Record Details

NHER Number:12030
Type of record:Monument
Name:Site of Southtown Arsenal


Built in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars, this arsenal had enough stores to equip two ships of the line, four frigates and six sloops. The complex of buildings became disused after the end of the war, and were leased out for civilian storage purposes before being converted to a militia barracks. They were eventually sold to Colman's, the food manufacturers, in 1891 when many alterations were carried out. The arsenal buildings were partly demolished and partly destroyed by World War Two bombing. The remaining structures, including the armoury and barrack block, are in civilian use or abandoned. An 18th century cannon was unearthed in 1982, and is now in the market place.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TG 5232 0682
Map Sheet:TG50NW

Full description

Southtown Arsenal.

This arsenal was built in 1806 and designed by Wyatt. It cost £15,000 to construct, had a stone wharf and contained sufficient stores to equip two sail of the line, four frigates and six sloops.
Disused in 1826 according to (S1).
The buildings were later converted to barracks which were still in use in 1880.
Altered 1893 when the site was acquired by Colmans.
Part demolished and much altered. Central block formerly Swift's Abattoir. North range engineering works.
Entrance blocks 244 and 245 Southtown Road.
Cannon excavated 1982. Now restored and in Yarmouth Market Place, see newspaper articles (S2).
See file notes (S3) and photographs (S4).
E. Rose (NAU), 3 October 1985.

October 1997. Building Survey.
Site examined by Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England.
When peace was restored in 1815 the Ordnance Store became surplus to the Navy's requirements and some of the buildings were leased for civilian uses.
At the outbreak of the Crimean War (1853-6) the Store was used as a barracks for the 2nd Battalion of the East Norfolk Regiment and various other militia regiments, and two new barrack blocks were built, of which only the north (NHER 55959) survives.
The site was purchased by Colmans, the food manufacturers, in 1891. It is unclear what they used the site for, but grain storage seems probable. A number of new buildings were erected at this time, but none survives.
Information from report (S5).
Demolished buildings on this site include two parallel ranges of Storehouses which ran from the east side of the Arsenal to the riverside. They were built to a common plan: each Storehouse was a single-storey building of 15 bays divided into stores of 5 bays. The rear walls of these stores formed the perimeter wall of the site.
Adjacent to the Armoury (NHER 55960) was a Magazine which appears to have been built to an adapted version of the standard Board of Ordnance magazine plan, but was half the length (35 feet as opposed to 64 feet) noted on the standard plan, and intended to hold less than half the amount of powder. A cooperage was included within the magazine compound. Other buildings which no longer remain include the Officers' Quarters, Stable, Chaise House and Fire Engine House, all of which occupied a single-storeyed building on the south site of the site, west of the armoury.
See also Ordnance Survey documents (S6), (S7) and (S8), cited in (S5).
A. Cattermole (HES), 11 August 2011.

A number of the extant buildings associated with the arsenal were listed Grade II in 1974. These buildings (all now recorded separately) are as follows:
- 244 Southtown Road. Former officers' quarters (NHER 55958).
- 244a Southtown Road. Former ancillary buildings (NHER 55959).
- 244b Southtown Road. Former armoury (NHER 55960).
- 245 Southtown Road. Former officers' quarters (NHER 55961).
- Utility Block east of 244a Southtown Road. Former ancillary building (NHER 55962).
- Workshop range east of 244a Southtown Road. Former outbuildings constructed for barrack use (NHER 55963).
P. Watkins (HES), 14 March 2022.

Monument Types

  • ARSENAL (19th Century - 1806 AD to 1815 AD)
  • COOPERAGE (19th Century to Unknown - 1806 AD)
  • FIRE ENGINE HOUSE (19th Century to Unknown - 1806 AD)
  • MAGAZINE (19th Century to Unknown - 1806 AD)
  • OFFICERS QUARTERS (19th Century - 1806 AD to 1831 AD?)
  • STABLE (19th Century to Unknown - 1806 AD)
  • STOREHOUSE (19th Century to Early 20th Century - 1806 AD to 1928 AD?)
  • BARRACKS (19th Century - 1850 AD to 1890 AD)
  • GRAIN WAREHOUSE? (19th Century to Unknown - 1891 AD)

Associated Finds

  • CANNON (19th Century - 1806 AD? to 1900 AD)

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. pp 480-481.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Serial: 1826. Excursions Through Norfolk Supplement.
<S2>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1982. [Articles on the finding of a cannon].
<S3>Collection: Norfolk Historic Environment Record Staff. 1975-[2000]. HER Record Notes. Norfolk Historic Environment Service.
<S4>Photograph: CUW 18-24.
<S5>Unpublished Contractor Report: Williams, A. 1999. The Royal Ordnance Store, Southtown Road, Southtown and Gorleston, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England.
<S6>Documentary Source: Ordnance Survey. 1810. Return showing the Whole Extent of the Ordnance Lands at Great Yarmouth.
<S7>Documentary Source: Ordnance Survey. 1831. Return showing the Whole Extent of the Ordnance Lands at Great Yarmouth.
<S8>Documentary Source: Ordnance Survey. 1851. Return showing the Whole Extent of the Ordnance Lands at Great Yarmouth.

Related records

55958Parent of: 244 Southtown Road, Gorleston (Building)
55959Parent of: 244a Southtown Road, Gorleston (Building)
55960Parent of: 244b Southtown Road, Gorleston (Building)
55961Parent of: 245 Southtown Road, Gorleston (Building)
55962Parent of: Utility Block east of 244A Southtown Road, Gorleston (Building)
55963Parent of: Workshop range east of 244A Southtown Road (Building)
MNO6492Related to: 244a Southtown Road SOUTHTOWN AND GORLESTON (Revoked)
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