7 things you may not know about Great Yarmouth
- Credit: Archant Library
Home to the second oldest roller coaster in the country, one of the last standing circus buildings, and a tragedy in which 79 people lost their lives, Great Yarmouth is a town rich in heritage and history.
Here are seven facts you may not about the Norfolk town.
The world’s oldest football stand
The Wellesley Recreation Ground was opened in 1888 to provide formal facilities for sports in Great Yarmouth. By 1890, local architect, JW Cockrill, had erected a tennis pavilion, ticket office and grandstand on the site.
All three buildings are listed with Grade II status.
The grandstand is now considered to be the oldest football stand in Britain, and possibly the world, and is still in use.
Suspension bridge disaster
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Yarmouth suspension bridge spanned the River Bure at Great Yarmouth, from 1829 until its collapse in 1845.
On May 2, 1845, the bridge collapsed under load from a crowd who had gathered to watch a circus stunt on the river - 79 people, mainly children, were killed.
An investigation found fault with the design and workmanship of the bridge.
WW1 Norfolk Zeppelin raids
During the First World War, Great Yarmouth was the first British town to be hit during an aerial bombardment.
On the morning of January 19, 1915, two German Zeppelin airships took off from Fuhlsbüttel in Hamburg, Germany.
The airships had been heading for the Humber, but were rerouted and discharged their bombs over Norfolk - with the first English casualties resulting from an air raid.
Grade II listed scenic railway roller coaster
The scenic railway roller coaster at Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach opened in 1932.
It is the second-oldest of only two surviving scenic railway type roller coasters in Britain and the third-oldest roller coaster in Britain. It is also the third of only six surviving pre-Second World War roller coasters nationally.
The scenic railway roller coaster remains in much the same configuration as the 1930s structure – but has continual maintenance and timber replacement.
In June 2016 it was estimated that around 85pc of the timbers had been replaced over the years
You all know Great Yarmouth’s Hippodrome.
But did you know it is Britain's only surviving circus building?
It was built in 1903 by the circus showman George Gilbert.
It is one of only two purpose-built permanent circuses in the country still in operation and one of only three in the world with a circus floor that sinks into a pool.
Hollywood actor and hardman Jason Statham was born in July 1967 in Shirebrook but moved to Great Yarmouth with his family.
It was in Norfolk where Statham also met footballer Vinnie Jones who introduced him to the sport.
Jones would later act alongside Statham.
The 1946 bananas
In 1946 the first bananas since the Second World War arrived in Great Yarmouth.
It was the first arrival of bananas since 1939 and the 2,200 bunches were for under-18s.
Priority was given to young school children many of whom have never before seen a banana.