Thousands spend a night at the museum in Great Yarmouth

MUSEUMS in Great Yarmouth proved a popular draw on their annual open night when an “amazing” visitor turnout enjoyed the chance to examine the collections for free.

On Friday May 18 over 2300 people made the evening effort to visit three Great Yarmouth Museums, Time & Tide, the Tolhouse and the Elizabethan House with events and demonstrations to capture the imaginations of both the young and old.

The event is now in its fifth year in the town and has grown annually with families from Great Yarmouth and the surrounding area taking the opportunity to visit their local museums and see the extraordinary array of events on offer.

James Steward, Eastern Area manager said: “We had high expectations for the event but the numbers visiting this year amazed us all. We were at full capacity for much of the evening.

“We will continue to find new ways to engage the local community who have shown their support for Great Yarmouth’s heritage once again.

It was Great Yarmouth Museums’ largest combined event to date with performers at Time & Tide that amazed the crowd with fire eating, swords and juggling.

Along with evocative story telling with illustrations and atmospheric shadow puppets - the 1950’s shop in the recreated Yarmouth Row was open for business and the shopkeeper was kept busy bringing the past alive for the entire night.

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Archive film footage about childhood from the 1920’s to the 60’s was screened and the resident fisher girl was on hand in the galleries gutting herring and talking about Yarmouth’s international fishing industry.

There were pirates in the Tolhouse and stories in the 13th century cells which encouraged visitors to discover the grisly past of this beautiful ancient building.

Henry VIII was roaming the corridors of the Elizabethan House for the night to the sounds of a lute being played, and Tudor poetry recited.

Downstairs Victorian servants were on hand in the kitchen and scullery demonstrating some of the recipes and kitchen tasks of the time.

The night also saw the launch of Great Yarmouth Museums guided tours that took visitors between the sites on heritage walks that were very popular throughout the night.

Simon Tansley at English Heritage’s Row 111 house said their opening night on Saturday was well supported.