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Great Yarmouth Borough Archives

Most of the archives for Great Yarmouth are now held at the Norfolk Record Office (NRO).

The exceptions are the current records relating to the borough, which are at Great Yarmouth Town Hall.

The archives are described in the Guide to the Great Yarmouth Borough Records by Paul Rutledge (Norfolk Record Office, 1972).

There are more detailed lists, plus lists of more recent deposits, at the NRO and in the National Register of Archives (opens new window) at The National Archives (TNA).

If you are researching the areas of Southtown, Runham Vauxhall and Gorleston, now part of the borough, see our separate guide for information on where their records can be found.

Unreformed Corporation (before 1835)

  • Borough charters, 1207/8-1836 (see our guide Great Yarmouth borough charters).
  • Borough court rolls, 1263/4 or 1273/4-1675/6. These record the main administrative functions of the borough, including (at various dates) enrolled deeds, local customs accounts, enrolments of freemen and chamberlains' accounts. There is a detailed calendar at the NRO and at the National Register of Archives.
  • Borough court books, 1535-1931.
  • Borough court files and papers, 1689-1931.
  • Borough sessions records from 1640.
  • Admiralty court records, 1712-1835.
  • Assembly books, 1550-1833.
  • Records of freemen and apprentices.
  • Chamberlains' records from 1491/2.
  • Customs accounts (also known as Water Books), 1617-1700.
  • Customs journals, 1708-1835.
  • Registers of leases of Corporation property, 1753-1812.
  • Rate books (of various kinds) from 1741-1957.

Reformed Corporation (after 1835)

  • Council minutes, 1840-1946
  • Council committee minutes, 1836-1904
  • Vehicle licensing records, 1921-54, (vehicle numbers EX 1 to EX 8300)
  • Borough gaol records

Borough treasurer's department

  • Abstracts of accounts, 1837-1931
  • Large quantity of other financial records

Borough engineer's department

Large number of very detailed plans

Health department:

  • Medical Officers' annual reports, 1878-1970
  • Draft Health Committee minutes, 1906-53

Education department

  • School Board minutes, 1875-1903
  • Education Committee minutes, 1903-65
  • Log books and other records of Yarmouth schools

Transport department

Papers mainly relating to tramways

Welfare department

  • Weekly Register Bills (transcripts of parish registers, 1773-1841)
  • Guardians' minutes, 1837-1930
  • Public assistance committee, 1930-46
  • Social welfare committee, 1946-48
  • Children's home records, 1910-43
  • Civil Defence records, 1939-45

Clerk of the peace (quarter sessions)

  • Sessions books, 1567-1969
  • Papers and files, 1700-1971

Clerk to the justices (petty sessions) records

Court registers, 1916-59

Port and Haven Commissioners

  • Minutes, 1750-1932
  • A vast quantity of records about the Haven, fishing industry, etc

Building control plans

  • Indexes, 1885-1989
  • Plans, 1949-59 (Earlier and later plans are held by Yarmouth Borough Council)

Charity trustees:

  • Minutes, 1836-1905
  • Children's Hospital records, 1679-1900
  • Fisherman's Hospital records, 1776-1817

Inherited records

  • Paving commissioners' minutes, 1810-51
  • Local board of health minutes, 1851-73
  • Urban sanitary authority minutes, 1874-1903, with medical officer of health annual reports, 1875-1902
  • Yarmouth Burial Board minutes, 1855-65
  • Gorleston Burial Board minutes, 1879-81
  • Cemetery registers are at Great Yarmouth Town Hall but microfiche copies are at the NRO
  • Runham Vauxhall School Board minutes, 1876-83
  • Manor of Gorleston court books, 1666-1935
  • St George's Chapel baptisms register, 1894-1958

Maps and plans

Maps and plans of Yarmouth survive from the 16th century onwards. The NRO has originals or Xerox copies of many of them and we have a guide to Old Yarmouth in maps and plans.

Private deposits

Many collections of local records have been placed on deposit by private individuals. The most important are:

  • The diaries of William Youell, 1765-1815 (with gaps): very detailed diaries with a great deal of local information (see list Y/D 87)
  • Records of Grout and Company, silk manufacturers, c1819 to c1946 (see lists Y/D50, 86, 92 and BR 237)
  • Letters of Thomas Pengelly, a London merchant, to his agent in Great Yarmouth, 1656-74 (see lists Y/L 13; Y/PP 7, 19 and 27; BRA 529; MC 44, MC 265, MC 375, MC 388, MC 411, MC 484)
  • Records of Great Yarmouth Grammar School (Y/ED 163-268(a); D/ED 9)