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New lease of life for former clothing store

PUBLISHED: 12:52 18 May 2020 | UPDATED: 12:52 18 May 2020

The Greenwoods clothing store in Great Yarmouth has closed down, but the building is poised for a return as a heritage centre Photo: George Ryan

The Greenwoods clothing store in Great Yarmouth has closed down, but the building is poised for a return as a heritage centre Photo: George Ryan

Archant

A prominent building and casualty of the decline of the high street is poised for a new lease of life.

Greenwoods, a menswear store in King Street, Great Yarmouth, closed just over two years ago, troubling the town with another empty unit.

Now, the former photographic studio which documented local life at the start of the last century is being redeveloped as a heritage hub, providing a snapshot of the past.

Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust, a charity that has guaranteed the future of a clutch of otherwise unwanted properties in the area, has stepped in to reinvent the three-storey building, adding another element to Yarmouth’s cultural offer.

Darren Barker, project director for the trust, said the new hub would be interactive and look to maximise the potential of technology in telling the town’s story.

Full house! Some 3,000 schoolchildren in 1905 celebrating the centenary of Nelson's Battle of Trafalgar victory.Full house! Some 3,000 schoolchildren in 1905 celebrating the centenary of Nelson's Battle of Trafalgar victory.

Not a museum as such, he instead envisages the heritage centre as a starting point for explorers to re-imagine the past.

He said around £200,000 had been paid for the former shop, with a borough council loan.

“It is an opportunity,” he said. “The building was for sale and it is a good historic building in a really good location, perfect for linking the town centre and seafront.

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“It is one of those pivotal places in the town.”

Under the plans the top floor would be residential, providing an income for the building and making it sustainable.

“It’s not going to be a museum,” he added.

“It is going to be more of an interactive hub showcasing all of the town’s rich culture and heritage, folklore and superstition.”

The building itself dates from the early 19th century.

In the late Victorian period it was home to Yallop’s photographic shop.

Pictures from the period show an attic studio with a wall of windows on the Regent Road side, flooding it with the necessary light.

Mr Barker said seaside studios were at the forefront of photography with people wanting souvenir snaps of their holidays.

They also saw a boon during the First World War with soldiers in uniform looking to preserve their image in postcards for their loved ones.

Thanks to a grant from the Architectural Heritage Fund the trust was able to employ its own architect and graduate researcher meaning the project could progress quickly, he added.


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