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Night at the museums

PUBLISHED: 18:07 22 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:31 30 June 2010

NEXT month sees the fifth annual Great Yarmouth Night of Museums, and it promises to be the best yet.

On Saturday, May 15 all five major heritage sites within the town's Heritage Quarter will open their doors late into the evening free of charge.

NEXT month sees the fifth annual Great Yarmouth Night of Museums, and it promises to be the best yet.

On Saturday, May 15 all five major heritage sites within the town's Heritage Quarter will open their doors late into the evening free of charge.

Due to the overwhelming numbers at last year's event those taking part are extending their opening times by a further 30 minutes, from 5.30pm until 10pm.

The event is a great opportunity for locals and visitors to enjoy a credit crunch busting night out for the whole family. It offers potential savings of over £60 for a family of four, plus the opportunity to enter a prize draw to win a Heritage Quarter Pass and other great runner up prizes.

Themed around the idea of entertainment and celebration the night should prove the most exciting yet.

This week The Mercury focuses on the Time and Tide Museum, the Tolhouse and the Elizabethan House Museum.

The award-winning Time and Tide is set in one of the UK's best preserved Victorian herring curing works. Visitors can explore Yarmouth's maritime and fishing heritage, travel back in time to visit mammoths, Romans, monks, mods and rockers and even walk along an old Yarmouth Row. On the night, there will be a fun circus activity, circus performances, knot tying, music and refreshments from the Silver Darlings café.

One of the oldest buildings in Yarmouth, the Tolhouse and has always had links with law and order in the town. The building was in used as a courthouse by magistrates and visiting judges for hundreds of years. Prisoners held in the cells below the hall included pirates, suspected witches, fortune-tellers, deserters, swindlers, and thieves.

Over the centuries, the gaol changed and was enlarged many times, but the dungeon always remained in use. Visitors can expect to meet Victorian gaoler Solomon Allies on the night and hear the medieval sounds of Sweet Harmony. Have a go at brass rubbing too!

Wealthy merchant Benjamin Cowper built the Elizabethan House in 1596. The house is famous for its connections with Oliver Cromwell who is said to have frequently visited his friend, John Carter, who purchased the house in 1635. The premises became a regular meeting place for Parliamentarians during the Civil War and it is here, one gloomy November evening in 1648, the fate of Charles I was decided.

Visitors can find out about life in Tudor Yarmouth, explore amazing original rooms, find out about the building's stained glass, try on some historical costumes and meet some of the people who have lived in the house over the years.

Other sites involved in the Night of Museums are the Nelson Museum and English Heritage's Great Yarmouth Row Houses.


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