'Wonderland' bid for former seafront museum

Yesterday's World

Yesterday's World in Great Yarmouth as it was in 2007. - Credit: Archant

A bid to return a former heritage attraction to amusement arcade use is in the hands of planners.

Part of Yesterday's World on Great Yarmouth's Golden MIle has already been taken up by the Gold Rush arcade following its closure in November 2014.

The remaining portion was last used as a restaurant.

But a new application would see it wholly return to its arcade roots as the site of the former Barrons entertainment centre - a name synonymous with seafront fun for over 100 years.

Pictures submitted with the application show it rebranded as "Wonderland", announced with purple and yellow signage and a scrolling digital advert.

Yesterday's World on Great Yarmouth's Golden Mile has announced it will not be re-opening for the 20

One of the bygone collections inside Yesterday's World which closed in 2014. - Credit: Archant

A statement submitted by Brundall-based chartered surveyors CW Johnson says the site has been "prominent" in the history of the Golden Mile, as Barrons since 1896 and then the walk-through heritage attraction Yesterday's World.


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The papers argue there is "a clear precedent" for its return to arcade use.

The Holkham Hotel

The former Holkham Hotel. The side facing the seafront is Gold Rush arcade which has since expanded in to part of Yesterday's World. - Credit: Steve Parsons

The site is between the Caesar's Palace and Gold Rush arcades in the former Holkham Hotel, converted amid controversy in 1998.

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At the time it was argued the bright lights of arcades created a scene "like Las Vegas" which was a draw for tourists.

On the other hand, it was said the number of arcades was "ruining the seafront" and adding more "tat".

Barrons amusement arcade in Great Yarmouth, September 1983. 

Barrons amusement arcade in Great Yarmouth, September 1983. - Credit: Archant Library

The new application for Wonderland notes the proliferation of arcades had decreased in recent years as space was given over to retail and restaurant use.

The new arcade will create two full time jobs.

Suggested opening hours are 9am to 11pm seven days a week.

Yesterday's World was an indoor heritage attraction that was hailed as a boost to the seafront.

However, its former manager Ian Dickinson writing to the council in 2016 in response to the Gold Rush expansion bid, said after a successful first few years visitor numbers declined dramatically.

He said it was "a great concept" tracing social history but that it hadn't worked in Yarmouth.

Visitors said it wasn't good value for money and that they wouldn't return and the contents were sold off at auction.

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