Documentaries About Great Yarmouth

Image © John Lucas and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Great Yarmouth is a famous seaside town in Norfolk. Just like a lot of Seaside towns, Great Yarmouth has become the most deprived part of Norfolk. With the town being such a large tourist attraction for the county, it is the perfect location for documentaries.

Gt Yarmouth & Gorleston

Gt Yarmouth & Gorleston is a promotional film which encourages visitors to Great Yarmouth and Gorleston-on-Sea. The film shows the viewers what activities visitors could expect to enjoy in 1956s’ Great Yarmouth. This film provides an interesting look into the town before the area became so deprived.

Original Air Date:?? 1956


Timewatch: The First Blitz

Timewatch: The First Blitz is a documentary about the Zeppelin bombing raids over Britain, with Samuel Alfred Smith becoming the first ever civilian to be killed by Arial bombing in 1915. The primary subject of the documentary is the Zeppelin bombing over Great Yarmouth, which marked a start to a Zeppelin bombing campaign by the Germans over the United Kingdom for over two years.

Original Air Date: 2nd February 2007


Great British Railway Journeys: Great Yarmouth to Beccles

Great British Railway Journeys is an episodic series of programs which the presenter travels rail journeys from George Bradshaw railway guides, in order to see what of “Bradshaws” Britain remains.

Mr Portillo starts off the documentary by saying how East Anglia seems remote to a Londoner, which is not surprising as the counties of East Anglia mainly comprise rural areas, unlike the miles upon miles of concrete that makes up London.

The show then went on how the flat terrain of East Anglia and the many waterways of Norfolk, made building infrastructure very difficult, but as the Victorian era brought speculative investments in railways, investors saw an opportunity in providing a faster transport for the goods trade (mainly fish), with the town getting its own train station in 1844, which gave it access to the North Sea fish stocks, bring prosperity to the once-struggling town.

The prosperity was not to last, as when the herrings around Great Yarmouth ran out, the town lost a major source of income, leading to two of the three train-stations closing.

The next section of the show went into some of the darker parts of Great Yarmouth, as the town was also known for its alleyways (commonly referred to as “rows”), which as you can guess attracted a lot of crime.
Body Snatchers Row
Image © Evelyn Simak 2018 (CC-BY-SA 2.0)

The show then explained how row number 6 (nicknamed Body Snatchers Row), due to how it was used to transport bodies that were illegally dug up from St. Nicholas Church to be sold in London for medical research.

The problem of grave robbing got so bad that families would stay at the gravesite for three days to make sure the body of a loved one was not stolen as they were buried, which is where the word “wake” originated from

Twelve years before the railways reached Great Yarmouth, the
Anatomy Act of 1832 passed, which allowed “Anatomy Schools” to use unclaimed bodies for research. This ended around 1901, after a scandal flared involving a poor persons’ body being stolen for this purpose, rather than an unclaimed one.

The presenter than takes a train out of Great Yarmouth and towards Beccles.

This information about Great Yarmouth contained in this episode is a very interesting to look back to not only the positives about its fishing history but also some of the more seedy activities the town was known for.

Original Air Date: 2nd January 2012