Activity 3: Great Yarmouth, Norfolk
Great Yarmouth continues to be an important port on the east coast of England, but not as important as it was in times gone by. In Nelson's time it was the headquarters for the North Sea fleet of the Royal Navy. (Poppyland Publishing has several other books that deal with the history of Great Yarmouth and you can find more information elsewhere on this site).
Use the book 'Nelson - I am myself a Norfolk man' to answer the following questions:
- Where was Nelson's ship returning from when it anchored in Yarmouth Roads (sheltered water just outside the harbour) in September 1773? How can we check such information? What was the name of the ship?
- Where was Nelson returning from when he landed at Yarmouth on November 6th, 1800? Which great naval battle had he recently won, that had made him a national hero?
- Which battle did Admiral Hyde Parker and Nelson leave Yarmouth for in 1801? One of the most famous stories about Nelson took place at that battle, involving the eye in which he was blind. what did he do and was he right to do it?
- One of the ship due to join that fleet with Admiral Hyde Parker and Nelson was shipwrecked twenty miles north of Yarmouth Harbour. What was the name of the ship and where was she wrecked? What evidence can we find today in Norfolk that tells us more of this story?
The town of Yarmouth - so called Great Yarmouth to distinguish it from Little Yarmouth on the other side of the river - grew up on a sandbank in the mouth of the river Yare about one thousand years ago.
It became very important because of the many herring landed there. Because the fishing fleet grew, it was home to many sailors, and in the Middle Ages many of the king's ship and sailors came from Yarmouth.
To begin with, the river often flooded and changed where it went into the sea. Eventually the present harbour entrance was established, and quays began to be built, sheltered from the open sea. By Nelson's time, fishing vessels and naval vessels both used the port.
It is difficult for us to imagine now the harbours around England filled with many sailing ships. The ship in the video clip is a modern reconstruction, much like the frigate which Nelson sailed from Yarmouth. In 2000 it sailed into the river at Yarmouth as part of an event to remember Nelson's visit 200 years before. You can see it in this clip.
You will be able to see more in the video and DVD "Great Yarmouth - History, Herrings and Holidays".