold the building and contents to the Norfolk Archaeological Trust and Borough Council jointly. The museum continued until it was damaged by a bomb in 1941 and the exhibits were moved. It was left empty but scheduled as an ancient monument in 1945.

After the war it was restored and converted into a house (southern range) and an office. Miss M Keith and Miss Diana Bullock were the first tenants and, expert gardeners, they created a wonderful town garden behind the house. Both ladies were involved in the Preservation Trust and their home became the Trust’s first registered office. Miss Bullock died in 1994.

In 1997 the Norfolk Archaeological Trust transferred the building to the Trust for a nominal payment and restoration commenced as soon as the Clifton House project was completed. The works included a careful restoration of one of the house’s best kept secrets – a series of the fine Jacobean wall paintings.

The Greenland Fishery, Grade II* listed, remains in the ownership of the Trust and it continues to be let as a residence and as an office. The house is opened up on Heritage Open Day when the wall-paintings can be viewed.

http://greenland-fishery.org.uk

Category: KLPT Projects

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