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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 52°45′15″N 0°23′51″E / 52.7543°N 0.3976°E / 52.7543; 0.3976

King's Lynn
The Customs House
King's Lynn is located in Norfolk
King's Lynn

 King's Lynn shown within Norfolk
Area  10.97 sq mi (28.4 km2)
Population 35,345 (2001 census)
    - Density  3,222 /sq mi (1,244 /km2)
OS grid reference TF619201
District King's Lynn and West Norfolk
Shire county Norfolk
Region East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town KING'S LYNN
Postcode district PE30
Dialling code 01553
Police Norfolk
Fire Norfolk
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
UK Parliament North West Norfolk
List of places: UK • England • Norfolk

King's Lynn is a town and port in Norfolk, England. The town has been known variously as Bishop's Lynn and Lynn Regis, while it is frequently referred to by locals as simply Lynn, the Celtic word for lake.

King's Lynn is the third largest settlement in Norfolk, after the city of Norwich and the town of Great Yarmouth. Sandringham House, the Norfolk residence of the British Royal Family, is 6 miles (9.7 km) north-east of King's Lynn. It is known as the birthplace of George Vancouver (1757–1798), an officer in the Royal Navy, who was the first person to explore the Pacific coast of the modern day Canadian province of British Columbia; the American states of Alaska, Washington, and Oregon; and the southwest coast of Australia. It is also the place of the first school attended by Diana, Princess of Wales.





While it is believed there has been some form of habitation at King's Lynn for well over a thousand years, it was not until St Margaret's Church was founded in 1101 by Bishop Herbert de Losinga that the town started appearing on records. The town would originally have been named something like Llyn, after the Brythonic (Celtic) for "lake". Later, it acquired the prefix "Bishop's" as the town was part of the manor of the Bishop of Norwich in the 12th century.

By the 14th century, the town ranked as the third port of England and is considered as important to England in Medieval times as Liverpool was during the Industrial Revolution. It retains two buildings that were warehouses of the Hanseatic League that were in use between the 15th and 17th centuries. They are the only remaining building structures of the Hanseatic League in England.

When Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in 1538, the town and manor became royal property. As a result, the town became renamed King's Lynn and Lynn Regis (which means the same thing in Latin); it was King's Lynn which stuck. The town became prosperous from the 17th century through the export of corn; the fine Customs House was built in 1683 to the designs of local architect Henry Bell. In 1708 an 11-year-old girl and her 7-year-old brother were convicted of theft of a loaf of bread in King's Lynn and sentenced to death by hanging, a sentence which was carried out publicly from the South Gates of the town to make an example out of them. At the time of the hangings, Sir Robert Walpole, generally regarded as having been the first Prime Minister of Great Britain, was Member of Parliament for King's Lynn.

King's Lynn as viewed from across the River Great Ouse


The town went into decline after this period, and was only rescued by the relatively late arrival of railway services in 1847 – with services mainly provided by the Great Eastern Railway (subsequently London and North Eastern Railway) and its fore-runners (such as the Lynn and Dereham Railway). Train services operated between King's Lynn and Hunstanton, Dereham and Cambridge.

The town was also served by the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway, which had offices in the town at Austin Street, and an important station at South Lynn (now dismantled) which was also its operational control centre until this was relocated to Melton Constable. The M&GN lines were closed to passengers in February 1959.

Lynn was one of the first towns in Great Britain to be bombed from the air by a Zeppelin in 1915, the Savage's Iron Works, where aeroplane parts where being made, being the target.

Post war

In the post-Second World War period, King's Lynn was designated a London Expansion Town and its population roughly doubled as thousands of people were relocated from the capital.

In 1987, the town became the first in the UK to install town centre CCTV (though Bournemouth had previously used CCTV in non-central locations). The single most numerous crime prosecuted as a result of this comprehensive system is men urinating in public on their way home at night from pubs.

In 2006 King's Lynn formally became Great Britain's first member of Die Hanse – the modern-day equivalent of the Hanseatic League.[1]


The unparished urban area that makes up the town of King's Lynn has an area of 10.97 square miles (28.41 km2) and in the 2001 census had a population of 34,564 in 15,285 households. It is the main town in the larger district of King's Lynn and West Norfolk.[2]

The constituency sits within the North-West Norfolk constituency. It has had an interesting electoral history. The MP from 1970 was Christopher Brocklebank-Fowler, who was a Conservative (or 'Tory'). In 1981, however, he defected to the new SDP. The 1983 general election was a massive Tory landslide for the wildly popular Margaret Thatcher in the aftermath of the Falklands War victory and the economic recovery; the once-near-certain SDP breakthrough never materialized, and instead, the Tory candidate Henry Bellingham was returned. By May 1997, the Tories were direly unpopular and in that year's Labour landslide, the Labour candidate George Turner defeated Bellingham on a huge swing of 10.4%. However, in 2001 North-West Norfolk was one of only nine Tory gains; Bellingham took back his old seat on a 4.6% swing. In 2005 he was returned with a vastly increased majority of 9,180 votes (18.1%)


The mouth of Gaywood River in King's Lynn.

King's Lynn is mainly on the east bank of the River Great Ouse close to where it flows into the Wash, 35 miles (55 km) north-east of Peterborough, 44 miles (70 km) west of Norwich, and the same distance north of Cambridge. London lies about 112 miles (180 km) to the south.[3][4] The Great Ouse at Lynn is about 200 metres (220 yd) wide and the outfall for much of the drainage system created the Fens (systematically drained from the seventeenth century onwards). It flows into the Wash, a bleak landscape of saltmarsh, shifting sandbanks and tidal flows. The much smaller Gaywood River also flows through the town, joining the Great Ouse at the southern end of South Quay close to the town centre.

A small part, known as West Lynn, is on the west bank. Other districts of King's Lynn include the town centre, North Lynn, South Lynn, Gaywood, North Wootton, South Wootton, and Fairstead.


Modern centre of King's Lynn
South Gate

Currently huge plans are under way to regenerate the entire town. King's Lynn has undergone a multi-million pound regeneration scheme. In 2005 the Vancouver Shopping Centre, originally built in the 1960s, was refurbished as part of the town centre regeneration project (which is planned for 'further' extension) which also saw a new £6 million multi-storey car park built, which has won several awards. And to the south of town a huge swathe of brown-field land is being transformed into a housing development (including contemporary apartments lining the River Nar), a business park, parkland, a school, shops and a new relief road in a £300 million+ scheme. The town's college will also be moving to this area (at a cost of £100 million) along with a possible Anglia Ruskin University campus. A 250-berth marina, surrounded by apartments, hotel, shops, bars and restaurants is also planned.

Industry and commerce

The front of King's Lynn railway station

King's Lynn has always been a centre for the fishing and seafood industry (especially inshore prawns, shrimps and cockles). There have also been glass-making and small-scale engineering works (many fairground and steam engines were built here), and today it is still the location for much agricultural-related industry including food processing. There are a number of chemical factories and the town retains a role as an import centre. It is a regional centre for what is still a sparsely populated part of England.

In 2008 the German Palm Group begun the erection of one of the world's largest paper machines. The machine was constructed by Voith Paper. With a web speed of up to 2000 m/min and a web width of 10.63 m, it can produce 400.000 t per year of newsprint paper. The production is based on 100% recycled paper. The start-up was on August 21st, 2009.[5]


King's Lynn railway station is the terminus of the Fen Line, and gives connections to Ely, Cambridge and London King's Cross. It is the only remaining station of several the town once boasted. South Lynn railway station closed to passengers in 1959.

Norfolk Green provides regular bus services to many surrounding towns and villages around Norfolk. The town is connected to the local cities of Norwich and Peterborough via the A47 and to Cambridge via the A10.

King's Lynn South Transport Scheme

King's Lynn South Transport Scheme
Lynn routes.png
The developments taking place as part of the King's Lynn South Transport Project.
Location King's Lynn
Proposer Norfolk County Council
Type multi-modal
cost estimate £7 million

A £7 million program to redevelop King's Lynn's Town Centre's infrastructure, due for completion in 2011. The majority of the money is provided by the Community Infrastructure Fund.[6] The development program is a collection of smaller developments which are detailed below.

A cycle and busway between the town centre and South Lynn is planned to start construction in June 2010 at a cost of £850,000. [7].The route will be 720 metres long, running from Morston Drift to Millfleet, with buses travelling in both directions along it. It will also feature a separate path for pedestrians and bicycles, this path will meet the bus route when crossing the Nar sluice. As part of this development the Millfleet - St James' Road junction will be developed to better accommodate the envisioned increased bus and bike traffic. [6]

A contraflow lane for bicycles will be built along Norfolk Street from Albert Street to Blackfriars Road, this will include a development of the Norfolk Road - Railway Road junction to better accommodate buses and bicycles. Similar work will take place at the Norfolk Street - Littleport Street junction so that buses do not get caught in the town centre gyratory system. [6]

Bus priority measures will be added to four sets of traffic lights along St James' Road. This is being undertaken to give buses quicker access to the town centre and normalise journey times.[6]

Southgates Roundabout is going to be developed. Many of the approach roads will be widened in the run up to the junction and the road markings will be redone in an attempt to improve lane discipline. Southgates Roundabout is a noted congestion hotspot by the county council and thus targeted by this scheme as a point to be developed. [6]

Other small developments are taking place to make junctions more bicycle friendly. [6]


The town has three secondary schools, educating students from the town and the surrounding areas: King Edward VII High School, The Park High School and Springwood High School. There is also The College of West Anglia (the largest further education campus in town).


The Lynn News is the local newspaper which is published twice a week, while the biggest selling regional morning newspaper in the country, the Eastern Daily Press, publishes a West and Fens edition daily from its district office in King's Lynn High Street. KL.FM 96.7 is the local commercial radio station. King's Lynn, along with most of North and West Norfolk, has officially been served by Yorkshire Television rather than Anglia Television since 1974. The area around King's Lynn receives a stronger signal from the Belmont transmitter in Lincolnshire than the Tacolneston transmitter in Norfolk. The Belmont transmitter was originally allocated to Anglia Television, but reallocated to Yorkshire Television in 1974 due to its UHF television broadcasts being clearly receivable in Hull and East Yorkshire. Relay stations were later installed to restore Anglia Television broadcasts to North and West Norfolk.

The town holds two festivals each summer, King's Lynn Festival and Festival Too. The latter is one of the top three largest free music festivals in Europe and is held on Tuesday Market Place: it has attracted crowds of more than 12,000. Past performers include Midge Ure, Deacon Blue, Suzi Quatro,10CC, Mungo Jerry, The Human League, The Buzzcocks, M People, Atomic Kitten, S Club and Beverly Knight. The King's Lynn Festival is primarily classical music; it is held in historic venues throughout town, and attracts big names from orchestras to opera and stage-plays. There are also literature and poetry festivals. The Guildhall stages many events and Shakespeare's company may have performed there.

Every year on St Valentine's Day, a travelling funfair called The Mart sets up in Tuesday Market Place for roughly a fortnight, after which it moves to other towns. Traditionally, this is the first funfair in the Showmen's calendar where new rides are tried and favourites brought out from winter storage. 500 years ago, Lynn had two marts and these were important trading fairs which would attract visitors from as far afield as Italy and Germany. Over the years trading fairs became less important and the Mart changed from a trading to a funfair. It also became annual. Also upon the Tuesday Market Place, the town holds several Vehicle Shows where the local car dealers display.

The Majestic Cinema

There are two cinemas in the town centre, the bigger the Majestic Cinema – a lovely building, which has been refurbished in the last few years. The Majestic had been the butt of jokes on the Scott Mills show on BBC Radio 1 due to an excited telephone voice recording. However the King's Lynn Arts Centre also shows films and performances, it is one of the Festival Too venues during the summer months.

The town centre has a large park (grade II listed — established in the 1700s) called The Walks and a variety of pubs as well as two nightclubs, Heights and Chicago's.


King's Lynn F.C. football club (nicknamed "The Linnets") was in the Unibond League. It had its ground at The Walks football ground on Tennyson Road. It was officially wound up in the High Court in December 2009.

King's Lynn also has a motorcycle speedway team, the King's Lynn Stars, who race at the Norfolk Arena on Saddlebow Road. The track has operated since 1965 when it operated on an open licence. Speedway type events were staged at the stadium in the 1950s.

The successful basketball team College of West Anglia Fury, who compete in the second-tier English Basketball League, is also based in King's Lynn.

Twinned town

Notable people

Notable current and former residents of King's Lynn include:


  1. ^ "Kings Lynn, a Hanse League Member". King's Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council Website. Retrieved 2007-01-15.  
  2. ^ "Census population and household counts for unparished urban areas and all parishes" (Excel). Office for National Statistics & Norfolk County Council. 2001. Retrieved 2005-12-02.  
  3. ^ OS Explorer Map 250 - Norfolk Coast West. Ordnance Survey. 2002. ISBN 0-319-21886-4.  
  4. ^ OS Explorer Map 236 - King's Lynn, Downham Market & Swaffham. Ordnance Survey. 1999. ISBN 0-319-21867-8.  
  5. ^ Location King's Lynn [1]
  6. ^ a b c d e f "King's Lynn South Transport Major Scheme". Retrieved 2009-11-17.  
  7. ^ "Kings Lynn to South Lynn bus and cycle route". Norfolk County Council. 2009-08-10. Retrieved 2009-08-13.  
  8. ^ Anna Keay - Biography
  9. ^ Simon Thurley - Biography

See also

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

King's Lynn [1] is the third largest town in Norfolk in England. It is situated towards the west of the County, on the River Great Ouse and near the Wash.

Get in

Direct trains from London King's Cross and Cambridge terminate at King's Lynn. Journey time from London is around 1 3/4 hours.

King's Lynn is on Sustrans (National Cycle Network) Route 1.

By road, King's Lynn is at the end of the A10 from London and Cambridge, and it is on the A47 Birmingham - Great Yarmouth road, about 45 miles west of Norwich.

FirstBus route X1 runs every half hour between Peterborough and Lowestoft, taking in Wisbech, King's Lynn, Swaffham, Dereham and Norwich on the way.

King's Lynn can be accessed from West Lynn on a small passenger ferry. Although King's Lynn has an active port, there are no regular long-distance passenger ferries.

Get around

King's Lynn town centre is best explored on foot. Local buses serve the suburbs and nearby towns.

  • Greyfriars tower
  • The old town
  • St Margaret's Church
  • St Nicholas Chapel
  • Red Mount Chapel
  • The two guildhalls
  • The town hall
  • Custom House
  • Corn Exchange
  • Go to concerts at the King's Lynn Festival - late July to early August


King's Lynn has three small markets each week. On Tuesday and Friday, the market is held in the Tuesday Market Place, and on Saturday in the Saturday Market Place. Specialities include fish and seafood (local brown shrimp on Tuesday and Saturday), local organic fruit and veg (Friday) and a Country Market stall selling locally-produced cakes, preserves, produce and plants (Friday).

There are many independent shops, including an egg shop.

After extensive redevelopment, the town center now has many more shops to offer including: TK Maxx, New Look, JJB Sport, TJ Hughes, Monsoon, Acessorize, 2 new coffee shops (Cafe Nero and Costa) and many discount shops


At the top end of the market are the Riverside Restaurant, Prezzo and Luigi's which is excellent

For cafe food and drink, try the Green Quay cafe on South Quay or Crofters.

Also see The Globe on the Tuesday market place for cheap food and drink


The Crown and Mitre offers good local beers in a smoke-free environment, its main section was built in the 1600's and it has an eating area with a view of the river that is especially pretty at sunset. It also offers home made pub food (not pre-bought frozen) that is very tasty.


King's Lynn Youth Hostel has a fine location in a historic building on the South Quay.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

KING'S LYNN (LYNN or Lynn Regis), a market town, seaport and municipal and parliamentary borough of Norfolk, England, on the estuary of the Great Ouse near its outflow into the Wash. Pop. (1901), 20,288. It is 97 m. N. by E. from London by the Great Eastern railway, and is also served by the Midland and Great Northern joint line. On the land side the town was formerly defended by a fosse, and there are still considerable remains of the old wall, including the handsome South Gate of the 15th century. Several by-channels of the river, passing through the town, are known as fleets, recalling the similar flethe of Hamburg. The Public Walks forms a pleasant promenade parallel to the wall, and in the centre of it stands a picturesque octagonal Chapel of the Red Mount, exhibiting ornate Perpendicular work, and once frequented by pilgrims. The church of St Margaret, formerly the priory church, is a fine building with two towers at the west end, one of which was formerly surmounted by a spire, blown down in 1741. Norman or transitional work appears in the base of both towers, of which the southern also shows Early English and Decorated work, while the northern is chiefly Perpendicular. There is a fine Perpendicular east window of circular form. The church possesses two of the finest monumental brasses in existence, dated respectively 1349 and 1364. St Nicholas chapel, at the north end of the town, is also of rich Perpendicular workmanship, with a tower of earlier date. All Saints' church in South Lynn is a beautiful Decorated cruciform structure. Of a Franciscan friary there remains the Perpendicular Grey Friars' Steeple, and the doorway remains of a priests' college founded in 1502. At the grammar school, founded in the reign of Henry VIII., but occupying modern buildings, Eugene Aram was usher. Among the other public buildings are the guildhall, with Renaissance front, the corn exchange, the picturesque custom-house of the 17th century, the athenaeum (including a museum, hall and other departments), the Stanley Library and the municipal buildings. The fisheries of the town are important, including extensive mussel-fisheries under the jurisdiction of the corporation, and there are also breweries, corn-mills, iron and brass foundries, agricultural implement manufactories, ship-building yards, rope and sail works. Lynn Harbour has an area of 30 acres and an average depth at low tide of io ft. There is also good anchorage in the roads leading from the Wash to the docks. There are two docks of 64 and 10 acres area respectively. A considerable traffic is carried on by barges on the Ouse. The municipal and parliamentary boroughs of Lynn are co-extensive; the parliamentary borough returns one member. The town is governed by a mayor, 6 aldermen and 18 councillors. Area, 3061 acres.

As Lynn (Lun, Lenne, Bishop's Lynn) owes its origin to the trade which its early settlers carried by the Ouse and its tributaries its history dates from the period of settled occupation by the Saxons. It belonged to the bishops of Thetford before the Conquest and remained with the see when it was translated to Norwich. Herbert de Losinga (c. 1054-1119) granted its jurisdiction to the cathedral of Norwich but this right was resumed by a later bishop, John de Gray, who in 1204 had obtained from John a charter establishing Lynn as a free borough. A fuller grant in 1206 gave the burgesses a gild merchant, the husting court to be held once a week only, and general liberties according to the customs of Oxford, saving the rights of the bishop and the earl of Arundel, whose ancestor William D'Albini had received from William the moiety of the tolbooth.

Among numerous later charters one of 1268 confirmed the privilege granted to the burgesses by the bishop of choosing a mayor; another of 1416 re-established his election by the aldermen alone. Henry VIII. granted Lynn two charters, the first (1524) incorporating it under mayor and aldermen; the second (1537) changing its name to King's Lynn and transferring to the corporation all the rights hitherto enjoyed by the bishop. Edward VI. added the possessions of the gild of the Trinity, or gild merchant, and St George's gild, while Queen Mary annexed South Lynn. Admiralty rights were granted by James I. Lynn, which had declared for the Crown in 1643, surrendered its privileges to Charles II. in 1684, but recovered its charter on the eve of the Revolution. A fair held on the festival of St Margaret (July 20) was included in the grant to the monks of Norwich about 110o. Three charters of John granting the bishop fairs on the feasts of St Nicholas, St Ursula and St Margaret are extant, and another of Edward changing the last to the feast of St Peter ad Vincula (Aug. 1). A local act was passed in1558-1559for keeping a mart or fair once a year. In the eighteenth century besides the pleasure fair, still held in February, there was another in October, now abolished. A royal charter of 1524 established the cattle, corn and general provisions market, still held every Tuesday and Saturday. Lynn has ranked high among English seaports from early times.

See E. M. Beloe, Our Borough (1899); H. Harrod, Report on Deeds, &c., of King's Lynn (1874); Victoria County History: Norfolk.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Simple English

King's Lynn is a town and port in Norfolk, England. Over the years, the town has been known variously as Bishop's Lynn and Lynn Regis, while it is occasionally referred to by locals as simply Lynn—the Celtic word for lake.

King's Lynn is the third largest settlement in Norfolk after the city of Norwich and the town of Great Yarmouth. Sandringham House, the Norfolk residence of the British Royal Family, is 6 miles (9.7 km) north-east of King's Lynn.


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