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Blue plaque marks former home of Palmers founder

PUBLISHED: 15:40 10 May 2017 | UPDATED: 15:40 10 May 2017

Unveiling of a Blue Plaque at Gorleston Conservative Club, former home of Garwood Burton Palmer, founder of Palmers department store. Wendy Cole from Palmers store unveils the plaque.  Picture: Nick Butcher

Unveiling of a Blue Plaque at Gorleston Conservative Club, former home of Garwood Burton Palmer, founder of Palmers department store. Wendy Cole from Palmers store unveils the plaque. Picture: Nick Butcher

© Archant 2012

Palmer’s small original shop was opened by Garwood Burton Palmer in the reign of King William 1V, on the 4th June 1837.

Unveiling of a Blue Plaque at Gorleston Conservative Club, former home of Garwood Burton Palmer, founder of Palmers department store. Wendy Cole from Palmers store unveils the plaque.  Picture: Nick Butcher Unveiling of a Blue Plaque at Gorleston Conservative Club, former home of Garwood Burton Palmer, founder of Palmers department store. Wendy Cole from Palmers store unveils the plaque. Picture: Nick Butcher

William IV had a connection with the town since he stayed, as a royal duke and a naval officer, at Clarence House on the High Street in Gorleston, not far from Garwood’s own house, while serving as a contemporary, brother officer and charge of Horatio Nelson.

Garwood Palmer had trained in London at the highly reputable store of Hitchcock Williams based in St Paul’s Churchyard.

After setting up his business in Yarmouth he could be seen daily driving backwards and forwards in his carriage and pair, passing along the High Street from his house in Gorleston (now the Conservative Club) to his shop, which was decorated with banks of flowers or ferns brought from his garden and greenhouses. On special occasions nosegays would be given to his customers.

In April 2012, a blue plaque was unveiled on the building to commemorate Garwood Palmer’s life.

The plaque placed by Great Yarmouth Local History and Archaeological Society was unveiled at the house in Sussex Road by Wendy Cole, Garwood Palmer’s great, great, great niece.

After Garwood Palmer’s death his house became a hotel and in 1921 Gorleston Conservative Club moved into the building. The blue plaque was requested and financed by the Conservative Club.

Unveiling the plaque, Mrs Cole said: “I am pleased and honoured to unveil this plaque to my illustrious ancestor who founded a successful shop in Great Yarmouth which recently celebrated 175 years of trading in the town. I am his great, great, great niece and the firm is still largely run by Garwood’s relatives.

“I feel some regret that such a fine house was sold out of the family as I should quite like to live here myself. It gives me great pleasure to unveil this plaque.”


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