It’s not what’s on map, but what’s missed off
- Credit: Jarrold & Sons Ltd
That old street plan of Great Yarmouth and Gorleston, a section of which helped to illustrate a recent column, continues to intrigue me.
I used it not only to show younger generations where Gorleston North railway station once stood but also perhaps to remind older readers of places “out of sight, out of mind” for many years.
My curiosity stems from what is excluded as much as from what is shown. And I have struggled to pinpoint the date it was drawn.
The “pictorial plan” was published by printer Jarrold & Sons whose stationery and book store traded in Yarmouth town centre for much of the last century, next to Arnolds/Debenhams. Art requisites were added to its stock post-war.
Perusal reveals changes that have occurred in the lifetime of senior residents and might well surprise younger ones unaware of them. Some roads were renamed to reflect changes. But there are some anomalies and it is apparent that eight decades later, there is no chance of probing further.
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The sketch map, resembling those our publicity department despatched in its annual brochure - and possibly still does - or gave to visitors wanting to navigate around our town bears no date. At a rough guess, it was produced in the mid to late 1930s.
My starting point in seeking to date the plan is West Avenue in Gorleston, a quiet cul-de-sac of about 30 properties running from the main Lowestoft Road to the rear of Middleton Road homes. West Avenue is not depicted on the map, but my parents and I moved into a brand new house there probably in 1935, remaining until well after the war.
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“West” had nothing to do with its geographic location or a compass point. Simply, West was the name of the builder who, about the same mid-Thirties period, also developed nearby Russell and Stanley Avenues and called them after members of his family.
Both avenues are similarly absentees from that map. Also unacknowledged are three more nearby roads - Pound Lane and Gloucester and Connaught Avenues..
Very significant is the total absence of Gorleston Super Holiday Camp off Lowestoft Road and extending alongside the railway line to Bridge Road. This was a spacious £50,000 development in 1937 including a main building incorporating ballroom, dining room and offices, plus separate rows of chalets in the grounds.
It was probably the biggest purpose-built visitor accommodation provided in the old self-contained urban borough pre-war and perhaps overtaken only in the Seventies when boundaries were redrawn, embracing holiday-orientated villages like Caister, Hemsby and Hopton.
The only clue on the map is a sketch of a mansion - probably Elmhurst, retained when the camp was built and still there post-war; I passed it regularly as I walked to the roller-skating rinks that flourished in the camp’s ballroom and dining hall off-season.
Yet across the river on Yarmouth’s Golden Mile is a sketch of the Marina, the popular open-air circular amphitheatre...built the same year as the unacknowledged Gorleston holiday camp!
Regular correspondent Trevor Nicholls, the borough’s long-retired registrar, notes that in my previously-published map section, Gorleston’s Roslyn Road had an extra “s” and Baliol Road an additional “l”. However, as he points out, “Balliol” is the Oxford college’s own spelling of the name.
“Cemetery Road, with the laying out of this estate (post-war), became Magdalen Way in its northern half,” he writes. “That part of Long Lane which was in the old county borough became Trinity Avenue, Long Lane then being limited to the section outside it in the parish of Bradwell.
“What caught my eye was the omission of Recreation Road which might not have been built when the map was drawn, and Highfield Road which had - this is the small cul-de-sac opposite Gorleston fire station. However, the map does show the equally small Manby Road nearby – but no Highfield Road!”