Two town ‘institutions’ unite to embrace modern technology
Steeped in nostalgia and memorabilia, True’s Yard Fisherfolk Museum celebrates all that is left of King’s Lynn’s old fishing industry with a trip down memory lane at every corner.
But the charitable organisation’s approach to its finances is anything but antiquated.
Trustees, volunteers and manager Lindsey Bavin have made it their mission to embrace the latest technology of Making Tax Digital, thanks to accountants Stephenson Smart, to ensure the business continues to thrive for years to come.
Lindsey said: “Stephenson Smart looks after our annual accounts, payroll and VAT returns. As a charity we have to make sure that every penny counts, so they also organise our gift aid and charity commission reports .
“We worked on a spreadsheet system for a long time and the thought of going digital was quite daunting, but they have been brilliant in coaching us through the transition and we are very pleased to be ahead of the curve.
“This facility is so unique and special to Kings Lynn. It is very much a celebration of the past, but we must keep it flourishing by embracing all the latest software and modern technology.”
The tourist and education centre was once the epicentre of The North End community, with hundreds of families living there until the 1930s when much of it was bulldozed to make way for other buildings.
By the 1980s the very small part left of True’s Yard and Pilot Street was also earmarked for demolition until local woman Pat Midgley ran a crusade to save the historical buildings.
The museum, which has been open for 28 years, is now home to almost 900 years of history dedicated to the people and events of the fishing quarter.
Some of its key marvels include a 100-year-old fishing smack, a smokehouse, used for smoking herring in the 1880s, which still includes the authentic smell of fish, and two cottages dating back to about 1790.
Education is an important part of the museum with adventure backpacks available for young children, archaeological mystery boxes to feel and guess objects and audio to listen and react to.
Exhibitions are held six times a year and an appeal three years ago helped to introduce free local history books to children in the town.
Lindsey said: “In 2016 we launched our Silver Jubilee Appeal, a community project to raise £150,000 for urgent remedial and structural repairs. Clive Dodds, partner at Stephenson Smart was part of the Town Business Committee who worked with us to make that happen.”
Clive Dodds, partner at Stephenson Smart, said True’s Yard was a unique facility in King’s Lynn, which must be preserved.
“Stephenson Smart has been firmly established in the town centre for more than 100 years and we are extremely proud of our history and heritage, so we are delighted to be able to support and help a facility that we believe is also an institution in the town.”
Lindsey Bavin, Manager, True’s Yard Fisherfolk Museum
Lindsey Bavin, Manager, True’s Yard Fisherfolk Museum Stephenson Smart has helped True's Yard Fisherfolk Museum move away from a spreadsheet system to embracing the concept of Making Tax Digital.