June 19 2013 Latest news:
Dominic Bareham, senior reporter
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Tucked away off a busy Diss road, Beehive Yard seems an inauspicious place for one of the world’s most famous intellectuals to live.
Yet the quiet side street off Denmark Street was once home to Thomas Paine, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, whose book Common Sense became a best seller and provided the political theory behind colonial America’s independence from Great Britain.
The pamphleteer and revolutionary was also actively involved with the French Revolution and wrote the Rights of Man in 1791 to defend the revolution against its critics.
This story is among many fascinating tales told on the audio walk for Diss, which was launched by the Waveney Valley Market Towns Group and representatives from Diss Town Council at the Mere’s Mouth yesterday (Thursday).
Diss was the latest of seven market towns in Waveney, including Beccles, Bungay, Eye, Halesworth, Harleston and Loddon, to launch the audio stream, which can be heard on MP3 players available for hire from the town’s tourist information centre and the Waterfront Inn in Mere Street, but can also be downloaded from the website www.explorewaveneyvalley.com.
The audio features narration and contributions from Diss residents, including Basil Abbott, director of Diss Museum, town councillor Tony Palmer and businessman Pete Gillings.
The walks, created by radio producer Neil Jenkins, are also available for mobile phone apps and internet street maps.
Diss town clerk Deborah Sarson explained the project aimed to encourage tourists to visit all the market towns within the Waveney valley, so if they completed the audio tour of Diss, they might also like to experience the Harleston and Eye tours as well.
She said: “It is about promoting Diss as part of the Waveney valley and promoting the Waveney valley as a whole to draw visitors into the area.”
The town’s mayor Graham Minshull said he learned a lot about the town’s history that he had never known, such as that Denmark Street and Denmark Lane were named after a visit to the town by King Edward VII and his wife Alexandra of Denmark.
He said: “I hope it will make a difference and bring tourists to the town. You can actually do the walk at home or you can come to Diss and learn about the town. It is also an opportunity to learn about the other towns in the Waveney valley so if somebody completes the Diss tour the tourist office staff may say, ‘would you like to do the Harleston and Bungay tours as well?’”