50th anniversary of West Norfolk

50th anniversary of West Norfolk

A special event was held on Thursday, 25 April, to celebrate 50 years of the district of West Norfolk.

Former Mayors, aldermen and councillors gathered alongside Mayor Councillor Margaret Wilkinson to mark the occasion. They viewed memorabilia including regalia, photographs and old documents and were able to try using the council's sealing machine for official documents.

WEB 50 Years WN 2  The attendees were able to try out the council’s sealing machine for official documentation

The district of West Norfolk was officially created on 1st April 1974. Mayor Wilkinson shared “We became a borough on 30 January 1981, and retitled ourselves the Borough of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk later in the same year. Ours is a large and diverse borough covering 550 square miles. Supporting a tradition of trade and agriculture, it has a wonderful blend of coast and countryside”.

Mayor Wilkinson also mentioned how, in the past 50 years, the Borough became a member of the Hanseatic League, with Downham Market twinning with Civray in France in 1976, King’s Lynn twinning with Emmerich-am-Rhein in Germany in 1978, and Hunstanton twinning with the 67th Special Operations Squadron of the US Air Force in 2016.

She also noted some of the Royal associations that West Norfolk has, "Her Late Majesty The Queen’s love of West Norfolk was well documented. She shared this love with her people in 1977 when she opened parts of Sandringham House and estate to the public.

And in 2022 she chose to celebrate 70 years since she became Queen with a reception there”.

Mayor Wilkinson reflected on the flooding events of 1978 in King’s Lynn, and she expressed how the first Mayor, Edgar Edgley, “would have been delighted to see the flood defences that have since been built to protect the town”.

WEB 50 Years WN 1 Edgar Edgley was the first Mayor in 1974. Now Mayor Cllr Margaret Wilkinson is the Mayor

West Norfolk has seen many developments in its 50 years, such as the the refurbishment of Downham Market town centre, the pedestrianisation of the Tuesday Market Place and improvement to the Esplanade Gardens in Hunstanton.

Mayor Wilkinson noted how “the Borough will see significant change coming again in the next few years”, with the Towns Fund, the County Council’s Southgates Levelling Up Bid and other planned developments upcoming.

West Norfolk has seen important changes in transport infrastructure in its 50 years, including Dersingham Bypass opening in the early 1990s and the electrification of the railway.

Mayor Wilkinson added, “It seems fitting that in this year, when we celebrate 50 years of our district, we will also be celebrating 500 years since King Henry the Eighth’s charter of 1524…This important charter modernised the administration of the town and allowed King’s Lynn to appoint a mayor, choose aldermen, call a council and appoint other important officials…I am delighted that as part of our celebration of the charter, we will be appointing 5 new aldermen in June.”

The Latest News in North-West Norfolk