This tour starts from the courtyard between The Old Merchant's House and Row 111 House. Both are in the care of English Heritage and open to visitors. From here follow the route to reach the seafront.
As you are making your way to the seafront you pass the Old White Lion pub. It is on the corner of Nottingham Way and King Street. Parts of the building date back to the early 1600s.
As you pass around St Spyridon's church on to Lancaster Street you can see straight down to the seafront.
This photograph was probably taken some time in the 1860s. It shows the Sailor's Home that was built in 1860 to provide a place for shipwrecked sailors to stay. Notice how close the beach/sand is to the buildings. The men and the wicker baskets suggest that some type of work has been taking place, possibly relating to transporting seafood from the shore. There are no signs that the area is set up for tourists.
This photograph from 2010 shows the old Sailor's Home as it is today. The outside of the building has remained much the same but it has since been used as a museum and now a tourist information office. Notice how the area in front of the building has changed. There is no longer any beach/sand in view, the whole area is now tarmac or paved in someway. The building to the left however is same one as in the 1860s photograph, but with many later additions and alterations.
This photograph of the beach was taken in 1948. It shows a group of people watching a Punch and Judy show.
This photograph of the beach was taken 2010. Although there is no Punch and Judy show, the pier can still be seen in the background. The view out to sea has changed as it is now possible to make out the rows of turbines from the Scroby Sands Wind Farm.
This photograph of the beach was taken in 1948, with Britannia Pier in the background. Notice the clothing that people are wearing. The men are wearing, shirts, waistcoats and suits to visit the beach. The deck chairs have the initials of Great Yarmouth Council on them, suggesting that they could be hired for the day from the council. One of the boats on the beach seems to be taking passengers out on a trip.
This photograph was taken in October 2010. The time of year probably helps to explain the lack of crowds on the beach. Whilst the beach itself has changed little, there are now more buildings along the seafront and the wind farm off shore.
This photograph of Marine Parade was taken in August 1896. It was probably taken by someone standing on the Jetty, possibly standing up on a horse cab. These horse and carts, known as cabs, had a series of stands up and down the beach. Some were used like buses to transport people around or on tours, while others were used to get the bathing machines in to and out of the sea.
Today (2010) there are no cab stands on the beach. Some of the buildings from 1896 can still be seen, such as the Sailor's Home (Tourist Information office), however a major difference is the amount of buildings that now exist between Marine Parade and the sea. The leisure centre and other smaller kiosks now mostly block the view of the sea from the Marine Parade.
This photograph probably dates back to the 1860s. It shows boys with donkeys on the beach in the foreground and the Public Sea Water Baths in the background. The baths were one of the earliest 'seaside' attractions in Great Yarmouth. They were where wealthy visitors would go to bath in sea water, which was thought to be healthy for you, rather than actually venture into the sea. Inside the baths were divided in to male and female areas to maintain the Victorian sense of modesty.
This photograph from 2010 shows the same view. The building that was the Sea Water Baths is still there (minus its chimney) but is now The Flamingo Amusement Arcade with a branch of Subway in it. It is quite a contrast from the earlier view of the building. There is also no sign of the sand/beach any more. The area with the boys has now been replaced with paving and benches.
This photograph was taken in September 1904. If you look closely you can see the building on the far left is the same one from the 1860s photograph. Here, less than 50 years on, it is possible to see how the seafront had changed. There is a wide promenade and the road now has an electric tram system running along it.
The same view today (2010) still shows what was the Sea Water Baths on the left (the pink Flamingo building). The view along Marine Parade has changed somewhat. The trams and their electric cables are gone, but there is still series of lamp post as in the 1904 photo. The other change is the view to the right, it is now just of buildings, whereas before there were none and the pier could just be seen in the background.
This photograph was taken in August 1896. The large building on the left is the Royal Marine Hotel. In the foreground people are enjoying a stroll along the promenade. The two young boys nearest the edge are fashionably dressed in sailor suits. Interestingly the people are almost all women and children, there are no men of working age.
The view in 2010 still has the Royal Marine Hotel but the gardens are much reduced. All that remains of them is a few patches of grass. Charles Dickens stayed at the Royal Marine Hotel in 1848-9 while writing David Copperfield. It was here that he met James Sharman (the keeper of the Nelson's Column) on whom he supposedly based the character of Ham Peggotty.
The Winter Gardens were brought to Great Yarmouth in 1903. It was originally built in Torquay between 1878-1881. It was unsuccessful in Torquay but formed a popular visitor attraction in Great Yarmouth after it was purchased by the council for £1300. It was the Council's Surveyor, J W Cockrill, who thought it would be desirable 'to lengthen the season with better class visitors, and on wet days to provide for 2,000 persons under cover'. This is the building in 2010.
This photograph was taken in around 1904. It shows the flowerbed that ran right around the inside of the building. In front of the rows of seating you can see there is a small stage set out for musicians to play on.
This is a view of the building in 2010. It was closed to the public in 2008 over health and safety concerns about the building. By looking closely you can still the original ironwork patterns on the photograph from 1904.
The Carlton Hotel was originally a terrace of houses. They were laid out from 1841 as the first part of the Victoria Building Company's estate. The White Feather Hotel was built as a terrace of houses in 1844. It was only later that they were converted to hotels.
This archway was built as the north entrance to the Victoria Estate in 1846. This whole area of the town was planned and developed as part of a scheme by the Victoria Building Company. The company however was regularly dogged by financial problems and their plans were scaled back.
Having complete your tour of the Seafront why not find out what life was like in the rest of the town by visiting the Merchant's House, Row 111 House or taking the tour of the Historic South Quay.
Great Yarmouth Seafront
Cat
Author: Cat (ID: 12269)
Posted: 2010-10-14 13:52 GMT+00:00
Mileage: 2.47 km
(1 rating)
Tags: Travel, Adventure, heritage, history, trail, edwardian, georgian, victorian, beach, pier, seafront, seaside
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This trip is designed to take you on a 'Then & Now' tour along the seafront area of Great Yarmouth. It starts and ends at English Heritage's Row House and Merchant's House. School groups visiting the properties can pick up a resource pack to let them do this trail as part of their visit.

For online users of the trail remember to click > (play) to start the trail and use ll (pause) to stop the trail when a picture appears.

Start exploring!

Sackville Close
This tour starts from the courtyard between The Old Merchant's House and Row 111 House. Both are in the care of English Heritage and open to visitors. From here follow the route to reach the seafront.
Old White Lion
As you are making your way to the seafront you pass the Old White Lion pub. It is on the corner of Nottingham Way and King Street. Parts of the building date back to the early 1600s.
Lancaster Street
As you pass around St Spyridon's church on to Lancaster Street you can see straight down to the seafront.
Sailor's Home
This photograph was probably taken some time in the 1860s. It shows the Sailor's Home that was built in 1860 to provide a place for shipwrecked sailors to stay. Notice how close the beach/sand is to the buildings. The men and the wicker baskets suggest that some type of work has been taking place, possibly relating to transporting seafood from the shore. There are no signs that the area is set up for tourists.
Sailor's Home
This photograph from 2010 shows the old Sailor's Home as it is today. The outside of the building has remained much the same but it has since been used as a museum and now a tourist information office. Notice how the area in front of the building has changed. There is no longer any beach/sand in view, the whole area is now tarmac or paved in someway. The building to the left however is same one as in the 1860s photograph, but with many later additions and alterations.
Beach between Jetty and Britannia Pier
This photograph of the beach was taken in 1948. It shows a group of people watching a Punch and Judy show.
Beach between Jetty and Britannia Pier
This photograph of the beach was taken 2010. Although there is no Punch and Judy show, the pier can still be seen in the background. The view out to sea has changed as it is now possible to make out the rows of turbines from the Scroby Sands Wind Farm.
Beach north of the Jetty
This photograph of the beach was taken in 1948, with Britannia Pier in the background. Notice the clothing that people are wearing. The men are wearing, shirts, waistcoats and suits to visit the beach. The deck chairs have the initials of Great Yarmouth Council on them, suggesting that they could be hired for the day from the council. One of the boats on the beach seems to be taking passengers out on a trip.
Beach north of the Jetty
This photograph was taken in October 2010. The time of year probably helps to explain the lack of crowds on the beach. Whilst the beach itself has changed little, there are now more buildings along the seafront and the wind farm off shore.
Marine Parade
This photograph of Marine Parade was taken in August 1896. It was probably taken by someone standing on the Jetty, possibly standing up on a horse cab. These horse and carts, known as cabs, had a series of stands up and down the beach. Some were used like buses to transport people around or on tours, while others were used to get the bathing machines in to and out of the sea.
Marine Parade
Today (2010) there are no cab stands on the beach. Some of the buildings from 1896 can still be seen, such as the Sailor's Home (Tourist Information office), however a major difference is the amount of buildings that now exist between Marine Parade and the sea. The leisure centre and other smaller kiosks now mostly block the view of the sea from the Marine Parade.
17 Marine Parade
This photograph probably dates back to the 1860s. It shows boys with donkeys on the beach in the foreground and the Public Sea Water Baths in the background. The baths were one of the earliest 'seaside' attractions in Great Yarmouth. They were where wealthy visitors would go to bath in sea water, which was thought to be healthy for you, rather than actually venture into the sea. Inside the baths were divided in to male and female areas to maintain the Victorian sense of modesty.
17 Marine Parade
This photograph from 2010 shows the same view. The building that was the Sea Water Baths is still there (minus its chimney) but is now The Flamingo Amusement Arcade with a branch of Subway in it. It is quite a contrast from the earlier view of the building. There is also no sign of the sand/beach any more. The area with the boys has now been replaced with paving and benches.
17 Marine Parade
This photograph was taken in September 1904. If you look closely you can see the building on the far left is the same one from the 1860s photograph. Here, less than 50 years on, it is possible to see how the seafront had changed. There is a wide promenade and the road now has an electric tram system running along it.
17 Marine Parade
The same view today (2010) still shows what was the Sea Water Baths on the left (the pink Flamingo building). The view along Marine Parade has changed somewhat. The trams and their electric cables are gone, but there is still series of lamp post as in the 1904 photo. The other change is the view to the right, it is now just of buildings, whereas before there were none and the pier could just be seen in the background.
Beach Gardens and Royal Marine Hotel
This photograph was taken in August 1896. The large building on the left is the Royal Marine Hotel. In the foreground people are enjoying a stroll along the promenade. The two young boys nearest the edge are fashionably dressed in sailor suits. Interestingly the people are almost all women and children, there are no men of working age.
Beach Gardens and Royal Marine Hotel
The view in 2010 still has the Royal Marine Hotel but the gardens are much reduced. All that remains of them is a few patches of grass. Charles Dickens stayed at the Royal Marine Hotel in 1848-9 while writing David Copperfield. It was here that he met James Sharman (the keeper of the Nelson's Column) on whom he supposedly based the character of Ham Peggotty.
Winter Gardens
The Winter Gardens were brought to Great Yarmouth in 1903. It was originally built in Torquay between 1878-1881. It was unsuccessful in Torquay but formed a popular visitor attraction in Great Yarmouth after it was purchased by the council for £1300. It was the Council's Surveyor, J W Cockrill, who thought it would be desirable 'to lengthen the season with better class visitors, and on wet days to provide for 2,000 persons under cover'. This is the building in 2010.
Winter Gardens
This photograph was taken in around 1904. It shows the flowerbed that ran right around the inside of the building. In front of the rows of seating you can see there is a small stage set out for musicians to play on.
Winter Gardens
This is a view of the building in 2010. It was closed to the public in 2008 over health and safety concerns about the building. By looking closely you can still the original ironwork patterns on the photograph from 1904.
Carlton and White Feather Hotels
The Carlton Hotel was originally a terrace of houses. They were laid out from 1841 as the first part of the Victoria Building Company's estate. The White Feather Hotel was built as a terrace of houses in 1844. It was only later that they were converted to hotels.
Wellington Arch
This archway was built as the north entrance to the Victoria Estate in 1846. This whole area of the town was planned and developed as part of a scheme by the Victoria Building Company. The company however was regularly dogged by financial problems and their plans were scaled back.
Merchant's House
Having complete your tour of the Seafront why not find out what life was like in the rest of the town by visiting the Merchant's House, Row 111 House or taking the tour of the Historic South Quay.
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