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Published by

Great Yarmouth Local history

Archaeological Society
Registered Charity No 277272

Copyright © Great Yarmouth Local History and

Archaeological Society

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or

introduced into a storage system, or transmitted in any form or by any means
(electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without prior written
permission of the publisher.

Every endeavour has been made to trace any copyright that exists on the material in
the book, but often the owner of the copyright is unknown.
If the society has contravened copyright, please accept our apologies and the
publisher will be happy to include a full acknowledgement in any future edition

Printed by RPD Litho Printers, Gorleston, Norfolk

Cover design and layout: Alan Hunt

Monographs Published by the Society

Monograph One:
Excerpt from the Sailor’s Home Logbook 1861 to 1864
Monograph Two:
Record of the Surviving and Legible Memorial Slabs in
St. Nicholas’ Church, Great Yarmouth at the Commencement of the
Restoration Work: 2nd June 1957
Monograph Three:
Little Yarmouth
Monograph Four:
Homocea: YH 573: A Diary of the
Autumn Herring Fishing Season: 1908
Monograph Five: Photographs of Great Yarmouth taken between 1942 and 1944

in and around

by Alan Hunt
Paul P. Davies

Edited by Margaret Gooch and Paul Davies

Great Yarmouth Local History and

Archaeological Society

Plaque Plaque Author

1 The Zeppelin Air Raid of 1915 Paul Davies

2 Sarah Martin Alan Hunt
3 Miles Corbet Alan Hunt
4 Boulter’s Museum Alan Hunt
5 Market Cross Colin Tooke
6 Theatre Royal Alan Hunt
7 Suspension Bridge Disaster Paul Davies
8 Dawson Turner Hugh Sturzaker
9 Wrestlers’ Inn Colin Tooke
10 George Borrow Andrew Fakes
11 The Jetty Paul Davies
12 The Grandstand at Wellesley Road David Tubby
13 William Adams Paul Davies
14 George Rye Andrew Fakes
15 The Augustian Friary Cell Margaret Gooch
16 Sir Astley Cooper Hugh Sturzaker
17 Sam Larner Andrew Fakes
18 Great Yarmouth Beach Station Andrew Fakes
19 E. Lacon and Company Andrew Fakes
20 Great Yarmouth General Hospital Hugh Sturzaker
21 Royal Naval Air Service Margaret Gooch
22 The Sailors’ Home Paul Davies
23 Revd. Forbes Phillips Margaret Gooch
24 South Town Railway Station Andrew Fakes
25 The Ship Inn Paul Davies
26 St. Mary’s Hospital Ann Dunning
27 The Wartime Evacuation of School Children Andrew Fakes
28 Charles John Palmer Paul Davies
29 Sir Astley Cooper’s Apprenticeship Hugh Sturzaker/Paul Davies
30 Thomas Vaughan: Body-snatcher Paul Davies
31 Jan Mark Paul Davies
32 George William Manby Paul Davies
33 Kenneth Hamilton Deane Paul Davies
34 The E. A. School for the Deaf and Partially Sighted Paul Davies
35 George Gilbert Paul Davies
36 Jennie O’Brien Paul Davies
37 Robert Warmington Simon Askins
38 Andrew Lees Derek Leak
39 The Pleasure Beach and the Scenic Railway Alan Hunt
40 The Guildhall Andrew Fakes
41 The Old Dutch Chapel Colin Tooke
42 Charles Pearson Paul Davies
43 Emma Pearson Paul Davies
44 James Alfred Bevan Paul Davies
45 Garwood Burton Palmer Paul Davies
46 William Absolon junior Paul Davies
47 Charles Burton Barber Paul Davies
48 The Haven Bridge Alan Hunt
49 John Sell Cotman Alan Hunt
50 Sir James Paget Hugh Sturzaker

Great Yarmouth Local History
and Archaeological Society

On 25th January 1888, the Great Yarmouth branch of the Norfolk and Norwich
Archaeological Society was formed. On 27th February 1953, the Society became
independent and its name was changed to the Great Yarmouth and District
Archaeological Society. At the Annual General Meeting on 15th May 2009, it was
decided to change the Society’s name to the Great Yarmouth Local History and
Archaeological Society in order to reflect members’ changing interests.

The aims of the Society are: to encourage the study of history and archaeology,
especially in the Great Yarmouth district; and to secure the preservation and
conservation of historic buildings and monuments within the town and district.

Its activities include lectures in the Northgate Room, Central Library, Tolhouse
Street, Great Yarmouth, at 7.30pm, on the third Friday of each month, January to May
and September to December. The lectures are on local and national, historical and
archaeological topics.

At least two excursions are organised each summer, including a coach trip to a place
of interest in East Anglia, and an evening visit to a village or a site.

The Society’s journal is a compilation of articles, written mostly by local people on

mainly local historical and archaeological topics, and is published each autumn.

The Society produces a quarterly newsletter, giving news, articles and notices of
events, which is sent out by email or post.

The Society also erects blue plaques around the district to commemorate buildings
people or events of local interest.

The Committee
2012 – 2013
President: Andrew Fakes
Chairman: Paul Davies
Vice Chairman and Secretary: Margaret Gooch
Treasurer: Derek Leak
Committee Members: Carl Boult, Ann Dunning, Alan Hunt, Peter Jones, David
McDermott, John Smail, James Steward, Michael Wadsworth
and Patricia Wills-Jones


This book records the blue commemorative plaques, which the Great Yarmouth Local
History and Archaeological Society have erected in the Borough. Other plaques,
which are situated around the town, have been included, although these have not been
erected by the Society.

Commemorative plaques are an

excellent way to identify historic
buildings and historical associations,
which might not otherwise be
evident. They appeal to people of all
ages and backgrounds, both to
residents and visitors alike. It is clear
that in the Borough of Great
Yarmouth, the blue plaques have
captured the public imagination and,
perhaps, have increased local pride.

In 1866, London’s blue plaques

scheme was commenced and it is
one of the oldest of its kind in the
world. There are now around 850 Alan Hunt and Andrew Fakes erecting a plaque
plaques in London, whereas Great
Yarmouth and district has a mere 50
(October 2012). Since 1986, the London blue plaques scheme has been administered
by English Heritage. However, English Heritage does not erect plaques outside
Greater London, hence the need for local societies throughout the country to
administer their own schemes and there are now several in operation in England.

The Great Yarmouth Local History and

Archaeological Society’s blue plaque scheme was
commenced in 1981, with a plaque erected on St
Peter’s Plain to commemorate the Zeppelin raid on
the town in 1915. After a hiatus of some years the
number of plaques erected has risen, particularly
over the last four years. Such is the interest in the
scheme that recently the Borough Council
Conservation Department, local individuals and
local businesses have come forward to sponsor the
cost, for which the Society is very grateful, as their
funds are limited.

The Society has chosen a royal blue background

with white lettering for its plaques and tries to
maintain a uniform font. The plaques are now
made of di-bond, which is an aluminium
composite material, suitable for external use. Other
possible materials include ceramic, stone slate,
Plaque unveiling ceremony steel, bronze, brass and cast iron, but most appear
to have a limited life-span and are

During 2011, the Society replaced

the first plaque, which had
deteriorated and had been in place
for 30 years. It is hoped that the
newer di-bond material will last
even longer. However, we have to
contend with sunlight and seaside
atmospheric conditions.

Before a plaque is erected, many

Plaque unveiling ceremony factors have to be taken into
account. These include: the
person, event or building must deserve recognition; the owner of the building must
give consent; if the building is listed or in a conservation area, planning consent may
be necessary; the position of the plaque must be such
that it does not adversely affect the appearance of the
building; it must be visible from the public right of
way; and it must not be in a position where it could be
easily damaged.

The Society is grateful for

the help given by many
people and organisations
over the years. These
include: BBC Radio
Norfolk and Anglia News;
the sponsors of plaques;
the Yarmouth Mercury;
the unveilers, particularly
the Mayors of Great
Yarmouth; Society Barry Coleman, who unveiled
members; and Alan Hunt, at least eleven blue plaques
who has made and erected during his
mayoralty of 2011/12
many of the plaques.

The members of the Great

Paul Davies and a Yarmouth Local History and Archaeological Society are
Mercury reporter to be congratulated on the erection of so many blue
plaques and it is hoped they will continue with the scheme
for many years.

Paul P. Davies
Chairman of the Great Yarmouth Local History and Archaeological Society

1 The Zeppelin Air Raid of 1915
25 St Peter’s Plain, Great Yarmouth
Unveiled by Barry Coleman (the Mayor) and
introduced by Commander Simon Askins, RN
19th January 2012


This plaque replaced the very first one erected by the Society
on March 25th 1981, which was unveiled by Michael Tuen.
It was hoped that this would be the first of a series of such
plaques erected in Great Yarmouth and its surrounds.

Great Yarmouth had the distinction of being the first place to

be bombed from the air, when a German Zeppelin dropped
bombs on St. Peters Plain on the 19th January 1915. The
Zeppelin was flying low and was thought to have followed a
train into Great Yarmouth’s Beach Station. It dropped nine
bombs around the town.

The scene in St. Peter’s Plain

was one of considerable ruin.
Windows were blown out
and walls and woodwork
shattered in all directions and
the roadway covered with
considerable debris. At the
head of a passage the remains
of Miss Martha Taylor were
found. Her body was
shockingly mangled and most
of her clothes had been torn
off. There was a large wound
in the lower part of her body.
Part of one of her arms was
torn off and lay in the road Martha Taylor
Samuel Smith
near her. The other victim, Samuel Smith, had been standing near her and was also
killed. A good part of his head had been torn away and was lying in a pool of blood.

Following the raid, Dr. Leonard Ley performed the first ever operation in the world
on an air raid casualty. Ley removed a bomb splinter from a soldier’s breastbone and
used it as a tiepin for many years.

Paul Davies

Samuel Smith’s
grave in the New

Martha Taylor’s
grave in Great
Yarmouth Cemetery,

Michael Tuen erecting the

first plaque in March 1981 with, from
left to right: Mrs. Wanstall, Miss Clark
(occupiers of the house) and
Diane Bayfield

The previous worn plaque

The aftermath of the raid at St. Peter’s Plain

2 Sarah Martin
Prison Visitor and Philanthropist
12 Beach Road, Caister-on-Sea
Unveiled: early 1990s


Sarah Martin was born in Caister in

1791. Her father was a village tradesman,
who died when Sarah was very young.
Her mother died when Sarah was eleven
and she went to live with her
grandmother, a glove and bonnet maker
and a devout Christian, who lived in
Beach Road in Caister. Sarah attended
the village dame school and in 1805
trained as a seamstress with a local
dressmaker. After this initial training,
sewing became her major source of
income for the rest of her life. By the age
of 18 years, Sarah had set up her own
business as a seamstress.

She taught children at Sunday School,

became a visitor at the workhouse and
devoted a day each week to teaching
children of the destitute. She also helped
to instruct young silk factory girls in
reading and writing at an evening school
at St. Nicholas’ Church. In 1819, Sarah
first visited a prisoner at the Tolhouse
and was soon visiting prisoners regularly,
walking from Caister. She read to
prisoners from the Bible and taught the
male prisoners to make straw hats and Sarah Martin preaching in Great Yarmouth
caps, and how to carve spoons, seals and Gaol
apple scoops from mutton bones. Her aim
was to make employment a privilege and to be kept
idle a punishment. She was not content with just
helping prisoners in the gaol, but continued to help
them after their release; finding accommodation, work
and clothing for them.

In 1840, a small legacy from her grandmother enabled

her to move to rooms in Row 57 in Great Yarmouth,
where at night she maintained her prison journal. In
1841, well-wishers raised a testimonial to provide her,
much against her will, with £12 per annum as a
supplement to her income.

By 1842, Sarah’s devotion to others had taken its toll

and her health began to suffer. She continued with her
work, but by the spring of 1843 she was seriously ill
and she died on the 15th October. She was buried next Sarah Martin’s grave in
to her mother in the churchyard at Caister. Caister Churchyard

Alan Hunt.

Sarah Martin teaching at Great Yarmouth Gaol

3 Miles Corbet’s House
English Politician and Regicide, 1595-1662
68 Market Place, Great Yarmouth
Sponsored by G and G Butchers (Graham Sinclair and Gordon Andrew)
Erected 8th May 1986


Miles Corbet was the second son of Sir John

Corbet, a Norfolk baronet. Miles was elected
the Recorder of Great Yarmouth in 1625 on the
condition that he lived in the borough. He was
elected the Town Clerk from 1631 and the
Member of Parliament for Great Yarmouth
from 1640 to 1653. He lived in a house on the
east side of the Market Place. In the Parliament
of 1628, he was appointed to the High Court of

During the English Civil War, Great Yarmouth

supported the Parliamentary cause. Corbet was
a lawyer to and a personal friend of Oliver
Cromwell, who was a frequent guest of John
Carter (commander of the militia in the town)
at 4 South Quay. Discussions are believed to
have taken place concerning the execution of
Charles I in this room (illustrated) at 4 South
Miles Corbett
Quay in 1648. Corbet was one of the judges at
the trial of King Charles I in 1649 and was the
last signatory on the King’s death warrant. King Charles I was executed in Whitehall
on 30th January, 1649.

At the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660, Great Yarmouth Corporation was purged
of Parliamentarians. Corbet escaped to Amsterdam and, with his companions,
Barkestead and Okey, fellow regicides, moved on to Rotterdam in an attempt to
rescue their families. However, they were betrayed by Sir George Downing, the
ambassador, who had formerly supported the Parliamentarians. They were captured at
Delft, brought to England, tried and condemned to death. They were hung, drawn and
quartered at Tyburn on 19th April 1662. Pepys recorded in his diary that he saw them
in Aldgate being taken to their execution and that they looked very cheerful. He heard
that they had died defending what they had done to the former King, which Pepys
found to be strange.

Alan Hunt

Death Warrant for Charles I. Last signature being that of Miles Corbett

Graham Sinclair and Gordon Andrew

The owners and restorers of
Miles Corbet’s house 4 South Quay
4 Boulter’s Museum
Row 38, Market Place, Great Yarmouth
Erected 20th March 1987
Replaced an earlier plaque, which had become worn


Daniel Boulter was born in Worsted, Norfolk. In 1740, he bought a shop at 19 Market
Place, Great Yarmouth. In 1777, he turned it into a goldsmith’s and jewellery shop.
In 1778, he opened a museum somewhere behind the shop, which had over 5,000
specimens of natural history and antiquities, including foreign birds, insects, rare
plants, ancient enamels, china, delft ware, ancient weapons of war, old monastic and
other seals, watches, rings, amulets, English coins and medals, and rare old prints,
including a large collection of
engraved portraits, all of which had
taken him some 20 years to amass.
Local people, including Sir Astley
Cooper, the eminent surgeon,
made donations to the museum.

In 1794, he sold his shop to his

brother, Joseph, and his museum
was taken over by his nephew,
John. The shop was sold in 1802
and the contents of the museum
were disposed of at auction. Daniel
Boulter died in 1802 and was
interred in the Friends’ Burial
Ground in Great Yarmouth.

A copper cupola, which could be

viewed from the adjacent row, was
demolished in 1927 by Mr. James
Hogg. During the demolition work, Boulter’s Museum token
a lead tablet was found, securely Courtesy of Peter Jones

fastened to a block supporting the cupola, which stated that the cupola had been
erected over the museum by J. Boulter. (The peace referred to on the tablet was the
Treaty of Amiens, 27th March 1802, between England, France, Spain and Holland).

Alan Hunt

Boulter’s Museum ticket

Shows the interior of the museum

5 The Market Cross, Market Place, Great Yarmouth
Laid 8th June 1993
Sponsored by Great Yarmouth Borough Council

The origin of the Market Cross goes back to early medieval times, when the church
had a great influence upon the lives of the people. The cross was erected for two
purposes; firstly to mark the meeting place of religious assemblies and, secondly, to
stand as a Christian witness at a centre where secular business and trading were

From the cross, wrong-doers were denounced, kings and queens were proclaimed and
all other national and local news was disseminated to the public by the town crier.

When the Market Place was partly paved in 1385, it is recorded that an old market
cross was removed and a new one erected. To warn evildoers, a pillory was placed
near the cross. The term market cross is somewhat confusing, for it was often a small
building, open on all sides and similar in construction to a bandstand surmounted by a

Following the Reformation in the 16th century, the market cross took on a purely
secular aspect. The cross was covered by a roof and thereby provided covered
accommodation, the forerunner of the later market halls and the corn halls.

Great Yarmouth Market was completely paved for the first time in 1650. In 1729,
what was to be the last cross was erected, circular in shape, which remained a focal
point of town-life until 1836.

The last market cross was demolished in 1836 to the gratification of the residents of
the Market Place, to whom it had been the source of annoyance, as it had become a
rendezvous for idle and dissolute persons. The Norwich Mercury reported in July that
year, that it had been sold by public tender for £55 6s. 0d. The stone plaque, made by
stonemason, Colin Smith, was laid in place on the site of the market cross, by Great
Yarmouth Local History and Archaeological Society, to replace the granite sets that
had marked the site, and which had been removed.

A time capsule, which was, in fact, a sweet jar inserted into a specially provided
metal tube, was placed under the plaque. The contents of this historic reminder
included: a Great Yarmouth 1993 holiday guide, the port handbook, copies of the
Society’s journals, a College of Further Education prospectus, leaflets and railway
timetables, a Broads leaflet, a Great Yarmouth week’s programme of events, a
Sainsbury’s price list, and a leaflet on the parish church. The items were chosen to
try to give a picture of life in Great Yarmouth in 1993. The Society thanked the
Borough Council architect’s department for its help in providing a special container
for the capsule and for laying the plaque.

Colin Tooke

Placing the time capsule

Left: Barry Shulver

(Senior Architect to the
Borough Council)

Centre: Colin Smith

Right: Colin Tooke

Courtesy of Archant Press

The Site of the Theatre Royal
Theatre Plain, Great Yarmouth
Erected 1996


The Theatre Royal, Great Yarmouth, was constructed in 1778 and opened on 4th
December 1778. The theatre was rebuilt in 1820 and renamed and redecorated in

In 1888 the theatre was in a poor state of repair and was put up for sale. It was
purchased for £1,200 by J. W. Nightingale, who owned several hotels and
entertainment establishments in Great Yarmouth.

In 1892, the Theatre Royal was extensively altered by the renowned theatre architect,
Frank Matcham. The
newspaper, ERA, reported on
the theatre’s reconstruction in
their 20th February 1892
edition stating: extensive
alterations and additions are
being carried out. New exits
have been made from all parts
of the theatre. The ground
floor will he fitted up with
stalls with upholstered seats,
and from here two separate
exits to the side streets are
made. The dress circle has Theatre Royal. Courtesy of Colin Tooke
now two separate exits. The
upper circle has been greatly
enlarged, and a wide promenade added, with retiring rooms and new saloons; this
circle has now two separate exits. The gallery seating has been rearranged, and this
part of the auditorium has been supplied with two separate exits. The principal
structural alterations are near the stage end of the building, where four new shops

have been erected. New dressing rooms and
property rooms have been built and every
convenience for the artists has been provided.
A new pay office and manager’s room have
been built at one side of the vestibule and a
refreshment saloon at the other. Hydrants are
to be fitted up and the theatre will be entirely
redecorated, the ceiling being panelled with
mouldings and rich scrolled ornaments. The
fronts of the circles and gallery are to be
ornamented with raised fibrous plaster
enrichments and two new draped entrances to
the stalls are to be formed under circular
fronted and canopied private boxes,
handsomely decorated. The present side entry
doors in the proscenium will be ornamented
with mouldings, scrolls, etc. and draped with
plush. A new act drop and plush tableau
curtains will he hung. The gas arrangements
and fittings will be rearranged and the whole
of the auditorium and entrances artistically The Regal. Courtesy of Peter Jones
decorated and upholstered. The work is being
pushed on rapidly and will be finished in a
few weeks.

With declining audiences, the

theatre limited its opening hours. Its
end came in 1929, when it was
finally closed. It was demolished in
1933. It was one of a few 18th
century theatres left in the country.
A cinema, the Regal, capable of
seating 1,500 people and with stage
facilities was erected on the site and
opened in 1934.

The Regal was taken over by Union

Cinemas in 1936 and from 1937 it
was run by the Associated British
Theatre Royal interior Cinemas and was renamed the ABC
in 1961. By the late 1980s the
establishment was run by Cannon Cinemas. Many pop groups appeared on its stage,
including the Beatles (twice in 1963) and the Rolling Stones. It closed in 1988 and
shops were constructed on the site the following year.

Alan Hunt

7 The Site of the Suspension Bridge Disaster
Placed on the White Swan Public House, 1 North Quay,
Great Yarmouth
Unveiled by the Revd. James Steward and introduced by Paul Davies
24th October 2011


This plaque replaces one erected on the flood wall of the River Bure along the North
Quay, which was stolen. It had been unveiled on 1st April 2008 by Revd. Michael

The suspension bridge stood at the site of the road bridge over the River Bure. Nelson
the clown from Cooke’s Circus was performing in the town at the time and he was to
appear in the afternoon of 2nd May 1845, on the River Bure, in a washtub being
towed by four geese. The bridge afforded a good view of the event and over 400
people crowded onto its southern side to watch. The weight was thrown onto one of
the suspension chains, a link of which was later discovered to have been imperfectly
welded. The chain parted, propelling the watching
crowd on the bridge into the River Bure. Seventy-nine
people were drowned of whom nearly 40 were
children of less than 12 years of age.

Robert Cory junior had the right of ferryage over the

river and obtained the right, by Act of Parliament, to
replace the ferry with a bridge for access to his land.
The suspension bridge was built by Geoffrey Goddard
and was opened in 1829. It was not equipped to take
the weight of the crowd, and the coroner blamed the
disaster on poor workmanship when the bridge was

The Vicar of Great Yarmouth, the Revd. Henry

MacKenzie, believed that the disaster was a
judgement on people’s sins and asked for atonement Revd. Henry MacKenzie
from the town, resulting in funds being raised for the
restoration of St. Nicholas’ Church. It had been noted that many of the victims were
very poor and there was a desire to improve the lot of those who were impoverished.
As a result, after Mackenzie had persuaded the Dean and Chapter of Norwich to
consent to the renovation of the disused and dilapidated priory, the Priory School was
founded there to provide education for children living in the nearby deprived area.

Paul Davies

The fall of the Suspension Bridge

The funeral service in

St. Nicholas’ Church

8 Dawson Turner FRS
15 Hall Quay, Great Yarmouth
Erected: 1996


Dawson Turner was firstly educated at the North Walsham Grammar School and then
privately with the Revd. Robert Forby of Barton, who developed Turner’s interest in
botany. In 1792, he entered Pembroke College, Cambridge, where his uncle was the
Master, but he left two years later on the death of his father. His father, James, had
set up the Yarmouth and Suffolk Bank
in 1781, by entering into partnership
with three Gurney brothers, who were
members of one of the leading Quaker
families. They had made their money
out of the woollen and worsted trade.

Dawson took over his father’s position

in the Great Yarmouth Bank, which was
based in South Quay and he lived above
the bank. He married Mary Palgrave in
1796 and between then they had eleven
children, three of whom did not survive

In spite of his banking business Turner

continued his interest in botany,
collecting specimens and writing about
them. He became a Fellow of the
Linnaeus Society in 1797 and a Fellow
of the Royal Society in 1802.
Turner amassed a great collection of
paintings by the old masters and was
patron of many of the Norwich School
of Artists, such as John Crome and John
Dawson Turner Sell Cotman, who taught his wife and
daughters to draw and paint. He had a vast collection of books and manuscripts and
wrote of his travels in Europe, particularly Normandy. In addition, he was a
magistrate for Norfolk and Suffolk.

His children were intelligent and followed his example of working hard. His
daughters were accomplished artists and married eminent men. His sons were
successful in their respective spheres.

After his wife died in 1850, Dawson married Rosamund Duff in Gretna Green. This
upset many of his family and friends and he went to live in Barnes, South London.
His finances became strained and he had to sell many of his paintings and books. He
remained a director of the bank until his death. His house continues to house a bank,
which is now run by Barclays.

Hugh Sturzaker

Bank House c1830

9 The Wrestlers’ Inn
Visited by Admiral Nelson
7 Church Plain, Great Yarmouth
Erected 2000

510mm x 660mm

Nelson’s first visit to Great Yarmouth in 1800, came two years after his success at the
Battle of the Nile, the most decisive victory of his career; where he totally destroyed
the French fleet. For most of the next two years he remained in Naples, staying with
the British Envoy, Sir William Hamilton and his wife, Emma, until recalled home in
July 1800. For the next three months Nelson and the Hamiltons journeyed across
Europe, until they eventually sailed from
Cuxhaven in the mail packet, King George, en
route to Great Yarmouth, arriving to a
tumultuous welcome on 6th November 1800.

The King George landed somewhere on the

Gorleston side of the river, where the party
was officially received by the Mayor, Samuel
Barker, and members of the Corporation. A
procession of horse-drawn carriages
proceeded along, what was then, the
Southtown Turnpike to Haven Bridge, where
it was reported that the horses were taken out
of Nelson’s coach and the townsfolk took
over, pulling the carriage by manpower to
Church Plain and the Wrestlers’ Inn, which at
that time was the town’s principal hostelry.

Soon after arrival at the Wrestlers’ Inn, Lord

Nelson made an appearance at an open window to address the vast crowd that had
gathered to welcome the Hero of the Nile, and told them, I am myself a Norfolk man
and I glory in being so. After this appearance, the Mayor and Corporation presented
Nelson with the Freedom of the Borough at a reception attended by many of the
principal inhabitants of the town.
The following day, Nelson attended a service in St. Nicholas’ Parish Church
conducted by the Revd. Turner, giving thanksgiving for his safe return to England. As
the party entered the church, the organ played, See the Conquering Hero Comes. In
the evening, Nelson was entertained by the Mayor at his house in King Street and,
before leaving, he gave the Mayor £50, for the necessitous poor of the town.

On the right.: The Wrestlers’ Inn.. Courtesy of Colin Tooke

On 8th November 1800, Nelson left the town bound for London. He was escorted to
the Borough boundary by the Yeoman Cavalry under the command of Captain Lacon.
Before his departure, the landlady of the Wrestlers’ Inn, Mrs Suckling, requested
permission to re-name the establishment, The Nelson Arms. That would be absurd
said Nelson, seeing that I only have one, and the name, The Nelson Hotel was
suggested as an alternative.

The Wrestlers’ Inn was originally much larger than the public house of today. It was
an inn in the 17th century and, by 1743, it was taken over by Job Smith and thereafter
it was considered to be town’s superior inn. The name, The Nelson Hotel, only lasted
until 1836, when it reverted to its original name. The building was damaged by
bombing in 1942 and later rebuilt by Lacon’s Brewery in its original style. In 1992,
its name was changed to Hardy’s, but in 1997, it reverted again to the Wrestlers’ Inn.

Colin Tooke

10 George Borrow
38 Camperdown, Great Yarmouth
Unveiled and introduced by Dr. Ann Ridler of the George Borrow Society
October 2003


George Borrow was born in 1803 to a

military family in East Dereham,
which frequently moved around the
country and this set the pattern of his
life as a contradictory and restless
soul. He was unusually tall and strong,
as well as a good horseman and
swimmer but, he was at times, subject
to depression. He was an egotist, but
was shy, cold and rude with the upper
classes, but generally got on well with
servants, workers and gypsies. He was
gifted as a linguist and had knowledge
of 16 languages, which prompted the
gypsy community to give him the
title, Lavengro, which meant, Word

George Borrow had intended to enter

the legal profession, but he gave this
up in 1824 to become a writer, which
at first brought him little fame or
money. He later worked for the
British and Foreign Bible Society,
which enabled him to travel widely in
Europe. This was an ideal vehicle for
his passion, communication skills and
enthusiasm. It also brought him George Borrow

success as a writer, when his book, The Bible in Spain, was published in 1843. He
went on to write Lavengro in 1851 and Romany Rye in 1857, both about gypsy life
and his travels. These were not universally popular with Victorians, as it was felt that
they were not entirely factual. However, the naturalistic writing style is the basis of
Borrow’s literary reputation today.

Borrow travelled widely in Britain, writing and translating, but was always an
outsider in respectable Victorian society. He spent time in Great Yarmouth staying in
Camperdown Place, at 169 King Street and at 24-25 Trafalgar Road. Being beside
the sea he could indulge his love of swimming, rarely missing a day throughout the
year, and it is recorded, that he was responsible for a daring lifesaving exploit in the
high seas.

His later life was clouded by the death of his wife, Mary, in 1869 and he died alone in
Oulton Broad in 1881.

Borrow still has a broad following today and there is a George Borrow Society, which
prompted the Great Yarmouth Local History and Archaeological Society to place a
plaque in Camperdown, where he had lived. A dozen members of the George Borrow
Society travelled to Great Yarmouth for the occasion. The plaque was unveiled in
October 2003, by Dr Ann Ridler, OBE, the Oxford poet, anthologist, and librettist.

George Borrow’s most famous phrase was adopted by the Norwich Union Insurance
Company in an advertising campaign, before it took on the title of Aviva. This was,
Norwich, a fine city.

Andrew Fakes

In 2009, a plaque was placed, privately, on

Fjaerland, 24-25 Trafalgar Road, Great Yarmouth.
Borrow also resided in this house for a period of

The Jetty
11 Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth
Placed on the site of the Jetty, which was demolished in 2011
Unveiled by Colleen Walker (the Mayor) and introduced by
Chris Brett, of the Nelson Society
Sponsored by Great Yarmouth Borough Council
4th July 2012


Campaigners had battled to save the dilapidated jetty, but it was demolished in 2011,
after Great Yarmouth Borough Council failed to fund its repair at a cost of £350,000.
It is hoped that the memory of Great Yarmouth’s historic jetty, which was used by
Lord Nelson, will live on, after the plaque marking its spot on the seafront was

The plaque stands at the point where the jetty began and looks out over the stretch of
beach, where it stood. Before the plaque was unveiled Chris Brett, of the Nelson
Society, recounted Nelson’s historic
links with the town. Chris Brett also
encouraged the assembled
councillors, including the cabinet
member for tourism, to do more to
promote Great Yarmouth’s important
history. He said: I think we could
capitalise a lot more on the history of
this town and I encourage you to do
that. Mrs. Walker, who was born and
brought up in Great Yarmouth,
admitted it was sad that the jetty had
gone but hoped that the lectern would
Yarmouth Jetty by John Butcher 1736-1803 keep Great Yarmouth’s important
Courtesy of Norfolk Museums and Archaeology
Service heritage alive for visitors and
residents alike.

Great Yarmouth Jetty was originally
constructed in 1560 as a place to land
fish and import and export goods. At
the time the town was a major trading
and fishing port and the harbour was
continually silting up, forcing new
outlets to the sea to be cut.

The jetty, which in the early days had a

crane at the east end, provided a
reliable means of loading and
unloading boats. It was rebuilt in
1701, but 100 feet of it was swept At the unveiling. Left: Chris Brett
Second right : Colleen Walker
away in 1767 and more carried away
by a storm in 1791. The entire structure
was nearly destroyed by a storm in
1805. It was rebuilt, without a crane in 1809, was lengthened in 1846 and again in
1870. A glass roof was added in 1927, which was then declared unsafe and removed
in 1959. In 1961, the timber structure was entirely replaced with a metal version.
None of the original timbers of the jetty survive, with the possible exception of the
timber piles.

In 1801, Nelson embarked from the

jetty to sail with the fleet to the
Battle of Copenhagen. He
disembarked at the jetty after the
battle to visit the wounded at the
nearby Hospital for the Sick and
Wounded of the Army and Navy.

During the Napoleonic Wars, the

fleet was frequently assembled in
Yarmouth Roads’ sheltered waters,
because ships were too large to enter
the harbour and would be too
vulnerable to attack there. Officers,
men and stores were transported to and from their ships from the jetty. In 1813 King
William III landed at the jetty, when attempting to raise Dutch troops to oppose
Napoleon Bonaparte.

The jetty has also been used in 20th century wars and there was a small gun
emplacement with two Bren guns at the end of the jetty during the Second World
War. During the war the structure was partially demolished to prevent it being used
by potential invaders.

The Jetty has been a favourite subject for artists including John Constable and
painters of the Norwich School.

Paul Davies

12 The Grandstand at Wellesley Recreation Ground
The oldest football grandstand in the country
Sandown Road, Great Yarmouth
Unveiled by David Tubby and Brian Smith (Secretary of the
Great Yarmouth Football Club)
30th July 2004


The Wellesley Recreation Ground was officially opened on 6th August 1888. Initially
temporary grandstands or marquees were
erected, when required, for important
sporting occasions, but it was soon
recognized that there was a need for a
permanent grandstand on the east side of
the ground, from which to view the

A strip of land measuring 25 feet by 135

feet was added to the recreation ground
from the vacant plots facing Marine
Parade to accommodate the building of David Tubby on the left at the unveiling
the grandstand away from the track.

On 26th June 1890, the Borough Surveyor was instructed by the Recreation
Committee to draw plans for a permanent grandstand.

In September 1891, the Recreation Committee recommended the erection of a

grandstand, dressing room and refreshment pavilion at an estimated cost of £1,000.
The tender was won by a local builder, Mr. A. E. Bond of Saxon Place, Albion Road,
with the sum of £1,015. The grandstand was opened on Whit Monday, 11th June
1892, when a combined athletic and cycle sports meeting was held, attended by a
crowd of 4,200. A few months later, the Yarmouth Mercury in its report on the
August Bank Holiday sports, described the grandstand as: perhaps the finest in East

This grandstand is still in
use and is thought to be
the oldest football
grandstand in Great

In December 1999, after

completing his History of
the Wellesley Recreation
Ground, David Tubby
The Grandstand wrote to the Department
of Culture, Media and
Sport, applying for listed
status for the Victorian Grandstand, the Bowls Pavilion and the Gatehouse.

Further letters in support of his application were sent by both the Great Yarmouth
Archaeological Society and David Holland, a supporter of the Great Yarmouth Town
Football Club. The application was referred to English Heritage for consideration and
they commissioned a surveyor to inspect the buildings and to draw up a report.

On 2nd May 2000, David Tubby received a letter from the department stating that the
Secretary of State had decided to list the buildings. They were judged to be buildings
of special architectural and historic interest and added to the list as Grade II listed
buildings. The listing schedule includes a full description of all three buildings. The
description of the grandstand is of particular interest, and is included below.
Football Grandstand 1891-92 by J. W. Cockrill, the Borough Engineer. Brick ground floor with
timber superstructure, asbestos clad roof of 1953.

EXTERIOR: west elevation of 12 bays of canopy above brick ground floor. Ground floor with
central brick and concrete steps flanked by one canted bay window right and left, each bay with
half-glazed double doors and 3 paned fixed windows. 9 cast iron windows at intervals, those either
side of south canted bay circular, the remainder oval. Brickwork with square billet ornament at top.
Superstructure in the form of an open grandstand with raking terrace platform. 12 open bays
defined by square timber posts with feathered chamfers and with moulded capitals and stopped
Each post with passing brace to east and 3 scolled braces in other directions. Scalloped and pierced
fascia board. Central gable with elliptical insert with decoratively pierced tympanum.
Gable heads each with decoratively pierced semi-elliptical boarding. Rear (east) elevation consists
of 12 bays of twin round-headed lancets with flat buttresses between each pair. Common string
course. Grandstand stage with braced timber panels.

Clock of 1896 by E. Green of Yarmouth. North and South returns with double timber doors to the
ground floor under 5 vaned fanlights and 2 segmental openings above, those to the west open, to
the east with timber panelling below 5 vaned fanlights.

INTERIOR: grandstand with roof of 13 king-post trusses and diagonal horizontal braces between
the posts. Ground floor with timber-lined changing rooms, showers and toilets. Longitudinal
passage running between doors in gable ends, on west side of which are cast iron columns.

David Tubby

13 William Adams
199 Bells Road, Gorleston
Unveiled and introduced by Graham Adams, Doreen Beckett and Stewart Adams
(grandson, granddaughter and great great grandson of William Adams)
28th May 2004


William Adams, a famous lifesaver, is

recorded as having saved 140 lives from
drowning off Gorleston beach. William
Adams was a father of six sons, all of
whom were excellent swimmers. His
father, Abel Adams, was a Trinity House

After leaving school, William Adams

worked for a short time as a tin-plate
worker in Gorleston. By 1882, Mr. Capps
had introduced the first bathing huts on
Gorleston beach and it is thought that
Adams worked for him as an assistant. In
1891, William Adams started his own
bathing machine business on the
Gorleston beach.

Adams also gave swimming instruction.

He coached some of the best swimmers of
the age and also provided tuition to local
schools and clubs.

In 1875, at the age of 11 years, Adams

performed his first rescue, when a girl fell William Adams
off the South Pier at Gorleston. He
immediately dived into the
sea and dragged the girl to
the beach. Over the years
he saved many more lives.

On one occasion when a

swimmer was in danger of
drowning the man’s friend
set out to save him, but
unfortunately he also got
into difficulties. William
Adams swam out and
brought them, both at
once, safely to shore.
Gorleston Beach in 1909
Adams became known as

the Hero of Gorleston

Pier for saving lives and
as Professor Adams for
the expert swimming
tuition he provided. He
received many awards
from the Royal Humane
Society and he was
recognised by the
Carnegie Hero Fund. He
was buried in the
churchyard at St.
Andrew’s Church,
Gorleston. His name is
commemorated in a local Gorleston Beach
road, William Adams
Way, which links the
junction of Beccles and Southtown Roads with the Western Bypass of the town.

Paul Davies

Stewart Adams and

his great great

14 George Rye
Archaeologist and Local Historian
29 Crown Road, Great Yarmouth
Sponsored by Scott Walden
20th April 2006

George Rye, of Crown Road, was a retired tobacconist, who ran a seafront shop at 39
Marine Parade, and was a true old Yarmouthian. He enriched others with his
knowledge of the area’s history, through talks and writings.

After retirement from his business, George Rye took a keen interest in archaeology,
gaining his experience by working at sites
throughout the country with well-known names in
the profession, such as Mortimer Wheeler. Although
an amateur, he became known and respected by
professionals countrywide.

Rye put his knowledge to good use in Great

Yarmouth by excavating many sites, throughout the
1960s and 1970s, often single-handed. His work
included discovering the exact location of the
Blackfriars’ Church, during work on the Friars’
Lane Fire Station. He also excavated the site of the
Barge Inn on Hall Quay, the site of the Midsands
Cross, the sites of Rows 11 and 13 and many other

His interest in local history included active

membership of many societies. He served on the
Council of the Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological
Society. As a member of the Historical Buildings
Company, he played a prominent role during the
unsuccessful battle to save Drury House on South
George Rye
Quay in the late 1950’s.

George Rye was a man of enormous energy and enthusiasm and he involved himself
with many aspects of Great Yarmouth life. He was largely responsible with his
friends, Ted Goate and Percy Trett, and for the revival of Great Yarmouth and
District Archaeological Society in the 1950s and 1960s.

For ten years, between 1962-1972, Rye was the Secretary of the Great Yarmouth
Archaeological Society and helped and encouraged many people to appreciate their
local heritage. He also served as the President of the Society from 1978 to 1980. In
1968 he introduced the Society’s Bulletin, which was replaced, after 56 issues, by the
Newsletter in 1974.

The latest of many articles he wrote for journals was an in-depth study of Great
Yarmouth’s military history.

Rye became ill while playing snooker at the Great Yarmouth Conservative Club and
died at the age of 83 years.

Andrew Fakes

The cannon in the Market Place, Great Yarmouth in 1983 with members of the
Great Yarmouth Archaeological Society, who had renovated it.
On 25th February 1982, the Society had excavated the gun from the site of the
Naval Arsenal on Southtown Road. George Rye is second from the left

15 The Augustian Friar Cell
Friends’ Meeting House, Howard Street, Great Yarmouth
Unveiled by Paul Garrod (the Mayor)
5th July 2007


The Friends’ Meeting House was originally constructed as an Austin Friary in 1339,
as a cell, or daughter friary of the Austin Friary at Little Yarmouth, now part of
Gorleston. The order to which the friars belonged
was the order of the Hermit Friars of St.
Augustine. Friars such as the Dominicans,
Carmelites, Franciscans and Austins, were
mendicants, which meant that they did not own
vast estates, like the great abbeys of the order of
the monks, but begged for alms. This building
was probably founded as a base for alms
gathering in Great Yarmouth.

The Austin Friars were founded in Italy in 1223.

In 1267, the Friary at Little Yarmouth or
Southtown, then in Suffolk, was established in an
area bounded by Beccles Road, High Road and
Burnt Lane, when King Henry III granted them
protection. In 1311, William Woderove sold or
donated a plot of land to the Friary. Other
bequests followed.

Austin Friaries were centres of great learning and

the friary at Little Yarmouth had a famous
library. With their superior learning, the friars
were brilliant and popular preachers, which
brought them up against parish priests, who felt An Austin Friar
threatened. Indeed, in Little Yarmouth there was
a dispute between the parish priests of St.
Andrew’s Church, Gorleston and St. Nicholas’ Church, Little Yarmouth, and the

The Friary and its cell were dissolved as part of the suppression of the monasteries in
1536-68. The building at Great Yarmouth was first used as a warehouse, and in 1694,
the Quakers purchased it from Richard Robbins, a grocer, and it became the Friends’
Meeting House, which it has been ever since.

The house was structurally altered in 1807, but it does retain some of the original
stonework. On the south wall, the left jamb and part of the medieval doorway can be
seen from the adjoining row, Row 63, which is called Austin’s Row, popularly known
as Ostend Row. Some of the medieval stonework survives in the cellar.

Margaret Gooch

Friends’ Meeting House

16 Sir Astley Cooper
Surgeon and Anatomist
The Old Vicarage, Church Plain, Great Yarmouth
Unveiled and introduced by Hugh Sturzaker
21st April 2008


Astley Cooper was barn at Brooke near Norwich in 1768 and came to live in the
vicarage at Great Yarmouth, at the age of 13 years, when his father was appointed to
be the vicar of the parish.

Cooper was a very active, fun-loving youngster. One day he climbed up scaffolding
in the church, slipped and was prevented from falling as his legs got caught around
the poles. On another occasion, he
climbed the church steeple with two
pillows and then released the feathers
within them, which blew over the
Market Place. The townspeople thought
it was a sign of impending pestilence.

After being apprenticed to Francis

Turner, the local apothecary and
surgeon, he went to Guy’s Hospital,
London in 1784, where his uncle,
William Cooper, was the senior surgeon.
Cooper was not interested in books and
studying. He continued to play the fool,
until his tutor gave him an arm to
Astley Cooper This started his lifelong interest in
anatomy and he paid body-snatchers to
exhume recently buried bodies, so that
he and his students could dissect them to learn anatomy. He became a lecturer in
anatomy at both St. Thomas’ and Guy’s Hospitals. On the retirement of his uncle,
Cooper was appointed one of the surgeons at Guy’s Hospital.

The Old Vicarage

Cooper wrote about the anatomy of herniae, he discovered

ligaments in the breast, which are named after him, and he
performed operations to tie off aneurysms (which are
dilated arteries) in the
neck, legs and
abdomen. This was
before the days of
anaesthetics and
antibiotics and
amazingly some of
Statue of Cooper in St. these patients survived.
Paul’s Cathedral, London
He was one of the most
successful surgeons of
his day, earning £21,000 a year. He received a
baronetcy for draining an infected cyst on the
scalp of King George IV.

He was the President of the Royal College of

Surgeons in 1827 and again in I836, after it had
been renamed the Royal College of Surgeons of
England. During that time he examined James
Paget in his surgery examinations. Cooper with a skull and
crossed femurs
Cooper died in 1841, at the age of 72 years, and was
buried beneath the Chapel of Guy’s Hospital in London.

Hugh Sturzaker

17 Sam Larner
Folk Singer
Bulmer Cottage, Bulmer Road, Winterton on Sea
Unveiled by Edna Haylett, Sam Larner’s niece and introduced by Ian Prettyman of
the Press Gang and Richard Davies, Singer and Step Dancer and Former Coxswain of
the Sheringham Lifeboat. Members of the East Anglian Traditional Music Trust
In the presence of BBC Look East with John Cranston, Reporter
24th June 2008


Sam Lamer went to sea in 1892 on sailing drifters as a ship’s boy. This proved a hard
life among uncaring and even cruel fishermen, who Sam described as wicked old men,
but he did not spend time feeling sorry for himself and got on with his job.

During these years he heard the songs of fishermen and sailors, which he committed
to memory, along with some music hall songs and ballads. He performed these songs
throughout his life in local pubs and parish concerts. The lyrics of Sam’s songs were
of seafaring, fishing, piracy, lechery and of true and false love. Sam’s wife, Dorcas,
would remind him in some company with the words: no rudery, as many of his songs
were not suitable for all occasions. However, they went down well on herring drifters
and in smoke rooms.

Sam’s relatives, told me of the Larner repertoire. They particularly remembered his
version of the monologue; It was Christmas Day in the Workhouse, which could
reduce the audience to tears, They also recalled him singing, The Bold Princess
Royal, Hail, the Dewey Morning, She Threw Away her Cake and No, Sir. No. The
song they particularly remembered was Butter and Cheese and All.

Sam Lamer was discovered in 1956, when Philip Donnaellan, a BBC producer from
Birmingham, met him in a pub and recorded about 25 of his songs.

Sam’s life story was used by Charles Parker and Ewan McColl in one of their Radio
Ballads about working people. It was broadcast on the BBC Home Service on 16th
August 1960 and was called, Singing the Fishing.

Sam’s words were a large part of the programme, but there was only one example of
his singing.

Andrew Fakes


18 Great Yarmouth Beach Station
Nelson Road North, Great Yarmouth
Unveiled by Terry Easter (the Mayor) and
introduced by Andrew Fakes
28th February 2009 (50 years to the day after the station’s closure)


Around 1875, it was felt that a railway

leading northward from Great
Yarmouth would be good for the town,
as trains on the Norwich to North
Walsham line would prejudice the
future of the Port of Yarmouth.

Sir Edmund Lacon, the Great

Yarmouth Member of Parliament, as
well as being a leading brewer and
banker, took up the cause. The railway
contractors were Messrs. Wilkinson
and Jarvis of Westminster, who were
keen to develop railways in North and
West Norfolk.

Sir Edmund Lacon’s reasons for building a railway northwards from Great Yarmouth
meant that a good transport system would increase the value and rents from the
properties on his principal estate at Ormesby. He hoped that holidaymakers to the
coast and broads might increase, if there was a good transport system, and the fishing
and agricultural trade would also benefit.

There was a horse-drawn coach from Stalham to Great Yarmouth three times a week,
and numerous carriers’ carts left each village for Great Yarmouth several times a
week. A railway service would increase the speed and capacity of local transport and
hopefully provide a profit for its promoters.

Although the Great Eastern Railway and some local landowners objected to the
scheme, the case for it had been made and work began in 1876. The famous flatness
of the land made
building the line easy
and a link between
Great Yarmouth and
Ormesby, was opened
on 7th August 1877, as
the Great Yarmouth and
Stalham Light Railway.

As the line was not

connected to another
railway line, the
logistics of getting
rolling stock to Beach Station was not easy. Two engines were ordered from Messrs.
Fox, Walker and Company of Bristol. The first, which was called Ormesby was
delivered to Hall Quay, Great Yarmouth on 9th May. Getting this to the Great
Yarmouth and Stalham Light
Railway terminus on Nelson Road
North, near the North Mill, drew
crowds of onlookers.

The engine was placed on a piece of

temporary rail and dragged by four
heavy horses the length of the
section, a further length of rail was
added and the used section was
carried in front of the engine and so
on. Thus, Ormesby was delivered to
its destination. The operation went
from Hall Quay up Regent Street,
The last train from beach Station where there was great difficulty in
negotiating the corner with King

Street. Its journey through the

Market Place and St. Nicholas Road
were relatively easy. Nevertheless it
took two days. On 10th July a second
engine, called Stalham, was treated
likewise. Two further engines were
delivered in this fashion.

In 1893 the line was taken over by

the Midland and Great Northern Joint
Railway. They built a large network
of track over East Anglia. Use of the
line gradually began to decline and by the 1950s competition from the roads
diminished passenger numbers. Yarmouth Beach Station and its line closed in 1959.
It was demolished in 1986 and a coach station was built on the site.

Andrew Fakes

19 The Site of E. Lacon and Company
The Palace Casino, Brewery Plain Great Yarmouth
Unveiled by Michael Falcon (former Chief Brewer and High Steward of Great
Yarmouth), and Tony Smith (Mayor) and introduced by Michael Falcon in the
presence of many former brewery employees
Sponsored by the Palace Casino
19th August 2009


A dozen former members of the brewery staff and various other people, with an
interest in Lacon’s and its public houses, attended the unveiling. Messrs. Christopher
Kevill-Davis and William Lacon, current members of the family, were also in

The brewery was founded in 1640 by Jeffery Ward. In 1760, it was taken over by
John Lacon, who had married
into the Ward family.
Whitbread and Company
acquired a 20% share in 1957
and took full control in 1965.
The brewery closed in 1968
and was later demolished.
Tesco’s was built on the site
to be followed by the Palace
Casino. The stores survived
until 1997, when they were
demolished and a supermarket
(Aldi) was built on the site.

Michael Falcon recounted

how he used to do an
Lacon’s Brewery inspection of the Lacon
Houses at the start of the
holiday season and, on one
occasion, he went into the Iron Duke to enquire about the beer. He asked the young
man behind the bar: what’s the beer like, the young man lent over the bar, and said,
confidentially, bloody awful. Michael Falcon asked if all the beer was like that, and
the young man said, no, but they were having trouble in the cellar, but the bottled
beer was quite good.

Michael Falcon spoke of the bombing in the Second World War in June 1942 when a
bomb struck the boiler house at Lacon’s Brewery, but it bounced and destroyed
Burroughs Wine Merchants, now the Gallon Pot Public House. The brewery stores
and the maltings were gutted.
There were few fire engines in
Great Yarmouth that night and
the firemen decided that only
the blaze at the brewery could
be extinguished and it was

In its heyday, Lacon’s

controlled 300 public houses
and employed 150 workers.
Many of the later public houses
were designed by Mr. A. W.
(Billy) Ecclestone, who was a
Lacon’s Brewery Store after the air raid leading member and a one-time
President of the Great
Yarmouth Archaeological
Society. These included the Avenue Hotel, on Beatty Road, the Mariners in Howard
Street, the Lacon’s Arms in Hemsby, the Links in Gorleston, the Clipper Schooner in
Friars’ Lane and the Never Turn Back at Caister.

Andrew Fakes

The Site of the Great Yarmouth General Hospital
20 Deneside, Great Yarmouth
Unveiled and introduced by Hugh Sturzaker
9th March 2009


The original hospital was opened on 2nd April 1840. A south wing was added in
1855. Within a few
decades a larger building
was required, so it was
demolished and a new
one was erected. Its
foundation stone was laid
by Edward, the Prince of
Wales in 1887 and on the
18th May 1888, it was
opened by Sir James
Paget, who was born and
grew up in Great

Paget was one of the most

famous surgeons in Great Yarmouth Hospital 1840-1887
England and was surgeon
to Queen Victoria. The
hospital architects were Bottle and Olley and the contractor was James Leggett. The
building cost £11,000, of which £7,132 was raised by public subscription. In 1898 an
extension, providing twelve beds for ladies, was added and a children’s ward was
built in 1910.

In later years the hospital extended into St. George’s School behind it to provide a
maternity department. Subsequently this became the accident and emergency
department. Out-patient clinics were held in a wooden building. The last out-patient
clinic was held on 31st December 1981.

In the first week of January
1982 the last in-patients
moved to the new hospital,
which had been built in
Gorleston. Subsequently this
was named after James Paget
The old hospital stood empty
for over two years, while
discussions continued about
its fate. Eventually, in June
1984, it was sold for
£250,000. It was demolished
to make way for flats for the

Hugh Sturzaker Great Yarmouth General Hospital (1888-1984) 1900

Operating theatre 1930s

Rear of Great Yarmouth General Hospital 1982

Courtesy of Graham Brown

Women’s ward 1930s

Women’s ward 1930s

The Headquarters of the Royal Naval Air Service
21 25 Regent Street, Great Yarmouth
Unveiled by Rear Admiral Lidbetter (Chairman of the Fleet Air
Arm Officers’ Association) and introduced by Margaret Gooch
22nd June 2009


The Great Yarmouth Royal Naval Air Station Headquarters were situated in Regent
Street, Great Yarmouth during the First World War.

The Royal Navy was tasked with the defence of the United Kingdom from aerial
attacks and a series of eight naval air stations were constructed down the east coast to
provide convoy protection, protection against bombardment by sea and attack from
the air.

Royal Naval Air Station, Great Yarmouth. Courtesy of Colin Tooke

In 1912, the Admiralty sought a suitable site in Norfolk for an air station and Great
Yarmouth was selected. The site on the South Denes was leased at two pounds and
ten shillings per acre per year. The air station was commissioned in 1913 with one
officer, five naval ratings and a dog called Bob.

The first task was to build a hangar and the first aircraft to arrive was the Farman
Biplane in 1913. War was declared on 4th August 1914. In January 1915, the raid on
Great Yarmouth by Zeppelin L3, killed two people.
Although there were aircraft at the Great Yarmouth Naval Air Station, they could not

match the altitude of the Zeppelins and their only armaments were rifles. More
aircraft were moved to Great Yarmouth and by the end of the year there were 31
aircraft and 100 men.

By 1916, aircraft had improved with the addition of Lewis and Vickers machine guns,
and in November, three Be2c aircraft from Great Yarmouth, piloted respectively by
Lieutenants Cadbury, Fane and Pulling, shot down Zeppelin L2I, which fell into the
sea some ten miles east of Lowestoft. Lieutenant Egbert Cadbury, from the chocolate
family (later Sir Egbert) was married to Mary, the daughter of the controversial Vicar
of Gorleston, the Revd. Forbes Phillips.

Aeroplane and staff at the Royal Naval Air Station, Great Yarmouth.
Courtesy of Colin Tooke

In 1917, flying boats, based at Great Yarmouth attacked U-boats and Zeppelins. On
14th May, flying from Great Yarmouth, a Curtiss HI2 flown by Lieutenant Galpin
and Sub Lieutenant Leckie, shot down Zeppelin L22, the first Zeppelin to be
destroyed by a flying boat.

In August 1918, Lieutenants Cadbury and Leckie, flying in a DH4, shot down
Zeppelin L70, considered to be the finest Zeppelin.

Henry Allingham, one of the last survivors of the First World War, who died in 2009
aged 113 years, trained as an air mechanic at Great Yarmouth Naval Air Station. The
Station closed in 1920.

Margaret Gooch

The Sailors’ Home
22 (Great Yarmouth Beachmen and Fishermen's Institute,
British and Foreign Sailors' Home and Refuge
for the Shipwrecked of All Nations)
Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth
Unveiled by Charles Lewis, the former curator of the East Anglian Maritime Museum
and introduced by Paul Davies
3rd December 2012


The coast off Great Yarmouth was a dangerous place, especially in foul weather. The
port was busy with fishing boats and general cargo boats. Thousands of ships passed
through the Yarmouth Roads every year, navigating their way through shifting

In July 1858, a meeting was held with a group of men from the various Great
Yarmouth Beach Companies, with a view to founding a Sailors’ Home, containing a
nautical school, a library and a reading room. It would become a refuge for the many
shipwrecked seamen, who were landed from the wrecks occurring on this dangerous
part of the Norfolk and Suffolk coast.

A trust was created and trustees from Great Yarmouth included, the Collector of
Customs, the Inspector of the Coastguard, merchants, a ship-owner and a chandler.
The home was to be funded by members and voluntary subscriptions. A small
museum would be housed at the home and a charge would be made to view the
donated objects.

The objectives of the home were established: to provide a place of refuge for the
shipwrecked with comfortable board, lodging and medical attention. It is open for
seamen from men-of-war, yachts, fishing vessels and merchant ships. The home is
open to men of all nations, where they may be received and entertained at the lowest
possible charge, when they are paid-off from their ship, on leave, waiting to join a
ship, detained by the weather or in anyway requiring accommodation. They will be
able to obtain, in the home, useful nautical instruction, social and intellectual

intercourse, thus sparing them from the temptations and associates to which seamen
are often thrown.

The prime mover for the foundation of the Sailors’ Home was George Simon
Harcourt, who became the first secretary and treasurer. He was well-connected and
used his connections to obtain funding from outside Great Yarmouth.

In February 1859, the Sailors’

Home was opened in temporary
buildings at the rear of the Bath
Hotel. Fund-raising began to
fund a permanent home with a
sea frontage. The Corporation
of Great Yarmouth granted the
site to the north of the Jetty, at a
nominal rent. In March 1861,
the new building, fronting the
sea was completed. On the first
floor was the museum and
library. Here was a collection of
maps, charts and nautical
instruments. There were over
1,000 books. Puzzles and table-
games were provided here for
the amusement of the seamen.
The boardroom was used by
apprentices, who wished to
prepare themselves for the
Government schools, or to The Sailors’ Home c 1890
become mates or masters of
ships or, simply, to take the first steps in reading and writing. The cost of the building
and fixtures amounted to £2,000.

In October 1861, the Illustrated London News reported: forty thousand vessels pass
the home every year and over half the wrecks in the United Kingdom occur in the sea
off the Norfolk coast. The paper stated that, since the commencement of the Sailors’
Home, 799 souls had been rescued from the sea and succoured at the institution, from
95 vessels, either wrecked or foundered. Seven lives had been saved by the use of the
resuscitation equipment. By 1883 over 5,700 people had been rescued from
shipwrecks and had been received at the home.

The Sailors’ Home closed on the 1st January 1965, as improvements to navigational
aids made shipwrecks rarer. During its 150 year history, it had cared for more than
11,000 shipwrecked sailors from 29 different counties. They were given
accommodation, food and basic medical care, sometimes having been through terrible

Paul Davies

The Residence of Revd. Forbes Phillips
23 Willow House, 246 High Street, Gorleston
Vicar of St. Andrew’s Church, Gorleston, Author and Dramatist
Unveiled by Michael Jeal (the Mayor) and introduced by Margaret Gooch
20th July 2010


Forbes Phillips was an extraordinary clergyman. He was very active in the parish. He
organised a regatta, founded an athletic and cycling club and a dramatic and choral
society. He was known as the Smacksmen’s Parson, and enjoyed drinking with sailors
and fishermen in the quayside pubs.

On Old Year's Night, he would meet the lifeboat crew under Gorleston Library clock
with two bottles of whisky and, after it had been consumed, they would then march to
the Watch Night Service at St. Andrew’s Church.

His love of drama and the stage brought

actresses and singers to contribute to his
evening services, which were often
crowded. He wrote, organised and
presented a Pageant, which included
Druids, Romans, Queen Boudicca, the
Knights Templar and the Restoration of
King Charles II. He wrote plays,
comedies and novels under the pen-name
of Athol Forbes.

His many brushes with the law were

legendary. He was sued for slander, when
his dog killed some ducks. Also, he shot a
potential burglar in the churchyard. He
took a horse-whip to James Beckett in the
Yarmouth Mercury office in the High
Street after some cartoons were shown
which he did not like. He was involved in
a fight on the cliffs with some supporters
of Colonel Bulmer, a
churchwarden, with whom
he had had a dispute.

As a priest he was also

controversial. He argued
with the Bishop over his
arrangements for a
Confirmation Service and
gave an interview to the
Daily Mail stating that:
the Bishops needed
reforming. He was an
outstanding preacher, but
Forbes Phillips’ Pageant
had some unorthodox
views on the Resurrection,
which shocked his flock and caused sensational comments in the local and national

Forbes Phillips’ Pageant

Forbes Phillips carried out many improvements to St. Andrew’s Church, Gorleston,
including installing oak screens, restoration of the tower and organ and the insertion
of new stained glass windows.

His daughter, Mary, an accomplished singer, married Egbert (Bertie, later Sir Egbert
Cadbury) of the chocolate family, who had joined the Royal Naval Air Service and
was stationed at the Royal Naval Air Station at Great Yarmouth. On 8th July 1918,
Lieutenants Cadbury and Leckie shot down Zeppelin L70.

Margaret Gooch

The Site of South Town Railway Station
24 Nelson Medical Practice, Pasteur Road, Great Yarmouth
being the nearest point to the actual station
Unveiled by Michael Jeal (the Mayor) and introduced by Andrew Fakes
5th October 2010


South Town railway station was the terminus of a direct route between London and
Great Yarmouth. It opened when the contractors, Peto, Brassey and Betts, completed
a double track between Ipswich and Great Yarmouth Southtown on 1st June 1859.
These lines ran through Beccles and Halesworth with three trains daily and two on

The journey time between

London and Great Yarmouth
was reduced from over four
and half hours to under three
and half hours, when at full
speed. This was improved to
less than two and half hours
between the wars. The railway
company, originally known as
the East Suffolk, was merged
with others as the Great
Eastern Railway by an Act of
Parliament in August 1862. South Town Railway Station. Courtesy of Colin Tooke
The route from South Town
Station was the most
convenient between Great Yarmouth and London and was the most popular for many

The railway companies always named the station as South Town, but it was usually
written as one word, Southtown, in Great Yarmouth.

South Town railway station and goods yard occupied a very large piece of land in the
Southtown and Cobholm area to the west of Haven Bridge with extensive sidings,
sheds, coal yards and a
turntable. The line carried many
passengers and much freight,
including timber, cattle, malt
and notably fish, during the
heyday of the Great Yarmouth
Herring Industry.

The line direct between

Yarmouth South Town and
Lowestoft, was opened as a
double track on 13th July 1903
with stations at Gorleston
North, Gorleston-on-Sea, South Town Railway Station. Courtesy of Colin Tooke
Hopton, Corton and Lowestoft
North.. A halt was built at Gorleston Links in 1914.

During an intense low level air raid, shortly after 7am on 7th May l943, South Town
Station and a passenger coach were damaged by a bomb. However, it did not explode
and it came to rest between the rails in the platform area. By good fortune, a Naval
Bomb Disposal Officer, who was waiting for a train, was able to defuse the bomb.

A natural disaster occurred on the 31st January 1953, when a North Sea surge broke
through the walls of Breydon Water, flooding South Town Station and closing the
railway system for several days.

The high cost of maintaining the Breydon Viaduct

led to its closure for rail traffic on 21st September
1953, so that there was no longer a direct link in
Great Yarmouth between the northern and southern

On 2nd November 1959, the Beccles-South Town

line closed necessitating the London trains be routed
through Lowestoft.

In April 1963, the Beeching Report recommended

the closure of the East Suffolk Line. The freight
facilities were closed and the line was reduced to
single track and stations were downgraded to un-
manned halts in 1967. The final passenger train to run was the 20.19 Lowestoft to
Great Yarmouth, returning at 21.19 from South Town on 2nd May 1970 and the line
closed on 4th May 1970

Santa Fe Oilfield Trading Company occupied the site for a few years and the
buildings were demolished in November 1977.

Andrew Fakes

25 The Ship Inn
Held Dutch Prisoners of War
4 Greyfriars’ Way, Great Yarmouth
Unveiled by Michael Jeal (the Mayor) and introduced by Paul Davies
26th October 2010


In 1797, Admiral Duncan sailed from Great

Yarmouth and destroyed the Dutch fleet at
Battle of Camperdown. The Royal Navy
brought the prisoners back to Great Yarmouth
from the battle. It was at the Ship Inn that
many captured Dutch naval officers were
kept. The prisoners were not well guarded, as
seven of them escaped. They were all
surgeons. It is not known whether they
escaped by sea or were re-captured. The
remaining Dutch officers were moved to Eye
in Suffolk for greater security. After the Battle
of Camperdown, the Ship Inn's sign was
repainted as a man-of-war, with the name of
Venerable on her stern, which was Admiral
Duncan’s flagship. At this inn the sale of prize
goods took place, often by Dutch auction.

Originally the Ship Inn was a house built in

the mid I7th century. It became a public
house in 1773 and remained so for 215 years
until 2008. By the middle of the 19th century,
the Ship Inn had been divided into two with a
butcher’s shop in one part. The south part of The Ship Inn. Courtesy of Colin Tooke
the Ship Inn became a boot and shoe shop
until 1925. Following damage in the Second
World War the southern end was rebuilt in 1952 by Lacon’s, the brewers. In 2008, it
was sold, complete with its Dutch flag, to the National Health Service.

For many years a Dutch flag flew outside the Ship Inn, as a reminder of its connection
with the Dutch prisoners of war. It has now gone, so it is fitting that it is replaced by a
plaque to remind the public of the importance of Great Yarmouth to the Royal Navy.

Paul Davies

The Ship Inn. Courtesy of Colin Tooke

Battle of Camperdown. © National Maritime Museum Greenwich

26 The Site of St. Mary’s Hospital
Market Place, Great Yarmouth
Unveiled by Tony Wright (former Member of Parliament for
Great Yarmouth and pupil at the Hospital School) and Basil Littleproud (former
teacher at the Hospital School from 1946 to 1982). Introduced by Ann Dunning
7th June 2011


The present day Priory School stands on an important site with a complex history.
Thomas Fastolph founded St. Mary’s Hospital in the late 13th century for the care of
elderly needed men and women of the town. Gifts and legacies to the hospital resulted
in a chapel being built. Consequently, it was closed during the Dissolution of the
Monasteries in the mid 16th century.

Great Yarmouth Corporation soon found many uses for the prime site, which
occupied all the land inside the Town Wall to the Market Place between the Pudding
Gate and the Market Gate. Uses included: an armoury, the first grammar school in the
town, a workhouse and a house of correction (bridewell). On the south-west of the
site, the town’s butchery was established and the Feather’s Inn expanded its holdings.

The site of St. Mary’s Hospital . Faden’s map of 1797

To the north of the site, the fine house (later occupied by Miles Corbet) was built.
Some land was left open and part of this became the Dissenter’s Graveyard. In 1650,
a Children’s Hospital (a charity school for boys and girls) was established, which
later, as the Hospital School, operated until 1982, although its buildings were replaced
in 1842 and 1931.
The Great Yarmouth College of Art had an annexe here and the Priory School had
partial use of the building, until its wholesale move to the site in 1999. Thus, there has
been a continuous educational use on part of the site since 1552.

All the present day Priory School pupils attended the unveiling.

Ann Dunning

The Children’s Hospital

The Children’s Hospital with a file of pupils in 1819

27 The Evacuation of Schoolchildren during the
Second World War
Vauxhall Railway Station, Great Yarmouth
Unveiled by Alan Barham (former evacuee in 1940) and introduced by Paul Davies
in the presence of About Anglia (ITV)
Sponsored by Great Yarmouth Borough Council
7th June 2011


Vauxhall Railway Station was the first station to be opened in Great Yarmouth. It
opened on 30th April 1844 and ran through to Norwich. It was linked to London, via
Norwich, on 15th December 1845.

The line went via Reedham at first, but

the track through Acle was opened on
12th March 1883.

The plaque unveiled on Vauxhall Station

marks the evacuation of 3,600 school
children and their teachers from Great
Yarmouth to the Midlands in five trains
on Sunday 2nd June 1940.

During the dark days leading up to the Vauxhall Station. Courtesy of Peter Jones
Dunkirk evacuation (27th May to 4th
June 1940) the parents of children attending school in Great Yarmouth received a
letter recommending that all pupils should leave the town to a more secure part of the
country. They had about 24 hours to decide whether to go or to stay. Reports of the
day stated that many of the older children treated the train journey as an adventure,
but there were tears in the eyes of the younger children and in many of the parents left

The evacuation was largely successful, as most children found suitable billets,
particularly around the town of Retford in Nottinghamshire, and lifelong friendships
were formed, but not everybody was so lucky. The heavy bombing of Great

Yarmouth would have resulted in
many more casualties had the children

Alan Barham, who was evacuated in

I940 and who later became the
headmaster of Wroughton Middle
School, unveiled the plaque. He gave
an impromptu and moving speech
emphasizing the sadness of war. He
recalled that the headmaster of the
school he attended in the Midlands
calling him to his study and saying: I
am afraid your father has been killed.
Carry on. The next day he was again
called to see the headmaster who said Vauxhall Station.
I am afraid your mother has been
killed. Carry on. Alan Barham
worried greatly as he had received no news of his younger sister, but fortunately she
survived, as she was staying with relatives in Norwich during the bombing, which had
claimed his mother and father.

Andrew Fakes

Evacuation of
schoolchildren in
London in 1940

Anglia Television
at the unveiling

28 Charles John Palmer FSA
4 South Quay, Great Yarmouth
Solicitor, Antiquarian, Historian and Author
Unveiled by Barry Coleman (the Mayor) and Richard Powell (the Regional
Director of the National Trust) and introduced by Paul Davies
18th August 2011


Number 4 South Quay, Great

Yarmouth had been the home of
Charles John Palmer. He was an
influential figure in Victorian
Great Yarmouth. His
contribution was outstanding
and he spent much time in
charitable and voluntary work.
After his death there had been
considerable pressure to
establish a permanent memorial
to him, but this came to nothing.

In 1830 Palmer was appointed

the murager for the town and for
many years he was the
government’s appointee as the
Receiver of Wrecks. Charles
Palmer was elected as an
alderman of Great Yarmouth
and was twice its Mayor, in
Charles Palmer 1854 and 1855. In addition to
this public duty, he was Great
Yarmouth’s chief magistrate in
1835, 1854 and 1855. He also served as a Deputy Lieutenant for Suffolk.

Palmer was the instigator and solicitor for the Victoria Building Company, which was
concerned with turning waste ground into superior housing. The company built
Kimberley Terrace, Brandon Terrace, Camperdown and Albert Square.

In 1830, Palmer was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquarians. He was very
active in the preservation of
buildings in Great Yarmouth,
especially in saving the Tolhouse
from demolition.

Palmer achieved considerable

success with his literary works
especially The Perlustration of
Great Yarmouth (1874) and a
Continuation of Manship's History
of Yarmouth (1856). In 1853 he
published, from the original
manuscript which had just been
discovered, a Book of the 4 South Quay
Foundation and Antiquitye of the
Town of Great Yarmouth thought to
have been written by Henry Manship. The manuscript had been written in 1619.

Paul Davies

Barry Coleman (left) and Richard Powell (right) at the unveiling

29 Sir Astley Cooper
Surgeon and Anatomist
St George’s Plain, Great Yarmouth
The house where Cooper served the first part of his surgical apprenticeship
Unveiled by Barry Coleman (the Mayor) and Hugh Sturzaker
Introduced by Hugh Sturzaker
Sponsored by Terry Mills, the house owner
18th August 2011


Dr. Francis Turner lived and

practised in this house during
the latter part of the 18th
century. He was an
apothecary and surgeon. At
the age of 15 years, Dr.
Turner was apprenticed to
the local surgeon, Robert
White, for seven years at a
premium of £105. Turner
had an extensive practice and
his was probably the
principal practice in Great
Yarmouth at the time. In
1792, serious rioting took
Francis Turner’s house place in Great Yarmouth,
due to the high price of
provisions. Turner received a serious blow to the head inflicted by one of the rioters.
The injury, at first, appeared apparently trifling but gradually developed itself into the
fearful form of concussion of the brain. He was assisted home, when it was found that
the bone of the skull was laid bare. It was in vain that remedies were applied. The
patient unfortunately was well acquainted with the nature of the injury and fostered
by his consciousness, its fatal influence. Turner became alarmed and declared that he
would not survive and sank into a state of despondency, which was soon followed by
indigestion and dyspepsia. He remained in this state for two years insisting that his
illness was due to a portion of the bone of his skull being depressed into his brain.
Two years after the head injury, at Turner’s insistence, Astley Cooper’s uncle,
William Cooper, a surgeon, on a visit to Great Yarmouth, removed, with a trephine, a
small portion of bone from Turner’s head. Francis Turner’s wife, wore the piece of
skull around her neck in a locket until she died, nearly 40 years later, in 1830 aged 84
years. As was expected Turner deprived no benefit from the operation and continued
to become more and more emaciated. He was unable
to retain any food in his stomach and at last sank
into a state of complete exhaustion. His apprentice at
the time, Giles Borrett, said that for the last twelve
months of his life, Turner lived entirely upon nuts. At
post-mortem his liver was found to be severely
diseased, which would have accounted for his
symptoms. Turner never recovered from the blow,
and after four years of dreadful mental and bodily
suffering, he died on the 17th December 1796 aged
54 years. Earlier, Turner had performed a successful
amputation through the middle of a foot. The
operation was described as an improvement in Astley Cooper
surgery, as the operation had taken place through the
middle of the foot instead of the usual place, which was below the knee.

One of Turner’s apprentices was Astley Cooper, who went on to become one of the
country's greatest anatomists and most famous surgeons.

Astley Cooper was the son of the Vicar of St. Nicholas’ Church and he came to Great
Yarmouth when he was 13 years old. He was an athletic and fun-loving youngster.
One day, he was making faces behind Turner’s back causing, other students to laugh.
Turner turned around and asked Cooper what was the problem. He explained that he
had pain from a bad tooth, whereupon Turner looked in his mouth, grabbed some
forceps and removed a tooth. Years later, Astley Cooper said he was relieved to see
that the tooth was indeed rotten.

At the age of 14 years Cooper was apprenticed to Edward Rigby, surgeon at the
Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, and it was here that he witnessed an operation to
remove a stone from a man’s bladder. He said that this was one of the influences that
encouraged him to become a surgeon.

At the age of 16 years Cooper went to study at Guy’s Hospital in London, where his
uncle, William Cooper, was the senior surgeon. However, he periodically returned to
Dr. Turner’s house to study with him. Initially, he showed little interest in his studies,
but then developed a passion for dissecting dead bodies. In addition he carried out
experiments on living dogs and other animals.

Cooper became a popular lecturer to the students and a highly successful surgeon
becoming President of the College of Surgeons of England on two occasions. From
time to time he visited Great Yarmouth, but much of his life was spent in London and
on his large estate in Hertfordshire, where he died in 1841.

Hugh Sturzaker and Paul Davies

30 Thomas Vaughan, the Body-snatcher
Erected on the railings of Great Yarmouth Minster, Church Plain,
Great Yarmouth
Unveiled by Revd. James Stewart (Curate of the Minster) and
introduced by Paul Davies
24th October 2011


London surgeons went to extreme lengths to obtain bodies for dissection from the
body-snatchers (resurrectionists), whom they paid well. Resurrectionists stole bodies
from graves in order to sell them to anatomists. Before the passing of the Anatomy
Act in 1832, obtaining corpses by unlawful means, rendered the trade of body-
snatching a lucrative one. A
fresh corpse commanded a
higher price. The corpses of
children attracted a premium.
Prior to this the only legal
source of corpses was the
bodies of hanged criminals.

Among the most noted

resurrectionists was Vaughan.
One of the many surgeons
who employed Vaughan was
the well-regarded Astley
Cooper, who was the son of
the Vicar of Great Yarmouth
from 1781 to 1800. Body-snatchers at work

After stealing bodies in

various parts of the country, Vaughan, in 1827, rented a house for a short time in Row
6 (Body-Snatcher's Row), near White Horse Plain. Vaughan ordered crates, sawdust
and two canvas bags. He took at least ten bodies from St. Nicholas’ Churchyard
before he was discovered. The bodies were sent to London, by wagon, via Norwich.
They were packed in sawdust in crates made for the purpose. Vaughan was paid
between ten and twelve guineas for each body. Vaughan was betrayed by a lady
friend and was arrested. He was sent to jail for six months, which was spent in
Norwich Prison. The courts regarded body-snatching only as a misdemeanour
meriting a short prison sentence. The London surgeons sent down a lawyer to act on
Vaughan's behalf. The surgeons also allowed ten shillings a week for the 26 weeks he
was imprisoned and six shillings a week for his wife. Later, Vaughan was found to be
in possession of clothes, which he had taken from a corpse in Plymouth. This theft
raised his crime to the level of felony and he was transported to Australia.
When the news broke of the body-snatching in Great Yarmouth, the relatives of the
dead opened many graves. It was said at the time that the graveyard had the
appearance of a ploughed field. The scene continued for four days and some bodies
were found to be missing.

Obtaining corpses became easier from 1832 with the passing of the Anatomy Act.

Paul Davies

Unveiling the plaque in the presence of Radio Norfolk

31 The Residence of Jan Mark
Ingham, Norfolk
Erected 2010


Jan Mark was born in Welwyn, Herefordshire. After moving in and around London,
she moved to Ashford, Kent starting school at the age of eight years. She won the
second prize, when she was 15 years old, in a literary competition organised by the
Daily Mirror.

She was discouraged from reading English at university by a teacher and she instead
studied design. After completing a national diploma in design at Canterbury College
of Art she taught art and English at Southfields School, Gravesend.

She became a full-time writer in 1974 at the age of 33 years. Her first novel, Thunder
and Lightnings, won the Kestrel/Guardian prize for a children’s novel written by a
previously unpublished writer. She won the Carnegie Medal (Britain’s foremost
children’s literary award) in 1977 and again in 1984, for Handles. It is rare feat to win
the medal twice.

Whilst living in Norfolk, she lived in a house directly under a flight-path with
Lightning fighters from RAF Coltishall, taking off 200 feet above the roof. Here she
wrote Thunder and Lightnings, which was set in the county and told the story of boys,
who became interested in the Lightning aircraft at a nearby Royal Air Force base.

Between 1982 and 1984, she taught at the Faculty of Education at Oxford
Polytechnic. She was an excellent tutor and mentor of other writers. She taught many
courses for the Arvon Foundation and the Taliesin Foundation at Ty Newydd in North

In 1993, Jan Mark compiled and researched the Oxford Book of Children's Stories.
She was a literary reviewer for the Guardian newspaper.

In all, she wrote over fifty novels and plays and many short stories. She died from
septicaemia following meningitis in 2006.

Paul Davies

32 Captain George William Manby FRS
Soldier and Inventor
86 High Road, Gorleston
No unveiling ceremony
Erected 6th October 2012


Captain George William Manby

was born at Hilgay near Downham
Market in Norfolk in 1765. He
entered the Military Academy,
Woolwich in 1776. When his
parents died, Manby returned to
Hilgay to manage the family estate.
He combined estate working with
soldiering by entering the
Cambridgeshire Militia.

Manby married Jane Preston of

George Manby Waldingfield. Her lavish lifestyle
nearly bankrupted him and, in
1797, he was forced to sell his
estate. Later his wife eloped with an officer of the East India Company. In a
subsequent duel with the officer in 1799, Manby survived being shot in the head.
Manby wrote: the slugs that were deeply imbedded in my head were taken out. It was
one of the most painful operations that, perhaps, ever a mortal underwent. On my
death, I have directed that my head be taken off, and with the bullets, delivered to
Yarmouth born surgeon Sir Astley Cooper, trusting that some public benefit may
result The person who performed the operation assured me that a trepanning was
necessary and that he distinctly saw my brain.

In about 1802, Manby settled at Clifton near Bristol. During this time he wrote The
History and Antiquities of St David's, Sketches of the History and Natural Beauties of
Clifton and A Guide from Clifton to the Counties of Monmouth, Glamorgan etc.

All these books were illustrated with
his own drawings. Later he wrote
about the threatened invasion of
England by Napoleon.

This last work attracted the attention

of Charles Yorke, the Secretary-at-
War. In August 1803, Yorke appointed
Manby as Barrack Master at
Yarmouth. Manby had previously
offered his services to Yorke to Plaque showing Manby’s mortar in action
assassinate Napoleon. Courtesy of Norfolk Museums and
Archaeology Service

When the old barracks in St.

Nicholas' Road was sold by
the government in 1814,
Manby became the Barrack
Master at the Royal Naval
Hospital/Barracks at Great
Yarmouth, with the rank of

Manby invented an
apparatus for saving the lives
Manby’s mortar in action by William Joy of shipwrecked sailors
Courtesy of Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service

marooned on their vessels. A six pound mortar was

used to carry a rope from the shore to the stricken
vessel. With the mortar he could fire the line 400
yards. During his lifetime 1,000 sailors were rescued
using his apparatus. Later in his life he invented the
hand held harpoon gun, which he tested on voyage the
Artic. Manby was elected a Fellow of the Royal
Society in 1831.

He moved to Southtown in 1842. The only monument

to him was the one he erected in his front garden.
Manby also invented a portable fire extinguisher and
a lifeboat. Manby died penniless, at his house in
Southtown in 1854, at the age of 88 years. He was
buried close to his mother and father in Hilgay

Paul Davies Manby’s cradle

33 Dr. Kenneth Hamilton Deane
Long Serving General Practitioner
3 Hamilton Place, High Street, Gorleston
Unveiled by Barry Coleman (the Mayor) and introduced by William Hamilton Deane
(Kenneth’s son)
Sponsored by William Hamilton Deane
27th September 2011


Dr. Kenneth Hamilton Deane practised

from a surgery at 225 High Street,
Gorleston until he was 87 years old and
thus was probably one of the longest
serving general practitioners in the
country. He practised in Gorleston for
65 years from 1920 to 1985 treating
thousands of patients and delivering
several generations of babies. He also
had a branch surgery in Belton.

Kenneth Hamilton Deane was inspired

to enter medicine when, at the age of 15
years, his father died in his arms. He
trained at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital,
London. In his early days he performed
operations at the Gorleston Cottage
Hospital in nearby Trafalgar Road East.

He would collect patients requiring

operations in his car, take them to the
hospital, and then return them home

He died in 1993, at the age of 94 years,

and is buried in Gorleston Cemetery. He Kenneth Hamilton Deane
was known for his debonair appearance
and gentlemanly bedside manner and was referred to as Father (or Daddy) Deane.

He was also an enthusiastic Freemason. The surgery in the High Street, complete with
its stables and harness room, was demolished in the late 1990s and a small housing
complex (Hamilton Place) built on the site.

Paul Davies


Barry Coleman and

William Hamilton Deane


Kenneth Hamilton Deane

The unveiling

The East Anglian School for Deaf and Blind Children
34 Church Lane, Gorleston
Unveiled and introduced by Maurice Joel, the brother
of a former pupil, on the 100th anniversary year of its opening
Sponsored by Tracey Kelly, owner of the former headmaster’s house.
December 2012


The school opened in May 1912 after 17 acres of land was gifted to Great Yarmouth
Borough Council. Local authorities from across the region, including Norfolk,
Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire, clubbed together to establish the school, which
took pupils from across East Anglia. It was opened by the Earl of Leicester. The
school taught blind and deaf children for over for 73 years. A few years before the
school closed, it opened its doors to other impaired hearing children with health

Over the years, there were six headmasters, who lived in a house at the front of the
school site.

During the Second World War all the children and staff moved to Aberpergwm
House located in Glynneath, West Glamorgan Wales. The headmaster’s house
suffered severe damage during the Second World War, when it was bombed in 1941,
but was rebuilt and made habitable again by 1945.

There were classrooms in one wing for blind children and other classrooms in another
wing for deaf children. At play-time or after school or at social functions, such as the
school play, the children mixed together. The school buildings had a room for a
nursery, a young mixed-children room, a room for older girls and another room for
boys, a library, a kitchen, a hall and a gymnasium. Television rooms, a swimming
pool, and cookery, arts and woodwork rooms completed the establishment. There
were also bedrooms on the first floor, flats for staff, the headmaster’s house, a scout
hut, a large field, a playground and a car park. In the past it used to have a
shoemaker. Sometime in the 1960's the school had a refurbishment.

Maurice Joel, who is compiling a
book on the history of the school,
said: what really made the school
was the dedication and
professionalism of the staff. You
had to give yourself to the school
to make it work. Before the war
the house mothers had only one
afternoon off a month.

The school continued to teach

until July 1985, when it was
closed. Its buildings remained
empty for some time and were
targeted by vandals, before the
site was cleared to make way for
new homes and the St. Mary’s Maurice Joel being interviewed by a
Catholic Primary School. The new Yarmouth Mercury reporter
road was named East Anglian

Pupils and Staff at the school. Not dated

Paul Davies

35 George Gilbert
Circus Performer and Proprietor
Placed on the Corner House Hotel, Albert Square
Replaced a worn earlier plaque
Unveiled by Barry Coleman (the Mayor) and introduced by David MacDermott
Sponsored by Michelle Caunt
28th November 2011


George Gilbert was born in Norwich and was the son of a penniless coachbuilder.
When he was eleven years old he ran away to join Hannaford’s London Travelling
Circus. At the age of 15 years, an opening was offered to him in the form of an
apprenticeship for three years, to the circus company of Powell, Foottit and Clarke.

At the age of 17 years he joined Adams’ Circus. He was the first to perform the
jockey act in many northern towns. Ambition caused him to run away and he set off
on his own to Spain.

In 1880, George Gilbert was brought back to England

to perform in Hengler’s Cirque. Performing with this
prominent circus was one of the first lady circus
equestriennes, Jennie O’Brien, whom Gilbert married
three months later.

In 1887, they both left Hengler’s Cirque and

extensively toured Europe, North Africa and America
with their speciality, the jockey act: a daring and
dashing one an Arab thoroughbred. Their tour
concluded with an engagement with the Paris
Hippodrome Company, which took a leading part in the
opening of Olympia in London. They stayed for the
George Gilbert season, with Jennie Gilbert riding and driving a team of
32 horses and George Gilbert performing his Indian act

on bare-back horses at full speed.

They accepted an offer to go to the

United States of America. They
were now connected with the
Greatest Show on Earth. The
Gilberts went on to perform in
Madrid, where George Gilbert
dislocated his knee. His knee never
fully recovered. George Gilbert then
hired the Agricultural Hall in
Norwich to stage a show. Later,
similar shows were opened in
Nottingham, Leeds, Leicester,
Derby, Exeter and Great Yarmouth. Gilbert’s wooden circus. Courtesy of Colin Tooke
A wooden building was erected in
Great Yarmouth for his show.

In 1903, George Gilbert replaced this building with the

Hippodrome. He was very keen to obtain the best
turns for his circuses. He gave his audiences variety
and his water scenes were a novelty. His enterprise led
to the sinking water ring being introduced into his
amusement houses. One of his biggest hits was to
bring, at vast expense, the star tight-rope walker,
Blondin, to the locality. George Gilbert was generous
in his support of hospitals, widows, the fatherless, the
poor and many in distress. He gave hundreds of tons
of coal to the poor during a particularly bitter winter
and provided thousands of pairs of boots to needy

Paul Davies
Gilbert’s jockey act

The Hippodrome,
Great Yarmouth

36 Jennie O’Brien
Placed on the Corner House Hotel Albert Square
Unveiled by Barry Coleman (the Mayor) and introduced by David MacDermott
Sponsored by Michelle Caunt
28th November 2011


Jennie O’Brien was working at the famous Hengler’s Cirque in London in 1880 and
was described as one of the first lady equestriennes. There she met George Gilbert, a
rising star in the circus world, and they were married within three months.

The Gilberts and their Arab thoroughbred horse Torino left Hengler’s in 1887 to tour
Europe, North Africa and America. Their act was very popular and when it finished
in Paris it transferred to Olympia in London for a season. Perhaps, the highlight of the
show was Jennie driving a team of 32 horses. Later, Queen Victoria and her family
were treated to a special show. They then went to work for Barnum and Bailey’s
Circus, where they handsomely remunerated. After this, they went to Portugal and
Spain, where Gilbert dislocated his knee and his act was impaired for the rest of his
life. He came to Great Yarmouth to recuperate, but the couple were able to organise
circus performances in various parts of the country.

They then went on to erect a wooden and so-called permanent building for their
circus in Great Yarmouth. However, this leaked and was unsatisfactory and this was
replaced in 1903 with the current impressive building, the Hippodrome. The Gilberts
were able to attract some of the best circus acts in the world to Great Yarmouth and
introduced such innovative features including: regular cinematograph shows and
swimming acts in a pool beneath the ring.

Gilbert died in April of 1915 and Jennie ran the circus for a period. She died in 1924
and was buried in her husband’s grave.

Paul Davies

George Gilbert and Jennie O’Brien
performing in
Paris in the 1880s
Courtesy of Colin Tooke

The Gilbert’s graves in the

Old Cemetery,
Great Yarmouth

37 Robert Warmington
Admiralty Agent
Placed on the Salvation Army Citadel,
Tolhouse Street, Great Yarmouth : the site of Warmington’s house
Unveiled by Barry Coleman (the Mayor) and
introduced by Commander Simon Askins RN
19th February 2012


Robert Warmington was Admiralty Agent for the port of Great Yarmouth. Although
Great Yarmouth was not a naval base as such, but from the Middle Ages onwards, it
had been a naval port of some importance, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars,
when the fleet assembled in Yarmouth Roads and sailed from here for the Battle of

As an Admiralty Agent, Robert

Warmington would have been the
person on whom all Royal Naval ships
would rely for their supplies, when they
came into port or were laying off shore
in the Roads.

Any ship coming into a home port

would require re-provisioning. For
example, food, water, sail-cloth,
ropeage, anchors and armaments would
be provided. Armaments would be
supplied from the Naval Armoury in
Southtown. The agent would supply all
other requirements from local farmers
and merchants.
Ship’s captains entrusted agents to settle
their salvage claims and to sell any ships
that they had captured. Agents then paid
the prize-money into the captain’s
Robert Warmington
accounts and made any re-imbursements or distributed any charitable giving on their

As such an agent, Robert Warmington had contacts with Nelson. In 1800, Nelson
arranged for Robert Warmington to pay monies to the town of Great Yarmouth,
including five guineas to the Town Clerk, one guinea to the Mayor and £50 to feed
the poor.

As well as being an Admiralty Agent, Robert Warmington was the Agent for the
Cuxhaven Packets and was also the Honourable Vice-Consul in Great Yarmouth for
Prussia, Denmark, Sweden and the United States. He was the Mayor of Great
Yarmouth in 1780 and 1808.

He lived in a house on the site of the Salvation Army Citadel from 1785 and died in

Simon Askins

The Mayor,
Barry Coleman
unveiling the plaque

38 Andrew Lees (1949-1994)
Environmentalist, Conservationist and Campaigner
Pub on the Prom and Hotel, Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth
Unveiled by Barry Coleman (the Deputy Mayor) and Pat Lees (Andrew Lees
stepmother) and introduced by Derek Leak
14th January 2013


Andrew John Lees was born in Great Yarmouth on 8th June

1949. Andrew was a son of Norfolk with a passion for its big
skies, low-lying landscape and traditional village culture.
Most of all he loved its myriad of rivers and streams, dykes,
marshes and fens and its rich diversity of wildlife. The
Norfolk Broads; where earth meets water, was where
Andrew was happiest.

In 1967, Lees enrolled at the University of Wales in Cardiff

to study zoology, botany and philosophy. Graduating with
Honours in 1971, he worked as a field scientist with the
Nature Conservancy Council.

As a scientist, Lees’ uncompromising commitment to nature

conservation first emerged in 1978, when he was surveying
Crymlyn Bog in Wales. Having determined that this unique
habitat was a potential candidate for special protection, he
organised the local community and the media to stop it being
turned into a rubbish tip. In 1981, working with the Friends
Andrew Lees
of the Earth, he obtained leave for a Judicial Review on the
Nature Conservancy Council’s failure to notify part of the
bog as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The NCC backed
down and the site was given SSSI protection. Crymlyn Bog achieved world status as a
Ramsar Site in 1993.

Lees left Wales in late 1981 and returned to his native Norfolk. The Broads were
under serious threat from proposals to build deep drainage and barrier systems that
would turn the wetlands into vast prairies of cereal production. The beautiful
Halvergate Marshes, Wicken Fen, Hickling Broad and a whole network of rivers,
dykes and fens that make up the Broadlands unique wildlife habitat would be
damaged or lost forever. He applied his scientific knowledge to identify the threats to
the Broads. In 1982, he helped to set up the Broadlands Friends of the Earth. He
succeeded in galvanising local and national opinion against the scheme and was
largely responsible for saving the Halvergate Marshes.

In 1986, after much campaigning large tracts of marshlands were designated an

Environmentally Sensitive Area. Two years later, under intense public pressure, the
Government passed the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads 1988 Act. The Broads Authority
became a Special Statutory Authority with duties to conserve and enhance the natural
beauty of the Broads. The Broads were protected; a success due in large measure to
Lees’ tenacious campaigning and commitment.

In 1985, Lees was appointed the Friends of the Earth National Campaign Officer for
the Countryside and Pesticides and later, in 1986, as the Water Pollution and Toxics
Campaigner. He organised the Dirty Dozen campaign to expose a group of highly
toxic chemicals, some of which would later, became subject to much tighter
regulatory controls; others, were banned altogether.

In 1988, he went to Nigeria and exposed the illegal dumping of 8,000 tonnes of
mainly Italian toxic waste at Koko, on the Niger Delta.

Lees was a skilled media man and knew a good story instinctively. Journalists
respected him. He could articulate complicated science in a language they understood.
Lees would go for the jugular of any hapless politician, civil servant or industrialist,
who dared to put the environment at risk. He believed people had a right to know and
organised various campaigns to raise awareness of environmental problems.

In 1990, Lees became the Friends of the Earth's National Campaign’s Director. His
enthusiastic and combative campaigning style never abated. He was empowering and
supportive, always encouraging others to realise their aspirations, hopes and dreams.

In 1994, he turned his attention to Madagascar. A mining company, QIT, owned by

Rio Tinto Zinc, was proposing to mine parts of the island for titanium dioxide.
Madagascar is the world's fourth largest island and home to some of the most
remarkable flora and fauna on earth. Lees went to Madagascar with the intention of
making a film documentary to support his campaign. Sadly, he never completed the
project. Despite suffering from chronic diarrhoea he decided, on New Year's Eve, to
go one last time into the Petriky Forest alone to shoot one last piece of film. On 7th
January, after days of searching, his body was found in a small clearing in the forest.
The autopsy later indicated he had died of heat exhaustion.

Derek Leak

39 The Pleasure Beach and the Scenic Railway
South Beach Parade, Great Yarmouth
Unveiled by Albert Jones and Barry Coleman (the Mayor)
and introduced by Albert Jones
Sponsored by Albert Jones
28th November 2011


On March 8th 1909, the Great Yarmouth Beach Amusements Ltd, was granted for a
term of five years by the Corporation, a lease on a strip of land 600 feet long by 120
feet wide, for a Scenic Railway and two side-shows, one of which was the
Katzenjammer Castle and
the second was the Merry
Widow Waltzer.

Charles Blake Cochran, who

was the manager of the Gem
(now the Windmill) was to
administer this venture. In
May 1910, the River Caves
under the Scenic Railway
were constructed. In 1911 it
was decided to dispose of the
Katienjammer Castle and
replace it with the Joywheel.
Scenic Railway c1946
In the golden days before the
First World War the British
public enthusiastically embraced the idea of a holiday with pay and the August Bank
Holiday of 1912 saw 26,000 holidaymakers come by train from the Midlands alone.

A certain J. A. Chalkley, who had done similar work at Blackpool, added a mountain
effect to the Scenic Railway, out of pink quick drying plaster. It was then given a
more worthy title of the Royal Mountain Scenic Railway. Beneath the mountain was
a fairy land of rocks and
grottos, lit by thousands of
electric lights, and the River
Caves, beloved by many
courting couples.

In April 1919, just when

people were getting ready for
their first post-war holiday,
the Scenic Railway was gutted
by fire along with the River
Caves and the Joywheel. The
fire was wrongly blamed on
the Suffragette movement, Scenic Railway on fire
although the cause was never
discovered. A tremendous re-
building effort saw the Scenic Railway completed by August 1919, but it was only to
last another nine years. In 1929, Pat Collins took over the running of the Pleasure
Beach and the lease ended on the Scenic Railway and so Collins had to find another
major attraction.

In 1929, a Colonial
Exhibition was held in
Paris, and a huge Scenic
Railway was on show,
which was designed and
built by Erich Heidrich.
This was owned by a
showman, Hugo Hans. He
was eventually persuaded to
sell this massive structure,
believed to have been for
£12,000 to £13,000, and it
Scenic Railway
was ready for the 1932
Great Yarmouth season.
Today, the ride is the only
remaining ride of its kind in the United Kingdom and one of only eight in the world.
It is one of only two remaining roller coaster’s where a brakeman is required to ride
with the train to control its speed, as there are no brakes on the track. It is the second
tallest and second fastest wooden roller coaster in the United Kingdom.

The running of the Pleasure Beach was handed over to John Collins, Pat’s son and
remained in their family until 1954, when Botton Brothers, took it over. When Albert
Botton died in 1975, Jimmy Jones took over the running of the Pleasure Beach, which
has continued to grow. In October 1992, a new company was formed called the
Pleasure and Leisure Corporation PLC. The company purchased the freehold of the
Pleasure Beach site in November 1993, when Albert Jones took over from his father.

Alan Hunt

40 The Guildhall
Church Plain, Great Yarmouth
Unveiled by Richard Packham, Chief Executive
of Great Yarmouth Borough Council and introduced by Andrew Fakes
24th October 2011


Not much is known about Great Yarmouth’s first Guildhall, but C. J. Palmer writes:
by King Johns’ Charter (1208) the Burgesses had granted to them a Merchants’
Guild, which became the governing body of the town. For the transactions of
business they built a Guild House at the gate of St. Nicholas’ Church.

The guild system allowed those in charge to operate a monopoly controlling the
markets and trade. They charged prices they wanted and denied competitors from
getting a foothold. The guild system became the basis of local government and,
although restrictive, they financed law and order and the infrastructure of the town.

In 1544, the Guildhall was, substantially repaired, amended and the walls, newly
buttressed by the townsmen. In Manship’s History and Antiquaries of Great
Yarmouth, Palmer quotes Henry Swinden, who describes: a very fair building known
as the Guildhall near unto the church, containing in length 76 feet and breadth 22
feet. It was described as much ruinated.

This building was demolished in 1723 and a new Guildhall was erected and this in
turn was demolished in 1849.

Prior to 1835, the town was controlled by the Mayor, aldermen and the common
council. The Mayor was elected by an inquest of twelve in the Guildhall after a
service at the church. This was probably the only Corporation meeting opened to the

Andrew Fakes

The Guildhall (to the left of St. Nicholas’ Church gates) : 1803

The Guildhall

41 Site of the Old Dutch Chapel
South Quay, Great Yarmouth
Erected by Great Yarmouth Port Authority in 1993


Prior to the destruction of the Second World War many fine buildings overlooked the
river along South Quay. One of these buildings, known as the Dutch Chapel or Town
House standing on the northern corner of Row 106, was damaged beyond repair and
demolished in 1946.

Today the space, where this building once stood, is the roadway leading to the Central
Library and on the north side of the road stands the Port and Haven Commissioners
Office, against which can be seen the remains of an ancient wall, the only surviving
part of the Town House.

Many Great Yarmouth Historians, including Swindon, Preston, Palmer, Manship and
Nall, mention the house in their histories of the town and Corbridge included an
engraving of it on his 1725 West Prospect of Great Yarmouth.

In the 14th century a house on the site had belonged to Thomas de Drayton and was
described as...a fair, ancient, and stately house situated by the haven side and ... most
convenient for the purposes to which it is applied. Thomas de Drayton was elected to
represent the town at Parliament in 1348 and also held the office of Bailiff several

In 1317 the house was used as the Staple or Mart House, where all the wool being
exported through the port was stored, secured by the King’s staple or lock. Drayton
was the Collector of Custom Duties and his house known as the Custom House. The
house eventually passed to Thomas Damett in the 16th century and, in 1580, he
conveyed it to the Corporation, it then being known as the High House called the
Town House.

During the persecution of the Protestants in the Low Countries during the 16th
century, Queen Elizabeth I welcomed them to England and many settled in Norfolk.
By 1574, Great Yarmouth was forced to bar any further settlers because of the great
number already in the town.
Those who had made their
home in Great Yarmouth
applied to the Corporation
for a place where they could
assemble and worship in
their own way and in their
own language. This
building then became
known as the Dutch Church
or Chapel.

In 1681, when war broke

out with Holland, the Dutch
families remaining in the
town left, never to return.

The old Dutch Chapel was

last used for preaching by
John Wesley during one of
his visits to the town in

In 1758 the Town House

ceased to be used as a
Custom House, the business
of the customs being
removed to the house of
James Ward on the
Foreland, now called Hall
Quay. The Dutch Chapel. Courtesy of Colin Tooke

The Royal Coat of Arms

and the Town Arms were
removed from the front of the building prior to demolition and stored. In the 1970’s
these Town Arms were restored and placed in the Yarmouth Magistrates Court
moving later to Great Yarmouth Minster.

Colin Tooke

42 Captain Charles Pearson RN
Royal Naval Officer of Distinction and Mayor
7/8 South Quay, Great Yarmouth
Unveiled by Barry Coleman (the Mayor) and introduced by Paul Davies
12th March 2012


Captain Pearson was born in London in 1784 and entered the Royal Navy in 1800. He
served as a midshipman in the Isis (50 guns) at the Battle of Copenhagen. In 1804 he
served as a midshipman on Amphion (32 guns) and served with Nelson’s fleet in the
West Indies. He served next in the Vanguard, which captured a French ship of the
Line and three French frigates off St. Domingo in the Caribbean in 1804. He was a
Lieutenant of the Meteor at
the defence of Rosas in Spain
and he commanded her when
capturing a privateer off the
coast of Dalmatia. In the
Mediterranean he served on
Collingwood s flagship,
Amphion, as a Lieutenant.

He continued in many
warships in the Mediterranean
and off the coast of Spain. He
was in the Columbine at the
siege of Cadiz from 1810 to
1812, during the Peninsular
War with Napoleon. The Phoebe (left) in battle
© National Maritime Museum Greenwich
By 1814 he was a Lieutenant
on the Phoebe, when she
captured the United States frigate, Essex, during the war with America. The Essex
suffered 89 dead out of a crew of 154, while the British casualties were five dead and
ten wounded. The senior Lieutenant was killed in this fight and Pearson succeeded to
that post, and was sent home in charge of the prizes.

Pearson was then promoted to the rank of Commander and was employed from 1830
to 1833 as the Coastguard at Great Yarmouth. From 1833 to 1837 he commanded the
Sparrow Hawk of 18 guns on the South American station. He then obtained his rank
as Post Captain and retired from the service in 1851.

He was a magistrate and the Mayor of Great Yarmouth in 1850 and was re-elected in
1851. In 1851 he read the Riot Act to the striking seamen of the town. They were
striking over the level of their wages and attacked the goal and threatened the
magistrates assembled at the Town Hall. The aid of the military was required, and the
11th Hussars speedily arrived from Norwich. H.M.S. Black Eagle, was stationed in
the river. This sufficed; and the riot subsided without any bloodshed.

Charles Pearson died at the age of 72 years leaving a wife and two daughters. He is
buried in St. Nicholas’ Churchyard. Incidentally he had sat on the jury at the inquest
into the fall of the Suspension Bridge in 1845.

Paul Davies

* Amphion at Cadiz
© National Maritime Museum Greenwich

43 Emma Pearson
First woman to serve as a Nurse for the Red Cross
and Author
7/8 South Quay, Great Yarmouth
Unveiled by Barry Coleman (the Mayor) and introduced by Paul Davies
12th March 2012


Emma Pearson led an interesting life. She was in Rome when the attack by Garibaldi
was repulsed by French troops. Emma Pearson with a friend, Louisa McLaughlin,
started working for the National Health Society, as soon as it was established in
1869. The Society undertook relief work for the London poor. The two women were
trained by Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, Europe’s first woman doctor.

In 1870, the British National Society

for Aid to the Sick and Wounded in
War was formed, giving help to all
warring armies under the protection
of the Red Cross.

When war broke out between France

and Prussia in 1870, Emma Pearson
and Louisa Mclaughlin immediately
signed up for this society. A week
later they were nursing about 100
desperately wounded men. She Nursing in the Franco-Prussian War
devoted herself to attend, at first, to
the wounded of both armies, but
after the Battle of Orleans in 1870,
exclusively to those of the French. They were then invited to join the Anglo-
American Ambulance in Sedan in the Ardennes. After passing through fields of burnt
corpses, the nurses arrived just after the Battle of Sedan, which had left 5,000 dead
and 20,000 wounded.

After a month in Sedan, Emma and
Louisa returned to England, where
they learned that the Red Cross
would not support them if they set
up an ambulance for which the
Bishop of Orleans was pleading.
They therefore made an independent
appeal and established their
Ambulance Anglaise in Orleans.
Within weeks a major battle started
and, out of 1,400 patients, the nurses
lost only 40. This death rate was far
the lowest of any field station in the Franco-Prussian War 1870
area, because Emma and Louisa had
insisted on exquisite cleanliness at a
time when most surgeons did not wash their hands, and Florence Nightingale scoffed
at the notion of germs.

They assisted at major operations of the wounded. In acknowledgment of her services

Emma Pearson received the French Red Cross. In 1872 she was presented with the
decoration of the Sarutas Kreuz Militar.

When the Serbo-Turkish War began in 1876, Emma and Louisa set off as volunteers
to work with the Red Cross Society of Serbia. Armed with parasols and disinfectant,
they took care of the wounded Serbian soldiers.

Upon returning to England, Emma

and Louisa set up one of London’s
only two private nursing homes
and they assisted Joseph Lister, the
pioneer of antiseptic surgery, in
his operations.

Emma Pearson wrote the travel

book, From Rome to Mentana in
1870. She also wrote three novels
between the wars. These were,
One love in a Life: His little cousin
and a Tale. Emma Pearson and
Ambulance station at the Battle of Sedan Louisa McLaughlin co-authored
two accounts of their nursing
experiences in Our Adventures
during the War of 1870, and in Service in Serbia under the Red Cross.

In about 1890, Emma Pearson moved to Florence where she died of cancer in 1893 at
the age of 65 years.

Paul Davies

James Alfred Bevan
44 Minister of St. George’s Church, Great Yarmouth
and Welsh Rugby Union International
4 Alexandra Road, Great Yarmouth
(previously St. George’s Church Parsonage)
Unveiled by Mary Edwards, James Bevan’s granddaughter
and introduced by Paul Davies
12th March 2012
Sponsored by the doctors of the Park Surgery


James Alfred Bevan was born in 1858 in Australia. His father, who had emigrated,
was a successful stage-coach owner living in
Melbourne. Both James Bevan’s parents drowned
in 1866 on a voyage from London to Australia,
when their steamer, London, foundered in the Bay
of Biscay.

Following his parent’s deaths, James Bevan was

eventually brought back to Wales by his uncle.
Bevan played rugby union for Cambridge
University. In 1881, the England Rugby Union
Board decided to host the first match against
Wales. Bevan was appointed the captain of the
Welsh team. The game was a farce and Wales
were heavily defeated. The Welsh Rugby Union
was founded shortly after the game.

Bevan read Law at Cambridge University and

became a solicitor in Bristol. He married Annie
Woodall. Bevan was told that, if he wanted to
marry Annie, he would have to give up smoking,
drinking and hunting. This he did. He also gave
up his legal work and attended the London James Bevan
College of Divinity.
Apart from the
Woodalls, the catalyst
for Bevan’s Christian
conversion was an
evangelical meeting held
in 1886 in Bristol. Bevan
left the meeting under
the intense conviction of
sin. He was ordained in
1888 and became the
curate at Hampstead.
Bevan spent most of his
life as the incumbent of
St. George’s Church,
Great Yarmouth from
1899 to 1936. James Bevan and his family in the front garden of
4 Alexandra Road
On the day that the
newspapers announced
Bevan’s death in 1938, Wales played Scotland at Murrayfield in Edinburgh. A
minute’s silence in a tribute to James Bevan was not observed. It seemed that Bevan’s
place in Welsh Rugby history had been
completely forgotten.

However, in 2007 a trophy was presented for

the first time to the winners of the Australia
versus Wales rugby union match. The trophy
was named the James Bevan Trophy.

Bevan was an evangelical and a keen missioner

and often led Christian missions.

Bevan oversaw a major restoration of the inside

and the outside of St. George’s Church in 1932.
The roof repair was difficult, as the timbers had
been largely destroyed by death-watch beetle.
The roof was recovered with copper sheeting.
James Bevan and his family lived at 4
Alexandra Road. The house was built in 1901
as the parsonage for the incumbent of St.
George’s Church and remained so until 1936, The Bevan Trophy
when it became a doctors’ surgery.

Paul Davies

45 Home of Garwood Burton Palmer
Shop Proprietor
Formerly Gorleston House, 34 Pier Plain, Gorleston
Unveiled by the Wendy Cole, Garwood Palmer’s great great great niece
and introduced by Paul Davies
April 2012
Sponsored by the Conservative Club


South of Gorleston High Street stands the former house and grounds of Garwood
Burton Palmer. The house was erected by Captain Cobb RN and was afterwards
occupied by Lieutenant Edmund Bennett RN, who lost an arm in action. Captain
Cobb was promoted to Admiral shortly after his death. The Lords of the Admiralty
had not heard of his death prior to the appointment. Bennett died in 1817 at the age of
43 years. Bennett’s wife died in 1822 aged 58 years. A monument to them was
erected in St. Andrews Church, Gorleston.

On the 4th of June 1837, a gentleman named Garwood

Burton Palmer opened a small linen and drapery shop in
Great Yarmouth’s Market Place. The shop, which was
called Albion House, covered only 750 square feet of
floor space. Garwood Palmer was born in Great
Yarmouth in 1815. He was 22 years old when he opened
the shop. He had trained in London at the respected
shop of Hitchcock Williams, which was based in St.
Paul’s Churchyard.

Garwood Palmer could be seen driving his carriage from

Gorleston House, now the Gorleston Conservative Club,
to and from his shop in Great Yarmouth. His shop was
often highly decorated with flowers and ferns, which
had been supplied from his garden and its conservatory.
Garwood Palmer was also a magistrate.
Seven years later, in 1884, Garwood’s younger brother,
Garwood Palmer Nathaniel Benjamin, joined the business and soon
became a full partner.
Nathaniel died at the
young age of 38 years. He
left two sons, Edward
Ernest Palmer and James
Hurry Palmer to carry on
the Palmer business.
Edward joined in 1874
and James in 1876. By
1876, the family business
was booming.

When the founder,

Garwood Burton Palmer,
died in 1888 at the age of
73 years, Nathaniel’s sons
were left in charge of the Palmer’s store c1880
business, which became
better known as Palmer

According to an old
General Trade
Directory for Gorleston:
Gorleston House has
been enlarged, re-
decorated and re-fitted
to make it one of the
best private hotels on
the east coast. It is
charmingly located in its
own grounds of 4½
acres with tennis courts,
bowling greens and a
croquet lawn. It
overlooks the piers, the
Gorleston House Hotel at the turn of the 20th century harbour and the
Courtesy of Peter Jones Yarmouth Roads. Well-
kept flower beds and
shrubberies extend to
Lowestoft Road. The hotel has accommodation for 70 guests with first class cuisine
and perfect sanitary arrangements.

After the death of Garwood Palmer, his house became a hotel and in 1921 the
Conservative Club moved into the building.
Paul Davies

William Absolon Junior
Ceramic and Glass decorator and Engraver
The west end of Market Row, Great Yarmouth
Unveiled by the Patricia Stuart (widow of David Stuart, author of Norfolk Glass)
and introduced by Malcolm Ferrow
2nd September 2012
Sponsored by Malcolm Ferrow


Absolon’s father, another William, had

premises in Market Row, Great Yarmouth.
In directories of the period he is described
as a hatter and hosier, but he also had a clay
pipe manufactory in this row. It is quite
possible that young William, born in 1751
in Great Yarmouth, helped in this business
by firing and molding clay pipes. Records
of William junior’s early life are limited, as
many records were lost in the last war.

We know that he was apprenticed to

William Manning, a local merchant in 1776
and was made a Freeman of Great
Yarmouth in 1784. That same year an
advertisement appeared in the Norwich
Mercury stating that: William Absolon had
purchased the stock of Mrs. E. Gabon who
is retiring, and now he can offer for sale
English and foreign china, table services
etc. etc., all on the cheapest terms at his
shop, at the lower end of Market Row, at
Absolon engraved rummer number 4.
Norwich a Port : Ships and Commerce
Courtesy of Norfolk Museums and
Archaeology Service

Absolon decorated teapot. Courtesy of Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service

Absolon must have done well, as he later moved to larger premises at 25 Market
Row. At this period he started advertising that, apart from his retail and wholesale
trade, he could offer gilding, enamelling and painting. Market Row has been re-
numbered several times over the years, so it is difficult to ascertain the exact site of
his premises.

Absolon bought in wares from Wedgewood, Davenport, Turner and Staffordshire

factories, which he then decorated. He painted dessert services with botanical subjects
with the Latin name of the plant inscribed on the plate or dish and also his mark:
Absolon Yarm and No. 25. He also decorated Turner Ware and Cream Ware jugs
adding mottoes, such as a Trifle from Yarmouth, or Success to the Trade or perhaps,
the name of a sailing ship.

At this time he was also enamelling, gilding and engraving glass rummers, decanters
and tumblers with views such as: St. Nicholas’ Church, a Yarmouth Coach or a coat
of arms, with perhaps a gilded inscription.

It is said that Nelson was presented with two rummers by Absolon in 1800: a clever
marketing ploy. In 1807, he acquired a shop in King Street, but he kept on his Market
Row premises and at the time obtained permission to build ovens somewhere on

William Absolon junior died in 1815. The business carried on for a time after his
death, but the quality of work declined. There are some pieces of Absolon’s work still
in existence, which now attract very high prices at auction.

Paul Davies

47 The Birthplace of Charles Burton Barber RA
16 Hall Quay, Great Yarmouth
Unveiled by Colleen Walker (Mayor) and introduced by Paul Davies
2nd September 2012


Charles Burton Barber (1845-1894) was an English painter, who attained great
success with his paintings of children and their pets.

Barber was born in Great Yarmouth in 1845 on Hall Quay. The 1851 census confirms
that he was living on the Quay, where his father was a printer, bookseller and painter.
Barber studied from the age of 18 years at the Royal Academy in London. He
received a silver medal for drawing in 1864. He first exhibited at the Academy in
1866. By 1881 he was living in Marylebone in London and was married with two

During his lifetime Barber was regarded as one

of England’s finest animal painters and he
received commissions from Queen Victoria to
paint her with her grandchildren and dogs and,
also the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) and
his pets. A number of Barber’s portraits are in
the Royal Collection. He exhibited at the Royal
Academy from 1866 to 1893. In 1883 he was
elected a member of the Royal Institute of Oil

Barber became a very popular sporting and

animal painter, specialising particularly in
sentimental portraits of dogs, often with
children. Although some have regarded his work
as sentimental, his work remains popular,
Charles Barber largely because of his competent painting
His paintings are now to be seen
on note-lets, trinkets, greeting
cards and tee-shirts etc. In the
Victorian age his pictures were
used for advertising products,
especially by Lever Brothers for
soap etc. Charles Burton Barber
painted John Brown, at Queen
Victoria’s request, as a gift from
the Queen to Mr. Brown, on
Brown’s birthday in 1876. Barber
received his final commission in
1894 to paint Queen Victoria,
with her grandchildren in her
pony carriage. He died in London
soon afterwards. John Brown and Queen Victoria by Barber

Many portraits of dogs by Barber

are in the Royal Collection. Barber died in 1894 at the age
of 49 years. Queen Victoria sent a representative and a
wreath to his funeral, which stated: a mark of admiration
and regard from Victoria Rl.

His obituary was headlined Death of a famous Yarmouth

Artist. It continued: Queen Victoria was one of Mr. Barber's
best patrons. He painted hundreds of pictures for her and
had many interviews with Queen Victoria.

Barber often went to Windsor Castle or Osborne House and

Victoria often came in the room, where he was painting and
had long talks with him. She had a great knowledge of dogs
and how to pose them.

Paul Davies A greetings card with a

picture by Barber

No Ride Today by Barber

The Opening of the Haven Bridge
1st October 1930

On 21st October 1930, HRH

The Prince of Wales, arrived in
Great Yarmouth in one of the
L.N.E.R. sleeping cars, which
was attached to the 5.05am
train from London’s Liverpool
Street Station. He arrived
punctually at Norwich at
8.50am, and then travelled
onto Great Yarmouth Vauxhall
Station, arriving just before ten
o’clock. The station was closed
to the public and the press. The
Prince was dressed in a pale
grey suit and bowler hat. Large
crowds were already
assembling on North Quay.
The Mayor, Arthur H. Beevor,
and the Lord Lieutenant of
Norfolk, Mr. Russell Colman,
took up their positions, and at
precisely 10.30am the Prince of
Wales was ready to perform his
duties, in opening the Haven Bridge. He spent a total of five and quarter hours in the
town. The Prince also visited the local Mission to Seamen, the British Sailors
Society, the Fish Wharf and went aboard a drifter. He departed by aeroplane from a
field by Church Lane, Gorleston.

Later, the Mayor received a telegram from Buckingham Palace to the Mayor of Great
Yarmouth stating: On my return to London I ask you to convey my sincere thanks to
all in Great Yarmouth, for the
welcome, they gave me today
and congratulations to all
concerned in the organisation
of a very successful
programme. Edward P.

The double Bascule lifting

bridge, which is 230 feet in
length, provides a navigational
channel of 88 feet. It was built
by Sir William Arrol and
Company Ltd., whose portfolio
also includes: the Forth Rail
Bridge (1890), Tower Bridge
(1894) and the Nile Bridge, The Prince of Wales opening the bridge
Cairo (1908). The 650 ton Courtesy of Peter Jones
lifting arms are raised
electrically, but in the
event of a power failure,
they can be operated

During the demolition of

the old bridge, a
quantity of explosives
were found under the
bridge. They had been
placed there during the
First World War and
Haven Bridge with the temporary bridge behind it forgotten about.

The first bridge to cross

the River Yare at this
point was erected in
1427. This was replaced
in 1553 by a wooden
drawbridge, which was
replaced in 1570. A
new bridge was built in
1786 to be replaced in

Alan Hunt

Crowds watching the opening of Haven Bridge

Haven Bridge with

the temporary
bridge behind it

49 John Sell Cotman RA
Marine and Landscape Painter, Etcher, Illustrator and
83 Southtown Road, Great Yarmouth


John Sell Cotman was born in Norwich, the eldest son of prosperous silk merchant
and lace dealer. He was educated at the Free Grammar School in Norwich. He
showed talent for art at an early age and would go out on frequent drawing trips into
the surrounding countryside.

Cotman’s father intended him to go into the family business, but instead, intent on a
career in art, he moved to London in 1797/98, and initially made a living through
commissions from print sellers.

John Sell Cotman came under the patronage

of Dr. Thomas Munro, whose house was also
a studio and meeting place for local artists.

In 1800, at the age of 18 years, Cotman had

his first work exhibited at the Royal
Academy and was also awarded an honorary
palette by the Society of Arts. He continued
to exhibit at the Academy until 1806 and he
also went on several extended drawing trips
throughout England and Wales.

In 1807, he returned to his home city,

Norwich, and joined the Norwich Society of
Artists, exhibiting many of his works there in
1808. In 1811, he became the President of
the Society.
In 1809, Cotman married Ann Mills, the
daughter of a local farmer, and they went on John Sell Cotman
to produce five children together.

His main living came from
teaching art. One of his
students, the local antiquary,
Dawson Turner, became a good
friend, introducing him to many
pupils and collaborating on one
of his books.

Apart from painting and

drawing, Cotman made many
etchings of old buildings and
sepulchral brasses in Norfolk,
which were published in four
St. Benet’s Abbey by Cotman volumes between 1811 and
1819. Between 1817 and 1820,
he also made several journeys to
Normandy in France and the engravings he produced were published in two volumes
in 1822.

From 1812 to 1823, Cotman

lived in Great Yarmouth and
being on the coast, he was able
to study shipping and master the
form of waves. Some of his
finest marine pieces date from
these years. However, he
returned to Norwich in 1824 in
order to improve his financial
position. He showed work from
1823 and 1825 at the Society of
Artists’ Annual Exhibition. He
was a collector of prints, books
and armour and also had many
models of ships to help him with
his compositions. Dutch Boats off Yarmouth : Prizes during the War
of 1823 to 1824 by Cotman
In January 1834, Cotman was Courtesy of Norfolk Museums and
appointed Master of Landscape Archaeology Service
Drawing at King’s College
School in London. In 1836 he became an honorary member of the Institute of British
Architects. Cotman died in July 1842, and was buried in the cemetery behind St.
John’s Wood Chapel in London. Cotman’s name is used as a trademark by Winsor
and Newton for a range of artist's watercolour material.

Alan Hunt

50 Sir James Paget
The stone plaque was originally on the house (59 South Quay)
where Sir James Paget lived was born and lived as a child
The plaque is situated on the walkway leading from the council houses
on 97 to 101 South Quay to Sidney Close, that were built in 1953/54

740mm x 880mm

In 1813, a large mansion (59 South Quay) was built by Samuel Paget. He was a
successful businessman, who supplied the Royal Naval ships with food and water. He
was also a banker, owned a brewery and was
Mayor of Great Yarmouth in 1817. On 11th
January 1814, James Paget was born here. He
went to a local school on Queen’s Street and, at
the age of 16 years, was apprenticed to the
family’s doctor, Charles Costerton. During this
time he studied the plants and animals in and
around Great Yarmouth with his brother,
Charles. In 1834, they published their results in
a book and, in later life, he said, it educated me
in the habits of orderly arrangement.

In 1834, he studied at St. Bartholomew’s

Hospital in London, where he won most of the
prizes. While still a student he described a
worm (Trichina spiralis) in the muscle of a man,
who had died. This had not been described
James Paget

59 South Quay

James Paget became an extremely popular lecturer and catalogued all the specimens
in the
hospital museum. He was then asked to do the same for the collections at the Royal
College of Surgeons.

He became one of the most

successful surgeons of his age,
and was surgeon to Queen
Victoria and to the Prince of
Wales. He was the President of
the Royal College of Surgeons
of England, Vice Chancellor of
London University, Fellow of
the Royal Society and a member
of the General Medical Council.

He described at least nine

conditions, which had not been
recognised before, among
which were; Paget’s Disease of St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in 1844
Bone and the Breast.

He was made a Baronet in 1871 and choose as his motto: Work itself is a pleasure.
He died on 30th December I899. His funeral took place in Westminster Abbey and it
was conducted by one his sons, who was the Bishop of Oxford.

The mansion on South Quay became a school of art towards the end of the 19th
century and was destroyed in an air raid in 1941.

Hugh Sturzaker


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