Record Details

NHER Number:4302
Type of record:Building
Name:The Norfolk Pillar or Nelson's Monument


A memorial to Lord Nelson, erected in 1817. A figure of Britannia stands on top of a Doric column facing towards Nelson's birthplace. The monument has recently been restored.


  • No image caption available  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service


Grid Reference:TG 529 055
Map Sheet:TG50NW

Full description

Erected 1817, first of the Nelson columns.
Coade stone, hollow with stairs, an Ionic column by Wilkins. Top consists of ring of caryatids supporting roof on which figure of Britannia faces towards Nelson's birthplace (despite local legends). Used as a signal station until the 1970s.
Restoration work 1981 to 1982 revealed that the ring of caryatids had at some time been replaced in concrete; the figure of Britannia is original but had been split by lightning. The concrete had weathered badly. All to be replaced in fibre glass. Information from [1], 16 February 1982.

NOT scheduled according to Department of Environment although sheet issued as scheduled monument 108 (S8)! June 1953. Listed, Grade I. See (S1).
Caryatids were replaced 1896, information from the Department of Environment.
Originally had caretaker's cottage at base.
Figure of Britannia was not placed on top until 1819.
E. Rose (NAU)

For full details of 1981 to 1984 restoration, 19th century repairs etc see (S2).
E. Rose (NAU) 8 May 1985.

Head (now in Great Yarmouth Museum) bears date 1860 for repair.
E. Rose (NAU)

The local legend mentioned above, that the sculptor killed himself by jumping off the top of the tower when finding the statue facing the wrong way, is found attached to various other buildings in England, but here also received impetus from the fact that the borough surveyor Thomas Sutton died of a heart attack on top of the monument in 1819, see (S3).
E. Rose (NLA), 5 October 2002.

2005. Restoration works.
For details see original proposals (S3) and (S4), which includes photographs of the completed work.
S. Howard (HES), 26 October 2010.

The original caryatids from this monument have been found in the garden at Ketteringham Hall (NHER 9501). For further information see (S6) and correspondence and photographs in secondary file for NHER 9501.
A. Cattermole (NLA), 22 August 2006.

(S7) states that the caryatids were replaced in concrete in 1896 by J W “Concrete” Cockerill the borough architect.
E. Rose (NLA), 31 October 2006.

August 2009.
See (S8) for details of a Victorian photograph of the site.
H. White (NLA), 1 September 2009.

Article - 1997, 2006, missing from file [J. Yates, 18 November 2010].

Column is of the Doric order, not Ionic. 44m high
K. Hamilton (HES) 7 November 2011

Monument Types

  • COMMEMORATIVE MONUMENT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • HOUSE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1982. Nelson's Other Column. 10 February.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1981-1984. [Articles on the replacement of the Britannia figure standing at the top of Nelson's Monument].
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1995. TG5305/J.
---Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1999. TG 5305L - N; TG 5205X, Z.
---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TG 50 NW 55.
---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 524-525; Pl 94.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1997-2003. [Articles and letters to the editor regarding the raising of funds for the restoration of Nelson's Monument].
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2000. Spotlight on sculpture. 7 July.
---Publication: Norfolk Museums Service. 1985. Nelson's Monument, Great Yarmouth.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1980. [Article on Nelson's Monument celebrating Trafalgar Day]. 22 October.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2011. More highs and lows. 22 March.
---Article in Serial: Society of Antiquaries. 1953. Monuments and buildings in Great Yarmouth..
---Newspaper Article: Great Yarmouth Mercury. 2004. Landmark awaits its return to glory. 19 November.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2005. Nelson springclean carries on non-stop. 5 March.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2005. Restored landmark ready for big day. 14 October.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Post-Medieval. Yarmouth (Great).
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2006. Britannia's statues found. 5 May.
---Newspaper Article: Norwich Evening News. 2006. More cash needed to protect buildings. 11 July.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2007. Step up to scale the pillar of fitness. 24 January.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2006. [Articles on the completed restoration work of Nelson's Monument].
<S1>Designation: English Heritage. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1246057.
<S2>Article in Serial: 1985. [unknown]. Yarmouth Archaeology. Vol 2, no 2, p 36. p 36.
<S3>Article in Serial: 2002. [unknown]. Yarmouth Archaeology. p 38.
<S4>Unpublished Document: Purcell Miller Tritton. 2002. Nelson's Monument, Great Yarmouth: Proposals for Repairs. February.
<S5>Unpublished Report: Purcell Miller Tritton. 2006. Nelson Monument: RICS Awards 2006.
<S6>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2006. [unknown]. 5 May. pp 2-3.
<S7>Article in Serial: Allard, P.. 2006. J W Cockerill.. Yarmouth Archaeology. p 35. p 35 ff.
<S8>Designation: [unknown]. Ancient Monuments Form. SAM Record. DNF864.

Related records

MNO8089Related to: Nelson's Monument Monument Road GREAT YARMOUTH (Revoked)

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