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29 October 2014

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Great Yarmouth

One of the displays at the Time And Tide Museum
Herrings were smoked on the museum site

A sea of changes at Time And Tide

Pieces of Great Yarmouth's history have been shored up at a new museum. Visitors can get a glimpse of what life was like living and working in a town that depended on the herring industry.

Fact File

  • Time And Tide is on Blackfriars Road, off St Peter's Road, Great Yarmouth. It's just opposite a stretch of Town Wall. Tel: 01493 743 930. It's a short walk from the seafront and South Quay. Accessible for wheelchair users.
  • The museum is open seven days a week from 10am to 5pm until 31 October 2005.
  • 31 Oct to 31 March 2006: Open Mon to Fri from 10am to 4pm and Sat and Sun from 12 to 4pm. Closed 20 to 26 Dec and 1 Jan.
  • Admission is £5.45 for adults, £4.90 for concessions and £3.50 for 5 to 16-year-olds.
  • Time And Tide has a cafeteria, education room and two temporary galleries.

Long forgotten scenes of Great Yarmouth's fishing industry have been brought back to life at a new museum.

Time And Tide is the latest jewel in the county's historical crown - and it is now Norfolk's third biggest museum.

More than £4.5 million has been spent on converting it from a herring curing works, which closed in the mid-1980s.

Time And Tide, in Blackfriars Road, has brought the town's past into the 21st century with a variety of interactive displays.

The museum - which is centred around the building's life as an old fish factory - is home to life-size models, puzzles, games, exhibitions and film shows.

Recreated scenes

Visitors can walk down a row recreated from the turn of the century and peek into shops and houses, take to the helm of a 1950s steam drifter and see how an old sea wharf used to work.

A life-size model hoists a basket.
It was heavy work on the sea wharf

Parts of the Victorian building have been preserved so people can see how it was once used.

Visitors can walk into the tall smoke sheds where fires used to be lit on the floor to cure thousands of herrings at a time.

The fish used to be pierced on speets (long sticks) and then these would be laid across loves (wooden bars).

Sights and smells

Although the building was unused for nearly 20 years, the smell of smoked herrings still hangs heavily in the air.

One of the worst parts of a herring worker's job has also been recreated.

Model balances on speets in smoking shed.
It was a balancing act for workers

A deep pool of brine was used in which to soak the fish and then a worker would be sent in to the cold, smelly tanks to retrieve the herrings.

In the days before brine, the fish used to be preserved in salt piles - and the white mineral marks can still be spotted on the walls.

Barrel makers

When the workers finished collecting the herrings from the brine they could warm up in front of the fire in the barrel-makers or the coopers, which was based on site.

The barrels were used to store the fish and they were made at the factory to keep up with demand.

A life-size model now stands in front of the old fire along with tools and materials used to make the barrels.

The museum is centred around the original courtyard which is home to three old fishing boats as well as one for children to play on.

A model of a man making a barrel.
Barrels used to be made on the site

Rachel Kirk, area museums officer for Great Yarmouth, said the project gave the museums service the chance to finally pool their exhibits in to one place.

"The boats have been dotted around various sheds in Norfolk so it's nice to get them out," she said.

"This has been building up for so long so we're excited."

Exhibitions and collections

The former Tower Curing Works now boasts collections and exhibits from the town's Maritime Museum, which closed in 2002.

Time And Tide traces Great Yarmouth's history from when it was part of mainland Europe and mammoths roamed the land.

There is a display of bones excavated from the North Sea as well as a clump of mammoth hair.

A display of swimsuits.
We do like to be beside the seaside

These pieces sit alongside the Gorleston Hoard - a collection of Bronze Age weapons and axes which were found in 1952.

The exhibition in the old packing area also features an Anglo-Saxon boat carved out of a tree trunk.

From the Ice Age, the exhibitions go on to tell the stories of wrecks and rescues, wartime Great Yarmouth, the town's life as a top seaside resort and its industrial history.

There are lots of nuggets of information to be gleaned from the displays.

For instance, did you know Grouts of Great Yarmouth made the black silk crepe that Queen Victoria wore while in mourning?

Fun and games

The museum is peppered with a range of interactive displays and games to enchant children.

One of the fishing games.
Children (and adults) can catch the fish

There are also viewing posts where you can watch old footage of the town's fishing industry and listen to people's memories and hear sea shanties.

It was important to the museum's staff that Time And Tide would appeal to a wide range of visitors.

"We have involved the local community and have done public consultations over the years," said Rachel Kirk.

"We've tried to incorporate what people want and that's to make it fun and appeal to all audiences," she added.

last updated: 23/09/05
Have Your Say
Have you been to the Time And Tide Museum. Share your experiences here.
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This is very good,Good old memories :)
Thu Sep 13 12:30:57 2007

Russell Allen
Many of the exibits brought back memories of my personal experiences and are very much true to life of the years long since gone
Sat May 19 14:24:32 2007

Nicola Grimes
we took a party of school children and it was brillient
Tue Mar 6 20:11:57 2007

harry fogworth
the tide museum is amazing i like the fish
Tue Jan 30 12:09:51 2007

Very moving. Our family found ourselves emersed in history, our four year old had learnt the how to haul herring by listening to the music, and was able to tell his grandfather how it was done!! It was then explained to me that the nets were hauled by the motion of the waves rather than the crew of the boat. Fantastic, the kids had to be dragged away, they seemed to have learnt so much.
Thu Aug 31 01:26:48 2006

tricia wren
i visited the museum with a party of disabled people,the staff couldnt have been more helpful.there is plenty of room and nothing was too much trouble.
Mon May 1 23:17:14 2006

Louise Keeble
I have visited the Time And Tide museum on 3 occasions, and have enjoyed myself every time. It's amazing how after all these years you can still smell the fish ingrained in the walls! This museum is a marvellous piece of history.
Sun Nov 27 14:36:39 2005

Linda Yashinski, Georgia, USA
I have not been to the museum yet. My grandparents and aunt once worked in the fish works. I live in the USA now but will visit when I come home for a visit to my home town. My grandparents' name was Tait and they played a big part in the fishing industry back in the 1950s. It was good to read about the old fish building and that a part of Yarmouth history is being preserved. I remember walking down Blackfriars Road as a little girl and the smell of fish was very strong, but what a smell it brings back! So many great memories! Thank you - my children will learn a lot when I bring them to the museum.
Mon Oct 31 20:26:09 2005

The museum is well worth a visit. There are audio presentations to really give you a chance to experience the times of seafaring in Great Yarmouth. There are lots of interesting displays and artefacts all taken from Great Yarmouth's forgotton past. The Time and Tide Museum has made Yarmouth great again.
Fri Oct 28 16:45:03 2005

Steve H
Well worth a visit, well laid out and plenty to keep the kids happy - old and young!
Fri Sep 30 17:36:51 2005

Katie Holmes
I am a GCSE student from caister high school and in my last 2 years here, my applied art class and three other applied art class from different schools have produced a sea-based art exhibition in the museum. We all produced a piece for the exhibition and it was very successful. I would recommend you to go and see the exhibition while it is still there.
Fri Sep 23 13:32:59 2005

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