Explore Great Yarmouth’s history with the town’s ghost signs

Thanks to public feedback, a walking trail to highlight some of the tremendous ‘ghost signs’ in the town centre has successfully launched.

Time and Tide Museum and Great Yarmouth Borough Council teamed up to create a trail that would send participants back in time whilst exploring the parts of the borough’s history which are hidden in plain sight.

‘Ghost signs’ are old shop signs and architectural features that have survived despite changes in the use of buildings.

The trail team asked residents to share their memories, photographs, and other images and that has helped create a unique downloadable map that can be used to explore the historical advertising and signs across the Town Centre.

Printed copies of the ghost sign trail leaflet can be picked up from Time & Tide Museum, Great Yarmouth Library, PrimeYARC, Skippings Gallery, Colossal Youth, the Drill House, and the Town Hall. Copies of a booklet containing the history of the ghost sign sites can also be found on the council’s website and is free to download. 

Cllr Carl Smith, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council said: “We’d like to say a big thank you to all those who came forward and shared their memories and photos of the borough, which have all now been combined in this wonderful and unique ghost signs trail. 

“Great Yarmouth has so much heritage to celebrate, preserve and learn from for generations to come and this trail will help us do that.”

Colin Scott, Learning Manager at Norfolk Museums, said: “Great Yarmouth has a rich and unique architectural heritage and this trail helps to uncover the hidden histories of iconic buildings around the town centre.”

Tony Calladine, East of England Regional Director, Historic England, said: “There are reminders of our past around every corner if we look for them, and ‘ghost signs’ are a particularly evocative remembrance of times gone by and how our buildings and streets have changed. It’s wonderful that people have come together to share their memories, photos, and information to create this fascinating trail around Great Yarmouth. These reminiscences and pictures from the past are so important in bringing to life our local stories and creating a sense of place.”

The trail is part of the £2.3m Great Yarmouth High Street Heritage Action Zone project, which puts heritage and the local community at the heart of revitalising the town centre.

The High Street Heritage Action Zone is a four-year programme, led by the borough council in partnership with Historic England.