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PUBLISHED: 13:08 31 December 2008 | UPDATED: 12:39 03 July 2010

FOR THOSE IN PERIL: The striking Caister lifeboat memorial

FOR THOSE IN PERIL: The striking Caister lifeboat memorial

Liz Coates

FROM major monuments to exquisitely detailed plaques that have gone unnoticed for decades, the borough's sculpted treasures have been newly charted in an online guide.

MODERN ART: The British Gas beacon at Gorleston which features in the online guide of the Great Yarmouth borough's sculpted treasures.

FROM major monuments to exquisitely detailed plaques that have gone unnoticed for decades, the borough's sculpted treasures have been newly charted in an online guide.

Many of these carved treasures have been on our doorstep for centuries, overlooked by thousands of people as they pass by buildings never looking up to see beautifully carved date-stones or memorials to people whose names have passed into obscurity.

But now they have all been gathered in a directory where towering St George's Monument and Great Yarmouth's duo of golden bears mingle with minor stone and metal treasures.

Three years ago University of East Anglia art historian Richard Cocke launched a project to map all the sculptures and monuments on view but often unseen across Norfolk.

A Heritage Lottery Fund grant enabled the initiative helped by volunteers to amass a database of 679 entries and lodge 3000 photographs with the Norfolk Record Office.

Now the archive has gone on-line with a searchable website which includes pictures and details such as location, condition and the artists name, where known.

Local examples listed include:

The Beauchamp Memorial in Caister which records the names of lifeboatmen. A rope curls around a broken column rising out of rock.

The British Gas beacon at Beacon Park, Gorleston, which formed the centrepiece of the nation's celebrations on Millennium Eve when it was lit by the Queen. The event was masterminded by local man Bruno Peek.

The Beloe headstone at St Nicholas' Church, showing the suspension bridge disaster under the eye of God appearing in a burst of light through the clouds while the deck collapses. George Beloe, aged nine, was among those who died in the tragedy in 1845.

Caryatids, classical female figures, that originally supported Victory atop of Yarmouth's Nelson's Monument in 1817, discovered in a private garden.

An “exceptional” memorial to Cissie Violet Drummee who died in October 1933 aged 28. The quality of her textured dress hewn from marble has lead to speculation it was the work of Italian craftsmen. The memorial is in old cemetery at the junction of Crab Lane and Church Lane, Gorleston.

Almost 40pc of pieces added to our landscape since 2000 are millennium celebrations.

Dr Cocke said: “What we are trying to do is to interest the public, people who come here or live here, in their cultural heritage. Lots of people alerted us to sculpture that we didn't know about and now we are passing on this information about wonderful objects that most of us aren't even aware of.”

Few can have missed Nelson's Monument but little gems like the keystone depicting Hermes on the former telephone exchange in Hall Quay, Yarmouth, are there to be discovered through the website as well as more recent additions like Sally Adams' Norfolk Hawker - the metal dragonfly at How Hill, Ludham.

visit www.racns.co.uk


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