School worker to write novel about town’s history

Justin Peach has written a story about Yarmouth's Nelson's monument. Photo: Submitted

Justin Peach has written a story about Yarmouth's Nelson's monument. Photo: Submitted - Credit: Submitted

It was an event which went down in local folklore when a performer fell to his death from atop Nelson’s Monument.

Now, that moment has been brought back to life, in a reimagining of that fateful day in 1863.

Justin Peach, 36, a college leader at the Ormiston Venture Academy in Oriel Avenue, Gorleston, is in the process of writing a novel about historical events in Great Yarmouth.

He decided the write a short story about the Victorian acrobat’s demise after reading about on a plaque when he visited the monument in Fenner Road.

Mr Peach, a father-of-two who lives in Devonshire Road, said: “I am currently writing my first novel which is based in Yarmouth and involves some of its history.

“This story inspired me to write a quick short story of my own about that in 1863.

“Although all the facts are correct in the story, it’s still a work of fiction.”

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The story is recounted on a sign next to the column which reads that an artist called Marsh climbed off the viewing platform onto the shoulders of Britannia.

He lost his footing on the climb down – it is said that he was overcome by the beauty of Britannia’s face – and he fell to his death in front of horrified spectators.

Mr Peach said that he wanted to change the story slightly, so it was not the beauty of the statue which overwhelmed Marsh, but the beauty of the town.

He added: “I believe that fiction, like this, and my forthcoming novel, will inspire people to investigate the local area and fall in love with its history, as I have.”

After speaking to his brother, who is also a writer, Mr Peach said he made a new year’s resolution to write a book.

“It is a challenge to write a book, so to keep up the habit of writing I thought I would write some short stories at the same time.

“I wanted to see how hard it would be, but the words seem to be flowing. I am hoping to get the book finished by the summer.”

The school worker now has plans to approach publishers to get the book printed, and is also exploring the option of self-publishing.

Mr Peach says he has high hopes for the book and already has a follow-up planned.

“There are more stories in Yarmouth to be told.

“I’m trying to get people interested in their town. There’s so much here, things even I do not know about yet.”

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