Great Yarmouth – St. Mary’s Catholic Church

I’ve walked by this church on Regent Road hundreds of times over the years, but never actually gone in it. The church opened in 1850 after three years of construction, replacing a small chapel which couldn’t cater for the growing congregation. At the time this was the only building on Regent Road and it now looks a little out of place with the mainly tourist orientated shops and restaurants that are on the street today.

The church was designed by Joseph John Scoles, who also designed St. Peter’s Church in the town. It was built for the Jesuits, although was taken over by the Diocese of East Anglia in the mid-twentieth century. When the church opened it had a congregation of over 800 people, showing why the previous building had been of an inadequate size.

The font is from the 1850s and was also designed by Scoles.

There are numerous of these painted artworks around the church and there are information sheets (well, pieces of paper stuck to the wall) which give information as to what they represent. The information sheets are though useful and give a little bit more context about the building’s history.

The impressive interior, which is relatively unchanged since the church was built, with some interesting roof decorations. There are over 800 carved roof bosses in the church and there are a few of the original mid-nineteenth century pews remaining in situ.

The pulpit was apparently designed by Pugin, although there seems some doubt on this, and it was installed under the supervision of George Myers.

The stained glass window, which I think is from the mid-nineteenth century.

The organ dates from the late nineteenth century and has 1,032 pipes.

I had wondered why there were numerous CCTV signs and warnings of alarms, but assumed it was a general security measure. Unfortunately though it now makes sense, as some yob tried to set the church on fire earlier on in 2018. Fortunately the damage wasn’t too severe and the idiot was caught and charged with committing hate crimes.

It’s a peaceful and quiet environment in the church, in contrast to the rather busy and noise shopping street outside. I can’t imagine this church when it was located on a little quiet road which led to the beach, but I’m pleased that it has survived intact.