Great Yarmouth jetty used by Lord Nelson demolished

Aerial view of Great Yarmouth jetty
Image caption The historical importance of the jetty site will be marked for tourists

Demolition work has started on a historic jetty in Great Yarmouth after councillors decided it would cost too much to restore and maintain.

The jetty was used by a victorious Lord Nelson upon his return to England after the Battle of Copenhagen in 1801.

Charles Reynolds, cabinet member for tourism, said: "It's a sad day. I don't think there's any councillor who's taken this decision lightly."

Refurbishment of the jetty would have cost more than £300,000.

"When we applied for planning permission to remove the old jetty I described it as 'like having to put your old dog down'," said Mr Reynolds.

"The final nail in the coffin was when English Heritage said the jetty as it now stands has no historical interest which means any potential funding stream we had to do anything was not available."

While English Heritage agreed the site of the jetty was of historical significance, the replacement timbers used in the 1960s were of no historical relevance.

Napoleonic wars

Margaret Gooch, of the Great Yarmouth Local history and Archaeology Society, said: "The jetty was very important to Yarmouth's history during the 16th Century when it was built.

Image caption Demolition and refurbishment is expected to take about six weeks

"It was important to the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic wars and used for victualing their ships which were moored in Yarmouth quite regularly.

"I think the town should make much more of its heritage to attract more visitors to the town which would be in our economic interest. Now we've lost one more construction that was important to the town's history. We are very sorry to lose it."

As part of the £80,000 demolition process, Great Yarmouth Borough Council will place interpretation boards at the site to allow visitors to understand the significance of the site in the town's history.

Mr Reynolds said: "We'd have loved to have the money to keep it, but it's just not available. Most people understand this position and feel like we do.

"It's been part of the heritage of the town and being a Yarmouth boy all my life it's very sad."

Committee members voted by eight votes to two to pull down the jetty when they met in January 2011.

The Battle of Copenhagen is one of Nelson's lesser-known conflicts.

A British fleet, including many local seamen, sailed from Great Yarmouth to fight Denmark and Norway at Copenhagen.

Vice-admiral Nelson disobeyed orders to withdraw and destroyed a combined Danish and Norwegian fleet at anchor. The fleet then returned to its base in Great Yarmouth.

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