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Blue plaque marks the spot of important Gorleston landmark

15:57 10 December 2012

Maurice Joel unveils the plaque marking the spot of the headmatser

Maurice Joel unveils the plaque marking the spot of the headmatser's house at the East Anglian School for Deaf and Blind children

Archant

AN IMPORTANT landmark in Gorleston’s educational history was remembered today (Monday) with the unveiling of a commemorative blue plaque.

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The East Anglian School for Deaf and Blind Children taught youngsters for more than 70 years and on Monday, local history fans revealed the remembrance marker on the site of the school’s headmaster’s house.

The hanging of the plaque was organised by Great Yarmouth Local History and Archaeological Society and revealed to the gathered crowd by one of the group’s members Maurice Joel, who is compiling a book on the history of the school.

He said: “What really made the school was the dedication and professionalism of the staff. You had to give yourself to the school to make it work. Before the war the house mothers had one afternoon off a month.”

The school opened in May 1912 after 17 acres of land was gifted to Great Yarmouth borough. Authorities from across the region, including Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire, clubbed together to establish the school, which took pupils from across East Anglia.

Through its 73 year history it was led by six headmasters who lived in a house at the front of the school site.

The house suffered severe damage during the second world war when it was bombed in 1941, but was rebuilt and habitable again by 1945.

The school continued to teach until July 1985 when it was closed down. Its buildings remained empty for some time and were targeted by vandals, before the site was cleared to make way for a swathe of new homes.

Reminders of the school’s legacy remain, however through East Anglian Way - the road serving the homes - the sound of children from the playground of St Mary’s Primary and the new blue plaque.

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