History Brought Alive

Great Yarmouth Historical Group

About Us

We are the Great Yarmouth Historical Group and we present talks and demonstrations to organisations in the Great Yarmouth area. There are three of us in the group and you will find a brief summary about us below.

Make a Booking

Maurice Joel
Tel: 01493 659876

Email - mvwjoel@gmail.com



Hello, I am Maurice Joel and I have a passion for history, local history in particular.

Over the years I have built up a library of illustrated talks which I deliver to Probus, Local History Societies, WI and various Ladies Clubs.

My 'notes' are locked away in my head which allows me to concentrate on making these one hour talks, as interesting and informative as possible. I am always popular owing to my humorous and exuberant style.


Hello, I am Dee Riley and I have a passion for making Bobbin Lace. I have been an ardent 'Lacer' since I joined the Ormesby Lace Group in 2008. I enjoy making all types of lace from Bucks Point to Torchon.

I regularly attend the Gorleston Cliff Top Gala and the Great Yarmouth Maritime Festival to demonstrate lace making along with other members of the Ormesby Lace Group.

Watch out for me demonstrating lace at a venue near you.


Hello, I am Fred Riley and I have a passion for creating websites and presentations for the talks the group presents.

I am working on a few talks of my own which should be finished by the new year. Since I have never presented talks of this nature I don't know what style my talks will take. No doubt time will tell.

So watch this space.

Memories Part 1

Memories Part 1

Covering from 1800's - with Adverts, Suffragettes, First World War through to 1939, just prior to the outbreak of World War Two

Memories Part 2

Memories Part 2

Takes you through World War Two and up to the end of rationing and the early fifties.

Memories Part 3

Memories Part 3

These memories concentrate on the entertainment business both local and national, featuring Maurice Joel the musician.

Memories Part 4

Memories Part 4

This Talk charts Maurice's stay with the U.S. Coastguard and his trip to the American Civil War Battlefields including the Pocahontas story

RAF Marine Branch

RAF Marine Branch

The Marine Branch(1918-1986) was a branch of the Royal Air Force which operated watercraft in support of RAF operations.

Livebait Squadron

Livebait Squadron

The 7th Cruiser Squadron was used to blockade the English Channel to German maritime traffic during WW1. This is their story

Landguard Fort

Languard Fort

Landguard Fort stands on the northern bank of the river Orwell near Felixstowe. It was built to protect Harwich Harbour and provide a safe haven to shipping on the East Coast.

Maurice will enlighten you about the Fort in his own inimitable style.

East Anglian Floods
Part 1 (1953)

East Anglian Floods Part 1

The 1953 floods extended from Maplethorpe in Lincolnshire to Canvey Island in Essex and saw 307 people lose their lives.

East Anglian Floods Part 2 (Post 1953)

East Anglian Floods Part 2

East Anglian Floods post-1953 up to the present time. The East coast will always be in danger of flooding because of the sea level and erosion problems.

Gt Yarmouth Rows
Part 1

Rows Part 1

The History of these ancient passageways goes back over 800 years. Maurice explains why such an unsual street layout was necessary in Great Yarmouth.

Gt Yarmouth Rows Part 2

Rows Part 2

An important part of the history of Great Yarmouth was largely destroyed by the Luftwaffe in the Second World War.

What it must have been like living in the rows is still evident as many of the alleyways still exist, but not the buildings, alas.

East Anglian School

East Anglian School

This school for Deaf and Blind Children was opened in 1912 and closed 73 years later in 1985.

This story is told with feeling as Maurice has a personal connection with the school and is in contact with many former teachers and pupils.

Ancient Yarmouth
Part 1

Ancient Yarmouth Part 1

Great Yarmouth was originally settled on what was little more than a sand spit.

This talk concentrates on the earliest periods of Great Yarmouth's History up to the 18th century.

Ancient Yarmouth
Part 2

Ancient Yarmouth Part 2

Great Yarmouth in the 19th century is the subject of this talk.

Great Yarmouth was always a fishing port but when the "Silver Darlings" harvest boomed it became the key to the town's prosperity.

Gt Yarmouth Town Wall

Town Wall

A Charter from Henry III, in 1248, gave permission for the town to be enclosed by a wall of 20 towers and 10 gates. Unbelievably, after 800 years most of the wall is still intact. Many visitors come to Great Yarmouth and are totally unaware of the wall.

Norfolk Broads Part 1

Norfolk Broads Part 1

The Broads were the results of the Danes and Saxons digging for peat for fuel in medieval times.

Today we exclusively associate the Broads with tourism and leisure but this has not always been the case. As the Broads story unfolds in a series of three talks you will be surprised at some of the uses the Broads have been put to.

Norfolk Broads Part 2

Norfolk Broads Part 2

Tourism and the Broads.

The story of the rise of the Norfolk Broads as a holiday destination. What could be better than mucking about on boats, mooring at a pub on a balmy summer's evening. Bliss.

Norfolk Broads South

Norfolk Broads Part 3

We have all heard of the Norfolk Broads. What about the rivers large and small that are an integral part of the Broads system. This lively talk by Maurice Joel sheds light on an important part of the Broads system frequently neglected.

Malta at War

Malta at War

The story of the Siege of Malta (1940-1943) is the tale of how one of the smallest Mediterranean nations withstood the might of the most formidable fighting machines of the mid 20th century and triumphed.

It is an eye opener as they had to valiantly "take it" for three years.

Malta's 100 Ton Gun

Malta's 100 Ton Gun

In the Mediterranean few islands have such a strategic importance as Malta. Located in the sea lanes between Sicily and the North African coast it cannot be ignored hence its many occupations.

The British installed this largest of guns as they fully appreciated the significance of Malta's location.

Malta Buses

Malta Buses

Prior to 3 July 2011 the Iconic Malta bus was used for public transport and as a major tourist attraction. Their unique appearance was a hit with all who travelled on them.

When Arriva took over the running of the bus network on 3 July 2011 it was a black day for Malta as the island's transport system was to change forever.

Local Fire Brigades
Part 1

Local Fire Brigades Part 1

This talk traces the early story of local Fire Services, including a unique glimpse into the artifacts held at Norwich Union's HQ.

This is proving to be one of Maurice's most popular talks.

Local Fire Brigades
Part 2

Local Fire Brigades Part 2

This talk gives an insight into some of the local village brigades. The 1953 Floods and Stalham Fire Brigades heorics are highlighted. The section on the Auxillary Fire Services and its iconic workhorse the Green Goddess will reveal many interesting facts to you.

The Story Of Fire Marks

Fire Marks

To enable insurance companies to identify properties which they insured, metal plates or fire marks were struck and issued with the policies.

Fire marks were used overseas for a time and it is not uncommon for them to be found in America, Australia and Europe.

Tales of Christmas Past

Maurice's Story of Christmas

This story of Christmas starts in Queen Victoria's reign. It tells of many of the traditions that we still hold dear in the festive season.

Tinsel, Mistletoe and Holly are much in evidence. Who knows there may even be a reference to a child born in Bethlehem 2000 years ago.

The Colditz Story

The Colditz Story

You have seen the film. You have seen the TV series. But you "aint seen nothing" until you hear and see Maurice Joel describe Colditz as it really was.

This is a gripping yarn of irrepressible personalities who risked being put against a wall and shot for their antics.

Battle of Britain Memorial Flight

Battle of Britain Memorial Flight

The Story of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight which is based at RAF Coningsby Linconshire.

The Lancaster Bomber

Lancaster Bomber

This is really the story of Roy Chadwick the designer of the Lancaster Bomber.

Read how Chadwick started his working life at AVRO before the First World War. He soon rose to become AVRO's Chief Aircraft Designer which culminated in his greatest creation ... The Lancaster Bomber.

It was not all plain sailing designing and testing aircraft with death tugging at your sleeve.

The Dambusters Raid

The Dambusters Raid

Great events in history are often as a result of chance, such was Operation Chastise - "The Dambuster Raid".

Three characters, Roy Chadwick, Barnes Wallace and Guy Gibson were the key men who made this raid a possibility and as we now know, a resounding success.



This was one of the greatest organisational triumphs of the Second World War. Millions of British children were transported from war threatened towns and cities to the safety of the countryside.

This happened over one weekend. Could it happen today .... most definitely not.

Great War
Stow Marie Aerodrome

Europe's largest surviving WWI aerodrome

Commissioned in September 1916 this aerodrome was used in the defence of London against Zeppelin and aeroplane raids.

You will hear, with gusto, the history of the largest surviving WWI aerodrome in europe boasting many of it's original buildings.

A "Not To Be Missed" story.

Great War Revisited

Battle Field Memorials

The battles of the WWI are well documented. Such was the carnage and suffering that all citizens of the participating nations could not fail to be affected. Monuments to the dead were built to remind the living of the true horror of this war.

Maurice tells this story with all due humility.

Great War
Trench Railways

Trench Railways

This is a feature of the Great War you will doubtless know very little about told in Maurice's own inimitable style.

We all know of the carnage and waste that characterised this War; But how did the men get to the front? How were all their daily needs from shaving soap to bullets satisfied?

This talk will enlighten you.

Tunnellers War

Tunnellers War

Laying mines was carried out by both sides during the whole of the First World War.

Many of the tunneller's on the British side came from New Zealand. They were known as the Bantams as they were of small stature which of course was ideal for a tunneller.


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