A decade of protecting Gorleston’s history

THEY have helped showcase their town’s past while not being afraid to fight for its future – and now one collective is marking a decade of digging in the archives.

Through the dedication of its 20 members, the Gorleston-on-Sea Heritage Group (GOSH) has managed to put on countless exhibitions, publish two books and unearth hundreds of historic gems.

And with their monthly meetings at The Kevill Arms as animated as ever, and with a retrospective show covering their last 10 years last month attracting interest, their efforts show no sign of waning.

Secretary Doreen Feuell said the group was made up of independent researchers, all of whom had their own fields of interest, but who collaborated for the exhibitions.

She said: “We all feel the history shouldn’t be lost, there’s so much that should be preserved and it’s nice for younger people to know what was happening to Gorleston in the past – it’s changed out of recognition over the last 100 years.”

Initially set up by enthusiasts who were involved with the Millennium Manuscript – a reimagined version of the 14th century Gorleston Psalter manuscripts – GOSH began by producing a book named Walking With the Past.

Detailing local routes around the area of historic interest, all 1,000 copies were quickly snapped up, leading to another publication in the form of Greetings from Gorleston-on-Sea.

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Doreen was drawn into the group in 2002 because of its campaign against turning the Yacht Pond on the seafront into a children’s play area. “There was a lot of opposition, and GOSH organised a petition against it so I got involved and became more interested in what they were doing.

“I just enjoyed being part of the group and was learning all the time. Though we’re not a protest group, if appropriate we will make our views known.”

Currently running three exhibitions a year, GOSH will next be showing its wares, which include pictures of the area from the 1890s, at the Clifftop Festival in July.

And whether documents on characters like controversial vicar Forbes Philips or renowned life-saver William Adams, or research on bygone buildings and the fishing industry, it is likely to draw attention.

Doreen, who wants a permanent museum to be built in the town which could house their collection, added:

“I’m pleased we’re still going and have done something for Gorleston that needed doing. We’ve been able to preserve something that’s been kept for future generations, and there are more people we would like to join in and share what they know with us.

“We just want to share what we’ve got for as long as we can.”

To join the group, who meet on the second Tuesday of every month at The Kevill Arms, call Doreen on 01493 661179 or chairman Beryl Thompson on 01493 658864.

John Owens can be followed on Twitter via @JOwensMercury

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