Tower Curing Works - Time And Tide Museum

In 1993 the Great Yarmouth Museums Working Party agreed to investigate alternative sites for the maritime museum as Maritime House, the building on Great Yarmouth’s Marine Parade where the museum was housed, had insufficient space as well as physical access problems. Focus group research taken on behalf of Great Yarmouth Heritage Partnership indicated keen local interest in the Victorian Tower Curing Works in Blackfriars Road, which had stopped operating as a herring curing factory in 1989 and, as a result, lay derelict and vandalised. Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust commissioned a feasibility study on the Tower Curing Works, a Grade II listed site of approximately 2,500m2, and further studies concluded that a museum was a viable option for the premises.

The conclusion of these and other initial studies provided the Trust with enough evidence to buy Tower Curing Works for £44,000 in March 1998, with the support of the Single Regeneration Budget Challenge Fund (SRB), Great Yarmouth Borough Council and English Heritage's former Conservation Area Partnership Scheme. The Trust took ownership of the building and financial responsibility for the implementation of the project.

Stephen Earl, Technical Advisor to the Trust, worked in partnership with Rachel Kirk, Project Curator at Norfolk Museum Services, Norfolk County Council, to secure Stage 1 Heritage Lottery Funding to establish a museum to tell the 'Story of Great Yarmouth'. This was approved in 2000.

Matchfunding from the European Regional Development Fund was obtained in November 2001, and a Stage 2 Heritage Lottery Fund grant was approved in 2001 (making a total HLF grant of £2,579,540), along with East of England Development Agency (£848,208) and further SRB funding (£527,676). ERDF: Objective 2 funding of was also secured (£707,715) along with £100,000 grant from Great Yarmouth Borough Council.

Architects Purcell Miller Tritton were appointed, with John Youngs Ltd. awarded the main building contract, and building works began in January 2002. The design of the museum displays was undertaken by Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service and John Kirk Designs Ltd. Nigel Sunter of Purcell Miller Tritton Architects said “The aim has been to retain the character, memories (and smell!) of the building, whilst enabling its interior spaces to be adapted sensitively to museum use. This allows for its previous adaptations to be clearly visible, for any new alterations to be easily recognisable and to introduce a sense of drama and fun."

The museum opened in 2004. This is now the best preserved curing works on the East Coast. Barry Coleman, Director of Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust, said at the time: "The opening of Time and Tide is a major milestone in the promotion of Great Yarmouth’s heritage. The Borough has a long, fascinating and complex history which has helped form its present day character. I am delighted that we now possess a quality setting to display our unique heritage to residents and visitors alike".