Members of the public have had the chance to visit Lowestoft’s new Public Exhibition Space as a special preview of a new exhibition at the newly restored Railway Station Parcels Office took place.
DEPARTURES, an exhibition of over 70 images made over the past five decades by Norwich based photographer David Pearce, illustrates the evolving nature of the railways of Norfolk and East Suffolk. With the arrival of a new generation of trains and infrastructure in East Anglia, the exhibition commemorates the passing of an era; the old order departing to make way for the arrival of the new.
Speaking of his new exhibition David said, “Railways, in common with almost all other forms of transport, are constantly in a state of transition. It is easy to take for granted the familiarity of the friendly crossing keeper dutifully closing the gates across the road to allow a train to pass. The train itself will have passed this way many times before, adding its own comforting intimacy born of habit. When changes occur, new perspectives arrive. For some they are accompanied with regret, whilst for others, they are greeted with optimism.”
David was born in Suffolk, brought up in the East Midlands, went to college in the North East, and spent his working life as an itinerant teacher in Norfolk and Suffolk. Early retirement in 2011 saw him attempting to sort and scan his substantial collection of railway negatives and slides. A return to part-time work hasn’t prevented him from being elected Vice-Chairman of the Bittern Line Community Rail Partnership as well as belonging to two railway photographic circles and umpteen railway societies. He has presented illustrated talks for various clubs and societies across the country, curated several exhibitions, produced railway books and articles and has a very understanding wife, and four boys, none of whom have the remotest interest in railways!
Martin Halliday, community rail development officer said; “We are delighted that David has agreed to share some of his extensive collection as our first event in the newly restored Parcels Office, there are some terrific images documenting just how much railways in our area have changed over the past fifty years and we look forward to welcoming the public back to a part of Lowestoft Station hidden for over three decades.”
As part of a major community rail initiative to restore and rejuvenate the towns iconic railway station, the former Parcels Office, derelict for over thirty years has been carefully restored and from later this summer will begin hosting a wide range of events and activities.
Over the past two years the station has received new heritage colour and lighting schemes, doors leading from the station to the town centre have been restored and re-opened, new planting in association with Lowestoft In Bloom has been introduced and other buildings on the site have been stabilised and cosmetically improved pending future development.
Work to transform the formerly derelict Parcels Office has included restoration of many original windows and doors, new ceilings and flooring with all the detailed work being undertaken by local craftsmen. Funded through grants by the Railway Heritage Trust and Association of Community Rail Partnerships, the Lowestoft Central Project has also received support from the East Suffolk Lines and Wherry Lines Community Rail Partnerships and rail operator, Greater Anglia, with the forthcoming opening of the Parcels Office marking another key milestone within the initiative.