The Time and Tide Museum is the former Tower Fish Curing Works. Great Yarmouth’s origins and prosperity depended on herring fishing from the tenth century until the collapse of the industry in the mid-twentieth century, owing to over-fishing and a decline in the markets. In the 19th century, herring were smoked, cured or pickled for export, and the numbers of curing works expanded greatly. At the curing works, fish were washed, dry-salted and placed in steeps of brine pickle. The fish were then “rived”, or threaded, on sticks known as “speets”, which were placed on racks or “loves” in the smokehouse. The Tower Curing Works was built in 1880, at the peak of the town’s herring fishing trade and closed in 1987 after the decline and collapse of herring fishing. The works were acquired by Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust in 1988. A £5 million project restored the buildings and refurbished them as the Time and Tide Museum, a major cultural, educational and tourism resource for the town. The buildings are in red brick; the north front has groups of shuttered vents under the eaves and on the inside, the “loves” have remained in place. The red brick manager’s house also survives near the entrance.
In 2005 Time and Tide proved it was a museum of national significance when it became one of four finalists for the Gulbenkian Award - Museum of the Year. The following year the museum was a finalist in the Council of Europe’s Museum of the Year Award 2006.
The museum tells the story of Great Yarmouth and its herring industry and the lingering aroma of the smokehouse remains today.
* Heritage Lottery Fund awarded over £2.5 million, other funds came from East of England Development Agency, ERDF: Objective 2, Single Regeneration Budget, Great Yarmouth Borough Council and English Heritage