Project aims to improve Great Yarmouth's historic rows

Black and white photo of medieval Row in Great Yarmouth Image copyright Great Yarmouth Borough Council
Image caption The Rows project aims to improve Great Yarmouth's historic alleyways

Historic alleyways that were once the "veins" of a seaside town are to be improved as part of a project to enhance the area.

At one time there were 145 of the narrow medieval streets known as "Rows" in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.

The rich and poor lived and traded in the thoroughfares, which were crammed together due to building restrictions.

Bernard Williamson, of Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust, said they were "a unique part" of the borough's history.

Today few people live in the 60 remaining Rows, four of which are to be enhanced as a reminder of the town's cultural history.

Each has been chosen because of its historic interest and condition.

The trust is leading the £50,000 project.

"The Rows acted as the town's veins, with the principal north-south streets as the arteries, all leading to the beating heart of the market place", said Darren Barker, spokesman for the charity.

Image copyright Geograph/Barbara Carr
Image caption Row 117, in the South Quay area of Great Yarmouth

Until 1804, when they were numbered, the Rows were named after local buildings or characters, such as "Body Snatchers" or "Kitty Witches", which was the narrowest at 27in (68cm) in some places.

The trust hopes to reinstate cast iron nameplates on all the Rows.

The four chosen for improvements are:

  • Row 38, Ferrier's Row, named after the Ferrier family who lived on the corner. Richard Ferrier was bailiff in 1691.
  • Row 46, Sewell's Row, named after the Sewell family who ran a store on the corner in the 18th and 19th Centuries. Anna Sewell, author of Black Beauty, was a family member.
  • Row 90, Old Hannah's Row, named after former resident John Hannah who murdered his wife in 1813. He was the last person to be publicly hanged at North Denes.
  • Row 93, King the Baker's Row, named after the King's Head pub and Rivett the Baker's shop.

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