Kings Lynn Civis Society Norfolk


History of King’s Lynn Civic Society

King’s Lynn Civic Society was founded in the spring of 1947, following one of the coldest winters on record and severe flooding across the fens. It was instigated by the founder chairman Bernard Bremner to “stimulate and foster all aspects of civic life and to promote a keener sense of responsibility and citizenship.”

Representatives from forty different organisations within the town agreed to establish the society which was affiliated to the central Council of Civic Societies and associated with the Arts Council of Great Britain. At the time there were about 60 other civic societies in existence in the country.

The earliest aims included the setting up of an arts festival, a theatre, leisure and sports facilities, the preservation of ancient buildings, the planting of trees and to encourage, especially in the young, an interest in art and in the better use of leisure.

It was emphasised at the inaugural meeting that “this is not in any sense a ratepayers’ association (which exists to worry the Town Council and cut down the rates if possible)”.


Historical Achievements

King’s Lynn Festival June 1948 saw the first Civic Week, possibly the precursor of the town’s Festival fortnight which was born in 1950. The annual King’s Lynn Festival is held in July each year and hosts world class musical and literary events.  Click here to link to the Festival webpage


King’s Lynn Town Guides

The Civic Society’s contribution to the 1951 Festival of Britain was to organise a group of trained Town Guides for King’s Lynn as in so many other towns in that year. Volunteers were instructed by experts and briefed in how to take a parties round.

The Town Guides as we know them today were started in 1977 when members of the Civic Society, under the guidance of the Rev George Bridge, started to give guided walks. The East Anglian Tourist Board suggested that guides should be trained for the National Blue Badge. The Tourist Board provided the training on ‘guiding’ and 10 weeks of training in local knowledge was provided by Rev George Bridges, Diana Bullock and Michael Bagley. All guides had to pass an exam on local knowledge. The same pattern is followed today and the Town Guides are a valuable asset to the town. Click here to read more about the Town Guides.


King’s Lynn Preservation Trust

Founded in 1958 when the Civic Society was offered the east and west wings of one of the town’s medieval gems, Hampton Court, and later the whole complex. The restoration of Hampton Court was so far outside the remit of the Civic Society that a trust was formed with the aim of acquiring and restoring buildings of architectural and historical significance in King’s Lynn. Their work continues today 

Registered charity no. 298916
Contact details
Alison Gifford
19B Queen Street
King's Lynn
PE30 1HT
01553 763983
website made by pfd

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