Over the next decade we will be creating an ambitious art trail around Great Yarmouth's medieval town wall, which is one of the best preserved and most complete in England. A series of 20 sculptures will be installed, forming an outdoor gallery to inspire locals and visitors alike to explore this wonderful yet often overlooked ancient monument.
The 1.2 mile long wall will serve as a backdrop for the artworks, which will celebrate different elements of Great Yarmouth's heritage. This initiative will support the town's cultural tourism industry, as well as encouraging people to spend time outdoors and learn more about Yarmouth's history. At the end of the ten years, it is hoped that Great Yarmouth will be regarded as a place to experience incredible works of art in a unique outdoor gallery.
To date, two works have been installed, both of which celebrate the history of Great Yarmouth's fishing industry.
Bridget Heriz, Fisher Girl
Fisher Girls were a familiar sight in Great Yarmouth at the turn of the twentieth century. Following the vast shoals of herring which moved down the coast, these women – often from the highlands of Scotland and the Hebridean islands – migrated southwards to gut and pack herring for the autumn fishing season. Fondly remembered for their cheerful singing and incredible dexterity, they were an important feature of the town and played a significant role in the success of Yarmouth's fishing industry.
Alison Atkins, Swills
"Swills" were baskets used by Yarmouth fishermen to carry herring from the boats and auction houses which once lined the quayside. Three swills could hold one cran's worth of herring. These functional yet beautiful baskets are unique to Great Yarmouth, as they were shaped to allow them to be transported down the narrow Yarmouth Rows. A Swill was the perfect dimension so that two people each with a Swill could pass by each other in the Row without blocking it. Traditionally woven from willow, their production required exacting craftsmanship. Basket making was a highly skilled and well respected craft and required up to 7 years' training.