Great Yarmouth’s seafront snails are a heritage highlight: Do you remember going on the retro rides?

Joyland fun park on Yarmouth seafront, pictured in 1958. Photo: Archant library. Joyland fun park on Yarmouth seafront, pictured in 1958. Photo: Archant library.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
11:24 AM

For generations of people growing up in Norfolk, riding the snails at Joyland has been a much-loved summer pastime.

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The traditional Snails ride at Joyland in Great Yarmouth, 64 years after it opened.  Picture: James BassThe traditional Snails ride at Joyland in Great Yarmouth, 64 years after it opened. Picture: James Bass

The colourful creatures have been travelling on tracks at Great Yarmouth seafront since the Joyland fun park opened in 1949 – but only now are they being touted as a heritage site.

Yarmouth’s rich history is no big secret – the resort is as much associated with Admiral Nelson as it is with bucket-and-spade summer holidays, but a heritage expert looking at how to invest in historic assets says we mustn’t forget to look in more unusual places.

“The brilliant thing about Yarmouth’s heritage is just how varied it is,” said Laura Crossley, a consultant working with Great Yarmouth Borough Council to update the region’s cultural heritage strategy.

“The variety is what makes the town so distinctive.

The ride was designed by park founder Horace Cole. Pictured here in 1958.The ride was designed by park founder Horace Cole. Pictured here in 1958.

“So as well as being this ancient port with amazing medieval town walls and a Minster church which dates back to 1101, we’ve got the retro chic of the seaside.

“For me, Joyland is just as important as a heritage site.”

The borough council is updating its heritage strategy – a formal document that sets the scene for heritage investment for years to come, in light of recent investment in buildings such as the Time and Tide Museum and St George’s Theatre.

The report being written by Miss Crossley will not only tell the council where to spend money but it shines a spotlight on what makes Yarmouth great – ice creams and donkey rides aside.

“It’s really no exaggeration to say Yarmouth has something for everyone,” said Miss Crossley, who has previously worked with Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust and Sheringham Museum.

The borough, she said, has important heritage sites from almost every era – Roman remains at Burgh Castle and Caister, Medieval town walls, Victorian rows and Edwardian architecture.

“And it’s not just for tourists,” she added.

“Getting to know these amazing places in your own towns is brilliant and, with the deals available, it’s often an affordable family day out. The focus groups I’ve worked with all commented that it is the variety in Yarmouth that makes it so distinctive.

“That is a selling point.”

The final draft of Miss Crossley’s report will be finished next month, to go before the council in April.

Email comments to laura@lauracrossley.com by 5pm tomorrow.

12 comments

  • I remember the rocking house (shown in the first photo) and of course the snails!! And the lido on the seafront and the wintergardens when its was an ice rink. As a child who grew up in Cromer a visit to Gt Yarmouth was fantastic!!!

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    Stuart Watts

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • I was loved the snails when I was a toddler, but was terrified to go on them as nearby there was big old scary, moving giant brandishing a club- is he still there?

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    Fluffy Cat

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • What about Caister Castle-one of the earliest brick castles in the UK, connections with the Pastons, the fastolf family on whom Shakespeare is meant to have modelled falstaff, besieged in the war of the Roses but now in private hands with an admission fee so high ( because of a gimcrack car museum) that it is doubtful if a handful of locals ever visit it. It will fall down before English Heritage think it worthy of compulsory purchase.

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    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • The snails, Joyland and Pleasure Beach are legendary. But alas, they seem to have got to expensive in last few years. The amount you pay for wristbands etc, you can pay less and do more at pleasurewood hills. It is a shame, but with that and boy racers in evenings, prices of everything getting higher and higher, more and more immigrants getting dumped at Yarmouth, it seems to have lost its "Great" for me.

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    Mark Thompson

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • Joyland's Snails - absolutely brilliant attraction!

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    DWW25

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • Decades of GYBC philistine councillors neglecting GYs cultural history and now my council tax is going on someone promoting the sea front as part of that. Never mind that the medieaval stone walls are pulled down and the towers tatty and no one knows their role , never mind no one knows about the Ramparts, the fishing industry , the shipping and ship building that made the town rich long before tourism, Nelsons Jetty ( I know it was a bit of a Triggers broom) pulled down by councillor Reynolds, the Dickens ( David Copperfield )connection largely ignored, ditto Anna Sewell ( Black Beauty). Fine old buildings and lovely Late Georgian early Victorian streets left to fester and decay in the hands of migrant business owners, few know that GY had a very rare town plan, never mind the role of the town in the Dutch Wars and the Napoleonic War lets drivel on about Joyland-because it is yet another bit of promotion for the councillors mates on the sea front.

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    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • As everyone knows... The Snails are the scariest ride in the world! :-)

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    Jonathan Cogan

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • As everyone knows... The Snails is the scariest ride in the world! :-)

    Report this comment

    Jonathan Cogan

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • Happy memories, holidays with parents and nan& grandad, snails, tubs, and dragon boat on waterways! Not forgetting 2 wax works.

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    Gaz

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • Our annual day out in Yarmouth started with chips on the market (Thompsons noted chip saloon) followed by what seemd like a huge walk down Regent Road with the sight of Noah's Ark at the end drawing us on. Then it was straight onto the snails for a ride. Then working our way down to the Pleasure Beach via the Model Village and back to the Waterways then the Rock Factory on the way back to the Station. Doesn't sound a lot but it was the only holiday we got and really enjoyed!

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    Chris Booty

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • Happy days, after that long trek from the station down Regent Road being dragged along by mum and dad and the spade and bucket, it was magic, then on the beach, have a sand filled sandwich, then that long trek back up Regent Road to station and the train home, all sticky and knackered they were the days

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    Derek McDonald

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

  • At least Chris Booty we didn't have to walk down Regent Street. We had the old motor bile and sidecar!

    Report this comment

    rament

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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