Palmers made batons for founder of the Proms, Sir Henry Wood

Sir Henry Wood and batons made by Palmers department store.

Sir Henry Wood and batons made by Palmers department store. - Credit: Palmers department store

One of Palmers' more unusual requests was to make conductors batons for Sir Henry Wood, the founder and sole conductor of the Promenade Concerts in London.

When Sir Henry was conducting at the Norfolk and Norwich Triennial Festival in 1921 he came across Percy Hurry Palmer, a patron of the festival.

Palmers came to the rescue of the famous conductor who had broken his baton and made a replacement in its workshop in Great Yarmouth. The store continued to make batons for Sir Henry to his specification, first in lancewood and then after experiments finally in poplar.

Palmers carried on to make batons for conductors all over the world.

The qualities of the Palmer brothers James Hurry Palmer and Edward Ernest Palmer were recorded by one of the Palmers warehouse workers during the 1880's.

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Arthur Patterson, later to become an eminent Great Yarmouth naturalist, commented on the sturdy brusqueness of one brother and neat polish of the other - and the happy disposition of both.

Patterson used old hosiery wrappings from the floor of Palmers warehouse to constitute his early natural history notebooks.

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Palmers association with the arts and historic buildings in Great Yarmouth continues.

The company provided the finance to enable a new foyer to be built at St George's Theatre. Then in 1997 as part of its 160th anniversary celebrations they made a grant that enabled £30,000 to be raised towards an eight-year repair programme for St Nicholas Church - now the Minster.

This grant enabled a pinnacle at the west end of the Minster to be replaced by the St Nicholas Preservation Trust.

Now 'Palmers Pinnacle' stands as a prominent as well as a vital monument to the firm's donations to charity.

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