PUBLISHED: 15:29 25 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:50 30 June 2010
I MUST take issue with Councillor Reynolds (Mercury, February 12) when he is quoted as saying the Jetty "has no historical importance". It may have no architectural or archaeological importance, because it has been rebuilt several times since 1560, but it does have considerable historical importance, both local and national! I reiterate that it was (according to the National Archives) from the Jetty that Nelson left for the Battle of Copenhagen and to the Jetty that he returned after the Battle.
I MUST take issue with Councillor Reynolds (Mercury, February 12) when he is quoted as saying the Jetty "has no historical importance". It may have no architectural or archaeological importance, because it has been rebuilt several times since 1560, but it does have considerable historical importance, both local and national! I reiterate that it was (according to the National Archives) from the Jetty that Nelson left for the Battle of Copenhagen and to the Jetty that he returned after the Battle. He landed at the Jetty after the Battle of Camperdown to visit the wounded in the town's then Naval Hospital. The Jetty was the town's original outer harbour. The Naval fleet at anchor in the Roads was victualled from the Jetty; fish and goods were landed on it, and exports from the town were loaded from there. The Jetty was built because the harbour could not accommodate ships that were essential to Great Yarmouth's trade and prosperity, as indeed, the new outer harbour has been constructed for the same reasons. The Jetty was probably England's first pier, and played an important part in the town's development as a seaside resort. Great Yarmouth is trying to promote its maritime heritage, and is now affiliating with the Royal Navy's new type 45 Destroyer, HMS Dauntless, which is expected to visit the town. It would be very unfortunate if we have to tell the ship's Captain, Captain Powell, that the Jetty, which has such strong connections with the Royal Navy, is to be demolished.
Secretary, Great Yarmouth Local History and Archaeological Society
HOW strange the workings of government. In a week that sees publication under the Freedom of Information Act that a flying saucer was once reported over Michael Howard's house, the same act has barred any access to the deal between Great Yarmouth Borough Council and EastPort. Ah well.
I STARTED on the LMER in January 1942, and went through the war years when everything came into Great Yarmouth by the railway, ie troops, munitions and bombs, for the Americans at their base in Suffolk. After the war, holiday trains resumed with all trains from Nottingham and Derby coming into the Beach Station in the peak weeks. They came overnight, arriving at the Beach Station from 4am onwards. There were booked trains through to Derby and to York; to Leicester from Beach. Then there was the 7.25am from Southtown, stopping at Beccles, and then Saxmundham, Woodbridge, Ipswich, Manningtree, Chelmsford, arriving Liverpool Street at 10.20 with 10 coaches and buffet car.
We thought we were doing fine, but the numbers started to decline, and people started to go by car and goods by lorry. Then the Beeching axe. We, the staff, looked to the MP and others for help to keep the lines open, but received very little.
My last few years were as station supervisor at Vauxhall when the holiday trains came in. There were through trains from Newcastle, Liverpool, Nottingham, Derby, etc. All this is history and will never come back.
This doesn't stop the station from being clean and tidy and I am sure Network Rail will do what it has to, to make the station presentable.
DURING the 1950s I had two jobs. My daytime vocation was as a clerk in the Corporation Transport Department on Caister Road. Incredibly boring work. At night during the summer months I worked on a hot dog and hamburger stall on Great Yarmouth seafront (no beef burgers in those days). This menial job was more to my liking. The stall was situated in front of the Trafalgar House Restaurant, which was owned by my fiancée's mother. At 10.30pm or thereabouts the pubs 'turned out' and we were busy. At that time many uniformed Americans were hungry customers. One thing struck me as somewhat odd. Not until I'd served the white Americans would the black Americans turn up. They would hover in the background and patiently wait. One black man I remember in particular. He drew me aside and whispered in my ear “do you want to buy a gun?” He pulled a small pistol from his pocket and showed it to me. “How much?” I replied. After a bit of haggling I parted with 30/- (£1.50 to you youngsters) and the gun was mine. Later I realised the gun was a starting pistol and sold it for £2.
Behind the stall in the restaurant a large staff were kept busy. Amongst them were three sisters: waitresses Vera, Gladys and Jeanie, their surname was Knell I believe. Vera I had very little to do with each other. Gladys I saw more of and she was incredibly well spoken. Jeanie, the youngest of the three helped me in the stall occasionally. On one occasion she was a bit saucy so I picked her up and stuffed her in the Coca Cola fridge. She didn't object too strongly!
Of the three, I found Gladys the most interesting. Her accent was really cut-glass. On questioning her about this, she told me she'd been evacuated during the war and was sent to the Cadbury mansion (the chocolate people). She was very well looked after there. When the war ended the Cadbury people wanted to adopt her, but she returned to Great Yarmouth. I don't know where any of the three girls are now but I would like to talk more to Gladys about her wartime experience. I'm sure she has many never-to-be-forgotten tales to tell.