Great Yarmouth – Tourist Information Centre (and Sailors’ Home)

This building isn’t of historic interest just because it’s a tourist information centre (although I’m sure it is a lovely little service for visitors to the town), but because it was the Sailors’ Home from 1861 until 1965. During the time which it was open it looked after over 11,000 shipwrecked sailors from 29 different countries. I’m sure that I remember this building being used as a Maritime Museum for a while in the 1980s.

There doesn’t seem to be any specific connection with this building and HMS Lutine, other than it sailed from Great Yarmouth in 1799. The boat was carrying today’s equivalent of £100 million of bullion and coin and it sank, which must have irritated its owners. Although not overly irritated them as they had the sense to insure it, so Lloyds of London paid out for the losses. Lloyds have since salvaged some of the gold, although much is still underwater, and they also got back the ship’s bell. This bell, the Lutine Bell, is now pride of place in the Head Office of Lloyds in London. Although it occurs to me that if I sent a salvage crew to collect my gold I’d rather they returned with that rather than the bloody ship’s bell.