Take a trip back in time with new Beccles Facebook group

Bob Cossey and Matt Gooch (glasses) have set up a facebook page called Views of Old Beccles.

Bob Cossey and Matt Gooch (glasses) have set up a facebook page called Views of Old Beccles. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Taking a trip down memory lane often leads to hours of reminiscing and searching through photo albums.

New Market, Beccles

New Market, Beccles - Credit: Archant

And that is exactly what happened following the launch of an online group calling for photographs of days gone by in Beccles and the surrounding area.

The Views of Old Beccles Facebook page was set up a year ago by Bob Cossey and his ex wife Claire and now has over 2,000 members posting on a daily basis.

As well as sharing old snaps and tales, the group has sparked new friendships, reunited school pals, and even has members as far away as Australia.

Growing up in Beccles, Mr Cossey’s father Barry, known as Lew, was a postman and antiques dealer, and later turned his interest to collecting postcards. He now owns around 2,000 of Beccles, and has passed his passion for history onto his son.

New Market, Beccles

New Market, Beccles - Credit: Archant

Mr Cossey, 42, who works for Anglian Water, said: “I’ve been brought up looking at old pictures and looking at how things have changed and I find it all really interesting.

“When we set up the group we thought it might get a bit of support. It was going for about a year and then all of a sudden people started posting.

Most Read

“Before Christmas we had about 100 members and now we have got over 2,000.

“For a little town it has gathered a lot of interest. I think people just really love reminiscing.”

Exchange Square, Beccles

Exchange Square, Beccles - Credit: Archant

Mr Cossey monitors the page with his friend Matt Gooch, and said it is open to anyone to join.

“The group belongs to the people of Beccles, Matt and I just keep an eye on it,” he said.

“I have been really pleased with how people have been behaving on there and the stuff they have been sharing is great.

“There are thousands of people out there with their own personal pictures and people have been posting them left, right and centre.

“It is nice for the kids because they get to see parts of Beccles they have never experienced, it is nice for older people to reminisce and it’s nice for everyone in between to just have a look. It stimulates memories and gets people talking.”

And Mr Cossey has even managed to get his 76-year-old dad, who still lives in Beccles, to join Facebook and be a part of the group.

“He’s not exactly computer literate and he had always been against the Internet but since he has retired I’ve managed to get him on a computer. “Curiosity got the better of him and now he is a member of the group and is seeing photographs he has never seen before, despite living here all his life.”

The page has also revealed some surprises for Mr Cossey, who noticed photos had been posted of his great grandfather who ran a basket shop in the Old Market, along with photographs of places that have long been forgotten, bricked up or turned into shops and houses.

“We have had some brilliant comments from people about the group and there has even been talk of organising an event so we can all meet up,” said Mr Cossey.

The photos on these pages came from a set of glass negatives Mr Cossey’s father recently bought and had developed, showing black and white views of the town from around the 1920s and 30s. The full collection includes shots of Beccles Gaol being knocked down, the town in thick snow and carnival processions.