Could rows revamp be rivalry remedy for historic seaside towns?

PUBLISHED: 14:23 06 February 2020 | UPDATED: 14:23 06 February 2020

Volunteers helping to rebuild and preserve historic Rows and Scores. PHOTO: Rachel Harrison

Volunteers helping to rebuild and preserve historic Rows and Scores. PHOTO: Rachel Harrison


Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft might have fallen out over fish, but now they are making up by rebuilding their Rows.

Newly-refurbished Gun Row panel in Great Yarmouth. PHOTO: Rachel HarrisonNewly-refurbished Gun Row panel in Great Yarmouth. PHOTO: Rachel Harrison

That is the idea behind "Making Waves Together" - a project focusing on the regeneration of Great Yarmouth's Rows and Lowestoft's Scores.

These networks of extremely narrow pathways were crucial in connecting both towns to the seafront during the heyday of their fishing industry.

Despite the towns' long-running differences, the streets are one of the main things they have in common.

According to Darren Barker from Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust, the project, which will enhance and improve the remaining 80 Rows in Yarmouth and 11 in Lowestoft - out of an original 145 and 13 - draws on the "shared heritage" of the area.

Volunteers from both towns are helping conserve and rejuvenate the medieval thoroughfares, repairing impressive but dilapidated structures such as Martin's Score and Mariner's Score in Lowestoft.

They are helping to rebuild a fractured relationship between the two towns which goes back hundreds of years.

As early as 1372, Yarmouth and Lowestoft were at each other's throats, with the former petitioning Edward III to establish a 'protectionist trade zone' that threatened Lowestoft's survival.

Even though the dispute was resolved in the 17th century, quarrels continued over access to herring stocks.

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In fact, the towns remained rivals up until the 1980s, by which time the fishing fleets and livelihoods were in decline.

Mr Barker said: "The Rows and Scores help to shape our two towns and form the backdrop to many people's lives.

"They still resonate with echoes from the past and connect us with our history."

Both the Rows and Scores have had new signage.

In the case of Great Yarmouth, numbers have been supplanted with original names, which often derived from a person or business.

Row 85, for example, was formerly Sir Sidney Smith's Row, Old Library Row, Baptist Meeting House Row and Arbon the Painters Row at various times throughout its history.

In Yarmouth, the Rows project has attracted the attention of film maker Joe Malcolm.

Scores filming is also set to begin in April for a feature by Joshua Freemantle, and photography work by the Lowestoft Photographic Club.

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