Not a pastoral scene - but an urban view of Gorleston

PUBLISHED: 12:50 03 June 2017 | UPDATED: 12:50 03 June 2017

Where is it? The location surprised Peggotty.

Where is it? The location surprised Peggotty.


A Sunday morning, long ago. Worshippers walk towards a country church along a narrow lane between high fencing and overgrown hedgerows, presumably summoned to worship by the tolling of the bells.

Flight of fancy: steps provide a reminder of the long-gone Gorleston Super Holiday Camp.
Picture: MERCURY LIBRARY Flight of fancy: steps provide a reminder of the long-gone Gorleston Super Holiday Camp. Picture: MERCURY LIBRARY

An incongruity is the lad in the foreground, inexplicably leading not his pet dog but a lamb.

That was my first impression on seeing this old postcard from correspondent Tom Gilbert, of Church Road, Gorleston, a reaction which did not stand closer scrutiny: for it swiftly transpired that this was not a pastoral scene but an urban one.

Yes, admitted, it was a lane but not rural, for this was Church Lane, in Gorleston, close to Tom’s current home, a realisation confirmed when I came to a caption: “Entrance to Recreation Ground, Gorleston.”

The left-hand fence conceals Gorleston “Reccer”, while opposite, a rough hedge borders land where the Alderman Leach School (now a college) was built in 1931.

The date is unclear, but it was after 1889, the year the mayor of Great Yarmouth, John Johnson, formally opened the recreation ground where Gorleston Football Club played until its move to Emerald Park in 1983.

Just beyond the “Reccer” can be seen a house where today there are about 10 between the sports field and the church. I assume that in 1889 Church Road went off to the left as it does today and Church Lane continued down to Gorleston’s centre, but there was neither Middleton Road (created in 1923), the roundabout (1933) nor Baliol Road, a pre-war development.

The “Reccer” was dear to generations of Gorleston supporters, especially those at the most important fixture ever played there – the 1951-52 FA Cup first-round replay between the Greens and Football League professional club Leyton Orient, the sides having drawn at Brisbane Road in front of 11,796 spectators.

Although the “Reccer” replay was on a Thursday afternoon, 5,000 fans crowded in for the goalless draw, resulting in a decider on the neutral Arsenal ground at Highbury where a 12,000 gate saw the cup run sadly end in a 5-4 defeat.

And we go from the “Reccer” to Gorleston Super Holiday Camp (Elmhurst), in business from 1937-1973 and a recent topic here. I wrote that the only reminder left is Elmhurst Close, but old chum Joe Tills, of Avondale Road, pointed out that a more tangible one remains: steps up the embankment to Bridge Road which once crossed the railway.

There is a twin flight of 14 broad concrete steps leading into a single one of 11, once enabling visitors to reach the sea-front but now available for residents of the housing estate on the former camp land to get to schools, shop and buses.

From Surrey, Gary Seeley emailed to draw attention to the website he edits, dedicated to the camp:

He adds: “Regarding your question of the name Elmhurst, this was the name of the original large Victorian house extensive grounds that later became the grounds for the camp. The house survived until 1975 when the camp was demolished.

“In the last two years of the camp’s life, it changed its name from Gorleston Holiday Camp to Elmhurst Court.”

Gary still enjoys visiting the Gorleston/Hopton area. “After the Gorleston camp closed in 1973, we started going to, and still go to, Potters Holiday Camp, now Potters Resort, at Hopton.”

Finally, our daughter in Peterborough sent a photograph of a “GORLESTON” 17in by 3in metal sign. I wonder where it was used – probably not at the railway station because rail signs would have included “ON SEA”, as discussed here recently.

Miss Peggotty explains: “My friend Fiona bought the sign at an antiques fair in Stamford and gave it to me for my birthday. The stallholder was puzzled as to why she was so excited about a sign with ‘Gorleston’ on it!

“I have no idea how authentic it

Other News

47 minutes ago

A woman has been arrested on the suspicion of drug-driving and possession of a class A drug after the car she was believed to be driving crashed into a home in Gorleston.


A 33-year-old man has been arrested after a car was stolen from a garage and later left by the side of the A149 in Catfield.

Young actors and singers are being offered the chance to sample the fun of taking part in a famous rock opera.

For 40 years Bubbly Bingo the clown brightened up the lives of children and families across Norfolk with his pranks, comedy stunts and tricks.

Most Read

Yesterday, 15:48

A teacher is feeling a new woman and enjoying time with her children after she lost more than four stone in 26 weeks.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:11

A decision to close a Great Yarmouth bridge due to reports that a child may have gone into a river has been criticized by a councillor.

Read more
Mick Castle
Yesterday, 16:15

Major roadworks at one of the main gateways into Great Yarmouth are due to end next week after four months of traffic disruption.

Read more
Norfolk County Council
Yesterday, 09:40

The A47 in Great Yarmouth was blocked after a car had to stop suddenly because of mechanical problems.

Read more
Norfolk Police
Yesterday, 12:43

A qualified snooker coach has applied to build a new hall in Gorleston, with the aim of one day helping youngsters make their big break in the game.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 4°C

min temp: -0°C

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the Great
Yarmouth Mercury

e-edition today


Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter