A plaque was unveiled at Lowestoft rail station on Friday 27th January to thank the town’s community for embracing a large-scale project to transform the Lowestoft Arches with art work.
Local heritage organisations, museums, authors and high schools have worked together to create a mural entitled “People’s Journeys Time Portal, a community’s view of its heritage”, which tells the story of Lowestoft’s social, cultural and industrial heritage journey within ten designated brick arches on the approach into Lowestoft station.
The transformed area will now act as a central sign-posting hub to encourage residents of Lowestoft and visitors to engage with Lowestoft’s local heritage organisations, which in turn, will safeguard Lowestoft’s heritage for the future.
The project was funded by a group of Suffolk county councillors, who offered to support the project via their Locality Budgets, with additional support from the East Suffolk Lines and Wherry Lines Community Rail Partnerships and Network Rail.
The project participants were: Suffolk Record Office (Lowestoft Branch), Jack Rose Old Lowestoft Society, Lowestoft Museum, Maritime Museum, Transport Museum, Lowestoft Civic Society Heritage Workshop Centre and local authors Ivan Bunn, David Butcher, Chris Brooks, Ian Robb, John Holmes and Bob Collis. Train images were offered to the project by courtesy of local author, Malcolm White.
Participating schools in the area were tasked with selecting, researching and creating artwork that told the stories of Lowestoft’s heritage journeys. Suffolk county councillors then decided which artwork would be included into the two designated arches allocated to young artists. The winners were:
East Point Academy – Paige Ewen, Eleanor Manning, Daniel Gooch, Ashley Schooling, Conan Vaughan and Ellie Nutman.
The Ashley School Trust – Ellie Piper, Shannon Beer and Kieron Kimble
Pakefield High School – Emma Muirhead and Kacey Hailes
The Ormiston Denes Academy – a year nine collaboration
James Reeder, Lowestoft Enterprise CIC, said: “Lowestoft has, for centuries, been a hub for trade and tourism. People travelled to the town via ships, roads and ultimately the railway. In fact, good transport links have been vital for Lowestoft’s survival both as a fishing port and latterly as a location for tourism and the off-shore industry. This project aimed to demonstrate the many ways in which people came to and from Lowestoft, from wagons and carts to trains and trams.
He added: “The project is a significant and high profile product of a community working closely together to raise Lowestoft’s spirit of togetherness – from financial support from our local county councillors, Community Rail Partnerships, volunteers manning the heritage venues and museums, authors, professional record keepers, our local high schools and especially from our local skilled media and sign-making specialists based at Red Hot Media and Seletarsigns. I would like to extend my sincere thanks to everyone who has made this project possible.”
Greater Anglia’s Area Customer Services Manager, James Reeve, commented: “Seeing Lowestoft’s community come together to transform a disused area of the rail station, bringing it back to life and creating a platform on which to promote the town’s unique heritage and the organisations that sustain it, has been a great experience and I would like to thank everyone involved in bringing this ambitious project to fruition.”