Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Ordnance survey map of THE WINTER GARDENS
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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Great Yarmouth (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TG 53148 06762


839-1/20/162 SOUTH BEACH PARADE 05-AUG-1974 (East side) THE WINTER GARDENS

II* Winter gardens, designed and constructed in Torquay by John Watson and William Harvey between 1878 and 1881 at a cost of £12,783, relocated to Great Yarmouth in 1904. Ironwork by Jesse Tildesley of the Crescent Iron Works, Willenhall in Staffordshire.

MATERIALS Cast iron frame and glass, on a plinth covered with L-shaped Cockrill-Doulton tiles.

PLAN Rectangular, approximately 170 ft long east-west with short gabled transepts projecting to the north, south and west at the west end.

EXTERIOR The structure comprises a long single-storey, gabled range aligned east-west. A square tower and lantern of 83ft height above the west end has a pyramidal roof topped with an urn finial on a sculpted base. Square section columns with Corinthian capitals to the lower stage and palmette capitals above, divide the structure into tripartite panels each generally with three lights of six glazes over nine. Above and below are contiguous solid rectangular panels, some with a central ventilation roundel, but blank on the tower stages. Each gable-end has floral and scroll motifs with a central roundel in the apex, and the transepts have an upper tier of arched glazing.

INTERIOR The nave is supported on braced lattice girders with floral motifs, and the tower and lantern rests on pierced corner bracing and box-frame supports. An additional late C20 inner frame braces the original structure, and there are some C20 bars and partitions. The 1909 maple flooring of the roller skating rink survives.

HISTORY The Winter Gardens were not a commercial success in Torquay, but Great Yarmouth Borough Council's Surveyor, J W Cockrill, foresaw that their removal to Yarmouth would be desirable 'to lengthen the season with better class visitors, and on wet days to provide for 2,000 persons under cover.' Cockrill supervised the purchase of the Winter Gardens for £1300, a small proportion of the original cost. The building was dismantled in sections, transported by barge to Norfolk and re-erected by the entrance to Wellington Pier in 1904. It is said that no pane of glass was broken in the removal. Cockrill added a brick-arched entrance porch for a cloakroom and in 1909, laid a maple floor for roller skating. Used for concerts, dancing and skating, the interior was adorned by flower beds, trailing plants and displays in hanging baskets and had an organ above the entrance at the west end. In the late C20, the glazing panels in the roof were replaced and a separate structural frame inserted to support the tower and lantern.

SOURCES Brodie, Allan and Winter, Gary 'England's Seaside Resorts', English Heritage 2007 p.147 Ferry, Kathryn 'Powerhouses of Provincial Architecture 1837-1914' The Victorian Society, 2009 pp.52 -53 Pearson, Lynn 'The People's Palaces; Britain's Seaside Pleasure Buildings' 1991, pp 53-65. Pevsner, N and Wilson, B 'The Buildings of England: Norfolk 1 Norwich and the North-East' 2nd Ed 1997 pp 488-529, accessed 21st August 2009.

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION DECISION The Winter Gardens of 1878, re-erected at South Beach Parade, Great Yarmouth in 1904, is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons: * Rarity: It is the last surviving seaside Victorian cast iron and glass winter gardens in the country. * Architectural Interest: The structure has an unusual prominent, tiered lantern and good quality decorative treatment to the exterior and interior cast iron frame. * Historic Interest: When constructed it was one of the three largest cast iron and glass seaside winter gardens in England. * Technological interest: It represents the culmination of Victorian cast iron and glass design and technology, of which Paxton's Crystal Palace was a milestone, and demonstrates the engineering achievement and versatility of such structures. * Intactness: Although some of the glazing and window heads have been replaced, it is largely intact. * Group Value: It has considerable group value with the Edwardian entertainment architecture of Great Yarmouth's seaside resort.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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Books and journals
Brodie, A, Winter, G, England’s Seaside Resorts, (2007)


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 31 Jul 2002
Reference: IOE01/07974/10
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr John Barlow. Source Historic England Archive
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