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Residents in Great Yarmouth defend rise in blue plaques

PUBLISHED: 17:48 02 October 2018 | UPDATED: 17:57 02 October 2018

Hugh Wiltshire, whose grandfather, Major Percy Wiltshire, trained at the building which was honoured with a blue plaque to commemorate the 1st Norfolk Artillery Volunteers who first used Yarmouth's Drill Hall in 1880. Picture: Nick Butcher

Hugh Wiltshire, whose grandfather, Major Percy Wiltshire, trained at the building which was honoured with a blue plaque to commemorate the 1st Norfolk Artillery Volunteers who first used Yarmouth's Drill Hall in 1880. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant

From the site of the first fatal World War One air raid in Britain to plaques commemorating various authors and artists from the area, there are now 93 blue plaques in the Great Yarmouth Borough.

However, residents in Great Yarmouth have given their overwhelming support to the growing number of plaques honouring some of the most historic sites and individuals the borough has seen.

This comes a day after the head of the British Plaque Trust, Mike Read, criticised the increasing number of historical marker’s.

Roy Skeet, 62, from Great Yarmouth in front of a blue plaque honouring the former Great Yarmouth Hospital site. Picture: Joseph NortonRoy Skeet, 62, from Great Yarmouth in front of a blue plaque honouring the former Great Yarmouth Hospital site. Picture: Joseph Norton

Roy Skeet, 62, a resident in Great Yarmouth, said: “I believe there should be more blue plaques in Yarmouth. We should celebrate the town’s history so for me the more the better.”

Steve Box, 64, from Great Yarmouth, said: “I think they’re great, especially for tourists who aren’t familiar with the town’s history. It’s not as though they’re on every other building so I wouldn’t say there’s too many of them.”

Steven Box, 64,  from Great Yarmouth in front of a blue plaque honouring the former Great Yarmouth Hospital site. Picture: Joseph NortonSteven Box, 64, from Great Yarmouth in front of a blue plaque honouring the former Great Yarmouth Hospital site. Picture: Joseph Norton

A blue plaque is designed to commemorate a link between a location and famous person or event.

David Ford, 53, also a resident in Great Yarmouth, said: “I like the plaques and believe they help to educate people on the history of the town which can only be a good thing. If a building is deemed worthy it should get one.”

A blue plaque honouring a former Lions club holiday home for blind people in Gorleston which was the first of its kind in the country.A blue plaque honouring a former Lions club holiday home for blind people in Gorleston which was the first of its kind in the country.

The Great Yarmouth Local History and Archaeological Society Committee are responsible for deciding whether requests for blue plaques are accepted.

Chairman of the committee, Paul Davies believes the plaques have maintained their prestige over the years despite there now being over 90 in the borough.

He said: “As part of the committee we discuss the merits of all applications and decide which ones are worthy. People are very honoured when they receive a blue plaque and the feedback from the public about this has been very positive.

“We’ve handed them out at a steady rate for the past ten years since we presented our first one almost 40 years ago.”

The first blue plaque was erected by the committee in 1981 on a house on St Peter’s Plain, Great Yarmouth, the site of the first fatal World War One air raid in Britain.

The most recent plaque honoured the site of the town’s battery which was equipped with 24 pounder guns to help with the defence of Great Yarmouth from 1781 to 1859. This can be found at The Prom Hotel on Marine Parade.

Do you think blue plaques play an important role in marking Great Yarmouth’s heritage?

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