Record Details

NHER Number:10549
Type of record:Monument
Name:Northgate Hospital, formerly Great Yarmouth Union Workhouse


A Victorian workhouse, built in 1838, is depicted on historic maps and several of its buildings are still in use. During World War Two it was fortified and its grounds may also have been used for military training. Slit trenches, weapons pits and air raid shelters of various types are visible as earthworks and structures on 1940s aerial photographs. Loopholes in the southern perimeter wall of the complex have been noted from observations on the ground. The site is now part of Northgate Hospital.

Images - none

Documents/files/web pages


Grid Reference:TG 5261 0871
Map Sheet:TG50NW

Full description

April 1977. Visit. Northgate Hospital or Great Yarmouth Union Workhouse.
Built 1838 as workhouse by John Browne. Still in Georgian style, but very little visible now amongst later additions.
E. Rose (NAU), 27 April 1977.

However the central detached block shown on the (S1) is identical to the plan of the workhouse shown on the (S2). A rectangular north to south block with two enclosed courtyards on a polygonal plan to east - indicating this is the original building.
E. Rose (NAU), 20 July 1987.

In south perimeter wall of hospital, blocked rectangular holes for machine gun post, opposite Belvedere Road.
See (S3) and (S4).
D. Gurney (NLA) October 1996.

July 2005. Norfolk NMP.
NMP mapping has led to the alteration of the central grid reference of the site from TG 5267 0870 to TG 5259 0871.

World War Two defences and evidence of probable military training activity are visible as earthworks and structures on aerial photographs taken during and immediately after the war (S5), (S6), (S7), (S8), (S9) and (S10). They are located within the grounds of the workhouse, which can be seen largely as depicted on (S11). They seem to be confined to the workhouse site; signs of activity visible to the east, at what is marked on the same map as a hospital for infectious diseases, is as likely to be associated with the medical use of the hospital as with military activity. Most of the mapped features seem to relate to military training or to protection from aerial attack, but some of the defences may have been constructed to serve a strategic purpose in the event of an invasion. No trace of the World War Two features is visible on more recent aerial photographs (S12) but, as described above, some elements still survive.

The site is first visible (albeit only the east side) on aerial photographs taken in 1941 (S5). The clearest military feature is a zigzag slit trench at TG 5263 0863; this has not been mapped as it is overlain by a later spoilheap or earth covered air raid shelter (see below). A number of the other military features may have originated by this date but are more clearly visible on later aerial photographs.

By 1944 to 1945 the remaining elements relating to the military use of the site are visible (S6), (S7), (S8), (S() and (S10). In the southwest and northwest quadrants of the complex, long lengths of slit trenches, possibly excavated as practice trenches, are visible. These follow a rather irregular zigzag pattern. Various shorter lengths of trench are also visible. In the southwest quadrant there is also a large, earth covered semi sunken air raid shelter (at TG 5249 0867), a possible L shaped open trench shelter (at TG 5252 0867), a possible weapons pit (at TG 5247 0868) and a probable gun emplacement (at TG 5247 0861). In the northwest quadrant are a number of pits (probably weapons pits, e.g. at TG 5254 0875) and a rectangular base, probably for a structure, which may have had a military use (at TG 5250 0881).

In the northeast quadrant, further lengths of zigzag slit trenches are evident; these were almost certainly excavated as part of a military training exercise as their close spacing would be a strategic disadvantage. Various pits (again probably weapons pits) can also be seen; these are particularly concentrated at TG 5268 0875 and TG 5268 0873, where they are defined by extent of area. To the south, a large, roughly rectangular mound of soil (at TG 5264 0863) may cover an air raid shelter or may have derived from the excavation of one elsewhere. A cluster of smaller mounds, structures and a revetted trench to its southeast may represent further air raid shelters.

Along the southern perimeter of the site is a line of short trenches and a weapons pit. Some of these defences might be associated with the loopholes recorded in the southern perimeter wall, which are located in a strategic position opposite Belvedere Road (S3) and (S4). There may also be some small structures in this area, but these were not clear enough to identify with any certainty and consequently were not mapped.
S. Tremlett (NMP), 19 July 2005.

Monument Types

  • HOSPITAL (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WORKHOUSE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • AIR RAID SHELTER (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • GUN EMPLACEMENT (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • LOOPHOLED WALL (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • MILITARY BUILDING? (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • MILITARY TRAINING SITE (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • PIT (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • PRACTICE TRENCH (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • SLIT TRENCH (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • STRUCTURE (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • TRENCH (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • WEAPONS PIT (World War Two - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N. and Wilson, B. 1997. Norfolk 1: Norwich and North-East. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. p 506.
---Website: Higginbotham, P.. 2005. Yarmouth Poor Law Union and Workhouse.
---Newspaper Article: Yarmouth Mercury. 2005. Call for museum in £10m project. 26 August.
---Photograph: Photographs of Former Northgate Hospital, Great Yarmouth. Black & white.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Map: Ordnance Survey. 1:2500.
<S2>Map: 1842. Great Yarmouth.
<S3>Recording Form: [various]. Norfolk Defensive Structures Survey Recording Form. Norfolk Defensive Structures Survey.
<S4>Photograph: Kent, P.. 1996. Machine Gun Site, Great Yarmouth Workhouse..
<S5>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1941. RAF 268F/BR172 (VA) 26-7 10-FEB-1941 (NMR).
<S6>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1944. RAF HLA/698 3052-4 08-APR-1944 (NMR).
<S7>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1944. RAF HLA/698 4053-5 08-APR-1944 (NMR).
<S8>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1944. RAF 106G/LA/21 3006-7 04-JUL-1944 (NMR).
<S9>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1945. RAF 106G/UK/726 5272-3 26-AUG-1945 (NMR).
<S10>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1945. RAF 106G/UK/726 5156-7 26-AUG-1945 (NMR).
<S11>Map: Ordnance Survey. 1902-7. Ordnance Survey second edition 25" (1902-7) Sheet LXVI. 15.
<S12>Oblique Aerial Photograph: English Heritage. 1993. NMR TG 5208/15-20 (NMR 4824/31-6) 07-JUN-1993.

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