A dream to convert a disused relic of Great Yarmouth's fishing heritage into the UK's premier location for circus and street arts has received a major funding boost.

The Ice House on Bridge Road was included in the list of 12 national heritage sites awarded £12.2m worth of grants by the National Lottery.

The Grade II-listed building has been awarded £1,968,061 from the Heritage Fund, aiding its transformation into the UK’s Centre of Excellence in Outdoor Circus and Arts.

Great Yarmouth Mercury: The Ice House has also served as a grain store. The recent funding windfall will help revitalise it into a circus and street arts centre. Picture - NewsquestThe Ice House has also served as a grain store. The recent funding windfall will help revitalise it into a circus and street arts centre. Picture - Newsquest (Image: Out There Arts)Built between 1851 and 1892, the Ice House was once a vital asset in the town's once-thriving fishing industry, enabling the storage of freshly caught seafood before transportation to London's Billingsgate fish market. 

In the mid-19th century, the Ice House stood at the forefront of an industrial revolution that would propel the town's fortunes to new heights. However, as modern technologies advanced, the Ice House fell into disuse, serving for some time as a grain store. 

Great Yarmouth Mercury: The Ice House in 1977. Picture - Newsquest ArchivesThe Ice House in 1977. Picture - Newsquest Archives (Image: Newsquest Archives)The completion of the project, which is being led by Out There Arts, aims to make the town recognised as the UK capital for circus and outdoor arts.

Joe Mackintosh, Out There Arts' chief executive, said: ”We are absolutely delighted with this award. It is the culmination of over five years of work for the Out There Arts team. 

"The team has worked tirelessly to develop the plans and funding for The Ice House and much of this was worked on with the community through community consultations.”

Great Yarmouth Mercury: Joe Mackintosh. Picture - Sonya DuncanJoe Mackintosh. Picture - Sonya Duncan (Image: Sonya Duncan)Mr Mackintosh added that all the funding necessary for the project has now been secured, and building work is due to commence early next year.
 
“This will transform a historically important building in Great Yarmouth’s history from an underused storage shed, into a publicly accessible cultural hub," Mr Mackintosh added. 

"Thousands of people will benefit from this and it will strengthen Great Yarmouth’s year-round cultural offer.”

In Lowestoft, the town's Grade II-listed Town Hall received the lion's share of the funding, securing a grant of £3,257,512.