The Waterways walks, August 2021

Wet In The Waterways

It was certainly a challenging day weather-wise when I guided seven brave members through the history of the Waterways and North Denes, looking at the area as the town emerged as a holiday destination during the latter half of the 18th century and into the 20th century. The entertainment thrived throughout the Victorian era, through to the 60’s and 70’s.  From 1877 Prince Edward, later to become Edward V11, started a liaison with the actress Lily Langtry, who often performed at the Royal Aquarium. The theatre gained royal patronage as Prince Edward visited Great Yarmouth seven times to see his mistress in the theatre. We could see the Britannia Pier from where we started our walk. Since 1858 it has been one of Yarmouth’s major holiday attractions in spite of experiencing an amazing number of fires and other setbacks. But there is another Walk covering that area, so no more for now! The Waterways were unusually quiet and as we strolled along the pathways we saw Alan, who lifted our spirits. “Who is Alan?” I hear you ask. A heron! Alan is a local celebrity often seen in the Waterways - he was having a wash and brush up whilst sitting high in a tree. We carried on until we reached the boating lake which was the first part of the Waterways to be developed, in 1926.

At 4.30pm another six brave members eagerly waited. Our walk started well but unfortunately the skies darkened and the rain came. We hurried to the shelters where I could share the history and restoration of this popular attraction. As we continued to the wildlife island we saw Alan sitting on one of the posts looking as prehistoric as ever. He made us all smile. I would like to thank Chris for showing the pictures for the first group, and then David who later tucked the picture folder in his jacket keeping them dry. Thank you to all of you who turned up, making my job easy and enjoyable.


(Photo in the sunken garden: Pat Collins)
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