Extra protection for top treasures

STROLLING along Great Yarmouth seafront on a drizzly October day it would be easy to overlook the architectural treasures that make it special.

It needs a keen eye and the ability to strip away the decorative twentieth century baubles that mask one of the finest and most elegant Edwardian/Victorian seafronts in Britain.

Darren Barker, conservation officer at Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said this week that it was all still there but desperately needed a big injection of cash.

But other structures that have caught the eye of English Heritage may not be so obvious to the untrained eye.

Experts from the preservation watchdog on a recent visit to re-survey Yarmouth’s seaside heritage have added the FePow war memorial, a drinking trough and a little-known timber net-mending shed to its list of buildings of historic importance.

The Grade II listing means extra protection for the sites and recognition of their value.

The FePow memorial is one of only 27 war memorials in Norfolk to be listed and one of only 13 in Britain taking the form of a clock tower. It is described in its listing as a well-designed and well-kept memorial with some fine detail. It goes on to say that the simple, clear lines of the pale limestone, its strong vertical emphasis together with the simple design for the clock and map give it a particular stillness and elegance.

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Experts also noted the powerful, symbolic resonance of its seaside position on the east coast close to the historically significant jetty where Nelson landed after the battle of Copenhagen, and its proximity to other notable, listed buildings.

Following the re-survey English Heritage also listed the first and second world war memorials in St George’s Park, the cemetery chapel and cemetery lodge at Gorleston Old Cemetery, a drinking trough opposite Britannia Terrace in Yarmouth and the beatsters building behing Pier Plain in Gorleston. It decided not to list the Hollywood Cinema, a public toilet block and the Marine pub.

The Empire, Windmill and Catholic Church remain Grade II listed. The Winter Gardens was upgraded to a Grade II star some weeks ago.

Mr Barker said Yarmouth’s seaside architecture was particularly special because there was so much of it and it dated from so early – the railways turning the fishing town into one of the first holiday hotspots in the 1800s. Yarmouth had the added good fortune of some very good local architects such as JW Cockrill, Mr Barker added.

In scheduling the new sites English Heritage were giving a statutory protection to them and recognising Yarmouth’s heritage, Mr Barker said.