True’s Yard is a heritage site and town museum celebrating the fishing community of the North End which made a significant contribution to Lynn’s economic and social life for 900 years. The local fishing industry remains important today! The Museum complex has been enlarged and developed through two Heritage Lottery Funded extensions (1998 & 2010); it has become a premier Lynn tourist attraction and education centre as well as a community venue. The Museum holds lunchtime talks, an engaging exhibition programme, family history classes and tours of the North End. There is also a gift shop and pleasant tearoom with Georgian panelling, which are run by the Museum’s team of friendly and enthusiastic volunteers.
The Museum is run by The North End Trust, who aim for visitors to discover and enjoy Lynn’s North End past and present through the Museum’s remarkable heritage assets. At its heart is the last surviving fisherfolk yard with cottages. Though 4 of the 6 cottages were demolished in the 1930’s, the two remaining were built in the late 18th century, and their historic fabric and fixtures are largely intact. In 1818 William True purchased True’s Yard for £295, hence its name.
In 2009 the Museum’s Heritage Lottery Funded extension project included the discovery of a small smokehouse at 3-5 St Ann’s Street. The latter property dates to the late 18th and 19th centuries. Its industrial rear range was converted for domestic use but the historic fabric remained. This allowed the restoration of the smokehouse to enrich True’s Yard as a heritage site and attraction.
True’s Yard informs visitors about Lynn’s built environment and housing for much of its population in the 18th and 19th centuries, which contrasts nicely with the town’s grand merchant mansions. Survival of such Georgian working class dwellings in urban England is rare. Indeed, True’s Yard is of special architectural and historic interest from a national perspective, and the two cottages and smokehouse were listed grade 2 by English Heritage in 2009.
True’s Yard was officially opened by HRH, The Prince of Wales, in March 1993. In February 2010 an extension to the Museum was opened by HM The Queen, accompanied by HRH Prince Philip. The Museum celebrated its Silver Jubilee in 2016 and in 2018 completed a Heritage Lottery Funded project focusing on its Pat Midgley Research Centre. Since 1991 nearly 250,000 people have visited this community Museum.