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Lowestoft and East Suffolk Maritime Heritage Museum

Lowestoft and East Suffolk Maritime Heritage Museum

Online Exhibitions

Click on the link below to see the online exhibition of items in our collection

Lowestoft Shipbuilding

About Us

We are a private museum of the Lowestoft and East Suffolk Maritime Society, which is a registered charity. The Museum is maintained and manned by members of the society on a voluntary basis. The premises are grant aided by Waveney District Council.

The museum was established 1968 and extended in 1978 - the extension being opened by His Royal Highness The Duke Of Edinburgh. A further extension was added in 1980.
In May 2010 H.R.H The Princess Royal opened a major extension that doubles the display area.

The museum specializes in the history of the Lowestoft fishing fleet and early commercial activities, from the early days of sail, to steam, through to modern diesel vessels. Methods of fishing are also recorded, namely trawling and the no longer practiced art of herring driftnet fishing. Also depicted is the town's wartime association with the Royal Navy together with a fine exhibition of the evolution of lifeboats. A full scale replica of the aft cabin of a steam drifter showing the crew's quarters is also on display.
There are fine collections of shipmodels and martime art, and an interesting collection of shipwrights and coopers tools.

The museum attendants are ex-seamen and others interested in the history of the port of Lowestoft and will be delighted to answer any questions you may have to about the Museum and its many exhibits.

School parties are particularly welcome and teachers may like to avail themselves of our special Education Pack - a series of papers prepared for classroom use following a visit to the museum. Further information can be obtained from the secretary.

Admission Costs

  • Admission charge £2 Adults, £1 Concessions, 50p Children.
  • Group Rates Available.

Opening Hours

  • May to October- Daily 10.00am - 5.00pm.
  • Last admissions 4.30pm.
  • We will open by appointment for parties of 8 or more out of season.


The Lowestoft Maritime Museum,
Sparrows Nest Park,
Whapload Road,
NR32 1XG.

Tel: 01502 561963

Latitude: 52.48783852° 52' 41.1° N Longitude: 1.7576211 ° 26' 15.9° E


Other Information

  • Free car parking opposite the museum.
  • Coach Parties Welcome.
  • School party education packs available.
  • Toilets (for both Able & Disabled) available in the museum.



  • The museum is all on one floor with wheelchair access.
  • Toilet for the Disabled available.

How to Find Us

  • The museum is located in Sparrow's Nest Park under the Lowestoft Lighthouse in the north of Lowestoft
    and overlooks the North Beach.
  • There is Free car parking nearby.


Some Photos of Our Museum

Replica of the aft cabin of a steam drifter
Replica of the aft cabin of a steam drifter
One of the many models on display
One of the many models on display
Some ship fittings
Some ship fittings


Posted:2011 6 16 14:36:10 GMT
Steam Drifter 401
Hello... Wonder could you help me in any way possible.. My father has giving me a searchlight of a very old ship, and its quite a large light at that. It has a plate on the top of it with "Steam Drifters Store Co LTD Lowestoft 401" Would be extremely grateful if someone could tell me some history on it. Many thanks.... Niall Breen
Niall Breen , Ireland
Posted:2013 8 20 15:08:16 GMT
Ship called "Turarmer"
My Gt Gt Granfather, Edward J Barkaway, owned a vessel called Turarmer in the late 1800's / early 1900's. Any info greatly appreciated.
Stuart Holma Beccles, Suffolk
Posted:2013 10 30 01:15:34 GMT
Any info Civil lord 1885 built in lowestoft
I have a 100 ft sailing trawler built 1885 by samual richards in lowestoft England. Looking for any information about its builder, location history or pics. Would like to so provide links from our ships website www.thecabopirateship.com to your site
Justin benham Cabo san Lucas mexico
Posted:2014 6 11 12:12:30 GMT
I trying to find any information what company my grandfather was apprentice too. In the lowestoft fishing business, Gressenhall poor house in norwich said it was to a Mr j hoopin/ fw hooper 1877. his name was Frederick Aaron walker, I found Aaron Walker on the madge of wildfire lowestoft 1881. paul
P o sullivan Birmingham
Posted:2015 5 12 13:30:58 GMT
Land breeze
ive a 1924 painting of this ship LT 1296 by G Race and would love to know more of the ship and a long shot the artist
fred webste Fleetwood
Posted:2015 5 20 12:08:39 GMT
Landbreeze was a 94grt steel steam drifter completed in February 1920 by J. Colby at Oulton Broad for the Admiralty (Adty No 4169), and intended for the Royal Navy for various support duties. Dimensions:- 86.2'x18.5'x9.3'. Triple expansion steam engine. 1920 Sold for commercial fishing without a change of name,(Official Number 144783). In 1931 and 1941 she was owned by P.W.Watson & Sons Ltd, Lowestoft LT1296. She presumably survived WW2 as she is not listed as a war loss, but I am afraid, I do not know what eventually became of her.
John Collins Nottage Maritime Institute
Posted:2015 5 20 17:04:07 GMT
George Race
George Race born Sheffield 1872 d 1957 was an untrained painter and true Pierhead Artist, First painting Fishing vessels from Grimsby and from 1908 traveling to Lowestoft for the fishing season and painted steam drifters and trawlers. More can be found in Roger Finch's books The Pierhead Painters & The Ship Painters
Des Pawson Ipswich
Posted:2015 5 27 01:39:30 GMT
Lowestoft England Fishing Trawlers approx 1890's
Hello, I am looking for any information on the Smith Family who had fishing trawlers in Lowestoft in 1890's. Please contact if you have any information. Gary George Smith, Robert Smith (son of owner). There were over 15 boats with the Smith name. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
Gary Smith Vermont