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Norfolk village gets its first history centre in church's renovated tower

At the new history centre. From L-R, Sue West, Merlin Turville-Petre, Dr Sarah Dawson, Kieron West, Mary Perry and Val Fiddian. Pictures: David Bale

At the new history centre. From L-R, Sue West, Merlin Turville-Petre, Dr Sarah Dawson, Kieron West, Mary Perry and Val Fiddian. Pictures: David Bale

Archant

A Norfolk village's purpose-built history centre has been created in the renovated tower of a beautiful church.

.An old EDP front page is part of the exhibition. Pictures: David Bale.An old EDP front page is part of the exhibition. Pictures: David Bale

While Salthouse, on the north Norfolk coast, is already popular with walkers, bird-watchers and nature enthusiasts, it has never had a history centre.

But that has changed, thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The 16th century St Nicholas's Church is the location of the new centre, which will be run by the Salthouse Village History community group.

Its spokesman Kieron West said: “The centre will enable our group to share information, documents and photographs relative to the history of our village with other residents, and with the many visitors that come to Salthouse every year.”

St Nicholas Church tower is under restoration. Pictures: David BaleSt Nicholas Church tower is under restoration. Pictures: David Bale

A formal opening of the centre will be held between 6pm and 8.30pm on Wednesday, May 15.

The guest of honour will be Val Fiddian, who has been the community group's principal researcher and archivist for nearly 20 years.

She also recorded Salthouse's history online, at www.salthousehistory.co.uk, and edited the book, 'Salthouse - The story of a Norfolk Village' in 2003.

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Also attending the formal opening will be Dr Sarah Dawson, who is chairman of Salthouse Parish Council.

Dr Dawson said: “The new history exhibition unit housing the Salthouse Village History Centre is part of the major restoration to the medieval church tower.

“The church is grateful for a National Lottery grant of £175,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and also to the Friends of Salthouse

Church for their donation towards the tower project. Additionally, the history centre has received other kind donations from private individuals.”

The first exhibition at the new Salthouse history centre is on tidal surges. Pictures: Supplied by Kieron WestThe first exhibition at the new Salthouse history centre is on tidal surges. Pictures: Supplied by Kieron West

The group's first exhibition is on the topic of sea surges which have ravaged the village since the 1800s.

The most notorious surge occurred in 1953 and this affected the entire east coast of England and caused numerous fatalities.

There are many contemporaneous photographs and press reports on display graphically illustrating a recurring problem.

There is ample car parking behind the village hall in Cross Street. Steps from the car park lead up to the churchyard.

The new Salthouse history centre is in the renovated bell tower of St Nichola’s Church. Pictures: Supplied by Kieron WestThe new Salthouse history centre is in the renovated bell tower of St Nichola’s Church. Pictures: Supplied by Kieron West

The exhibition is open during daylight hours and is free.

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