Mrs B. Hearn's Memories of Holidays in Great Yarmouth

Photo:Tourists sunbathing on Great Yarmouth beach, c. 1950

Tourists sunbathing on Great Yarmouth beach, c. 1950

Great Yarmouth Museums

Photo:Roller skating at Wellington Pier, c. 1950

Roller skating at Wellington Pier, c. 1950

Courtesy of Mr P. Parker

Photo:One of the rides at Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach

One of the rides at Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach

Great Yarmouth Museums

Written memories of Great Yarmouth

By Laura Matthews

My grandmother had a week's holiday in Great Yarmouth every summer for over 50 years. During the 1920s and 30s my grandparents and 4 children lodged with Mrs Hood at 8 Garfield Road, Newtown, Great Yarmouth. My Grandmother would buy food in the morning and Mrs Hood would then prepare it for their evening meal, after the family had been out all day. I have several photos from that time of the family on the beach, boating lake and in the gardens of the new waterways.

After the war, my grandparents brought me up and so I was included in these holidays. We then stayed at the Bath Hotel on Marine Parade, run by Mr and Mrs Jefferies. There were washbasins in the bedrooms. But arrangements had to be made with the management if we wanted to use the bathroom. This seemed like the height of luxury to me as at that time we lived in a country cottage with an outside toilet and a tin bath! At the end of the holiday the waitresses were given a half-crown tip and the cook got 5 shillings.

Most days were spent on the beach or sitting on deckchairs around the Marina, where we could listen to the music from the shows going on inside and watch the bowling matches. There were also trips on the Golden Galleon from the Quay, on the Norwich Belle or the speedboat from the end of Britannia Pier, and to Scroby Sands from the beach. There was roller-skating at the Wellington Pier, and a Brass Band played in the gardens there most Sundays. As a child my favourite pastime was the pony rides at 6d a time, which went from the jetty as far as the Wellington Pier and back again.

We went to a different show every night of the week. Some of the theatres changed their programmes mid-week so it was possible to see a completely different show there twice in the week. There were variety shows at the Wellington Pier, Britannia Pier, Windmill Theatre, Royal Aquarium and ABC Theatre, and of course the Circus and great plays at the Little Theatre.

Visits to the Pleasure Beach were not just for the rides but also for the sideshows, which included sights like a calf with two heads, dwarfs and someone called Victor Victoria!! I think there was a motorcycle "Wall of Death". Another "must do" was to go to the market on Wednesdays, mostly to listen to the stallholders shouting their wares, especially the crockery sellers who would throw the crockery about without any breakages. On the way back we called at the Bloater shop to send boxes of bloaters to several relatives.

After the Bath Hotel we stayed at the Holkham Hotel, run by Mr and Mrs Reily. I have a receipt from there dated 7/8/1958, which shows the cost of full board for 3 adults and 2 children to be £43.2.0. Some of my memories from that time (1960s) are of promenade photographers, how cold the open-air swimming pool was, and of a rather strange man who walked around the beach selling ice-creams from some sort of cold-box. Beach huts were booked for the same week each year and we used to meet up with the same people in the neighbouring huts and formed some very good friendships.

Written by Mrs. B. Hearn

This page was added by Laura Matthews on 13/07/2007.
Comments about this page

I have lovely childhood memories of Gt Yarmouth. Although I live in Norwich it has always been like a second home to me. My father always had 2 weeks holiday in August and we would always go along with grandparents aunts and uncles etc to visit one of the shows after a feast on the market. A trip wouldnt be complete without this and still,the habits remain.

I can remember the waterways when we were young it was so magical. I can always remember and wonder if anybody else remembers the tiny coach parked along the front advertising coach trips and a small man used to drive it. We always had to go and have a look at it. Special memories of the snails on the fair and the Noah's ark and the laughing policeman. We also took a ride over from Yarmouth to Gorleston on the boat when we were young and my sister was scared and felt sea sick. It was a black steamer.

Remembering lovely holidays on the North Denes site. Such happy days. Not much money but it seemed as though we had the world. Later years as a teenager going on the train for whitsun for the day was such an adventure and felt so grown up then. Days of skinheads etc. Then when married and my sons came along we enjoyed repeating it all over again telling them all about such happy memories and hopefully with grandchildren in the near future.

I will always have a liking for the place although it has changed like lots of other towns and cities. We visit very often for shopping and walks along the front and enjoying the market and nice coffee along Regent Road and just watching the world go by along with our lovely happy memories.

By Sandra Searle
On 15/07/2008

Hi after writing on your page 15/07/2008 we have a beautiful little granddaughter Ellie Mae born 6/9/10 who we have since taken her to Gt Yarmouth and she had her first feel of the sand on her feet and hands recently,I have a pic of myself not much older than her on Gt Yarmouth beach.

By sandra searle
On 04/05/2010

This is another photo that takes me back. The ride at the pleasure beach was called the supersonic vampire jets. This was one of my favourite rides as a kid. The ride was operated by electicity and compressed air. When it started off it went around and in each jet was a controller. Pull it back and the jet was sent upwards by compressed air. Push it forward and it went down. The best part about this ride was the music that played all the time 'those magnificent men in their flying machines'. Absolute brilliant fun!

By Lee Rhodes West Midlands
On 14/06/2010

Great Yarmouth seafront was the best in the skinhead days. Me and my mates would walk along the seafront happily and then a load of rockers/grebos would run after us as we were skinheads. Great fun. We used to run for our lives, in our two tone tonic suits, Ben Shermans, monkey boots. We used to think we looked great. Those were the days in 68/69.

By valerie patterson
On 06/09/2010

Had a weekend break at the Seashore caravan camp in July this year. Last time I had holiday there I was 5 years old. Lovely to return again the old pub on the corner. The Iron Duke was my nannys fav pub. We used to sit outside with a Vimto and crisps. Loved every minute of it. It is still there but no longer open. What a shame. It would be lovely and attract the public for the racing events. That's another issue. Our family outing to Yarmouth races,the memories are all so nostalgic for me. Could go on and on about these times and Hemsby amd Caister.

By sandra searle
On 29/09/2010

From summer 1956 aged 2, along with my mum and two aunts and sister Sheila and brother Rod, we used to stay with Mrs Middleton at 14 Nelson Road North for two weeks at the beginning of August. We used to have a beach chalet on the north beach and go there every day, rain or shine. I remember all the shows, including some on Sundays when I was about 6 which included such stars as Billy Fury and Marty Wilde - I think they were on at the Aquarium. Mrs B Hearn's holiday memories are almost my own! We used to call the man who sold ice cream on the beach from the cool box "the rubber dub dub man" as this was what he used to shout. My own two grandsons and I came for a week's holiday last year and again we are coming for a week at the beginning of August - they love it as much as I did, even though it is quite different from when I was a child.

By Mrs Pam Wishart
On 05/08/2011

At last, someone who remembers the ice cream man who called out rubber dub dub. Mrs Wisharts memories almost mirror my own. In the fifties and early sixties when I was a young lad, I was lucky enough to spend four weeks of the year at Yarmouth. With my family, we spent a week at Easter and Whitsun and a fortnight in August. Easter was my favourite time as it seemed fairly deserted after the bank holiday and I had the whole beach to myself. We allways stayed at Mrs Nicholls or Mr. Roberts guest house in Euston Road. My everlasting memory is of getting up very early for a pre-breakfast walk with my dad to get the newspaper at Mr. Spurgeons shop followed by a steaming mug of tea from the kiosk next to Brittania pier on the promenade. The owner allways wore a trilby hat and dad nicknamed him "The Italian". At the other end of the prom was another kiosk called "Dennys" opposite the public toilets. At Easter the sand was piled high allmost level with the prom by bulldozers on the beach. Whitsun was allways a little more crowded, but in August the whole place really came alive . We allways hired a beach hut for the fortnight and sometimes stayed in it till very late at night eating fish and chips. The whole town holds such wonderfull memories for me and I am very sad to hear of its demise from friends who live in the area. I hope it will attract investment and rise again.

By andrew pealling
On 14/09/2011

I remember the Rub-a-Dub-a-Dub ice-cream man. His complete call was, 'rub-a-dub-a-dub, ice-cream-in-a-tub.' He lugged about the beach a huge, heavy box of ice cream at his waist on a strap across his back. In the 1950's there was a once a year coach trip to Yarmouth from East Harling near Thetford, I would have been around the age of ten. There was a 'What The Butler Saw' machine in an arcade under Britannia Pier with a sign on it that said, 'Out Of Order.' I put some coins in it anyway to have a look, and it didn't work, so I banged it. An irate man appeared and pointed to the sign. In a rare moment of quick thinking, I pretended that I couldn't read! He sent me on my way. I will never know what it was the butler saw.

By Keith Wooldridge
On 27/11/2012

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