Trees will add final touch to £9m redevelopment of historic Great Yarmouth corridor

PUBLISHED: 13:12 07 December 2012

Fisherman's Hospital, Great Yarmouth and Gorleston Lifeboat Station, St Georges Chapel, Gorleston Pavilion Theatre

Fisherman's Hospital, Great Yarmouth and Gorleston Lifeboat Station, St Georges Chapel, Gorleston Pavilion Theatre


NORFOLK’S newest theatre will be ringed by trees in a final flourish that will seal its place at the heart of a green corridor linking river and sea in Great Yarmouth.

Planting on the north side of St George’s Theatre is due to take place in the next few weeks with a variety of birch deemed to have the right-sized canopy - not too “heavy” but with enough foliage to enhance the scene.

Borough conservation officer Darren Barker said there were also plans to acknowledge those who had contributed to a memorial garden, swept away under the £9m makeover.

A single plaque will commemorate the various trees and plaques put there in the early 1980s, remembering among others Valerie Howkins’ son David who died aged 15, 33 years ago, and her parents.

The retired jeweller is now curator of the David Howkins’ Museum of Memories which weaves together family, local and royal history, and is a stone’s throw from the theatre in King Street.

Mr Barker said reinstating the names, albeit in a single plaque, was the “right thing to do” and would chime with continuity, although no more new names would be added.

The architect-designed plaque will be on the southern side. Overall there will be more trees than those that were felled to make way for the redesign.

Mrs Howkins who was a leading light in the battle to save the Grade I-listed chapel the first time round, sits on the St George’s Community Working Group.

She is keen to hear from anyone who donated to the cost of the original trees in 1981 which formed part of a memorial garden with shrubs and plaques.

She said: “They just cleared the site before anyone knew and there was a great deal of upset because people had paid for trees to be planted. There is now going to be a whole list of people who donated trees and I just want to make sure I haven’t missed anyone.”

For Malcolm Scott, former Belton parish council chairman, putting back the Hiroshima tree will be a significant step - the single tree representing all that stood amid the devastation. “It is wonderful news if they are going to set it back. It was a tragedy that it went in the first place,” he said.

Meanwhile although the theatre is operational the scheme is being held up by a problem pavilion. Builders are getting to grips with a “diaphragm” roof which has “not behaved as expected”.

A ceremony to mark the tree planting and plaque will take place probably in early summer, but not until noisy builders are off site, in a mark of respect.

The David Howkins’ Museum of Memories is shut for the winter, and opens again at Easter. For a private viewing or to contact Mrs Howkins about the plaques call her on 01493 659382.


  • £9m makeover? you could have re-built Gt Yarmouth for that.

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    Friday, December 7, 2012

  • It's a great picture (drawing) they show with this article, the theatre is never going to look like that, notice how all the tatty shops or how close it is to the pubs and restaurants around it aren't shown and I have to agree with Daisy Roots' comments on the shops. As for the amount of money spent on the theatre that's another story because planting trees is really a bad idea, once they take root and start to grow, the roots will go under an already delicate building (so I'm told) and give it a few years and it will either need repairing again or closed up or pulled down because it will be unsafe. As for the Old White Lion, I saw a man outside it last Spring making notes and when I asked him what would be happening to the place he said it was to become a restaurant on the ground floor and flats on the top and built around the side and that work was to start in the June. Obviously none of that got off the ground but it does seem to me that being privately owned, it can be left as it is until it falls down, people have also tried to break in by the looks of the windows and the side fencing. The theatre as it is at the moment stands (not including the park) in the middle of an eyesore of a street which is in desperate need of a shake up.

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    Friday, December 7, 2012

  • I am not sure but believe this to be out of character with Yarmouth and a waste of money. I know there were trees on South Quay at some time but surely GY is a place of dunes or denes outside of the walls and Rows inside? Quite how many people in the borough are meant to benefit from the artificial concept of a green corridor from the old Holkham Hotel down to the Quay side stumps me really-especially since it takes in the busy Yarmouth Way. Finally and laggardly restoring St Georges Chapel is good, but only if it is accorded the dignity it deserves, but there are other places in the town which need money spending on them before a few trees alongside an artificial sort of route.

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    Daisy Roots

    Friday, December 7, 2012

  • Well, historic Yarmouth corridor is nonsense. I know St George's road is old, one of my great grandfathers was born there, but Yarmouth way is on the route of a bulldozed row-would have to consult Palmers book to find out which but it is another bit of tourist industry twaddle. It is good to have the place looking better but the money spent on trees should be spent on enforcing the care and maintenance of some of the very old and fine buildings on Kings Street south , many of which are now occupied by odd little shops with no obvious means of affording the upkeep rather than the thriving businesses of former times. The very old White Lion is looking worse for wear for instance.

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    Daisy Roots

    Friday, December 7, 2012

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