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‘Dangerous’ dark alleys to become ‘living museum’ with giant photos and literary lines

PUBLISHED: 10:37 09 June 2018 | UPDATED: 12:56 09 June 2018

Darren Barker, project director at Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust, with one of the signs for the ancient Rows. Photo: Liz Coates

Darren Barker, project director at Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust, with one of the signs for the ancient Rows. Photo: Liz Coates

Archant

They are thought of by some as dark dingy thoroughfares and havens for dubious goings-on to be given a wide berth.

Yarmouth's historic rows will recieve £50,000. Photo: GYBCYarmouth's historic rows will recieve £50,000. Photo: GYBC

But a project to turn Great Yarmouth’s unique Rows into a “living museum” and rescue their reputation is underway.

As part of a £800,000 Great Places lottery funded project the town’s narrow lanes and Lowestoft’s Scores are to be celebrated.

In Yarmouth 62 of the original 150 Rows remain, some falling to slum clearance before the Second World War - a process that was accelerated by the Luftwaffe.

Darren Barker, project director of Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust, said: “The main thing is to enhance the Rows and change perception about them because they are considered dangerous and dark, the archetypal ‘dark, narrow, alley’.”

Some of the new Row signs that are giving back the ancient thoroughfares their names. Photo: Darren BarkerSome of the new Row signs that are giving back the ancient thoroughfares their names. Photo: Darren Barker

Just £50,000 of the project total is being targeted at the scheme which will see all the Rows given back their names which sometimes meant making a choice between several attached to the same Row.

All the Rows have been surveyed and four have been selected for special treatment and extra research resulting in small paperback book.

MORE: Six to a bedroom and three families sharing a loo - personal memories of life in Yarmouth’s Rows

“All the Rows had names, most had several names,” Mr Barker said.

“So we have used the most commonly used one or the one. These ones are probably only three or four hundred years old because their older names have slipped away.

Some of the new Row signs that are giving back the ancient thoroughfares their names. Photo: Darren BarkerSome of the new Row signs that are giving back the ancient thoroughfares their names. Photo: Darren Barker

“It is about physical improvements and enhancements and training.

“A lot of work on the physical repairs will be done by trainees learning about lime mortar. And there will be artistic interpretation.

“We are blessed with fantastic photographs and we are going to blow them up and create vinyls on the blank walls, like a living museum.”

Some of the Rows will also see lines from literature written on the pavements, likely to be from the likes of Daniel Defoe, Charles Dickens and Anna Sewell who all have links to the town, as well as lighting and paving improvements.

“What we are celebrating is the unique heritage asset,” Mr Barker said.

“They were grim. The children had rickets and fleas, there was no proper sanitation which is partly why they embarked on slum clearance. But in consultation people said they were tough times but they were not something they wanted to forget.”

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