I guess you, as a local lad ,would have found the info on my last photo of considerable interest. Wherabouts on Beach Road did you live Ron? My wife Carol and I Kept The Corner shop, 26 Beach Road, at the bottom of the White Lion steps, from 1959 until 1969. I have viewed an article by Kenny Applegate on your web site. Kenny , John & their father Steve were regular customers in our shop. My family moved from 9 Pier Road in 1934 to 23 Pavilion Road. Our family home until Carol and I purchased The shop. As you will probably be aware, this is now a private dwelling.

 Local Beachmen A 6-7-2000This picture was taken on The Little Beach in 1910, with the grand old Cliff Hotel in the background

Left to right Billy 'Pingo' Fleming .Coxswain of the Gorleston lifeboat . My great uncle John Bensley second Cox. George Burgess( Cousin to the Bensleys ) Later , Landlord of The Belle Vue Tavern, his son Wilfred took over the lease before the war until his death in 1960.

My Great uncle Arthur Edward Bensley, later drowned at sea, the Character in the smock is Sappy Chilvers.

My Grandfather, Edward Philip Newson Bensley, kneeling in front. Hope this comes out O.K. Ron.

P.S. Bit of a shock when I found my great Uncle Arthurs grave in Gorleston Cemetry. Its not every day you see your name on a Headstone !


Beachmen + Pier Hotel 2This is a neat one Ron.On the Little Beach with the Pier Hotel in background (note the local bobby top left .)

I am sorry to say I am sorry to say I cant name many of the beachmen, but as you will observe (Sappy ) Charlie Chilvers in the smock next to him Thomas (Tut) Gooch . Then Ellery Harris . The only other ones I know for sure are The Reverend Forbes Philipps, Vicar of Gorleston seated with cane Jack the woolly retriever with his master my Grandfather seated far right smoking his pipe.


Rev. Forbes Phillips 2.The man himself . I have been given to understand Forbes Philipps was well versed in local history and has written several books and articles on the subject .

Forbes Philipps was a close friend of my Grandfather Edward Bensley Circa 1922.


This photo taken around 1910 on the Little Beach Gorleston.Cliff Hotel 1910   2 This vessel was one of two owned by Edward Bensley. Their respective names were King Edward 7th & Queen Alexandra . They were used in the summer months to take holiday makers on sea trips.

Left to right, front row. Ellery Harris , Billy Fleming Junior ,Edward Bensley, George Burgess, William Newson , John Bensley . On the craft (Sappy , Charlie Chilvers , Billy Fleming senior. Not sure about the dog , you have a guess . Could be old Jack.

The old Cliff Hotel as a backdrop. Must have been a great loss to Gorleston when it burnt down Ron.



beachmen_gorlestonSo much going on, I just love this picture. The clouds, the body language, brilliant.

What about the hats Arthur.

The beachman seated far right nearest camera wearing bowler hat, is my Grandfather, Edward Bensley , he would have been 32 when this was taken. I am sorry to say I cannot name his old mates .


The Four Oared Boats and Overing

Over the years, Great Yarmouth has had its share of coal burning, paddle steam tugs .The smallest tug to work the busy port, was the paddle steamer, The Wards.She was sold in 1896 for 25 pounds sterling and broken up later in the same year. The Flying Childers was also plying her trade that year. Others like the Reaper and sister tug the Gleaner circa 1900 .Tom Perry and Edward VII circa 1910. On the bend of the river 1910 07-04-2001There were several others over the ensuing years between the wars .The larger cargo vessels when entering the port, always had the same problem, it was easy enough to head up the river Yare with assistance from the tugs. The only trouble being the river is not wide enough to swing a large cargo steamer in its higher reaches, to make it possible for each vessel to cross the bar to the open sea bow first! The only place it was possible was on the bend of the river, approximately 400 yards from the river mouth. This area was the location of the Storm and Rangers volunteer lifeboat companies.

The Beachmen belonging to these companies ran the Four Oared Boats. These strong heavy clinker built craft were launched down the slip opposite the Belle View Tavern and would place themselves under the stern of the cargo steamer, where a light rope would be thrown to them. They then rowed to the tug, where the light rope was made fast to a winch and the heavier rope from the cargo vessel was hauled aboard the tug. On completion the four oared boat made away, and one would assume the same procedure would take place on the bow. The vessel would then turn in the bend of the river to be towed stern first to its mooring. Another sideline for the beach men was Overing, this involved using their privately owned skiffs to ferry holiday makers across the river, from the slipways to the spending beach on the Yarmouth side. (This continued for a few years after the second world war and as Pier Headers us lads always went over for free! sixpence a time for holiday makers!)  I have included A shot of the good old boys with one waiting for a fare standing in his Skiff.Edward & John Bensley & the Four oared boat Note the rowing boats moored in the bend and the little lad in his sailor suit. Photo circa 1925. The second photo left to right .In their later years. My Grandfather. Edward Philip Newson Bensley  and his brother, my great uncle John Charles Read Bensley.  2nd Coxswain on the Elizabeth Simpson Lifeboat until his retirement in 1924, and the four oared boat of which they were both crew members. Sorry to say I canít name the other two Beachmen.

Arthur .E. Bensley                                                                                  




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