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Our story

Discover how we created a gallery for the 21st century in a 17th century merchant’s house at the heart of Great Yarmouth’s historic South Quay.

Our vision

The Yare Gallery located on the historic South Quay in Great Yarmouth is a new, free to enter art gallery for the town. This beautiful, light-filled and atmospheric three floor Grade II listed building now begins a new chapter under the direction of Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust as a setting for innovative and remarkable local and international art, with a changing programme of six exhibitions a year.  

 

We are committed to promoting equality and improving accessibility to art and culture to everybody. The Yare Gallery will offer inspiring and exciting cultural activity in Great Yarmouth and work with children, young people and community groups, to develop positive, supportive and sustainable relationships, welcoming both local people and visitors from further afield.

Our origins

26 South Quay is a Grade II listed building with an illustrious history. 


Built in the 17th century, this handsome merchant’s house was once home to Sir George England, who steered Great Yarmouth through the Parliamentary and Royalist periods of the Civil War. England was chairman of the committee which welcomed King Charles II to Yarmouth in 1671.


In the early 18th century, in common with most of the South Quay merchant houses, the building was stripped of its Tudor features and given its present Georgian façade. This is the appearance that Admiral Horatio Nelson would have known. Great Yarmouth was then a bustling port, a hive of commerce, and Nelson’s fleet often assembled and returned here.


In more recent history, the building has seen diverse use – including as a police station and the Norfolk Nelson Museum. In common with many of Great Yarmouth’s other historic buildings, it also suffered bomb damage in the Second World War.


The Yare Gallery was conceived when the building became vacant in 2019. Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust had already established an art gallery in the town centre – Skippings – which has been showcasing established and emerging artists from the region since 2014. 


The potential for 26 South Quay to become a centre of artistic excellence in the region was too good to pass up and, thanks to generous funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the government’s Culture Recovery Fund, we were able to make our vision a reality in 2021.