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What is the Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust?

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Our history

Great Yarmouth is a town with a rich and diverse history spanning one thousand years. The town’s wealth was built upon its importance as a medieval trading port, and its fortunes have waxed and waned in the centuries since, reflecting the fluctuating fortunes of herring. The arrival of the railway in the Victorian period heralded a new era for the town, as its reputation shifted from a successful fishing port to a centre of popular leisure and seaside entertainment. In the twentieth century, however, the boom period that Great Yarmouth had enjoyed finally came to an end. With this decline in fortunes came an increased threat to the town’s many historic buildings. 

Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust was established by Great Yarmouth Borough Council in 1979 as a response to this threat. The Trust was created to acquire heritage assets at risk, fully restore them back to viable economic use and then ring-fence any income generated for their long-term management and maintenance. In the decades since its inception, the Trust has successfully delivered an extensive series of projects, establishing itself as one of the most active and successful building preservation trusts in the UK.

In the decade up to 2017, the Trust had achieved:

Residential units created 


Projects completed


Volunteers engaged


Training hours delivered


Work generated for the local economy

£8.4 M

Buildings removed from Heritage at Risk Register



Our vision 

Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust remains committed to its original vision of protecting the Borough’s historic built environment and promoting the preservation of our shared heritage.

While protecting Great Yarmouth’s historic built environment is at the heart of all our work, we see heritage preservation as a fantastic tool for driving regeneration in our community. In 2012, recognising that skills shortages were one of the most significant issues affecting Great Yarmouth and its heritage, the Trust developed a strategic approach to the problem. Education, training and outreach were placed firmly at the centre of every project we undertook, at every level from concept through to completion. A model developed where entire projects were undertaken by volunteers and trainees, under the close supervision of heritage professionals, who monitored, advised and mentored the workforce. This innovative model inspires a sense of civic pride and ownership in the work, creates a highly skilled and motivated workforce, and enables effective repair and preservation of our town’s rich heritage. In 2015, the success of the Trust’s training work led to the establishment of Norfolk Conservation Ltd., a social enterprise company which employs people who have been trained on our projects.

As part of this emphasis on education, training and outreach, the Trust has also pioneered an international approach to heritage preservation, and runs a series of successful projects in collaboration with Taiwanese, Estonian and Bulgarian partners. International conservation projects have been delivered in the UK and abroad, facilitating knowledge and skills sharing, and creating unique opportunities for young people to travel and experience different cultures.

Our vision for 2018 – 2022 is to complete a further 13 projects, remove 9 buildings from the Heritage at Risk Register, create 14 residential units, deliver 40,000 training hours to 430 volunteers, create 10 jobs and bring back 10 currently vacant buildings into use.

Our team 



The Earl of Leicester


"All my life I have been fascinated with architecture, it is one of man’s few enduring legacies he leaves. Great Yarmouth with its rich trading history from medieval and Hanseatic times has a surprisingly rich array of wonderful and important buildings. In the Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust, it has a wonderful and very well run champion and I am proud to now be a small part of it."


The Trust is managed by a Board of Directors with nine members. 

•    Bernard Williamson (Chair)
      Councillor, Great Yarmouth Borough Council

•    Paul Patterson (Vice-Chair)
      Independent community representative, Atec Design

•    Marlene Fairhead
      Independent community representative

•    Geoffrey Freeman
      Councillor, Great Yarmouth Borough Council

•    Andrew Fakes
      Great Yarmouth Local History and Archaeological Society

•    Paul Davies
      Great Yarmouth Local History and Archaeological Society

•    Mike Taylor
      Great Yarmouth Local History and Archaeological Society

•    Emily Dye
      Independent community representative


•    Katy Stenhouse
      Councillor, Great Yarmouth Borough Council

The GYPT Team

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