Letters, January 10, 2014

Don’t grind up the two bears!

Another spat between the elected and their constituents then! From what I have read about the Two Bears Hotel, soon to be consigned to rubble, it has left me both confused and mused.

For the council: If all other “projects” from the YMCA to wedding tents were vetoed by the good people of Cobholm, then why does not comments such as “... Penny Linden, councillor for Southtown and Cobholm ward, said she had received email objections to the new plans from as far afield as Australia...” (source: S Russell GYM 28/12/13) not have a similar effect in stopping this project?

For the people: Expectation and reality of “...Locals said that they were not opposed to a new use, but wanted the facade preserved...”, an expensive expectation when the reality would not fit the purse of any such project.

Don’t grind bruin up or put them on eBay. Perhaps someone can find them a home and swell the public coffers to resolve the Gorleston White Lion steps legal wrangle?


Clarence Road,

Most Read

Great Yarmouth

Fishing vessel not a success

Could we put the record straight about the Lydia Eva. She was built for Harry J Eastick, son of the better known Harry F Eastick. In a book on the Yarmouth herring fishery, the writer said the only thing she managed to do was send her owner bankrupt.

As a fishing vessel she was not a success due to a design fault however one of the reasons she is still with us is that very fact. In the 1960s she was sent to the Tyne to have a new boiler fitted, had she been a commercial fishing vessel with a sound hull all her steam machinery would have been stripped out and a diesel engine fitted as happened to several steam drifters such as the Wilson Line.

When at navigation school in Lowestoft I saw several of these conversions being carried out by Richards shipbuilders. On the death of Harry F Eastick, Harry J Eastick managed the ships on behalf of his mother. The fact that the Lydia Eva ended up owned by the government is the reason we still have an example of an original steam drifter now in full working order, thanks to the efforts of local people and the volunteers who show people round and maintain the ship.

It is an odd fact that several of the preserved vessels were oddball, such as the wherry Albion which was the only carvel (planks edge to edge) built, unlike the other wherrys that were clinker built, overlapping planks.



Hands off open green spaces

“Beaco might host school PE”, Mercury January 3. Sounds quite innocuous doesn’t it? But then one reads phrases such as “enhanced school campus” and the existing playing field being “more distant” - 500 yards to be precise.

My understanding is that schools, colleges and sporting clubs pay the borough council for the use of its facilities - a perfectly workable arrangement. Under this arrangement Yarmouth High already avails itself of the Wellesley, the Beaco and other facilities in the borough

The school itself is being a little disingenuous here. Barnard Bridge is not just a single field but a sizeable area where many activities can go on at the same time, as anyone who has been involved in football tournaments there will attest. And “supervisory challenges”, well that’s for the school to sort out itself surely?

A local hotel had designs on part of the Beaconsfield for parking not so long ago and it would appear that this whole business is in there with selling off the Outer Harbour and getting rid of the tennis courts - something which is incidentally going on right now.

Yarmouth is blessed with fine open spaces which are centrally located and the envy of many similar sized towns. St George’s Park, the Wellesley and the Beaco would be hard to match anywhere. They are there for perpetuity, so hands off.

Oh, and by the way, why is an increase in student numbers always seen as a bad thing? Yarmouth High’s is to go from 900 to 1,400 within five years. I am not sure how many thousand pounds they get for each student, but perhaps some of the money could be used to employ bouncers along that notorious 500 yard stretch with its ‘supervisory challenges’.


Collingwood Road,

Great Yarmouth

Dog fouling capital of UK?

Has Great Yarmouth become the dog fouling capital of the UK? The roads and alleyways running parallel to Northgate Street and the roads and alleyways of Beaconsfield, Salisbury and Hamilton Roads in Newtown are particularly bad. It is virtually impossible to walk in these areas without having to side-step inconsiderate dog owner’s pet’s fouling.

What is Councillor Val Pettit, who is responsible for the environment, going to do about this ever increasing problem? The paltry £80 fines and costs imposed by magistrates when a miscreant is prosecuted appears to have little or no effect on the rest of the foulers.

May I suggest that those sentenced to Community Service be employed to patrol the town and utilise their mobile phone cameras to photograph the Irresponsible dog owners. These photographs can then be printed and the miscreants brought to book and where possible maximum fines imposed.

Wait for the civil liberty crowd to complain about this infringement of the dog fouler’s civil liberties.

A constructive answer from Councillor Pettit, to well over 90pc of the town’s population, is eagerly and possibly hopefully, awaited.



Councils facing yet more cuts

The MP’s column last week was upbeat and it is obviously good news the economy is recovering. I am not sure how far this will affect for the average borough resident with below average incomes, low education achievement and life expectancy.

Local councils face further huge cuts which will take money out of the local economy and force job cuts.

Income tax cuts of £750 are helpful if you are working but do they match the cost of living increases. Hard luck if you are caught by the granny tax. Brilliant if you are rich with massive tax cuts. I wonder how far tax evasion is being pursued.

Welfare benefits certainly need reform but need to be done with compassion to avoid reports of misery. Why was the bedroom tax not phased in? Housing benefit could be cut by a programme of publicly owned housing rather than feeding the pockets of private landlords.

The growth of food banks is appalling in a modern society, what is wrong?. Would it not be better to have a job creation programme rather than paying benefits? 2700 unemployed in the area need more help.

Whilst it was good to see action on energy prices, we still face increases. I have heard nothing from my supplier and I am sure they will take the opportunity to increase their profits by not passing on the changes. Why is there not a publicly owned energy company so prices can be compared without the profit guzzzlers? Why did they fail so miserably to get power restored to areas hit by cuts?

Hard luck if you are a regular rail user as the unregulated fares soar. Supposedly to fund investment, but where on our lines?

Will the borough and other agencies get enough help with recent floods and for future protection? Why cut the Environmental Agency staff when floods and coastal problems seem to multiply?

Are delays for ambulances and A& E really what we want? Four hour waits in A& E is ridiculous.

No doubt MPs will continue to pontificate in their cloistered world with high salaries, expenses and subsidised meals with a massive increase proposed for 2015 while ordinary folk struggle to cope.


Victoria Street,

Caister on Sea

Hydra-Rig letter jolly confusing

Re the letter in last week’s Mercury from Mr Aulert, which was jolly confusing as in the Mercury and EDP a fortnight ago it was Mr Aulert who stated very clearly Hydra-Rig was a heavy engineering company. He stated it had taken considerable bargaining to be accepted on the Beacon Park because his company was more heavy industry.

Mr Aulert states when the firm acquired the park site it was the only available building in the borough. Correct me if I am wrong, but at the rear of Eastport UK’s office there is office space, warehouse space, and well over two acres of yard space. Also there is a very large warehouse with river frontage. And on the South Denes there is council-owned property as well as private and port-owned sites, all in the heavy industrial area and all with the same benefits as Beacon Park.

I will gladly accept Mr Aulert’s invitation to visit Hydra-Rig’s site if only to clarify the confused explanation of the firm’s role in engineering. The borough should be grateful for the employment opportunities Hydra-Rig is providing. Though to safeguard these jobs we have to know now if heavy engineering work is to be carried out to save having any problems between the company and residents at a later date.


Burnt Lane


It’s Hemefbei in Domesday Book

In reply to Peggy Sutton’s enquiry as to when the pronunciation of Hemsby changed. I cannot give an answer to this but according to my Pocket Reference Dictionary of English Place Names, (Andrew M Currie Tiger Books International 1994) the derivation of Hemsby’s name is listed as “Probably ‘Hemer’s Farm’. Hemer (Old Danish personal name); by (Old Danish) farmstead. I was told in Denmark that they pronounced the ‘by’ as ‘bu’

The village is listed in the Domesday Book as ‘Hemefbei’ but of course the f was read as an s. The data was collected in 1086 for use by a Norman Frenchman who had just usurped the English Throne and wished to defend his ill gotten gains by taxing the local population not caring for their feelings or sensibilities.

In the monumental work An Essay Towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk, published in 1810 it is spelled as ‘Hemesby’. It seems to have been written as Hemsby in the books I have available to me for much of the 19th and 20th century but I recall a porter on the railway station which closed in 1959, yelling out ‘Hemesby’ for the benefit of the passengers.

I have heard it suggested that the strange of spelling of village names began when signposts were being erected for the first time. The first sign writers did not know how to spell the more obscure places so they went to the Domesday Book and used that as their dictionary. Thus we have the odd spelling of place names which is very different from that which people have used for centuries.

Thus we have Happisburgh pronounced as Hays Borough, Wymondham pronounced as Windham among many others. My favourite is the village of Hautbois near Coltishall, which in French means ‘high woods’, but rude Norfolk peasants changed this over the years and now call it Hobbis.

Regarding the pronunciation of Horsey; on reading my letter to the Mercury on the subject I was told an old Norfolk man that true locals pronounce it ‘Horse a’. He can claim to have the most correct pronunciation as the village was said to be named after the second of the two Germanic invaders of England Hengist and Horsa.


Lawn Avenue,

Great Yarmouth

Bradwell lights are on, and on

I wonder how much money could be saved if the street lights in and around Bradwell were sorted? There are so many which are on 24/7 and have been for a long time. It would only take one person to venture out of their warm office, maybe into a warm car, and take note of the money which is wasted, and maybe do something about it. At the end of the day it’s not rocket science.



Award came as a big surprise

May I say a very big thank you to everyone who supported and helped me in getting the British Empire Medal in the New Year’s Honours list.

It came as a big surprise and it is with great pleasure that I accept this award not only for myself but also on behalf of my family, the bowls committee and all who have given their support to the Great Yarmouth Festival of Bowls, plus all who have given their support and time in fundraising for local charities.


Lichfield Road,

Great Yarmouth

Lovely memories of Two Bears

Such a shame to hear of the plan to pull down the Two Bears. My husband and I had our wedding reception there in 1967; such a lovely place, we have many happy memories of times spent there. We had my nanny and grandad’s party there for their 60th wedding anniversary as well.

It is such a lovely building to be pulled down - and for what? A great big eyesore as you go into Cobholm.

I am sure the residents of Cobholm will in time wish they had gone along with the plans for a marquee application and the Two Bears would have still stood in all its glory. Don’t we have enough empty shops and buildings in Yarmouth now for firms to take these on instead of building more. Such a shame to see such a lovely building disappearing forever.


Poplar Drive,


Help me with Cantley history?

I am now researching for my next local history book which will be about the villages and parishes of Cantley with Limpenhoe and Southwood. Any readers with old photographs and stories, which are invaluable for local history, and who would like to contribute them for the book should please contact me either by telephone on 01508 492239 or by email at paul.sheila844@btinternet.com



Beaco use is opportunity

I should like to thank the Mercury for their prominent coverage: “Beaco might host school PE” (January 3). Although at the early stages of negotiations between the various partners – county and borough councils, High School and Grammar School Foundation - a successful conclusion to such discussions will be absolutely critical to being able to provide the additional secondary school places envisaged as necessary to meet demand in Yarmouth in five years time.

Great Yarmouth High School is the only high school in the town itself and has a capacity of less than 1,000 which cannot be increased on its present landlocked site. We urgently need 1,400 places or else over 400 Yarmouth families will find their youngsters being transported elsewhere for their secondary education. That would be a totally unsatisfactory prospect for local parents.

A land exchange between the borough council and the school would enable the school to develop a truly outstanding campus whilst safeguarding community use of the Beaconsfield outside of school hours.

This could enable the closure of part of the seaward end of Beaconsfield Road to allow the current roadway and curtilage to be the site of new building to enable the school to grow and improve its facilities.

The acquisition by the borough council of the school’s present Barnard Bridge playing field would provide public recreation space in the Yarmouth North ward which currently doesn’t boast such a facility.

As local ward councillor I have long favoured this initiative. During the period of Conservative control of both borough and county councils there was an abortive attempt to progress something along these lines but it foundered because of the perceived anxieties of the local cricket and football clubs about potential loss of what are premier local facilities.

I should like to take this opportunity to reassure all concerned that the Fields in Trust designation will protect community use of this facility in perpetuity and that protecting the football pitches and cricket squares will be part and parcel of any agreements reached.

Yarmouth youngsters deserve nothing less.


Cabinet Member for Schools

Norfolk County Councillor

Main parties fail social housing

The Labour Party has absolutely no right to claim that it will do everything it can to scrap the bedroom tax after the vote which happened late last year saw dozens of Labour MPs fail to turn up at a crucial House of Commons vote.

Their failure meant a vote was eventually won by the coalition by a mere 26 votes. Had those Labour MPs turned up, it would have been overturned.

I really hope people will see the hypocrisy of any Labour politician who campaigns saying Labour have done everything they can to overturn the law, after all it is years of Labour and Conservative Governments who have failed to increase council housing stock who have left social housing in such a mess.,



Gorleston lights also on, and on

Just to let you know it is not just Great Yarmouth that has a problem with lights being left on and streets with no lights - Gorleston is just as bad. I have been in touch with the borough council re these, and had a reply to say Norfolk County Council is going round to have a look at the problem areas.

On the question of lights left on, they reckon that there is no extra cost to the council for these lights, so they must have a good tariff which allows extra usage. Perhaps we can all get on that one!



Pardon me your Majesty, please!

I was interested to read the article regarding the sale of the waxwork figures from the House of Wax.

It reminded me of the day I was asked to value some of the antique items dotted around the show. All went well until I got to a figure of Queen Victoria, her foot on a carved walnut stool.

I knocked the foot and then, to my embarrassment, I apologised to the Queen. Happy days.



Graveyard is a sanctuary

Once again Ludham village saw in the new year with its disgraceful firework display in the graveyard of St Catherine’s Church organised by Ludham Parish Council and once again paid for by the Womack Trust, a local registered charity. Being so disrespectful to the dead and local families with loved ones at rest in the graveyard could hardly be described as a charitable act.

Easter weekend will see more abuse of St Catherine’s graveyard with the annual Easter egg hunt and the parachuting of real eggs from the church tower into the graveyard.

It is time the parish council realised the graveyard is a sanctuary for the dead and the bereaved, not a playground.


Malthouse Farmhouse


Hemsby’s ‘e’ given to Cley!

Following on from recent letters concerning the pronunciation of Horsey, eureka, I have found the missing ‘e’ from Hemesby aka Hemsby - it’s been given to Cly aka Cley. Derivative of Klie Anglo-Saxon Clæg “clay”,



I was in the Sea Cadets in 1930s

I was interested to read of the Great Yarmouth Sea Cadets which used the Unitarian Church as an ex member of the Great Yarmouth British Sailors Society Sea Cadets under the auspices of Mr Jones. He was the local Seafarers chaplain and had a hostel and church on Mariners Road where now stands a motor car wheel store.

We used to meet in a hall in a row opposite St Peter’s Pave row where we used to drill, learn seamanship and have band practice.

One of the instructors was a Mr Fuller, an ex fisherman and we also had a “whaler” to practice rowing which we used to use on the river Yare. I remember “crabbing” a few times and losing the “stroke”!

This was in the 1930s and I cannot recall any other Sea Cadet unit. I used to see Mr Kaufman riding his bicycle along Southtown Road and some of my elder friends used to play in his football team, the Unitarians.


Audley Street,

Great Yarmouth

How well I was looked after

With many people keen to condemn the National Health Service these days I would like to say how well I was looked after recently in ward 6 of the James Paget Hospital. Although always extremely busy, everyone was kind and caring and happy to help in any way.

I would like, therefore, to sincerely thank everyone involved in helping me through a very difficult time and also my many friends and family for their continued support and good wishes.



Glad Yarmouth is my home town

Like, I suspect, many “incomers” to Great Yarmouth in recent years, we chose to come here to live and work. In fact I came here after applying for a job I saw advertised in a trade magazine. I love living in Great Yarmouth - and yes, I live in the town and not in one of the villages.

None of my family claims benefits, and we pay our mortgage and bills on time and shop locally as much as possible.

One thing I have enjoyed since moving to Yarmouth is the fact I rarely use a car, instead we all rely on public transport most of the time.

It is such a shame then that we, as newcomers, can appreciate the loss of green spaces and fine buildings which you can still see play a large part in people’s lives and memories.

The Two Bears is a fine example and I remember Mr T’s in Southtown Road, what a lovely building that was. I also bemoan the loss of the rail station near the Two Bears although I never saw it. Blame Dr Beeching!

Yes, the railway station near Asda needs an uplift as do many other areas but I feel lucky and honoured to live here, and have made many friends. I wouldn’t live anywhere else!