As important in the Middle Ages as Liverpool was to become in the Industrial Revolution, Lynn (as in local parlance) was a major English port and market town for centuries, with access to ten counties through the Great Ouse and its tributaries. Aptly described as 'The Warehouse on the Wash', it maintained its position until the railways robbed the port of much of its river and coastal traffic in the 1840s and 1850s. Though the railways and docks together brought about a degree of industrialization up to 1945, Lynn did not experience rapid expansion until the 1960s and 1970s, with people and industries arriving from London. Since 2000 there has also been significant regeneration of the riverside. In 2005, Lynn became the first English town to join the New Hanseatic League of European cities.
Paul Richards FSA, DL was born and bred in King's Lynn and studied for both BA and PhD degrees in History at Birmingham University followed by teacher training at Nottingham. Paul taught in further and higher education at the College of West Anglia. He has been a part-time tutor for the WEA, Open University and university extra departments. He was a borough councillor (King's Lynn and West Norfolk) and Mayor (1998-2000) before becoming an Honorary Alderman. His History of King's Lynn was published in 1990, and he has written articles on local and regional history for various publications. Amongst several other interests, he is a trustee of True's Yard Fisherfolk Museum, a member of the King's Lynn Festival board and a town guide.