The Nelson Museum, 26 South Quay, Great Yarmouth
26 South Quay is a Great Yarmouth Grade II Listed Building. It is situated in the South Quay conservation area, forming part of a range of buildings which is felt to be one of the finest quays in England. In 1998 the South Quay was benefiting from major regeneration programme to form an integral part of the new Great Yarmouth Heritage Trail. It lies adjacent to other museums on South Quay and close to the Central Library and the ancient Tolhouse nearby.
The building had an interesting history. It was formerly the 17th Century home of Sir George England who steered Yarmouth through the Parliamentary and Royalist periods of the Civil War. He was chairman of the Committee which welcomed Charles II to Yarmouth in September 1671 when he was rewarded with a knighthood. In the early 18th Century, in common with most of the South Quay merchant houses, No.26 was stripped of its Tudor features and was given its present Georgian façade. This is the appearance that Nelson would have known. Great Yarmouth was then a bustling port, a hive of commerce, and the fleet often assembled and returned there, as it did for the Battle for Copenhagen.
The building itself had been altered very little over the years, though a number of modern partitions had been inserted. The building has been empty for 10 years when Purcell Miller Tritton and Partners were commissioned to undertake a Feasibility Study in 1998. The total cost of works to return the spaces to their original forms and undertake repairs and refurbishment to the building to make it suitable as a museum was estimated to be £229,193, not including displays etc..
The Ben Burgess Nelson Memorabilia collection, a registered charity, set up an appeal to raise funds to provide a museum relating to the life and time of Horatio Lord Nelson at 26 South Quay. HRH the Duke of Edinburgh was the foremost of the illustrious patrons of the appeal. In March 1999, the Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust purchased 26, South Quay to refurbish it for use under lease to the Norfolk Nelson Museum.
£575,000 capital funding was secured with seven partners, EEDA, SRB, GYBC, EH, Port Authority, GYPT and the Ben Burgess Trust. Saving this three-storey C18th Listed Building with its proximity to English Heritage and National Trust properties helped to enhance and build the critical mass of museums on the historic South Quay.
The museum was opened in 2002. Please go to the Nelson Museum website (http://www.nelson-museum.co.uk) for further information.