New Public Artwork Adds Appeal to Rail to River Route

New public art, designed with input from local school children, has been unveiled in King’s Lynn.

The two pieces, by leading artists Annabel McCourt and Adrian Riley, have been installed at the railway station and at St James’ Swimming Pool and aim to add appeal to a route that takes people from the station and onto the river. 

The artwork reflects aspects of local history, with the installation at the station centring on a design of two 8ft panels imprinted with split feathers which pay homage to the Norfolk tradition of travellers splitting the Grey Goose Feather.  The tradition dictated that any fellow person who produced a split feather and an accompanying secret password was guaranteed help, whatever the personal cost. Basing this piece at the station aims to build on this history and convey welcome, friendship, and assistance.

Meanwhile, the installation at St James’ Swimming Pool is themed around the changing shape of King’s Lynn over the centuries, as illustrated by the River Great Ouse and inspired by a map from 1588. Also in two parts, this piece forms one artwork that, when viewed from the right spot, will give the impression of moving water.

This piece also includes a Shakespeare quote from Richard II, who had firm links to King’s Lynn. Not only did several local families feature in the play in 1386, the town loaned £100 to Richard II – the fifth largest loan made by an urban centre at the time.

Pupils from Eastgate and St Michael’s schools were engaged in the development of the designs, including by devising a contemporary secret code for the railway station artwork, further reflecting its historical inspiration.

Abigail Rawlings, Riverfront Project Officer said: “This new artwork not only reflects the history of our area, it also looks to the future through the involvement of the children who have played such an important role in the creation of these pieces.

“It is great to see the artwork now installed, adding to the welcome that people receive as they arrive in to the town at the station, and enhancing a route from rail to river.

“This new artwork, coupled with the other improvements being delivered along this route, are making a visible impact.”

The new artwork is just one aspect of the Rail to River project,. Other improvements that have already been delivered include new benches, fingerpost signage, and a digital sign at the station to promote events and activities to people coming into King’s Lynn. 

And, recently, four new pop-up retail units have arrived on Purfleet Street which will soon be available for hire at affordable rates for retail use and by food and beverage businesses. 

Further work is planned in the coming months with a new arch at the entrance to Purfleet Street set to be created. The arch has also been designed with the engagement of local children who have played an instrumental role in the ‘ecology’ themed design.