The holiday season in full swing

Photograph of Great Yarmouth beach packed with holiday makers in 1950's

By Martin Keable

Great Yarmouth still enjoys the reputation of being one of the premier resorts in the country. The three railway stations, which were the arrival point for thousands of holidaymakers, may have reduced down to just the one but the ever growing number of cars ensures that Yarmouth has more than its fair share of summer visitors. Holiday patterns have changed out of all recognition from the era depicted here when a week, or a fortnight if you were lucky, beside the sea was all that people expected from their annual holiday. The sea-front area of town now offers many ways of keeping yourself amused (and spending money at the same time!) but these visitors seem to be more than pleased with the sun, sand and sea which they came here to enjoy. It may not be quite one of the Spanish Costas but the beach scene is highly reminniscent of the pictures you now see of the ranks of people covering, seemingly, every available space on the beach in their quest for a holiday tan.

Below are Audrey Ward's childhood memories of summer holidays on the beach.

Summer holidays seemed long and sunny and we were "free" after doing our jobs to go to the beach. We had jam sandwiches and lemonade made from crystals with water and shaken in the bottle. It was bliss, we had friends and we dug holes - one was a house and the other a shop, where we used empty cigarette boxes, match boxes and stones for stock. If we were lucky we might have a ha'penny for an ice cream from the stall, which was then on the beach. If it rained we played in the jetty shelters. We played in the sea and went swimming most days. It was glorious. Not many of us came to harm. We got home at 4.30 p.m., had tea, got scrubbed and were sent to bed, where we could read for a while.

Written by Audrey Ward

Photo:The beach between the jetty and Wellington Pier

The beach between the jetty and Wellington Pier

Great Yarmouth Museums

This page was added by Martin Keable on 12/01/2007.
Comments about this page

I am Great Yarmouth born and bred and I used to live quite close to the Parish Church.
During the 50s and 60s my mother used to take my sister and I down to the beach to play, and many times we had a hard job finding a space to sit, let alone play.
Sadly, nowadays, the marram grass has encroached right up to the Britannia Pier, but there is still plenty of room on the beach - where oh where have the holiday-makers gone?
For a few days a year there are pop concerts, attracting a few thousand people, but, for the rest of the year the beaches seem to be as barren as the Sahara Desert!

By John Layton
On 15/08/2008

As kids in the 50's and 60's a real treat was to go on a trip to Scroby Sands to see the seals either on the Norwich Belle from the Quay, Golden Galleon or latterly the Eastern Princess or on one of the many small boats moored on the the holidaymakers there is no Scroby to speak of these days.

By Tim Scott
On 12/05/2009

As a boy growing up in England, my holidays were spent with my grandmother who had a caravan on the beach in Yarmouth. Each summer I would spend my days playing on the sand that was when the sand actually came up to the board walk. I fondly remember the play land area walking among the shows and such.

Though a boy myself and my cousins (girls) loved to play war games, where we would slide or crawl under two or three caravans at a time dig out the supports from under an individual caravan crawling away before they tipped to one side. Then we thought it was a big lark as we would sit and watch in amusement as the owner tried to right the problem...

I left England having immigrated to Canada in the 1950's never to return probably thankful to the local plod. This year 2010 I plan to return for a visit now being retired (would you have guessed it as a retired policeman). All in all the days of summer were spent without care or fears we roamed free always mindful of returning home on time in order to reduce the threat of a clip around the head for being late.

By Barrie
On 11/01/2010

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