Fakenham

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Not to be confused with Feckenham.
Fakenham
WarMemorialFakenham(PhilipHalling)Jul2006.jpg
War Memorial, Fakenham
Fakenham is located in Norfolk
Fakenham
Fakenham
 Fakenham shown within Norfolk
Area  9.04 km2 (3.49 sq mi)
Population 7,357 (2001 census)
   – density  814 /km2 (2,110 /sq mi)
OS grid reference TF918296
District North Norfolk
Shire county Norfolk
Region East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town FAKENHAM
Postcode district NR21
Dialling code 01328
Police Norfolk
Fire Norfolk
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
UK Parliament Broadland
List of places
UK
England
Norfolk

Coordinates: 52°50′08″N 0°51′04″E / 52.8356°N 0.8510°E / 52.8356; 0.8510

Fakenham is a town and civil parish in Norfolk, England. It is situated on the River Wensum, some 30 km (19 mi) north east of King's Lynn, 30 km (19 mi) south west of Cromer, and 40 km (25 mi) north west of Norwich.[1]

The civil parish has an area of 9.04 km2 (3.49 sq mi) and in the 2001 census had a population of 7,357 in 3,292 households. For the purposes of local government, the parish falls within the district of North Norfolk.[2]

The name Fakenham is Saxon, possibly meaning Fair Place/Place on a Fair River,[3] or Hamlet (Ham) on the river (Ken) Fa/Fair (Fa).

History[edit]

In 1086 (Domesday Book) Fakenham had only 150 residents. Hempton, on the opposite side of the river, was the larger community and had an abbey that played host to pilgrims on their way to Walsingham. Fakenham became the dominant centre when the abbey was abolished by Henry VIII. It has been a market town since 1250, when it was given a Charter. The stalls probably occupied space around the parish church of St.Peter & St.Paul. Fakenham's modern-day Thursday market is still situated very close to its original positioning and around the market place.

Its major industry in the 19th and 20th centuries was printing, but the major printworks (Cox and Wyman) closed in the 1970s. Nevertheless, there are still more than ten small printing firms in industrial premises around and near the town. A large number of printing blocks have been set into the surface of the market place as a memorial to this lost industry.

Recent history[edit]

In the late 1990s the town was listed by contributor Robert Woods to the Knowhere Guide as "the most boring place on Earth".[4] The contribution was specifically referring to Wednesday afternoon which is 'early closing' day in Fakenham. This comment, made by Woods, was taken and quoted out of context as "voted the most boring place on Earth" and very rapidly the story was running in national newspapers with the town council defending the town and spending considerable time, money and effort trying to prove that this was not the case. Woods retracted his statement live on BBC Radio Norfolk, saying that although Fakenham was boring, so too was toilet roll, and he wouldn't want to be without that either. Fakenham was recently voted the seventh best place to live in Britain in Country Life's quality of life survey.

Recent investment in Fakenham has seen the town centre being renovated and pedestrianised. It now enjoys a popular farmers' market on the morning of the 4th Saturday of each month.

The town was the base for North Norfolk's first independent commercial radio station, FTR FM, broadcasting for a short period between 4 and 30 August 1997, using an RSL broadcast licence.[5] Other RSL radio stations followed, between November 1998 and May 2001, including FCR 107.2 and Central Norfolk Radio.[6]

On 25 May 2014 the historical Aldiss building, which had been a feature of Fakenham town centre for many decades, was destroyed by fire. The building was at the time host to The Original Factory shop, after the Aldiss outlet had been relocated in the 1990s. There is a currently a petition circulating around the local area for the site to be cleared and remain free of new building work, due to the scenic view of the local church now visible from the town square.[7]

Railways[edit]

A map of Fakenham from 1946

Historically, Fakenham had two railway stations. Fakenham West railway station was on the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway, and closed in 1959. The site is now a builders' depot, although 20 feet of the platform has been preserved. Fakenham East railway station was on the Great Eastern Railway and closed in the 1960s although goods trains carried on until the 1980s. This station site is now sheltered housing.

Although now without a railway, the Mid-Norfolk Railway plans to return trains to the town, and intends to build a new station near the gas works. The line would link Fakenham to East Dereham, Wymondham and Norwich. Sections of the former railway lines have been protected from development that would be prejudicial to the creation of railway transport links by North Norfolk District Council and Norfolk County Council.[8]

Another scheme, the Norfolk Orbital Railway plans to link the town to the coast at Sheringham.[9]

Attractions[edit]

Preserved Gas Works

Attractions in the town include Fakenham Racecourse and the Museum of Gas and Local History.[10]

Sport and leisure[edit]

Fakenham has a Non-League football club Fakenham Town F.C. who play at Clipbush Park.[citation needed]

Youth and community provision[edit]

Schools[edit]

The first school in the town was the National School for Boys which opened in 1839. The second, provided by the British School Society, was built in 1844. A National School for Girls followed in 1848.[citation needed]

In 1913 a council school was built on Queen's Road to replace these and all the children moved there, being separated into the boys', girls' and infants' schools provided within the one complex.[citation needed]

In 1944 the Queen's Road school was converted into a "primary and secondary modern school", but the growth of the town was putting a lot of pressure on the available space. In 1956 a new secondary modern school was built on Field Lane, opening in 1959.[citation needed]

The town is presently served by a purpose-built infant school, a junior school on Queen's Road, and Fakenham Academy on Field Lane.[citation needed]

Scouts[edit]

1st Fakenham Scouts were established on the 3rd May 1923, with their headquarters listed as being on Bridge Street The group was re-registered on 21 October 1948 as part of the North West Norfolk District. At this time the group was meeting at the Congregational Schoolroom on Norwich Road, which is now part of an antique centre. On 1 April 1968, 1st Fakenham Scout Group, now a part of the Fakenham District, asked for permission to change their name to Fakenham Wensum Scout Group.

2nd Fakenham (Salvation Army) Scout Group were first registered on 10 February 1954, meeting in the Salvation Army Hall on Oak Street.

In February 2008 the Baden-Powell Scouts opened Fakenham Lancaster Baden-Powell Air Scouts, giving the town two active Scout groups for the first time in 39 years..[11]

Girl Guides[edit]

Girlguiding UK has several active groups in the town. 1 Guide unit, 2 brownie units and 1 Rainbow unit. They are part of the Gallow District and the North West Norfolk Division.[citation needed]

Air Training Corps.[edit]

The town is the home of 2534 Squadron, Air Training Corps, who parade at Fakenham College.[citation needed]


Army Cadet Force[edit]

The Britannia Army Cadet Force parade at their headquarters, which is at Fakenham High School.[citation needed]

Fakenham Town Band[edit]

Fakenham Town Band is a thriving traditional brass band based in Fakenham.[12] It was established in 1881 and has enjoyed continuous existence since.[citation needed]

Notable people[edit]

Famous people from Fakenham include:

Other notable people from the town include footballing brothers Ryan Jarvis and Rossi Jarvis formerly of Norwich City and Adam Tann who currently plays for Chelmsford City FC and is the cousin of both Jarvis brothers, is also originally from Fakenham.

Popular culture[edit]

'Fakenham' is the alias that the character Redmond Barry adopts after deserting his regiment and impersonating a messenger in the Stanley Kubrick movie Barry Lyndon.

References[edit]

External links[edit]