From the archives: Looking back at the life and times of Great Yarmouth’s Priory
Santa sits in his tinsel-trimmed grotto, men with pony tails sup foaming pints, and ladies bend and stretch all together, moving to some unheard soundtrack.
A flick through this newspaper’s picture archive reveals the many and varied community uses that have gone on over the years at Great Yarmouth’s historic Priory.
They feature the kind of joyous gatherings that are unthinkable in the current Covid era - but whether anything like that will ever resume there remains uncertain.
Now up for sale with a price tag of £150,000 many have bemoaned its sad demise and expressed a wish for it to be saved for the town.
The Grade I-listed priory, part of St Nicholas Minster, shut at the end of last year with the collapse of the Community Trust.
It is now being sold by the liquidators.
Starting life as a religious building its great hall welcomed Richard II, and countless other ordinary citizens since.
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Over the years it has been extended and remodelled - but the hall has always been at its heart.
Our pictures span multiple eras from its days as a school when assemblies and school dinners were hosted there, and track a range of uses from keep fit, to beer festivals, art gallery, fundraising sale room, fathers’ group and club meeting room.
MORE: ‘Atmospheric’ 900-year-old priory up for sale for same price as three-bedroom semiOne of the last social gatherings due to go ahead before it closed was a Slimming World group - an A-board at the door announced.
Historian Michael Boon said great care needed to be taken over what happened next.
He said it was part of the Minster and should be saved for the town as one of its oldest buildings that has given stirling service for 900 years.
“You would not expect a piece of the town wall to come up for sale,” he said.
“This is a piece of Yarmouth’s history. I do not like to think that any decisions would be taken in haste.
“Heritage is something you cannot get back once it’s gone.
“There are 900 years of history there.
“Yarmouth has to look after what it has got.”
The Priory is reckoned among the top 5pc of historic buildings in the country and is being sold by Arnolds Keys in Norwich who say there has been interest in residential and community uses.