Great Yarmouth History

Civic Buildings - Town Hall

The Borough Coat of Arms

The coat of arms are three herring heads with the rear part of the "Three Lions" from the Royal Arms. Originally three herrings made up the coat of arms and first appeared in the late 13th century. The "Three Lions" were allowed to be incorporated by Edward III in gratitude to the town's contribution in ships, for the Battle of Sluys in 1340.

Council Chamber

This is the debating chamber for the full Council which is made up of 39 elected members. There is a public gallery above the chamber.

Mayor's Parlour

This room is used by the Mayor for official visits. Some years ago a W.C. was installed in the Parlour apparently for a visit by the late Princess Margaret. It would be indelicate to say whther it was used. There is a step between the Parlour and the Assmbly Room which is evidence of the subsidence when the building began to sink shortly after it was built.

Assembly Room

This is the grandest room in the Town Hall. This room was used for the official opening of the building in 1882 which was attended by the Prince of Wales. High in the ceiling at either end of the room is an image of the Town Hall's architect J.B. Pearce.

Supper Room

Nowadays, this room is used mainly for committee meetings with a public seating area at the back. It was previously used for banquets.


The marble tablets lining the walls of the foyer record names of borough bailiffs from 1269 to 1683 and the borough mayors from 1684 to the present day. The Great Sword dates from around 1680 and is identical to the Sword of State for the city of London. The Great Sword is carried, blade up, in front of the Mayor during ceremonial duties and is reversed when entering church to make a cross. The blade of the Great Sword is only unsheathed in times of war. The Great Maces were bought in 1690 when two bailiffs were appointed and the Office of Mayor was abolished. In 1702 Queen Anne reinstated the Office of Mayor.