Great Yarmouth started life as a small spit of
sand in the middle of an estuary that gradually silted up until
land was formed which people built on.
The elegant houses which still line the harbour's
mouth and Southtown Road point to a time when the town enjoyed a
lot of prosperity - due to a small fish called the herring.
Fame and fortune
The herring, which was found in the North Sea surrounding
the town, was Great Yarmouth's path to fortune.
Fisherman moved to the town from around the country
- and they were followed by the merchants who sold herrings to the
whole of Europe.
One of the reasons why the herring made so much
money was because it could be preserved in salt.
While other foods would be inedible by the time
they reached their destination, a profit could be made on each herring
King's death warrant
As well as wealthy, Great Yarmouth was also a prominent
place to live. The last person to sign King
Charles' I death warrant as part of Oliver Cromwell's rebellion
lived in the Market Place.
Miles Corbet was the town's MP, but after Cromwell's
Commonwealth was quashed by Charles II, his life was in danger and
he had to flee from Britain.
Eventually, he was tracked down in Holland and
brought to the Tower of London where he endured a tormented end.
Surely this was not something he anticipated when
he added his name to the death warrant, which he is said to have
signed at the Elizabethan House, on the quay.
The other Nelson's Column
The quayside is also an important place in the
town's history for another reason.
Admiral Nelson docked his ship in the port in 1800
after the Battle of the Nile and is said to have stayed at The Wrestlers
pub in the Market Place.
Locals showed their appreciation to the seafaring
hero by donating money towards a monument.
The 144-ft column in South Denes - which was built
24 years before the one in Trafalgar Square - is topped by a statue
of Britannia which points to Nelson's birthplace in north Norfolk.
This statue is responsible for a piece of folklore
after the town surveyor died while climbing the steps of the tower.
Thomas Sutton is said to have thrown himself off
the top of the column after he discovered Britannia was facing the
wrong way - but if you want to know the real reason for his death
then you'll have to take our tour!
Although the town was heavily bombed during the
Second World War, some of its ancient rows still remain.
People lived and worked down these dark, smelly
and dingy lanes, where residents slung their rubbish out into the
sloping pathways so it would be washed away to sea.
The town's 145 rows were built so close together
that people could open their windows and touch hands with their
But people opening their doors out into the rows
caused problems so a law was passed to make people reverse the hinges
on their doors to open inwards instead.
If you didn't obey then you were fined and your
door was nailed shut so you couldn't get out!
Today, just a few rows are still standing as part
of the old format, which ran between St Nicholas Church and the
Please be patient - the tour
will take a few moments to load.
On our tour discover how Great Yarmouth
made its fortune and find out about its famous visitors.
You can also learn more about St
Nicholas Church, the Fishermen's Hospital, Market Gates, Palmers
department store, Miles Corbet's house, the town wall, Nelson's
Column, the suspension bridge disaster, troll carts and the rows.