The Society began its life in 1913 at Welwick House, a large establishment which was located on the corner of the site which is now Hillington Square and All Saints’ Street. Welwick House was also the site for Lynn’s first museum founded in 1844 by members of the Lynn Conversazione and Society of Arts who wanted “the establishment of an institution so well calculated to improve the taste of the inhabitants of the town and neighbourhood, and particularly the rising generation; as well as to afford a source of continued amusement and gratification to those persons who had already paid attention to scientific pursuits.”
The museum at Lynn was the second established in Norfolk. Its first home was a hired house in Union Street, subsequently known as “Welwick House,” and “The Armoury”. After an elapse of ten years, larger and more convenient premises were necessary; a part of the Athenaeum admirably supplied the want. Owing to the sale of the premises (1898), the committee approached the Corporation, with the view of obtaining a public building, wherein the valuable collections in the custody of the trustees might be safely housed. The council not only promised a site for a proposed new building, but the adoption of the Museums Act to insure the support of the institution, as soon as £1,000 should be raised by voluntary subscriptions to defray the expense of its erection. At this juncture, the Union chapel, Market Street, which originally cost over £4,000, was secured for £1,600. After a further outlay of £1,400, this eligible property was adapted for the purpose. The “Museum and Art Gallery” was opened by Sir W. H. B. Ffolkes, bart., on the 14th of April 1904.
Taken from The History of the Borough of King’s Lynn by Henry J Hillen
Oil Painting: ‘The Union Baptist Chapel’ by Henry Baines. The building shown is now the Lynn Museum, and the view is from the direction of Baxters Plain, showing the rear of the Atheneum on the right, the conservatory and side of Paradise House, and the front of the Union Baptist Chapel, probably soon after it was built in 1859. Also in the picture are six figures showing good details of period dress, as well as a flock of sheep being driven to market, and street paving being laid.
From the census of 1881 it appears that Welwick House was used for Welwick House Ladies School.