The Great Yarmouth Suspension Bridge Disaster of 1845


By Gareth Davies, published 14th November 2016

Cataclysmic disasters

Many communities have cataclysmic disasters which tend to dominate or define their local history. Gareth Davies reveals that the sudden collapse of the Great Yarmouth Suspension Bridge is a telling example of this trend.

Beside the waters of the River Bure in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk stands a shiny black memorial erected by the townspeople on 28 September 2013. This memorial commemorates those who lost their lives  around 170 years ago in one of the most bizarre and tragic disasters this country has ever known. The memorial is the culmination of an individual’s mission  both to honour those who died, and provide a permanent reminder of this incident in the history of the town. Julie Staff, who runs a deckchair business on  Great Yarmouth beach, became aware of the story in May 2011 and decided to raise money for the memorial. 'I didn’t want to raise money from grants and funds like the Lottery, I wanted it to be raised by the people, so I took my campaign to the beach. Locals and holiday-makers alike got a deckchair and a history lesson!' What was this story that had so fired her passion?

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