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Illustrated by
contemporary engravings

Colin Tooke
Copyright © Great Yarmouth Local History and Archaeological Society

Published by
Great Yarmouth Local History and Archaeological Society
Registered Charity No 277272


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

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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.

RPD Litho Printers, Gorleston, Norfolk.

Publications by the Great Yarmouth
Local History and Archaeological Society
Historic Great Yarmouth
ISBN 978-0957609211
by Margaret Gooch

Monograph One:
Excerpt from the Sailors’ 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 by Margaret Gooch

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

Monograph Six:
Plaques in and around Great Yarmouth and Gorleston
ISBN 978-0957609204 by Alan Hunt, Margaret Gooch and Paul P. Davies

Monograph Seven:
Window Display par excellence
The work of Philip Musgrave-Gray of Palmer’s Department Store,
Great Yarmouth in the 1930s by David McDermott and Paul P. Davies

Monograph Eight:
A Snapshot of Great Yarmouth 150 years Ago by Paul P. Davies

Monograph Nine:
Some Bye-Laws of Great Yarmouth Borough Council 1862-1873

Monograph Ten:
Caister Causey Act 1722

Monograph Eleven:
A Proposal for a New Cattle Market and Slaughter House for Great
Yarmouth 1877

Monograph Twelve:
A Selection of the writings of Harry Beale Johnson, the Yarmouth Mercury
Corner Man 1926-1932

Monograph Thirteen:
The High Stewards of Great Yarmouth by Paul P. Davies and Andrew Fakes
More Plaques in and around Great Yarmouth and Gorleston:
Compiled by Paul P. Davies

Great Yarmouth Local History and Archaeological Society
On 25 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 Christchurch, Deneside, 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
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. Monographs are also periodically published.
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 2018 – 2019
President: Andrew Fakes
Chairman: Paul Davies
Secretary: Patricia Day
Treasurer: Kevin Mace
Committee Members: Ben Milner, Ann Dunning, Alan Hunt, Peter Jones,
John Smail, Michael Wadsworth and Gareth Davies.

Until the 1870s photography was in its infancy, mainly used for studio
portraiture. Books, newspapers and magazines had to rely on engravings or
drawings for any feature they wished to illustrate. It is so with this small
book, a snapshot of the town throughout the first three decades of
Victoria’s reign, where contemporary engravings, paintings and drawings
have been used to portray the period. These were years of immense change
and development, probably the greatest period of change the town of
Great Yarmouth had ever seen. The arrival of the Victorian transport
revolution, the railway, clean piped drinking water, a sewerage system,
rapid development on the Denes and the emergence of a new industry, the
holiday industry, all helped to bring new prosperity and improved living
conditions to the town.
Throughout this book a few quotations from publications of the period have
been included to show how the town was seen by others. For example the
publishers of a guide book in 1850 wrote: This justly celebrated seaport has
long enjoyed an almost universal fame for the extent of its fisheries, the
daring spirit of enterprise manifested by its hardy sons and for its salubrious
and pleasant situation. Yarmouth is held in very high estimation as a
bathing place and during the summer months the town is enlivened and
enriched by a vast influx of rank, wealth and fashion. Shipbuilding is
extensively carried out and the silk mills, erected in 1815, give employment
to nearly 700 operatives. The most prolific source of wealth however is to be
found in the fishery; this outstrips every competitor. There are 500
registered vessels, about half that number being fishing smacks. There are
60 or 70 fish curing houses and the herring catch in a favourable season
exceeds 70,000 barrels.

Colin Tooke

The top plan, published by Meall in his 1851 guide book, shows the
developing road layout for the ‘new town’ on the Denes. Another guide,
published only nine years later by William Cobb, was able to publish a much
more detailed plan as the town continued to develop.

Since the 1850s several road names in the town have changed.
The following list gives the old name followed by the present day name.
Brighton Road = Havelock Road
Chapel Street = King Street
Charlotte Street = Howard Street North
Custom House Quay = South Quay
East Hill Road = Albion Road
East Street = York Road
Gaol Street = Middlegate Street
Hog Hill = Priory Plain
Jetty Road = St. Peter’s Road
Monument Road = Nelson Road
North Trafalgar Road = Apsley Road
Royal Road = Wellington Road
Short Quay = Hall Quay
South Street = Friars Lane
Terrace Road = Victoria Road
Tower Road = Blackfriars Road

In 1850 George Parker and his wife offered an unusual mix of ice cream,
sweets and music to both local residents and visitors.


By 1840 the old town, the area confined by the medieval walls, was very
overcrowded. The majority of the population lived in the narrow rows,
which ran east to west, many in small and closely built seventeenth
century houses. An 1844 guide said that the population of the town
consisted mainly of mariners, labourers and the poor. For many, living
conditions were poor, several of the larger houses in the rows had been
turned into tenements and a survey found that in many rows lived at least
27 families, with an average of five people per family, all sharing very
limited facilities. In 1848, it was reported that in Julier’s Alley, off South
Street, (now Friars Lane), there were 13 families, comprising of over 50
people, living in a court 24 yards long and three feet wide with three
completely dilapidated privies.

Commercial premises, such as fish houses, cowsheds, warehouses and at

least one iron foundry were to be found among the residential properties
in the rows. Small shops were in the three narrow streets that ran through
the town in a north south direction, but the main shopping areas were King
Street, the Market Place and the Market and Broad Rows.

Frequent outbreaks of contagious diseases, such as cholera and typhus,

occurred regularly because the town had no piped water supply or a
sewerage and drainage system. Drinking water was obtained from
hundreds of small wells, many contaminated by overflowing cesspools
which filtered through the sand into the well water. At the communal
pumps in the Market Place and Church Plain the water was reported to be
discoloured and with floating matter. The largest communal well was on
the Denes, known as the Middle Well, described as: Lower than the nearby
houses whose drainage flows towards the well. The well is not covered and
two people had been drowned in it. Dead animals are sometimes found in

In 1841, the population was 24,520, a figure which in 30 years increased to
33,880. In 1850, there were ten brewers and maltsters in the town and
almost 200 beer-houses and pubs. Many of these in the old town were
classed as disreputable houses, frequented mainly by visiting seamen. An
inquiry described many of the lodging houses in the old town as: Being
occupied by rouges and vagabonds, who prey on society during the day and
at night congregate in these dens of immorality, filth and disease...many
are undistinguished brothels. In one house in Wrestlers’ Row (Row 19), with
only two bedrooms, there were 20 persons in beds.

The port had strong maritime connections and in 1850 there were 21 ship
owners and merchants and 236 master mariners living in the town. Ships
from Great Yarmouth sailed to many parts of the world and several Great
Yarmouth master mariners worked from other ports, like Liverpool. The
economy of the town at this time was almost entirely dependent on the
herring and mackerel fishing industries. In 1853, it was recorded that,
during the herring season, 12,189 tons of fish were sent from the town by
rail. In addition to this 13 ships sailed to the Mediterranean with 21,821
barrels of salted herring. There were over 70 fish curers in the town and
the fishing industry supported many allied trades, such as 18 rope and
twine makers, 12 sailmakers, seven mast and block makers and ten ship
chandlers. Ship building employed several people and along the banks of
the river there were 11 shipyards. In 1867, the first iron ship to be built in
the town, a steam tug named the Enterprise, was launched from Blyth’s
ironworks in Cobholm. There were no newspapers until the first edition of
the Great Yarmouth Free Press was published on 28 July 1855. This paper
changed its name two years later to become the Yarmouth Independent. In
1863, the Yarmouth Chronicle was published, followed in 1868 by the
Yarmouth Gazette.

In 1840, a new hospital opened in Deneside, supported principally by

voluntary contributions, which could accommodate 20 in-patients. This was
extended in 1855 to accommodate 30 in-patients. Public health was greatly
improved in 1855 when a clean water supply was piped into the town from
Ormesby by the Water Works Company, formed two years earlier. This was
quickly followed by the systematic provision of a sewerage and drainage
system. The town was lit at night by 276 gas lamps.

An 1848 plan showing the site of the proposed new Haven Bridge. The
Commissioners of the Haven had been requested by the Admiralty to
widen the river which had earlier been purposely narrowed at this point.
The river was straightened, widened to 204 feet and deepened to allow
larger vessels to proceed up-river. The line of the proposed new quay
heading on both sides of the river shows many properties, including the
eighteenth century Bear Inn, were to be demolished. On Hall Quay the
tramway lines from Vauxhall station were moved a short distance to the
east. The bridge shown on the plan as ‘present bridge’ had been built in
1836 as a temporary bridge, intended to only last 10 years and described
in 1844 as a very unsightly structure.
At the south-west foot of the bridge, in Southtown, was the Proprietary
Grammar School, erected in 1834. The building, seen here in an 1852
engraving, was demolished in 1858 when the land became the goods
yard for the new South Town Station, opened by the East Suffolk Railway
on 1st June 1859 on the opposite side of Southtown Road. In 1862, this
became the Great Eastern Railway. In 1850, a guide book said of the
school: Its object is the education of 100 sons and relatives of gentlemen,
merchants and the most respectable inhabitants of the town. This private
school had been established during a period when there was no public
grammar school in the town. In 1868, the public Grammar School was
re-established in a temporary building in Trafalgar Road, the corner
stone of the permanent school laid the following year.

The new Haven Bridge was opened on 8th October 1854. Although, the
first estimates for a new bridge were received in 1843, it was not until
1849 that construction began. Designed by the Haven Commissioners’
engineers, Walker and Burgess, the new iron bridge was built by the firm
of H. & M. Grissell. The centre span of the bridge was 50 feet wide and
the carriageway 18 feet wide with a pathway on each side. The two
45-ton leaves of the lifting section could be operated by four men using
a winch. In total, 800 tons of iron and 2,000 tons of stone were used.
The construction of the bridge took five years, as it was delayed many
times due to the difficulty in laying the foundations of the piers in the bed
of the river.

In this 1840 river scene the Town Hall and Regent Street can be seen in
the background. On the left a wherry loaded with marsh hay is
transferring its cargo to a larger ship. The hay was destined for London to
feed the thousands of horses that thronged the city streets. The river
was the main trading artery of the town and sailing ships of all
descriptions would be found in the port, many from Northern Europe
and the Low Countries. A main import was coal, brought by colliers from
the North of England. In the 1850s, 200,000 tons of coal was being
imported each year. In 1854, it was reported that in one week in
September there were 70 colliers in the port. Exports included large
cargoes of cured herring (destined for various Mediterranean ports),
barley and malt and manufactured goods from Norwich.

The scene at the foot of the new bridge in 1855, then known as Short
Quay. A London steamer, belonging to the General Steam Navigation
Company, is moored near the bridge. The buildings on the left are the
Duke’s Head Inn, the Post Office and the bank of Gurneys, Birkbeck, Turner
and Brightwen, later to become Barclays. The tall bay front building was
the home of Lady Elizabeth Orde. The horse-drawn omnibus on the left
could be Limmer’s bus, a service which left from the nearby Buck Inn to
Gorleston three time a day or Ball’s bus, which also left from the Buck,
travelling to Lowestoft three times a day. The lines of the tramway from
Vauxhall station to South Quay, laid in 1846, are in the centre of the
picture, a line on which the wagons were horse-drawn.

A water colour by W Roland showing the original Star Hotel in 1859, a fine
Elizabethan building on the Hall Quay. This was also the coach office and,
from here, both stage and mail coaches departed daily to London. The first
mail coach had left from here in 1791 at 2.30pm and, travelling via
Lowestoft, Ipswich and Colchester, it reached London at 8am the next
morning. The coach had carried four passengers inside and four on top. By
1850, however, the coaching era was rapidly coming to an end, as it was
driven out of business by the new railway network. In the 1860s, steam
ships were providing a regular service to many ports including London,
Hull and Newcastle, while sailing vessels were trading to Hull and Goole
each week.

A view from the foot of the bridge looking towards the Town Hall and
South Quay with a forest of masts on either side of the river. An avenue of
trees presented a shady and agreeable promenade, a popular walk for
townspeople. The quay was a busy centre for trade and here several troll
carts are lined up to take away barrels brought in by the Mediterranean
brigs moored at the quay side. Steam was beginning to replace sail in the
1850s and a steam paddle tug can be seen in the distance. In 1863 a
steamer, the Pilot, ran a four day excursion trip from the quay to
Rotterdam, the return fare being one pound. In September that year, the
steamer Volunteer left the quay every day at 9.30am for Lowestoft and
Southwold. Some of the most respectable and best residences in the town
were to be found among the buildings lining the quay.

The Custom House, once the home of a wealthy herring merchant, stood
in the centre of what was then known as Custom House Quay, a length of
quay which extended from Row 67 in the north to Row 136 at the south.
This was one of the most important building on the quayside, collecting
the duties on imports and exports of general goods, fish, wine and coal.
In 1841, the customs collected £69,726 equivalent to £7 million today.
The Customs were also responsible for controlling smuggling, intercepting
illegal goods such as Geneva, tobacco, tea and foreign silk being brought
ashore. At the rear of the building was a yard where seized boats and
stores were kept before they were sold. On the right can be seen the
town crane, a public crane erected in 1826.

The Town Hall had been built in 1716. It faced the river and the front was
decorated with Tuscan columns forming a portico, but overall the building
had no particular architectural style. An 1860 guide described the building
as having: An Assembly or Ball Room, a long and handsome apartment
tastefully decorated with a light orchestra at one end. The Card Room is a
dim-looking apartment where the Haven Commissioners hold their
meetings. The Hall Parlour is occupied by the Town Surveyor. The Council
did not meet at the Town Hall, they always used the Tolhouse. The hall
was mainly used for large social events. In 1859, a drinking fountain was
erected at the north end of the building and in 1862 an illuminated clock
was placed on the north front. Today the drinking fountain can be seen on
the north wall of the Jetty toilets.

Norfolk Museum Service collection.

This nineteenth century drawing shows the east side, or rear, of the Town
Hall. On the left is the fire station and on the right is the police station,
built in 1842, with the police court above, where the Petty Sessions were
held each day. The fire brigade was part of the police force and one
superintendent was in charge of both. There were three sergeants, all
acting as policemen as well as firemen, and 30 police officers, nine of
them also firemen. One police sergeant was a detective. Horses to draw
the steam fire pumps were obtained as required from local contractors.
The room above the fire station was the Record Room, housing the town’s
historic documents and the Hutch Chest.

The thirteenth century Tolhouse in Gaol Street was used for all assemblies
of the council. The Quarter Sessions Court was held here and, from 1847,
the County Court. A building attached to the rear housed the borough gaol
and the house of correction, where there was also a treadmill, a school and
a chapel. The town was governed by a Mayor, 12 Aldermen and 36
Councillors. Until 1867 the town elected two members to Parliament. It
was later in the century that the building was restored, following a threat
by the council to demolish it.

By the nineteenth century the medieval town wall had become redundant
as a defensive structure. All the gates had been removed and in many
places houses had been built against the remaining sections of the wall.
Many of the towers, like the south-east tower seen here in this 1840s
engraving, were used as dwellings due to the great shortage of space and
overcrowding that existed in the old town. The roadway in front of the
tower was known as Tower Road, later becoming Blackfriars Road.

Another tower that was used as a dwelling was the north-west tower,
at the northern extremity of the town, seen here in 1860. The land to
the north, outside the town and between the river and the road to Caister,
was used for extensive market gardens to provide the town with fresh
produce. As well as providing a wide variety of produce the gardens were
also renowned for the crops of radishes, a delicacy sold throughout
the town by ‘radish boys’. Outside the wall and against the river were the
lime kilns.

Taken from a watercolour painted in 1859 by the local artist C. J. Winter.
This shows the jawbones of a whale forming an arch adjacent to the
Pinnacle Tower. Several arches similar to this were to be found in the
town, reminders of an earlier period when the town had been involved in a
thriving Greenland whaling industry.

An engraving of the north-west tower seen from the North River. Many
wherrymen lived in this part of the town and a church, St. Andrews, was
built for them on North Quay, which was consecrated in October 1860.
This church was highly decorated with the stonework on the columns
representing water lilies, bulrushes and river weeds. The smaller,
shallower draft wherries seen here were used to carry goods, mainly
coal, up-river to the Broadland villages. They returned with fresh
produce for the market as well as large quantities of bricks from the
many riverside brick works. The bricks were stored on the quay, ready
for the extensive building work then in progress on the Denes.

This 1841 engraving is looking north towards the north-west tower and the
Suspension Bridge over the North River. The bridge had been opened in
1829, ready to join up with a new turnpike road across the marshes to Acle
which was completed in 1832, giving the town a quicker access to Norwich.
This was a toll bridge, erected by Robert Cory to replace an earlier ferry.
In 1844, it was the only access to the new railway station at Vauxhall with
Cory charging pedestrians a toll of one halfpenny to cross. The small boat
on the right has just returned from a sea fishing trip, while on the left are
two shrimp boats, belonging to a group of men known as the Northenders.

Disaster struck the town in the late afternoon of 2nd May 1845 when the
Suspension Bridge collapsed. Hundreds of people, many of them children,
had gathered to watch a circus publicity stunt; a clown being towed down
the river in a bath tub. The bridge, on which many were standing, collapsed
as a crowd rushed to one side and 79 people, over 50 of them under the
age of 16, were drowned. Many of the victims were trapped underwater in
the debris of the bridge. This was the greatest loss of life in one single
incident in the town since an outbreak of the plague in the seventeenth
century. The disaster made national news, reported in newspapers across
the country who used engravings, such as the one above which was
reproduced in the Illustrated London News, to illustrate the story.

Another engraving, which appeared nationally, in the story of the disaster
was this one showing work in progress to remove what was left of the
bridge in the following days. The collapse of the bridge was blamed on a
weak link in one of the suspension chains, which gave way when the
bridge was overloaded with people. As the bridge was a vital link to the
recently opened railway station a temporary river crossing, consisting of
two wherries and some planks, was quickly put in place. By the end of May
a temporary bridge had been erected across the North River, replaced in
1847 by a new Bowspring bridge.

Published in 1841, this engraving is looking towards Breydon Water from a
point near the Haven Bridge. The large expanse of water was home to the
Breydoners, a hardy race of wildfowlers and eel-catchers, many of whom
lived there in house-boats. Using punt-guns they shot large quantities of
wildfowl and wading birds and at night caught large quantities of eels.
Breydon was a scene of great activity with dozens of wherries and larger
sailing boats carrying goods to and from Norwich. During the winter
months large quantities of ice were taken from Breydon and stored for the
fishing industry. An icehouse was built at the Vauxhall rail terminus in
1851 and two at Southtown in 1859, one of which remains today. The tall
funnel of a steam boat can be seen on the left. This ran a regular
passenger service to Norwich. Breydon was also the venue each July for
the River Regatta or Water Frolic, one of the main events in the town’s
social calendar.

This 1845 engraving shows the coffins of the victims of the Suspension
Bridge disaster, arranged in rows in the south aisle of the church after the
inquests and prior to the burials. The complete funeral service was read by
the Rev’d. Henry Mackenzie, assisted by four other clerics, over each
coffin. Many of the victims came from poor families, where money was
scarce and Charles Cory, owner of the bridge, paid for 66 internments. The
incident prompted the vicar to call for alterations in the church to provide
additional seats for poor people and for the old priory buildings to be
converted into a National School. The Priory school was opened on
7th October 1852 by the Bishop of Norwich with an adjoining building
containing a reading room, library and museum.

Row 1, known as Rampart Row or Ramp Row and seen here in July 1860,
was the longest of the rows and ran against the town wall from North Quay
to the site of the North Gate. In the 1860s, houses in this row were
described as hovels of a very mean description and were demolished. At the
south-east corner was the Jolly Farmers, a pub which closed in 1867.

Row 35, Globe Row, looking east from Charlotte Street to the Market
Place. The ancient jettied building on the left was demolished in 1870. On
the right is the corner of the Globe, a disreputable house closed in 1861.
Charlotte Street, later renamed Howard Street North, was the town’s red
light district. This 1850s engraving was made by Cornelius J. W. Winter, a
local artist, who became one of the town’s earliest photographers.

A troll cart making its way down Row 120, which ran from King Street to
Middlegate Street, known as Duncan’s Head Row after a pub on the north-
east corner. The open drain, seen on the left, and the uneven cobbled
surface were common features to be found in many rows.

St. Peter’s National School in Deneside was against the town wall between
St. Peter’s Road and Alma Road. It was opened on 11th April 1850 by the
Bishop of Norwich and it closed in 1929. In 1856, it was described as: A
handsome structure of Gothic character, faced with squared flints, stone
windows etc. and enclosed by iron palisades. The building comprises three
lofty and well ventilated school rooms for boys, girls and infants and
capable of accommodating about 500 children. At this time there were six
public schools in the town, including the Blue Coat Charity School in the
Market Place, as well as many small private schools.

St George’s Chapel in King Street was described as being: Well situated in a
grassy enclosure shaded by rows of spreading trees. The ministers stipend
(£200 per annum) is paid by the Town Council. The Minister for 31 years
was the Rev’d. Mark Waters but, when he died in 1864, the church
became neglected. The church had been built early in the eighteenth
century and the turret and dome was a landmark in the old town. For a
short time that part of King Street was called Chapel Street and the open
Denes outside the town wall was known as the Chapel Denes.

To the north of St George’s Chapel, and facing it, was Penrice House, a
large mansion once described as: Probably the finest house ever erected in
a country town as the residence of a private gentleman. Built by Thomas
Penrice the house had contained a valuable library and a large collection of
paintings, many by old masters. Thomas died in 1816, but his widow lived
in the house until 1829. The building was demolished in 1844 and the site
remained empty until, ten years later in July 1854, Sir Morton Peto, MP,
laid the foundation stone of the new Congregational Chapel. Today this is

Throughout the 1840s, the Guildhall stood on the western side of the
entrance to the churchyard as this engraving of April 1847 shows. For
many years the town’s charters and other historic documents had been
kept in the Hutch chest in the Guildhall. The hall had been used for various
civic events such as swearing in the high stewards, freedom of the
borough ceremonies and the nomination of candidates for Parliamentary
elections. As these civic occasions moved to the Town Hall the old Guildhall
became little used and was demolished in 1849 and the Hutch chest was
moved to the Record Room at the rear of the Town Hall. The site of the
Guildhall become part of the churchyard, greatly improving the
approach to the church.

The parish church in the 1840s before a major restoration was carried out
between 1845 and 1848; work which cost £3,050. The restoration work
included re-opening the west door, which had been closed for many years,
replacing windows and re-building the north wall of the north transept.
The re-opening service in 1848 attracted a congregation of almost 5,000
people. In 1854, it was estimated there were almost 6,000 headstones in
the churchyard and space for new burials was running out. In 1855, the
New Cemetery of 10 acres was created.

The restoration work carried out between 1845 and 1848 saw most of the
galleries removed and the old high-back and curtained pews replaced with
new oak ones. The seating was now able to accommodate a congregation
of 3,500 people. This 1860 engraving shows the south aisle with the organ
at the west end. The organ was enlarged and moved in 1869 to the north
transept. In that year more work was necessary when the wall of the south
aisle was found to be leaning and had to be rebuilt. Windows and the two
west pinnacles were repaired.

This engraving shows the east end of the church after another major
restoration that was carried out between 1859 and 1864. The cost of this
restoration amounted to £10,200. The chancel was extended and
re-roofed and the foundations of the tower strengthened. Four pinnacles
and a parapet were added to the tower and inside the church the chancel
and the north aisle, both bricked up since the division of the church over
200 years earlier during the Commonwealth period, were opened up. Over
6,000 people attended the evening service to mark the completion of the
restoration. In 1866, the first edition of the Parish Magazine was printed.

The Market Place from a drawing by W. Hunt dated 1853.
This group of stalls are on the eastern side of the market and the line of
shops behind them are mostly butchers’ shops, an area known as the
Shambles. Although game was sold on the market stalls, meat sales were
restricted to the shops in the Shambles. In 1850, there were 45 butchers in
the town with nine of these in the Shambles. On the two market days,
Wednesday and Saturday, the majority of the stalls sold fresh produce,
much of it brought in from neighbouring villages.

The Market Place covered almost three acres and was an important
centre of trade. A variety of shops lined the western side. Adjacent to the
main market was a separate fish market, an area enclosed by iron
balustrades. The fish market was removed in 1869 and is the site now
covered by the Market Gates shopping centre. Two annual fairs were held
on the market, the Easter Fair and a smaller one called the Cock or Orange
Fair, held on Shrove Monday and Tuesday. In 1862, the first steam
roundabouts appeared at the Yarmouth Fair.

Many market people did not have stalls, but sold their goods from baskets
and hampers placed in front of their ‘peds’, the sentry-box type shelters
made from basketwork, seen in this 1860 engraving. In addition to the
fresh produce on offer there were the market traders, often known as
‘cheap jacks’, selling hardware, second-hand books, crockery, cushions,
bedding, baskets or any other items people might, or might not, require.
In 1860 it was said: Yarmouth market is not surpassed by any other
provincial town.

Typical shop advertisements from 1850.

On the east side of the Market Place the building known as the
Children’s Hospital School, seen here in 1854, was opened in 1843.
It was built on the site of an earlier workhouse, bridewell and the town’s
first grammar school.
In the thirteenth century this had been the site of St. Mary’s Hospital. In
1856, the Hospital School had 180 boys and 90 girls on its register when it
was said: The open quadrangle in front has been lately planted, by which
the appearance of the property, and of the market place, will soon be
greatly improved. Additional buildings were later erected on the north and
south sides of the quadrangle with ornamental iron gates across the
frontage to the market.

The Fishermen’s Hospital in 1854. The hospital was alms-houses, which
housed 20 retired fishermen, then described as decayed fishermen, and
their wives. The occupants, who had to be over the age of 60 years, had
two rooms in the eighteenth century building which, with its central
courtyard and statue of Charity, had changed little over the years. Each
family was given one chaldron of coal each year (almost 1½ tons).
The alms-houses were a popular attraction with visitors to the town.
Fishermen were often sitting in the entrance ready to recall epic tales of
adventures at sea, hence the collecting box just inside the courtyard.

Throughout the first half of the nineteenth century the population of the
town continued to increase and, from the end of the Napoleonic Wars, the
town began to expand outside the confines of the town wall, onto the
central part of the open Denes. At first the development was largely
unregulated and uncontrolled but, by 1840, a more regulated building
system had been implemented. A network of roads had been laid out, many
following the ancient paths that had crossed the Denes to the mills and
wells and a ‘new town’ was rapidly developing.
An 1841 guide book said: As a Watering Place, Yarmouth, from the
healthiness of its situation and salubrity of the air, is in much repute. But
now the seaside had begun to loose its character as a substitute for inland
spas and was becoming a place for pleasure and holidays. The first seaside
hotel was opened in May 1840 by William Bird, known as Bird’s Royal Hotel.
His advertisement stated: Gentlemen seated in the hotel enjoy a panoramic
view of the sea with its undulating bosom studded by hundreds of vessels
coasting within 300 or 400 yards of the house. Charles Dickens stayed at the
Royal Hotel in 1848 and his writings later gave the town a welcome boost in
The largest and most ambitious building scheme on the Denes was started
in 1841 by the Victoria Building Company, who acquired land south of the
Royal Hotel. Terraces of large and prestigious house were built including
Kimberley Terrace, Brandon Terrace and Albert Square. The Victoria Hotel
opened in 1841 at the south end of Kimberley Terrace. Visitor numbers
were increasing and in October 1843 it was reported: The hotels and
lodging-houses are well filled. In 1848, it was said: The Denes is mostly
occupied by neatly-built houses, the greater part of which have recently
been constructed, to afford accommodation for the greatly increasing
numbers of strangers who annually visit the town.
One of the most important developments of the 1840s was the arrival of
the railway in 1844. The line connected Norwich to Yarmouth and was
known as the Valley Line, the first railway in Norfolk. Engineered by Robert
Stevenson the terminus was built adjacent to the Vauxhall Pleasure
Gardens. The line was formally opened, with great ceremony, on 30th April
1844. Large crowds gathered along the road to Acle to witness at first hand
this transport revolution. The following year Norwich was linked to London
(Bishopsgate) via Ely and now trains were able to provide direct access to
the capital. The economic benefits this brought to the town were huge.
Not only was it now possible to transport fish quickly to the markets in the
Metropolis, but it also provided an efficient means of transport for the
ever increasing numbers of visitors attracted to the newly developing
seaside resort.
The Victoria Building Company’s ambitious development had come to a
halt by 1850 with their plans to expand to the south abandoned. In 1857, a
Marine Parade was built from the Wellington Pier to the Britannia Pier and
in 1860 a guide book said: The beach, both north and south of the Jetty is
skirted with hotels and lodging houses, commanding extensive marine
There was still a class barrier in Victorian society and the upper-classes
kept themselves separate from the more boisterous working classes. The
fashionable season was from the end of August until November. In 1863 it
was said: The hotels and inns are of the first class, affording
accommodation for the reception of visitors of the highest rank; there are
also excellent lodging and boarding houses. There were now over 200
lodging houses recorded in the town, an indication of the rapidly
increasing number of visitors that had at one time been called ‘strangers’.
Behind the Marine Parade, houses lined the roads leading from the old
town and, by 1855, the new town was almost complete. Development had
not yet extended to the North and South Denes.
In July 1854, day excursion trains brought 4,000 people from Norwich,
Ipswich and Lynn. In 1859, a second railway reached the town with a
terminus at Southtown, providing a more direct route to London. In
addition to the visitors arriving by rail, many from London continued to
arrive by steamer with boats running a regular service from the capital. On
August Bank Holiday 1867, it was reported there were 20,000 people on
Marine Drive. The town had now firmly established itself as a seaside
resort and a new industry had been created; the holiday industry.

The above plan, published in 1846, shows the roads that existed on the
Chapel Denes at that time, all following the lines of original tracks that
had led from the gates in the town wall. The factory shown to the north
had been established in 1815 by Grout Baylis, silk manufacturers, and at
the south end, the Government Lunatic Asylum had been built in 1809,
originally as a Royal Naval Hospital. The plan below was published five
years later, in 1851, and shows the rapid development on the Denes
with several new roads constructed, as the town grew closer to the sea.
There are still no piers or Marine Parade. The disused Battery was
removed in 1858.

A piece of ground at the southern end of the Chapel Denes, with a
frontage of a quarter of a mile to the sea, was allocated for the Victoria
Estate, the first large scale development on the Denes. Building
commenced in 1841 as the Victoria Building Company embarked on an
ambitious scheme to build terraces of elegant houses designed to attract
people of the middle and upper classes, who visited the town during ‘the
season’ and, in anticipation of a railway line being opened in the near
future, to attract some of them to settle in the town. The flagship of the
new development was the Victoria Hotel, which opened on
23rd June 1842. Today this is the Carlton Hotel.

In 1845, the Victoria Building Company built Brandon Terrace, a
continuation of their grand development of large elegant houses. It was
built as a terrace of eight houses, but was later converted into a 60
bedroom hotel. Next to Brandon Terrace is Camperdown Place, in the
centre of this 1863 engraving. These houses were completed by the
company in 1849. By the 1950s, Brandon Terrace was known as the
Brandon Mansions Hotel and later as the Cavendish Hotel. Today
it is the Nelson Hotel.

Kimberley Terrace was completed 1849. In front of the terrace a 480 feet
long esplanade was built to allow the Victorian visitors to promenade, as
seen in this 1863 engraving. Albert Square and Camperdown Place were
also completed in the same year. The entrance to the Victoria
development was marked by a pair of arches, the largest was built in 1846
across Royal Road, later renamed Wellington Road, which ran at the rear
of the Royal Hotel. Although no further building was carried out by the
company after 1850, it was not finally wound up until 1968.

The Duke of Wellington died in 1852 and the town decided that a fitting
memorial to him would be to build the town’s first pier. On 28th June the
following year, the first pile of the Wellington Pier was driven, with great
ceremony, recorded here in this 1853 engraving. The ceremony had been
proceeded by a procession from the Town Hall and in the evening a dinner
was held at the Victoria Hotel. On 31st October the first section of the pier,
550 feet long, was opened to the public and the completed pier, 700 feet
long, was opened in May 1854.

The Wellington Pier was the first pier in the country to be built purely as a
pleasure pier, not as a landing stage for steamers. There were no buildings
on the original pier and the first entertainment on the pier was provided
by a military band in August 1859. The 1860 guide said: To preserve the
pier as a select and fashionable resort, a small toll for admission has been
fixed. Sea bathing, mainly for medicinal reasons, was an important part of
a stay at the seaside, but 1868 Victorian modesty was upheld by a by-law
which prohibited bathing after 2pm and required all bathing machines to
be equipped with hoods so that no bathers could be seen from the beach.

In this 1863 view from the end of the pier the Victoria Hotel and Kimberley
Terrace can be seen on the right and in the centre the Assembly Rooms,
which had been built in 1862. On the left is Sutherland House, the private
residence of David Falcke, a wealthy London jeweller and a leading
member of the town’s Jewish community. The house was built in 1861 and
later became Melton Lodge, today known as Queen Elizabeth Court.
In 1866, Shadingfield Lodge was built on the land between Sutherland
House and the Assembly Rooms, originally the house’s gardens. Today
this is the Grosvenor Casino.

The Assembly Rooms were opened on 1st January 1863 where visitors can
meet for various purposes of social intercourse and amusement. It was built
by a public company. The original layout consisted of a large assembly
room, a reading room, a billiard room, a ladies room, a gentleman's room
and a refreshment room, as well as accommodation for a manager and
a servant. The building later became the officers’ mess for the Prince of
Wales Own Norfolk Militia and on many occasions the Prince of Wales was
entertained there. It is now known as the Royal Assembly Rooms and is the
home of the Great Yarmouth Masonic Association.

Britannia Terrace with large elegant houses, similar to those in Kimberley
Terrace, was completed in 1848, having taken a year to build. It was built
on the site of Pilch’s Mill, one of several corn mills that had existed on the
Denes outside the old town for many years. A sea wall was built in front of
the terrace, the first piece of sea wall along the sea front. There were many
recorded instances of the sea pounding against the buildings facing the sea
during winter storms, sometime causing considerable damage.

In 1857, a Marine Parade or Esplanade, 22 feet wide was completed
between Britannia Terrace and the Victoria Estate. There was a 15 feet
wide pavement on the east side and a narrower pavement against the
houses. This roadway was later widened and a sea wall built along its
length. By 1863, the date of this engraving, there was a continuous line
of buildings along the western side of the Parade. The 1858 guide book
had stated: The beach, both north and south of the Jetty, is for some
distance skirted with hotels and lodging houses commanding extensive
marine views and cooled by the sea breezes, offering delightful summer

Following the success of the Wellington Pier, it was decided to build
another one and the Britannia Pier opened five years later on 1st July
1858. This was 500 feet long and built by George Allen of Lowestoft with
just a promenade deck and no shelter for its patrons. The pier cost £3,158
and the prospectus said it would be built at the end of Regent Road
forming a handsome and suitable termination to the best street in the
Borough. The first entertainment on the pier was given by a military band
in 1860 and, in 1863, the Norfolk-born giant, Robert Hales, 7’ 6” tall and
weighing 33 stone exhibited himself on the pier. Hales died the same year,
at his home in Wellington Road. The first entertainer on the pier was a
comic vocalist by the name of Yankee Thatcher in 1869.

The year after it was opened disaster struck the Britannia Pier. During a
violent gale on 25th October 1859 a schooner, the James and Jessie, was
driven through the pier, cutting it in half as shown in this illustration taken
from a watercolour painting. The remaining section was then
reconstructed and shortened by 50 feet. In the same gale 14 seamen were
drowned and another 30 rescued and taken to the temporary Sailors’
Home. Nine years later, during a gale on 25th November 1868, another
schooner, the Seagull, crashed into the pier taking away 100 feet.
Shipwreck and loss of life was not uncommon along this part of the coast
during winter storms.

The construction of a Marine Parade between the two piers was followed
by further development facing the sea. The tall wooden lookout towers
were used by the beachmen and fishermen to watch the arrival and
departure of boats and in severe weather to sight any vessels in distress.
On the beach, in this 1863 engraving, are two groups of bathing machines,
an important asset of any seaside resort when bathing in the sea was
still being indulged in more for medicinal reasons than for pleasure.
By-laws prohibited mixed bathing and the bathing machines used by ladies
and gentlemen were separated by what was considered to be a
respectable distance.
In 1860, the steam yacht Chesapeake left from the pier for excursions to
Lowestoft and Southwold twice a week at 10am, the fare being two
shillings (10p).

Published weekly during the 1860 season, the Looker-On included a list of
people staying in the town that week, where they came from, the length of
stay and where they were staying. This was essential information for the
class conscious Victorians, who liked to know who was in the town with
them. The advertisement for a house to let for 6 weeks or 2 months shows
how long some visitors stayed during the season. William Burton also ran a
library which provided seaside reading for fashionable visitors.

Between the two piers was the Jetty, seen here in an 1860 engraving.
Originally built in 1560, the Jetty has been rebuilt several times, the latest
being in 1808. In addition to serving a practical purpose, the Jetty was
popular with visitors watching the many merchant ships and fishing vessels
at sea. On many occasions up to 1,000 vessels, many of them colliers from
the North of England, could be seen at anchor in the roadstead with many
more working closer to the shore. For visitors from inland towns and cities
this was a spectacular sight. In 1843, it was reported that: The roadstead is
crowded with shipping. The local beachmen took advantage of the large
influx of visitors by offering pleasure trips in their yawls for those seeking a
more adventurous activity.

The beach near the Jetty was a hive of activity from the end of April to the
beginning of July when large quantities of mackerel were brought ashore.
Up to 100 boats landed their catches, which were then washed in large
wooden tubs, known as keelers, before being packed in peds or hampers.
The very perishable mackerel were sent by rail to London and other inland
markets as quickly as possible. During the autumn herring season there was
similar activity near the Jetty as fish were landed and auctioned and large
quantities were destined for the many smoke houses in the town. In 1868,
a newly built Fish Wharf opened, providing greatly improved landing and
selling facilities for the industry.

This early 1860s engraving shows large piles of swills on the beach
adjacent to the Jetty ready for the autumn herring season that began in
October. The swill basket was unique to the Great Yarmouth herring
industry, one swill holding about 500 herring. In the 1860s, the
‘Scotch Cure’ was introduced, a system to preserve the fish by gutting
them and tightly packing them into barrels between layers of salt by the
Scots fisher girls. These pickled fish were exported in large quantities and
were in great demand by the German and Russian markets. White fish,
mainly plaice, was landed on the beach from the trawling smacks of
Hewett’s Short Blue Fleet. Smaller boats, known as ‘cows’ brought the
fish ashore which, before the railway reached the town, were sent to
London in horse vans to reach the Billingsgate Market by 5am. After 1865
Hewett’s steam vessels took their fish direct to the London market.

The Jetty was a popular place for visitors: One of the most favourite and
fashionable promenades during the visiting season. In 1860, it was said to
be: Thronged on summer evenings as it furnished views unequalled for
their ceaseless variety. In this engraving, dated July 1863, the Barking
Smack public house is in the centre with the Bath House Hotel on the right
and the Marine public house on the left. On the far left is the Steam Packet
Tavern. The Bath House comprised assembly and reading rooms, where
newspapers were available, while the baths were supplied with fresh sea
water, pumped straight from the sea near the Jetty.

The Yarmouth Troll Cart was a common sight both on the beach and in
the town along the quayside. This form of transport, unique to Great
Yarmouth, had been designed to negotiate the narrow rows in the old
town and had been used since the late fifteenth century. The carts were
used to convey fish from the beach to the railway station and to the
many fish curing premises in the town. By the 1860s, their use had
begun to decline, but they were still used for several years by Lacon’s
Brewery to deliver beer to local public houses.

In 1867, a tender amounting to £7,899 was accepted for the construction
of a Fish Wharf. The work commenced in April and, by the end of the year,
the wharves and market were completed. In May 1868, the Fish Wharf was
extended by a further 1,100 feet giving it a total length of 2,251 feet. The
quayside tramway from Vauxhall station was extended to the new wharf.
There was now no need for large quantities of fish to be landed on the
beach and the direct access to the railway network allowed fish to be sent
quickly to many parts of the country. The railway company had built an
icehouse adjacent to the station in 1851 to give them a plentiful supply for
their fish wagons.

This 1854 engraving shows a Troll Cart, here described as a Beach Cart, on
the quay. These one man, one horse, vehicles were used to transport all
kinds of goods within the town. Earlier a modified design had been
introduced, known as a Yarmouth Coach. Usually painted in bright
colours these were described by one writer as: “The most whimsical
carriages in the kingdom”. The coach could carry two people and
was used to provided transport for visitors from their lodgings to the
Bath House and the seaside.

Most of the old fishermen’s cottages, sometimes referred to as ‘cotes’,
which had stood close to the shore line for many years, had been
removed by 1840 and replaced by a variety of new buildings. It had
been one of these quaint buildings that had inspired Charles Dickens
during his visit to the town in 1848, when he stayed at the Royal Hotel.
Dickens used much of what he had seen in the town to set the scene for
his novel, David Copperfield. Bird’s Royal Hotel, as it was known, opened in
May 1840 as the town’s first seaside hotel and for the season offered hot
and cold sea water baths, as well as accommodation.

The number of buildings facing the sea had rapidly increased by 1863 as
this view from the end of the pier illustrates. Two windmills can be seen,
both near Euston Road. In the 1840s there were nine windmills on the
Denes, grinding corn for the town. Steam was taking over from wind and
by 1860 five of the mills on the Chapel Denes had been demolished,
making way for the new housing developments. One, known as Hovell’s
Mill and standing near Crown Road, was moved in its entirety to a new
site on the North Denes, near Hamilton Road in about 1850. This was
then known as Greengrass Mill and was the last working windmill in
the town. It was demolished in 1907. The two mills in this view
were demolished in 1880.

In 1858, a piece of land In a central position on the Marine Parade was sold
to the Government for the erection of a Coast Guard Station. It was built
round three sides of a parade square with a tall signal mast in the centre.
Accommodation was provided for one officer and twelve men. It had
become necessary to increase the coastguard presence in the town
because of the rapid increase of smuggling in the nineteenth century.
Today this site is the Tower complex. By 1850, there were six public houses
along Marine Parade; the Steam Packet, the Marine, the Barking Smack,
the Norfolk Hotel, the Royal Standard and the Holkham.

The frequency of shipwrecks in the nineteenth century necessitated the
provision of a refuge for the many seamen landed from wrecks off this
part of the coast. A temporary building opened in 1858 and the
permanent Sailors’ Home, seen here, was completed in March 1861
at a cost of £2,000. It opened in June 1850 and to mark the occasion a
large group of beachmen and their wives were given a tea at the
Norfolk Hotel next door. To the right is the lifeboat house, built by the
Royal National Lifeboat Institution in 1859 at a cost of £375, the year after
they had taken over the Norfolk Shipwreck Association. This replaced an
earlier lifeboat house in Wellington Road. In 1869, Fox Terrace was built
between the Sailors’ Home and the lifeboat shed with the Royal Alfred
Hotel at the southern end of the terrace, Thomas Fox being the landlord.
Today the Sailors’ Home houses the Tourist Information Centre.

In 1855, the Victoria Pleasure Gardens opened on land between
Brighton Road (now Havelock Road) and Tower Road (now Blackfriars
Road). The centrepiece was a large fountain with lawns, tree lined
walks and a dance saloon all providing a variety of entertainments.
After dark the gardens were illuminated by hundreds of oil lamps.
In 1855, the Norwich Mercury reported: ...there is little doubt they [the
Victoria Gardens] will become a favourite place of resort to the pleasure
seeker. In July 1862, the famous tightrope walker Blondin appeared at the
gardens. The Cirque Imperial came in 1867, advertised as the
People’s Circus with a marquee as one of the largest in the world.
In 1868, there was a Grand Balloon Ascent by Professor Simmons, the
balloon being inflated from the nearby town gas works.

In the nineteenth-century entertainment was provided by public houses,
many having designated concert rooms. The Theatre Royal, the Regent
Hall, the Corn Hall, travelling fairs, circuses, menageries and pleasure
gardens also provided many alternative and different forms of
entertainment. During the summer months the pleasure gardens were the
scene of horticultural exhibitions, flower shows, firework displays, political
meetings, concerts and dancing. The Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, on the
opposite side of the river to North Quay, had been established some years
earlier. On 17th September 1852, the first balloon ascent made in the
town took off from the Vauxhall Gardens; Mr. S. Chambers of the Royal
Navy eventually landing his balloon on the marshes at Mautby. Towards
the end of the 1860s, all pleasure gardens were losing their popularity and
the land they occupied had a more commercial value. The Vauxhall
Gardens closed in 1869 and the Victoria Gardens three years later.

Entertainment in 1861. The Corn Hall, in Regent Street, was used for a
variety of different entertainments and social occasions.

There were several private schools in 1863, many taking boarders.

A handbill for the Regent Hall in Regent Road, a short lived centre of
entertainment. Opened in July 1867 as a venue for circus, it also staged
opera, variety and drama before closing seven years later.
The foundation stone of St John’s Church was laid in July 1857 and the
church opened in February the following year. The south aisle was added
in 1859 to accommodate an increasing congregation. The church was
further enlarged in 1866 when the nave and south aisle were extended
to the west. Built for the benefit of the beachmen and their families,
the church was the headquarters of the Beach and Harbour Mission.
A school associated with the church opened in 1860 in Lancaster Road.
In 1862, this school had 150 pupils.
The beachmen, who were formed into groups called beach companies,
manned the lifeboats and provided an essential service saving life and
salvage work at sea. There were seven Great Yarmouth beach companies,
each with their own lofty wooden lookout tower.

In Regent Road the Roman Catholic church of St Mary’s opened on 24th
September 1850. A residence for the priest was built at the west end of
the church. The tower started to collapse before it was completed
because of poor foundations and only prompt action by the builders
prevented a disaster. For this they were rewarded with a ‘frolic’ at the
Market Gates public house. Regent Road at this time was a residential
road lined with large detached private houses and terraces, many of
which were lodging houses for summer visitors.

The Royal Naval Hospital had opened in 1809. By 1844 it had become
underused and two years later it became a Military Lunatic Asylum,
housing 82 patients, who had been transferred from a similar institution
at Shorncliffe. In 1854, the building was again taken over by the
Royal Navy, this time to be used as a hospital to receive wounded
seamen from the Baltic Fleet, on the outbreak of the Crimean War.
Four years later it was used by the War Office as a convalescent home
for wounded soldiers. In 1863, it once again became a lunatic asylum,
this time for the Royal Navy. The troll cart in this 1845 engraving is in
what would soon become Queen’s Road.

The Norfolk Artillery Militia was re-formed in 1853 in response to the
imminent threat of war with Russia, with its headquarters at Great
Yarmouth. The force comprised 183 officers and men. The Crimean
War broke out later that year. A depot for the militia was built on the
South Denes the following year on a twelve acre site south of the
Royal Naval Hospital. The disused Southtown Armoury was used as a
barracks for the militia from 1855 and the South Denes depot was later
bought by the Government, extended and converted into a barracks.
Today the Barrack Estate, at the south end of the town, stands on this
military site. In 1859, two volunteer armed units were formed in the town;
the Artillery Volunteers and the Rifle Volunteers, the latter building their
drill hall in York Road in 1867.

A racecourse had been laid out on the South Denes in the eighteenth
century and by the 1840s a two-day annual race meeting, held in late
summer, had become a regular event. This engraving shows a race
meeting in progress in July 1840. During the 1840s, race meetings
became more organised, a grandstand was built and rails replaced
the ropes around the course. On the right can be seen the windmills
on the Chapel Denes and on the extreme left is one of the Southtown
mills, the High Mill. At the base of the Nelson Monument is the
wooden shack used by James Sharman, the keeper of the monument,
before the Monument Hotel was built in 1845.

In 1846, it was reported that 10,000 people had attended the race meeting
that year including 200 who had come by steamer from Ipswich and 1,500
by the new railway from Norwich, which ran special excursion trains.
This 1855 engraving shows the first grandstand, for fashionable spectators
erected six years earlier, surrounded by temporary stalls and drinking
booths, which were let by auction in the weeks before the meeting.
As well as food and drink, there was music by military bands and
side shows. In 1866, an additional meeting was held in the spring
when trains from London brought up to 2,000 racegoers, the fare being
five shillings (25p) return.

The 44 metre high monument to Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson, funded by
public subscription and completed in 1819, is known as Nelson’s
Monument or the Norfolk Pillar. It was designed by the prominent
London architect, William Wilkins. The keeper of the monument, until his
death in 1867, was James Sharman, a local man who had served on
HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar. Sharman’s original cottage was
replaced in 1845 by the Nelson’s Monument Hotel, seen on the right in
this engraving. As well as looking after the monument Sharman was also
landlord of the pub. In 1848 Charles Dickens, while staying in the town,
visited Sharman and it is thought that he based the character
Ham Peggotty in his book David Copperfield, on him.

A busy river scene and the Nelson Monument on South Denes viewed
from the Southtown side of the river. Note the sailing ship being pulled
into the haven by six men. The view is from Prospect Place, which was on
the west side of Southtown Road, south of the Rumbold Arms. The troll
cart is heading towards the town on the Southtown Turnpike.

The north and south piers at the haven’s mouth in the 1860s. An 1860
guide book said of the north pier: From this pier may be obtained a
pleasing view of the haven’s mouth with the river; skirted by the
picturesque Gorleston hills on the west. Gorleston at this time was still a
relatively small fishing community with a population in 1851 of 2,586, a
figure which only increased by 186 in the next 10 years. At the end of the
south pier is a lookout and in the foreground, on the north pier, one of the
capstans used to winch sailing ships into the haven. In the background is
the Gorleston mill, Beevor’s Mill on Cliff Hill.

Acknowledgements and References.

I am grateful to Peter Allard for providing additional information and to

Peter Jones for additional illustrations for this book.
The main sources of reference have been:

Barber C. Great Yarmouth Illustrated. 1848

Barber C. Guide to Great Yarmouth. 1846
Cobb W. A Pictorial guide to Great Yarmouth. 1860
De Caux, J. Herring and the Herring Fishery. 1881
Finch-Crisp W. Chronological Respect of the History of Yarmouth. 1884
Harrod & Co. Directory of Norfolk and Norwich. 1863
Hunt & Co. East Norfolk Directory. 1850
Lee W. Public Health Act. 1850
Meal L. Guide to Great Yarmouth. 1851 and 1856
Palmer F.D. Yarmouth Notes 1830-1872
Pigg H. Views of Yarmouth. Three Volumes. 1868
Yallop A. In and About Ancient Yarmouth. 1905


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