Woman travels 9000 miles to discover Yarmouth roots - and a love of mushy peas

PUBLISHED: 09:45 11 July 2018 | UPDATED: 09:45 11 July 2018

Vivienne Jarvis with her daughter Emily with the volunteer crew of the Lydia Eva Photo: Roly Stagg

Vivienne Jarvis with her daughter Emily with the volunteer crew of the Lydia Eva Photo: Roly Stagg

Roly Stagg

Some 9000 miles and several generations separate Vivienne Jarvis from her Great Yarmouth roots.

But after 30 years away from her home country she was keen to make the journey from San Diego, California, to discover her past.

Hosted by distant relative Roly Stagg, her first ever visit saw her connecting with her fishing heritage and seeing places that until now were only dots on a map.

Her grandfather Sidney Jarvis was a herring merchant in the town from the 1920s and visiting the Time and Tide Museum and the Lydia Eva helped her to understand life on the workplace waves.

Accompanied by her daughter Emily she declared herself a Great Yarmouth convert, wanting to return as soon as she had left, Mr Stagg said.

He said: She probably had a bit of a negative view about Great Yarmouth before she came but her experience on that day when we went out and about was brilliant.

“It was a lovely sunny day and we met some lovely sunny people.

“People were overwhelmingly friendly and informative.

“We had fun in the Market Place with the chip stalls and wandered down Regent Road. I tried to show her all the sides of Yarmouth and she went away feeling as if she would have liked to have spent more time here.

“Even the guy on the mushy pea stall made it a real experience for her. It was just a lovely day.”

During her visit Mrs Jarvis took a carving depicting the fishing industry with her made by Malcolm Jarvis her uncle who lived all his life in Yarmouth, which she would like to see displayed in public.

Of the Lydia Eva she said: “The crew on-board were wonderful and the old ship was brilliant to look around, it must be one of the best things you can do for free in England.”

She added: “My visit to historic Yarmouth has been excellent and we even had chips and mushy peas on the market.

“Mushy peas are not something we see a lot of in California but we thought they were delicious - although we found the seagulls a bit scary.”

Anyone with information about the Jarvis Brothers fish merchants can email

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