Gorleston & Great Yarmouth History

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19th Century

Admiral Lord Nelson, Norfolk's greatest son, visited Great Yarmouth on several occasions. A painting depicting him landing at Great Yarmouth on his return to England after the Battle of the Nile on 1st August 1798 can be seen in the Pier Hotel, Gorleston. Admiral Lord Nelson visited the Military Hospital which was on the same site as the present day Sainsburys on 1st July 1801. His aim to spread good cheer to the wounded of The Battle of Copenhagen (2nd April 1801) who were being tended there.

By the time of Nelson's visit in 1801 the town wall had fallen into disrepair. To bolster the town's defenses Gun Batteries were installed on the Denes as well as Gorleston Cliffs. These installations remained in place until 1914 by which time they were well and truly obsolete.

A Royal Connection

From the middle of the nineteenth century an Army Reserve was formed and they occupied the Barracks which in 1924 were sold to the Town Council for the building of the Barrack Estate. Considering that the Reservists received little pay; had to supply their own uniforms and equipment; could be sent home when not required and were liable to be called up at any time, it is surprising that there was never any shortage of volunteers. Could this spirit be relied upon today should the necessity arise? I wonder! In 1871 HRH Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, became the honorary Colonel of the Yarmouth Militia. Shortly after this event the Company became known as the Prince of Wales Own Norfolk Artillery Militia, an altogether grander title.

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