As a seaside resort since 1760, Great Yarmouth has some fascinating tales about its history. If you’re planning a trip to this popular coastal destination this summer, here are some facts you might not know:
Anyone who has read and fallen in love with the classic novel Black Beauty might be surprised to learn that the book’s author, Anna Sewell, was born in the town.
Sadly, Great Yarmouth was the site of a tragedy where 79 people, mostly children, were killed when a suspension bridge collapsed in 1845. A crowd had gathered on the bridge to watch a circus perform a stunt on the river. The bridge had only been built in 1829, and an investigation would reveal poor workmanship and a faulty design.
The Hippodrome in the town is the country’s remaining circus building, built by George Gilbert in 1903. The site is still in operation and is one of only two buildings in the country that was purpose-built for a circus. The floor of the circus sinks into a pool. For Local things to do in Great Yarmouth, go to localthingstodo.co.uk/locations/things-to-do-in-great-yarmouth/
After the food shortages and rationing of the Second World War, the arrival of bananas in 1946 in Great Yarmouth for the first time since before the war was exciting. Bananas hadn’t arrived since 1939, and the first batch of bunches was earmarked for children under 18, some of whom had never seen a banana before.
Great Yarmouth was once regarded as a significant fishing destination. The herring fishing was hugely popular and made the town one of the wealthiest in the UK, but when stocks fell low, the fishing port disappeared, and there was no longer great fishing here.
The Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach boasts one of the oldest wooden railways. It is still operational, with only one other wooden scenic railway in the UK also operational. There are only seven of these in the world.
A gruesome fact is that Great Yarmouth was the third worst affected town by the Black Death plague.
One of the biggest marketplaces in Britain can be found in the town and has been in operation since the 1200s.
Charles Dickens thought very highly of Great Yarmouth. Not only did it serve as the location for David Copperfield, but Dickens once referred to the town as the ‘finest place in the universe.’
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