Historical importance of fishermen’s hospital marked by blue plaque
- Credit: James Bass
In the town's fishing heyday, it offered a vital lifeline to the many men involved in this dangerous, sometimes deadly industry.
Now, a former fishermen's hospital in Gorleston has been commemorated, with the unveiling of a plaque on the building.
The site is now a private residence, but in the 1880s it was set up by Harvey Harvey-George, manager of the renowned Short Blue fishing fleet, to cater for those injured or taken ill at sea.
Known for his concern for the needs of men involved in the industry, his work to create the facility started in 1886 and it was hoped its opening could coincide with Queen Victoria's golden jubilee in 1887. But the building at 235 High Street did not admit its first patients until 1888.
It also treated the poor and elderly outpatients who could not afford the train fare to Great Yarmouth or walk from the nearest tram stop.
The Jubilee Cottage Hospital, as it was known, was open for only one year, after which larger premises were donated by Mr Harvey-George on Trafalgar Road East.
However, the site was the first of its kind in the town and reports make clear that it was seen as a pioneering development that provided a 'good service to the neighbourhood'.
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Figures show that 11 inpatients and 292 outpatients were admitted in those 12 months, including 37 victims of accidents.
Men and women were treated there, although only men could be admitted because there was just one ward.
The plaque was commissioned by the Gorleston-on-Sea Heritage group, and it is the first plaque the organisation has put up.
Its chairman, Leslie Cockrill, said the placement would 'increase people's awareness of Gorleston's heritage', and he said he hoped it would be 'the first of several'.
Ian and Sue Jacobs, the current residents of the old Jubilee Cottage Hospital, said: 'It's an honour to continue Gorleston's heritage.'
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