An erudite report on a visit to The Time & Tide Museum

School holidays always generate the question, where can we take the children, or in our case grandchild, for a day out. We are lucky living here, of course, in that there are so many places within a relatively short car journey, but, over the years most of these have been visited and revisited and the quest is on for somewhere different. This last mid-term we decided to go to Great Yarmouth, although it is quite a long way it does not take very long. It took us 1hr 20mins from door to sea front going and a little longer coming home.

Despite the time of year the weather was very kind, it was sunny with almost no wind (the forest of offshore windmills looked lifeless). It was very pleasant on the beach and very nice taking a trip along the front in an open horsedrawn carriage. There were other attractions of course but the place that made the day for us was the new ‘Time and Tide’ museum.

This museum is located in a Victorian herring curing factory that was in production up to the 1980s. The life and times of the herring industry are fully illustrated with the help of an excellent hand held electronic ‘tour guide’ and other modern aids. A typical ‘Row’ of the turn of the 20th century has been recreated. A ‘Row’ apparently was the name given to the incredibly narrow streets in which the fisherfolk had their homes. The old curing room is as it was and still retains the strong smell of the smoke which is so ingrained into the timbers that, despite the cleaning, it remains after twenty years. The ground floor is largely dedicated to the fishing history of the town whereas the first floor covers the more general history. There are hands on displays, games and puzzles as well as archive film. An attractive exhibit is a recreated wheel-house of a coastal drifter with a film display combined with audio headphones giving you the impression that you are at sea. There is an attractive courtyard which I would imagine would provide a pleasant resting place on a warm summer’s day. All in all it proved to be a first class museum and an additional attraction for the town. Our only regret was that we did not have time to do it justice; it probably needs more than one visit to fully appreciate all that is there.

It was a great day out, everyone enjoyed it, and we came away thinking that there is a lot more to discover about Great Yarmouth if you look behind the garish entertainments along the front.

(The museum is open throughout the winter, except for Christmas, 10.00-4.00 weekdays, 12.00-4.00 weekends)

Ron Watts

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