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The Winter Gardens Great Yarmouth


History of The Winter Gardens

The Winter Gardens is a prominent building situated on Marine Parade in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. It is a Grade 2 listed building, which means that the building is of special interest, warranting every effort to preserve it. It was designed by two men called John Watson and William Harvey and was built between 1878 and 1881. It was build in Torquay in Devon. The building is made up of a cast iron frame and glass.

The building wasn't really a success in Torquay, so in 1904 it was relocated to Great Yarmouth. The understanding was that would encourage 'a better class of visitor to the town' and lengthen the summer season. Not only that, but it would be somewhere dry when it rained. Mr John William Cockrill, who was the towns Council Surveyor at the time, was the man who oversaw the removal of the Winter Gardens and relocation to Great Yarmouth. At the time, the cost of it was only £1300, a small amount in todays money! The reason this building is listen is because it is the only remaining Victorian iron and glass structure in the country. In 2008 it was listed as 1 of the country's most endangered buildings.


What is the future?

Since 2008, the building has stood empty and has since fallen into disrepair. But in 2021 the local Council was award a £10 million funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to restore it. Work is due to start in 2023, taking around 3 years to restore it to its former glory. Back in its heyday it has been used for concerts, roller skating and even a ballroom. Personally, I remember roller skating myself there and also attending shows and concerts. At one point for a short while it was even owned by Jim Davidson, who is a well-known stand-up comedian in the UK.

On completion of the restoration, it hopes that 90 jobs will be created. And there will be cafe's and restaurants and a brand new 1st floor gallery area and botanic garden highlighting the towns rich heritage and trading links. This in, indeed, good news for the town as I know that many of the local residents are upset and dismayed about how the building has gone to rack and ruin and how it looks now.

On a side note, the video posted below is one I took a few days ago.

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The Winter Gardens, Great Yarmouth

Historic England

© 2021 Louise Powles

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