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Built in 1880, Victorian fish curing works such as the Tower Curing Works on Blackfriars Road facilitated the success of Great Yarmouth’s celebrated herring trade. Herrings caught nearby and cured here were exported around the globe. With the accelerated decline of the fishing industry in the late twentieth century, however, these works were closed in 1989 and lay derelict and vandalised. 

In 1993, the Great Yarmouth Museums Working Party were investigating alternative sites to house the Maritime Museum, following the closure of Maritime House on Marine Parade. Keen local interest in the Grade II listed Tower Curing Works inspired a feasibility study to be commissioned for the site, which concluded that a museum was a viable option for the premises.

With the support of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, the Single Regeneration Budget Challenge Fund (SRB) and English Heritage's Conservation Area Partnership Scheme, the Trust took ownership of the building. Having secured Stage 1 Heritage Lottery Funding in 2000, the concept of a museum to tell the ‘Story of Great Yarmouth’ was approved. Matchfunding from the European Regional Development Fund was obtained in 2001, and a Stage 2 Heritage Lottery Fund grant was approved in 2001, along with East of England Development Agency and further SRB funding.  

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. Architect Nigel Sunter 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."

In 2002, a complimentary project was established to repair the Grade II listed building adjacent to the curing works, which had been built in the nineteenth century as accommodation for the works’ manager. Due to neglect, much work was needed to restore it to viable use. Funding was secured, and the building was restored and repurposed as office space for the Time and Tide Museum.

The museum opened as the Time and Tide Museum in 2004. It is widely recognised as a flagship heritage and cultural project and a milestone achievement for Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust. It is considered as the best preserved curing works on the East Coast, and among the best in the whole of the UK.

The museum has been nominated for, and received, several awards since its opening. In 2006, Time and Tide was a finalist in the European Museum of the Year competition and in 2014, the museum received the prestigious Sandford Award, recognising excellence in education across heritage sites. In 2019, the museum was nominated for the Museums Association’s Museums Change Lives Awards.


Visitor information can be found here

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