Letters, February 8

How we survived

the floods of ‘53

My husband was in the RAF stationed at Warrington. On leave he collected me from Coventry where I was living with my parents and my sister in law so she could attend her cousin’s wedding and we could visit my mother in law who lived on Caister Road on the corner with Jellicoe Road.

As we travelled it rained, the wind was strong to say the least. By the time we reached Thetford it was hurricane force, straw and bits of trees blowing across the road. We got to the Acle Straight, it was a nightmare for my husband the wind and rain lashing round the car. We looked to see the marshes either side of the road were not just wet they were like lakes. Ahead as we approached Yarmouth we could see lantern lights being swung by people in the road to guide us into Yarmouth.

My sister-in-law was dropped off at her relatives. We made our way down Northgate Street, water everywhere, Caister Road covered with water, the strength of the wind something else. Mr King’s bungalow built on a platform of concrete stood clear of water. The riverside was already well covered. We got to mothers.

Looking out early morning we were lucky to miss the floodwater but the allotments opposite were drowned as were any animals there. It was horrendous.

No wonder my late father said the Rows’ design was so high tides could flow through the town and exit into the river.

Most Read


Albemarle Road


Stop wasting tax

payers’ money!

I am sure readers will be delighted to read of the self sacrifice of Brandon Lewis in moving to a cheaper office, nearer the Conservative Club. It will make a major difference to the national deficit! I would like to suggest some more significant savings. He could even have a look at his recommendations for council savings for more.

Sharing his office and staff with another MP like he suggested our council does. South Holland comes to mind or a Lib Dem friend.

Stopping subsidised meals for MPs and save £5.5m and privatising the provider could save more. Starbucks may be interested?

Is that bottled water, I see in Commons committees? What is wrong with tap water in a jug?

Cut ministerial publicity stunts - 3 MPs, a minister and senior officials with travel, expenses and refreshments last week in Yarmouth- what is the benefit cost ratio for that in an age of video conferencing? Did they travel together?

The Government is spending less so could have less ministers and departments

Simplify bureaucracy so taxes are collected and fraud reduced. Cut red tape and returns for businesses.

Cut the glossy brochures, packed with photos and jargon and maximise use of the pages. It would help if Government web pages work.

Stop all the bidding for funds and save the bid and assessment costs and use the savings to fund services. They often abolish one fund and create another and some are hardly used!

? Stop creating quangos like Local Enterprise Partnership,Local Transport Boards and Poilce Commissioners which increase bureaucracy and reduces the role of councillors and democracy.

Sort out the rail industry to maximise benefits to users not shareholders and bureaucrats -Yarmouth may even get new services and a station redevelopment zone. Franchising bids are costing hundred of millions and taking the focus off running trains! How much are all the rail summits costing?

Create jobs to cut the benefit bill - even in 1817 Crisp tells us “to relieve and employ the labouring poor. Around 460 were employed to form roads to the Bath House and jetty etc.

Stop expensive re-organisations, like NHS, and encourage local solutions rather than top down.

It would help if MPs attended and listend to debates, the Commons is empty most of the time and the debates make little difference to votes.

Most people in the town could add to my initial list of how taxpayers money is wasted.


Victoria Street,

Caister on Sea

Take away fliers

are a postal pain

Is anyone else in the Great Yarmouth area fed up with the large amount of fast food leaflets coming through the door?

I stayed at a friend’s home near the town centre during the last two weeks of January and whilst there I counted over 20 fast food leaflets which had come through the letterbox, several were from the same fast food outlets, mainly kebab shops and pizza shops.

I have now made up a sign saying “No Menu’s please” in English and four common foreign languages for my friend to put on her front door. If leaflet distributors and the fast food businesses employing them read this then please respect my friend’s wishes. I encourage anyone who dislikes these menus being delivered to have a sign up showing these outlets that enough is enough.


Milton Road East


Our beaches are the best around

Although I do not have Mr Max Bedford’s extensive knowledge of our beaches, I have lived here for many years and am confident there cannot be a lovelier beach than Gorleston. The pity is that more people do not come to enjoy its beauty.


Marine Parade,


Train book is a

steaming read

I’m writing in response to M Lilly’s question (Letters, February 1) How did trains turn round?

There were turntables at both Vauxhall and South Town stations to facilitate this and these are pictured in the excellent book The Yarmouth Train, by Malcolm R White.

It’s Sea and Land Heritage Series Book 13 from Coastal Publications (www.CoastalPublications.co.uk) ISBN 0-9547323-2-4.

It’s a truly excellent read with loads of photographs covering Great Yarmouth’s “Golden Age of Rail” and features the lines from Beach, Vauxhall and South Town stations.


via email

Did you know the Stangrooms?

I am researching the family of Reginald Arthur Stangroom and wondered if any of your readers had any photos or information that could add to it. Please contact me on grandmaalien@wn75pu.freeserve.co.uk or call 01942 883719.


Turntables were

used at stations

In reply to M Lilly and friends both Vauxhall and Southtown were equipped with turntables 50’ and 45’ respectively.


Priory Close,


Dog poo scheme

is dangerous

The ongoing saga regarding solutions to the problem of dog fouling, I find it amazing that our local council has found it in their wisdom to ask the responsible people in Yarmouth to follow, approach and possibly put themselves in danger of verbal, or possible physicial abuse.

I consider myself a responsible dog owner, and when out have often seen people deliberately let their dogs mess in the street without any consideration for other people, they are aware and really don’t give a damn, so why on earth would they be prepared to volunteer their name and address, and I don’t believe that many people have time to shadow a person to their home to get an address.

But I believe it’s not only dogs that foul our streets or pavements, what about horses? Last week along Caister Road I noticed three very large heaps of horse poo where people walk. Surely they are as liable as dog owners to clear up the mess, which may I add was very much larger than a dog would leave. Possibly the horse should be made to wear the contraption the horses on the sea front do.

But I do believe generally the majority of people are considerate. As usual it’s the thoughtless ones who give us all a bad name.

What chance do we have when ruthless young men stand on the market place trying to sell tiny five week old puppies to anyone who may be interested, I wanted to weep I felt so upset. On approaching them I received a load of verbal abuse, so imagine confronting people like that. Quite frightening I think,

I would appreciate it if you would withhold my name and address, as I would not like the men I approached about the puppies to find out where I lived. What an awful society we live in. I am nearly seventy years old and certainly no match for such people.

Name and address supplied

Plant and Lewis:

we want answers

In reference to recent correspondence to this newspaper two politicians seem to have a bad case of amnesia, both have ranted on that taxpayers money has to be saved which I agree with.

First we had Graham Plant. Is this not the same man whom as part of our council spent the Yarmouth taxpayers money on the three screens which were an absolute waste of money, also was reprimanded about his language to a person who dared to question how taxpayers’ money was spent on our joke of an outer harbour?

Then we have Brandon Lewis the man whom rented out the house he owned so he could rent one to live and claim for that cost from the taxpayer, it was very strange that he soon stopped this arrangement when it was exposed.

I hope that the two gentlemen will now put pen to paper and apologise to the constituents of Great Yarmouth. Remember it was they that put you in power and it will be they that remove you.

Mr Plant do you condemm or condone the behaviour of our MP as regards to his accommodation arrangements to line his pockets with taxpayers money? Please do not come up with that old chesnut “it is within the rules”.

The taxpayers of Great Yarmouth are waiting for answers please.


East Anglian Way


Our village needs

gas, not electric

It would be lovely to have the choice to use gas in Ormesby, it comes ashore only a few miles away but our lovely village is still without, is this some sort of discrimination?

The benefits of choice are well known so how can we choose when we are in such a poor position. We pay a premium to live in this lovely village; we have a very active community all the facilities a village of our size could want but still no gas.

Conversely we are being probed by a newly formed company who want us to produce even more electricity, why not gas?

Our farmer friend on Nova Scotia farm is ready to give up arable farming in favour of farming solar panels. A field full but still room for the cattle to graze they say. Why when it is arable? How careful will they be with the vermin?

As a long time resident of Ormesby I want to see crops growing not solar panels,

I realise that planting solar panels is quite profitable and that Camborne specialises in planting them. Will they convince all our local farmers that they need to give up agriculture and live on the profits from fields of solar panels? How would Norfolk look then? Why plant them on prime agricultural land?

No, gas is what we need in Ormesby, we have what are lovingly called renewables on two sides already, our wind farm at sea and wind farms in Somerton and Martham, are we to be surrounded with money making schemes for electricity but still have no gas?



Pit your question

to town leaders

Thank you to Cllr Wainwright for accepting my invitation to attend an open question and answer session from the residents of Great Yarmouth to yourself and your cabinet.

Whilst opposition councillors will be most welcome to attend, no preference will be given to them to ask questions from the floor.

I am keen that this event is for the residents, and so it will be a question time type of event, but not a platform for debate, political or otherwise.

Questions will be picked at random from the floor with the cabinet on hand to answer your concerns.

It is hoped to hold this event in early March, please check the Great Yarmouth Mercury for further details

I hope that the people of Great Yarmouth will support this event, please contact me for further details on 01493 733578, 07957 714719 or email peter.kirkpatrick@virgin.net


Ormesby St Margaret

Memorials are

in good shape

Referring to your articles on the war memorial due to be erected in Bradwell, while happy to welcome a fitting tribute to the war dead, the churchwardens of St Nicholas Church, Bradwell are concerned regarding the impression given by the photographs in the newspapers of the memorials at present situated in the church.

These appear to be dismal, badly scratched lists of names on a sad looking board. The reality is that they are quite legible names on brass plaques surrounded by a wood frame, both are treated with great respect, regularly polished, each with a poppy wreath which is laid during Remembrance Day ceremonies, when the names are read out during the service.

The church is open each Wednesday from 9.30 to 1pm in winter, and until 3pm in summer, apart from the usual Sunday services, and all are welcome to come along at any of these times to pay resepct to Bradwell men whose names appear on the memorials.


School Corner and Mill Lane


Stop the spin and

give us the facts

Someone does not check the details of port movements correctly; use the link in the Mercury or the Port’s web site for the vessels that use our port. If you count the actual “parent” ships from January 2012 through to December 2012, the count is 175, not 355 which the Port’s CEO makes it. Perhaps add the tugs that brought the parent in though producing no financial benefit they are 104, making a total of 279, so was the short fall of 76 made up with the pilot boat entries?

With Brandon Lewis saying this week how wonderful the outer harbour is, and what an asset it is for the town. Then Peter Hardy in the Mercury several months ago saying “we should not get hung up on a ferry” commenting: “There are as many jobs coming out of containers as there may have been from a ferry service.”

Why is it that our MP, councillors, unelected officers and Port Authority think the common ratepayer is insensitive to the reality of the facts.

There are no containers, there are no jobs, the outer harbour is a desert with just a grain company and an aggregate company that employs less than ten. With promises of wonderful things to come we are still waiting. We need truthful actions not spin that tries to make the failures look good.


Burnt Lane


Horse riders need

to clean up too

What about the horse riders who can’t be bothered to clean up after their horse has messed on the pavements.

They don’t seem to bother about people that have to use the pavements after them, such as disabled people on scooters and cyclists. If dog lovers can be fined for not cleaning up after their pets, why not horse riders?


via email

Relief as green

wrangle settled

As a resident of Martham I would like to say how pleased I was to see that the “legal wrangle” disputing ownership of areas surrounding parts of the green around the village duck pond has now been settled.

I am sure like myself the majority of Martham parishioners would like to express their gratitude and thanks to the parish councillors in particular the chairman and Mr Peter Dawson (former clerk) who had put in such endless time and work to bring this matter to a conclusion.

Mr Dawson had officially retired from the post as parish clerk during August 2012 but continued to give his time until the issues had been resolved.



River path is a

dog poo paradise

Following the recent letters in the Great Yarmouth Mercury regarding the dogs mess around Yarmouth, where are all these dog wardens? We’ve never seen one, do they hibernate in the winter? Do they really think the public will bother with postcards? If they were to go to Tar Works Road, where the RSPCA is located, and follow the path to Bure Park alongside the river, they would have to jump every third step to miss the piles of dogs’ mess there. It is a dog fowlers paradise, as you can’t be seen by the public there. Some people just can’t be bothered to pick it up, it’s easier to just leave it. We have two dogs and we clean up every time, because unlike some irresponsible dog owners, we would not like anyone (especially children) to step into it.

Many times I’ve had to clean it off shoes, bikes etc. We used to enjoy taking our small son for a bike ride along the river, but have not done so for a long time, as it’s beyond a joke trying to avoid colliding with the many piles of dogs mess, perhaps because its not on the tourist route, it gets overlooked.


Great Yarmouth

Why can’t C of E

fund the repairs?

Reading that the Heritage Lottery Fund is awarding £3.6m to various churches makes me wonder why the Church of England does not repair them themselves. I am sure the money could be better spent elsewhere.

I have recently read they have been sitting on cash and assets totalling £8bn.


Southtown Road

Bedroom tax will

hit poor hardest

With reference to articles in the Mercury regarding the bedroom tax. As a Government coalition initiative, the welfare Reform act is a legal act of Parliament which has to be implemented by councils all over the country no matter which political party they are.

As a Labour councillor I have always opposed this bedroom tax. What is so cruel about this policy is that it aims deliberately to drive poor people further into hardship. It has no provision for councils that cannot offer smaller properties for those affected by the downsizing.

So let’s be clear about who is affected. Nearly two thirds are sick or disabled people with box rooms; disabled people with specially adapted rooms or who need carers to stay over occasionally.

Elderly people are exempt from the tax, but are mostly likely to want to downsize: they will now struggle to find one-bedroom properties as demand soars.

Unfortunately most are decent people. When the electorate realise that the coalition are inflicting misery on some of the most vulnerable in society, they will reap the consequences at the next election.


Nelson Ward

Louise Stephens

a touching story

My husband and I love the Mercury. There is a full week’s reading in it and it keeps us up to date with Yarmouth news in between our frequent visits.

We were very touched by the story of the Louise Stephens. We have a “little ship” moored locally, that is to say we pass one every time my husband goes fishing. We never fail to put something in the collection box for her up keep and feel that we could do no less for the Louise Stephens, a heroine of the RNLI and Dunkirk, and will be sending a donation.

We look forward to keeping up to date with the progress via our favourite newspaper.


Sunbury on Thames


We have always

been behind port

Re the great article in the Mercury dated February 1, Port is an asset to the town. Jamie Frater, chief executive of Great Yarmouth Port Company urged the community to get behind it as he warned it faced a tough future - “behind it” being the operative phrase.

Is this not where we have been most of the time? Behind it being a closed door which we have to stay behind for a period of 30 years due to an embargo being imposed?

If he wants the backing of the community why not lift the embargo, open the door, and let us have the whole story?


Gonville Road


Hospice plans

are excellent

Last week’s Mercury showed a picture of a minister and our local MPs standing in a cold muddy field off Sidegate Road discussing a proposed new hospice. All such discussions are excellent but I think they were deciding they were all in the wrong field and the next time they are all pictured they will be on that muddy open patch that links into the newly built excellent palliative care centre. As sensible people that is surely what they concluded?



Will we ever get

all port facts?

You have published many letters over the past few years regarding the Outer Harbour with most letters just guessing at why and how the outer harbour was formed, the latest by Mr Durrant is getting nearer the truth.

Whilst as a borough councillor I was never told that information given to me was private and confidential we as councillors where given briefings by Norfolk County Council officers who had taken the lead on the development at the time.

As a councillor I could not vote or speak against the outer harbour project on information that we were given at the time. We were told there would be two ro- ro ferries a day docking, as well as containers it was hoped to bring foot passengers for holidays or day visits. This information was frightening at the time because of the increasing traffic congestion in getting the lorries in and out of the town. We were assured road improvements would follow with the success of the outer harbour.

The prospect of many extra jobs and an increase in the prosperity of the town left councillors with no option but to support the outer harbour.

The surprise to me was when there was never a signed contract with a ferry company despite what we were lead to believe and Great Yarmouth Borough Council continued to proceed in making valuable assets available to the outer harbour company in hoping the White Knight would appear.

Another factor in proceeding at all cost was the substantial amount of tax payers money being given to the project by various public bodies including Europe, by saying no to the outer harbour Great Yarmouth would have been frowned upon, and obtaining further grants would be difficult.

It is frightening that responsible people have wasted so much public money and assets by creating the outer harbour which is greatly underused. Will the public ever get to know the true facts behind the outer harbour? I very much doubt it, as there were so many influential people involved in the formation of the outer harbour.


via email

Floods disturbed

dance hall date

Re: the floods of 1953. I was in the Navy at the time and was home on weekend leave. At that time I was courting a girl who lived near the Halfway House and we decided to go to the Floral Hall on Saturday night. Around 10pm we were advised to leave as the sea was encroaching the dance hall. We made our way to the steps going up to the Cliff Hotel and made our way to my girlfriend’s house where I slept on the settee.

The next morning I made my way to Southtown Road and by the time I got to the bridge my feet were soaking wet as the water was running across from the Lichfield area down to the river. I crossed the bridge and turned left on to North Quay and got as far as Middleton’s Warehouse where newsagents used to collect their papers. I spotted a Caister newsagent and his son and went over and asked if there was a chance of a lift to Caister. They said yes and I sat on the back seat among the bundles of newspapers.

Next day was a Sunday and I had to go back to my ship at Portsmouth. But I got to Southtown Station and found there were no trains running so I made my way home and had an extra two days off. When I did get back to my ship I didn’t go on defaulters because they realised the situation and I wasn’t the only one who was back late.



FA cup game was

exciting match

Top football clubs are now playing in the FA Cup. It brought back memories of the time Great Yarmouth Football Club qualified for the first round proper in the first half of the 1950’s.

They were drawn at home to play Crystal Palace. The grand stand was built with kipper boxes and crates. The attendance was reported to be around 600. I went with my cousin Edwin Manship. The game was exciting with the home side scoring midway through the second half. The away team almost equalised when the Yarmouth goalkeeper fumbled an effort on his goal and he swung round and grabbed the ball before it crossed the line but we, like people close by, agreed the ball had in fact crossed the line but was not given. We had a good view of the incident as we were behind the right hand corner post at the Caister end of the ground.