200th anniversary of landmark Yarmouth building

A CELEBRATION to mark the 200th anniversary of a landmark Great Yarmouth building was held at the weekend.

The building of the Royal Naval Hospital was carried out between 1809-1811 on a 15-acre site, during the Napoleonic era and it was decided Yarmouth was best placed to serve the sick and wounded from the North Sea fleet.

It served as an army barracks when, in 1815, many wounded from the Battle of Waterloo arrived, and it became a Naval “lunatic asylum” in 1863.

During the second world war, the old hospital became HMS Watchful, responsible for minesweeping and bomb disposal duties.

In 1958, it was passed to the NHS and renamed St Nicholas Hospital until 1993 when it finally closed. It was converted into 59 apartments, houses and cottages by Norfolk developer Kit Martin in 1996.

To mark the milestone, residents celebrated with a barbecue, dressed in period costume and had a firework display. Ernie Childs of Great Yarmouth Potteries produced a tankard to mark the occasion limited to 100 only.

A balloon release took place with every resident registering a balloon to compete for the furthest travelled.

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With the building bedecked in flags and bunting and having the Naval tradition of splicing the main brace, residents watched Yarmouth’s deputy mayor Michael Jeal plant a sweet chestnut tree grown from seed by gardener’s son Michael Crame.