Heritage project explores the history of migration to Great Yarmouth
- Credit: Archant
The diverse history of migration to Great Yarmouth has been captured in writing, video and clay.
Teachers, researchers, children and artists have collaborated on the Island Project, which received £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund in January.
The project was founded by voluntary organisation, Silver Darlings, with the purpose of revealing the history of the town’s population through a combination of public research and clay modelling workshops.
As well as learning about the history of the town, those involved also learnt about the process of researching and were given a tour of the library and the Time and Tide museum’s archives.
On Wednesday, April 18, the research team met for their final session at Yarmouth Library, led by Dr Jeannette Baxter from Anglia Ruskin University and community librarian, Caroline Fernandez.
Each member of the team had researched different stories which they shared with the team.
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Reflecting on the project, many felt they had come away with a new perspective of the town.
Jamie King said: “I am coming to realise that many people have a story as to how they came to be in Great Yarmouth, as I myself have, and I feel it’s important to share these stories as it is a part of the history of the growing town’s origins.”
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Some of the stories were told at an illustrated talk at The Drill House in York Road, covering the first settlers 14,000 years ago right up to 1980s tales.
Dr Baxter said: “All of the researchers showed great engagement and initiative, and the migration stories they have uncovered present us with a very different picture of Yarmouth, past and present.”
Four free community workshops were also held as part of the project, and participants were taught how to make clay models.
The project will now begin workshops at Priory St Nicholas, St Georges, Edward Worlledge and Hillside school.
Charlotte Dickens, from Silver Darlings, said: “We will take the great stories, researched by the team, along with some of the models made so far, and show children something of their town’s history and inspire them to tell their own family stories.”
The stories and models from the project will be exhibited at Great Yarmouth library in September.
Yarmouth migrant stories
At one of the team’s meetings, guests Michael Julian, Miriam Kikis and Eddie Hunn talked about how their families arrived in the town.
Mr Julian said: “Our family of six arrived in 1971 and, as my step Dad’s job fell through, we slept up at South Denes in a Ford Anglia for months until we moved to a caravan; it was a real squeeze.”
Mrs Kikis fled Cyprus during the Turkish invasions, escaping to Athens, London and eventually Great Yarmouth.
She said: “I first heard of Great Yarmouth when I was ten whilst reading David Copperfield, and I thought, ‘what is this - the tide going in and out?’
“Our sea didn’t do that.”
Mr Hunn was a prisoner of war in the Far East. After the war he worked as an accountant in Wells before arriving in Great Yarmouth in 1960 and building up a guest-house business.