Your Memories of Leisure and Entertainment in Great Yarmouth

Photo:A Local Football team in the 1950s

A Local Football team in the 1950s

Great Yarmouth Museums

Photo:The Royal Aquarium Theatre in the 1960s

The Royal Aquarium Theatre in the 1960s

great Yarmouth Tourism Office

Photo:A couple dancing at the Floral Hall in Gorleston in the 1950s

A couple dancing at the Floral Hall in Gorleston in the 1950s

Great Yarmouth Museums

Share your memories of how leisure and entertainment have changes since the 1940s

By Laura Matthews

Did you used to go dancing at the Floral Hall?

Were you a Teddy boy or a Mod?

Do you remember what it used to be like to go to the cinema or theatre in Great Yarmouth?

Were you a member of a local sports team?

If you have any memories or photographs of these and any other leisure activities that you would like to share with us click on the comments button at the bottom of this page to add your information or click here to add your own page.

This page was added by Laura Matthews on 02/05/2007.
Comments about this page

The best dances I remember at the Floral Hall were the Erie Resistor dances when the Ted Heath band often played, with singers Dennis Lotis and Lita Roza.
I was in a skiffle group ( The Sundowners) and one of our biggest gigs was the publicity ball at the Floral Hall in 1958.

By brian wadsworth
On 11/04/2008

We used to pay to go swimming in the open air pool, usually bxxxxx freezing, then try to sneak into the floral hall. There always seemed to be an organist playing named Eddie Gates who was blind. However, as kids we never believed he was blind, because even if you crept up to the organ he knew you were there and hissed , "go away and sit down". We spent most of the time waving our arms at him to see if he was really blind.

Most of the local schools used the pool to either teach swimming or as in my case get your 25 yard certificate.
The pool had a shop, which sold hot whipped Horlicks, just what was needed after going in that freezing pool. Not that we had the money for such extravagences. often ( until i learnt of Oscar Hunter and his barrow, but thats another story). The shop also opened up to the Gorleston beach, and sold ice cream in a round block to fit on a cone.
By the way any old Alderman Leech boys out there circa 1952-1956?

By john childs
On 21/01/2009

From Sept 1950 until April 1952 I was in the RAF at the Radar Station at Hopton. It became virtually obligitory when off Duty to attend the Floral Hall that is of course via The Feathers and the King William 4th (If however you had a Girl friend it was mainly the Pier Hotel - Showing off a bit and being possessive )

During my lifetime I Visited many dance halls in The Nottingham and Mansfield Area of Notts And saw all of The Big bands at that time. However the most memorable was the Floral Hall and Eddie Gates with his Signature LIZA . I always thought he was a Brilliant Musician .

The annual dance held by Erie Resistor at Xmas 1951 was the first time I saw Ted Heath when my girlfriend at the time worked at the Company and invited me and a fellow serviceman Tony to go to the Dance. It was brilliant but was somewhat strange at the time for when Eddie Gates played at the start and during the intermission the Floor was full of Dancers .With Ted Heath there were very few Dancing more like a concert.

We danced mainly in front of the Bandstand and Ted kneeled down and asked if we had any requests. During the intermission at the tea bar to the right of the stage was a teabar etc which we had made for and to our surprise Lita Roza Dennis Lotis And Dickie Valentine came out to and we spent many enjoyable and interesting minutes talking with us .

A memory that has and will live forever. In the latter years I have been researching Raf Hopton with the view of creating a website about the same with a colleague of mine Ted Linzey, also at Hopton at that time. We did have an article in the Yarmouth Mercury and it also appeared in the Lowestoft Journal subsequently asking for any imformation about the camp from the local populace and of course memories of anyone who had involvement or contact with any of the personell during the 1950 - 1952 period it would be appreciated. The article was published in the Febuary 26th edition My EMAIL --- --Ted's if any one can help us or make contact Malcolm Raynor

By Malcolm Raynor
On 04/05/2010

Peter Buchanan and "The Great Yarmouth Powerhouse Stompers Big Band". In October/November 1966 an advert in the Yarmouth Mercury read something along the lines of: "The Great Yarmouth Powerhouse Stompers Big Band meets at The Royal Standard pub near the Hippodrome every Monday evening and we need brass players, particularly trombonists - and you don't have to be a Frank Rosolino to join us ... " I was just 19 years old and thought I was a half decent trombone player even though I could not sight-read quickly and my beaten up trombone was full of dents and lacked its original water key . The following Monday I nervously went to the pub where I was greeted and welcomed by the bandleader/arranger Peter Buchanan with his baritone sax on its stand beside him. He bought me a drink and explained that the band comprised many professional and semi-pro local musicians from the Yarmouth/Lowestoft/Norwich area who enjoyed getting together every Monday for a 'big band' practice session thus keeping them all in touch and in practice 'out of season'. During the summer months the same musicians played in all the various local theatre, hotel and dance bands and pit orchestras. After being ushered to a seat in the band I was given a sheet of music with a second trombone part and was expected to play with 'all the pros' but I could not read quickly enough and only managed a few notes. Prior to this experience my only band experience was playing short trombone parts in a school orchestra and most of my practice at home was done 'by ear' rather than by reading. However, the band included up to 20, and maybe 30 other musicians so my lack of output made little difference to the overall sound. I sat and enjoyed the music with the band being directed most professionally by Peter Buchanan. The musicians in the band were so skilled in their playing that I was totally overwhelmed and realised I needed to work at my playing and practice much harder to get anywhere near their standards. But it was a very interesting experience and I enjoyed listening and watching immensely. During frequent beer breaks I was given tips from experienced brass players on how to improve my embouchure and was encouraged to try a plastic mouthpiece which was just coming into vogue. Another trombone player then offered to sell me a much better larger bore instrument for the sum of just £10 which was so much easier to play than my ancient 'peashooter' model. I continued to attend the Monday evening sessions even though I could not play all the parts expected of me. I was amazed at some of the musicians' capacities for consuming alcohol whilst they were playing especially the double bass player who during his inebriate solos sang and danced with his instrument whilst also pirouetting it at high rpm much to the admiration of all. During those Monday band sessions, apart from realising my legs were not as hollow as those of the seasoned professionals, I first became aware of a musician's very special "sense of humour" ie the off the cuff jokes and comments which added to the enjoyment ... especially the 'musician jokes' from Peter Buchanan. In subsequent years the 'big band' met on Monday evenings during the winter months at the Garibaldi. At that time I was unaware that Peter Buchanan was a very well known and highly respected musician, that he managed Lonnie Donegan, and had co-written Lonnie's hit song, "My Old Man's a Dustman'. He was also a respected and successful scriptwriter and has written musicals. Peter died aged 84 years last August at his home in Walsingham and his obituary documents some of his many accomplishments including those whilst he was a Great Yarmouth resident and hotelier. Best wishes from Duncan Kirkwood

By Duncan Kirkwood
On 06/12/2010


By peter middleton
On 11/12/2011

The RAF from Hopton preferred The King William on The Quay cannot remember which Brewer it was who provided the liquid refreshment but to think it was Bullards or Lacons; which ever it was quite potent. Personally I was courting a young lady off Lady Margaret's Ave and we would walk from her home to the Floral Hall and call at The Feathers, then on to the Floral Hall for a fabulous night of dancing to EDDIE GATES. At the interval on occasions to the Pier Hotel. It is a pity there appears to be no recordings of the Orchestra and in particular the Signature Tune "Liza". On one of our trips to the Floral Hall my girlfriend's handbag was stolen but the culprit was soon apprehended and we went to the Police Station to make identification and statements. By this time it was after midnight which presented me with a problem as I was required to be back on camp by 11.59 hours. However, the Police provided us with transport to camp for me and took Jean home after'. It was a memorable journey high speed blue lights' flashing that is until the Suffolk border when they apparently had to observe the speed limit. A fond memory among many more of RAF Hopton and my service there.

By Malcolm Raynor
On 27/02/2012

Some of the best memories I have is the dances at the Floral Hall in Gorleston during the late 1950's early 60's first it was rock and roll, then the twist, fantastic nights.  New Year's Eve was something special, was always late for work the next day but it was worth it.  I can't remember the name of the resident band but seem to remember they had a girl singer called Linda but perhaps that wasn't her name, but anyway we had some great nights dancing to the band.

By Valerie Halgarth
On 07/01/2013

Hi Valerie Hogarth. With regard to your memories of dances at Floral Hall. You are right about the singer, she was Linda Taylor and I think the band may have been Maurice Share.

By Derek Barker
On 24/05/2013

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