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Open days’ window into history

Elizabethan HouseRoman soldiers are marching back to a fort just outside Great Yarmouth for a special event celebrating the area’s rich heritage. Burgh Castle fort is the best-preserved Roman ruin in East Anglia – one of a chain of defences fending off raiders and protecting harbours.

On Saturday September 10 it will host Roman soldiers on horseback, a live archaeological test pit and exhibition of research from a Heritage Lottery funded project, Life Outside the Walls, to delve into the settlement outside the fort.

It is part of a busy Heritage Open Days programme, which showcases the history of the area through its museums and historic buildings – some of them often open to the public, such as the Royal Naval Hospital, Masonic Assembly Rooms and Friends Meeting House.

A series of tours and events runs from Thursday September 8 to Sunday September 11 – coinciding with the town’s Maritime Festival, enabling visitors to get an in depth look at many aspects of the area’s bygone days.

Heritage Open Days leaflets are available in leaflets racks and can be downloaded online.

Heritage Open Day events

Pre book
(to book call 01493 846346 and meet at The Fishermen’s Hospital, Market Place)

The Great and the Good Great Yarmouth – guided walk explaining how Yarmouth became Great through fishing, railways, rows and monks. Thursday (2pm)

Medieval Town Hall – guided walk around the second most complete medieval town wall in England with 11 of the original 18 gate towers – used to raise taxes and keep
out pirates. Sunday (2pm)

Drop in
The Fishermen’s Hospital – built in 1702 for old or “decayed” fishermen. Visit the remaining cottages. September 8-11 (10am to 4pm – daily talks at 11am and 2pm)

Great Yarmouth Library archive and basement tour – Tollhouse Street – guided tour of the local history collection, unique archive materials and maps. Not suitable for under 16s. September 8-11 (tours 11.30am and 2.30pm)

Great Yarmouth Town Hall - see the refurbished 1882 landmark building, civic rooms including the mayor’s parlour and council chamber, town regalia and some of the borough art collection. September 8 and 9 (10am to 4pm, with guided tours at 10am, 11.30am, 1pm and 2.30pm)

Royal Assembly Rooms, Albert Square – originally designed as assembly and reading rooms in 1863 the building was bought by the Freemasons in 1919 and has undergone major refurbishment. September 8-11 (tours at 11am, 12 pm, 2pm and 3pm

Wind Energy Museum, Morse Collection – Marsh Road, Repps with Bastwick - unique collection of historical wind pumps, exhibition of photographs and artwork, plus children’s activities. September 8-10 (11am – 4pm), plus special vintage fete with bygone bikes, working engines, BBQ, crafts on Sunday (11-4)

Thurne Mill and Wherry Maud – Thurne Staithe - watch the wherry crew demonstrate loading and unloading. See inside Thurne Mill and learn about its history. September 8-10 (11am -4pm)

Old Meeting – Unitarian Church – Greyfriars Way - See the light and airy simplicity of a Dissenters’ church from 1954, and learn about the Unitarian faith and practices.
September 8 and 9 (11am-3pm), Saturday (9am-4pm), Sunday (12.15-3pm)

Great Yarmouth Potteries – Trinity Place - part of the 700-year-old town wall crammed full of fishing history, art and a chance to make a pottery item. Free quiz for youngsters. September 8-9 (10-3)

Tollhouse Museum and Gaol – Tolhouse Street – visit a convict in the cells and find out what “hard labour” was. September 8-9 (10-4), September 10-11 (10-4, event 11am-4pm)

Great Yarmouth Minster – Church Plain - displays of war damaged parish library and incendiary bombing that gutted the minister in 1942. See ancient books and bring your own to get the advice of a conservator on Thursday and Saturday
September 8-9 (10-2), Saturday (10-1.30), Sunday (11-2)

Caister Lifeboat and Heritage Centre – Tan Lane – see the fastest all-weather lifeboat in the country and 200 years of lifeboat history including an old lifeboat. Thursday and Sunday (tours 11 and 2.15)

Elizabethan House - South Quay – look into the lives of families who lived in the 16th century home through Tudor to Victorian times including the choirs of a poor Victorian house maid. September 8-9 (10-4), September 10-11 (10-4, event 11-4)

Holt Trinity Church – Norwich Road, Caister – 14th church rebuilt in 18th century with strong links to the lifeboat including stained glass window commemorating the 1901 lifeboat disaster. Sunday (10-4)

Quaker Meeting House – Howard Street South - early 19th century meeting house in a wall garden and remains of a 14th century cell occupied by the Augustinian Friars until the dissolution of the monasteries in around 1536. Guides on hand to answer questions. Sunday (10-4)

Royal Naval Hospital – Queens Road – built in 1811 for Nelson’s men, it became HMS Watchful in the Second World war co-ordinating mine sweeping operations. Now converted into apartments and houses. Escorted tours of the chapel and ward may be available on request. September 9-11 (11-3)

Great Yarmouth Minister old and new cemeteries - guided tour around most interesting graves and monuments and look at conservation work. Friday (2pm)

Priory Gardens – Gorleston High Street – past times fair and heritage exhibition with local enthusiasts sharing their interests. Family activities. Sunday (10-4)

Burgh Castle Fort - Butt Lane – explore the best-preserved Roman monument in East Anglia and the settlement that grew outside the fort walls. See Roman soldiers on horseback, storytelling, guided tours, a live archaeological test pit and exhibition of research. Saturday (11-4)