Most of what I am about to tell you is readily available to us all.
Whilst referring to the Anchor and Hope Public House. I mentioned the fact that my family had told me of a possible tunnel from the pub to the river. It is however a fact that in the written history of Gorleston. A tunnel is supposed to have existed from the Feathers Inn to the river in the 1700ís. (It is worth mentioning here, that, the Gorleston Pound, stood on the site immediately opposite the Feathers Inn on Feathers Plain. Also markets and fairs were held here around this period.).
Another tunnel was purported to run from the old Priory at the top of the High St. to the river. I imagine it would have passed beneath or very close to the (Earl Grey.) This was a public house now long gone, where my grandfather George Denton was landlord in the early to mid.1930ís. I can remember visiting my grandparents there as a small child. The grounds behind the pub stretched down to Riverside Road. (I have often thought Ron, that as the monks at the Gorleston Priory during the Middle Ages, were renowned for their beautifully illuminated scrolls and manuscripts. One can imagine, that if even a small section of the tunnel still existed, and if just one illuminated manuscript were found, it would be worth a small fortune today!) This may appear to be a stretch of the imagination, but stranger things have happened.
Whilst living in Nelson .New Zealand we had a gentleman and his wife staying with us who were on a paid lecture tour of the Southern hemisphere. Sir Paul and Lady B.Told Carol and I, that they owned a large property in Derbyshire which was on the market and had placed an advert in the Times newspaper. A wealthy would be purchaser flew in from NewYork. and stayed at their home overnight. He told them that he owned an estate in Spain, and whilst carrying out alterations, an internal wall was removed behind which, a cache of very rare old manuscripts were found. These went for auction in the United States and fetched enough money to pay for the cost of his whole estate in Spain!
Whilst on the subject of tunnels, during 1955-56. I was helping to construct the floodwalls, which stretched from the harbour mouth to the old Breydon Bridge, on the Gorleston side of the river. Whilst working on the Cobholm Island section, my mate and I noticed a structure close to the river, with a hatch which was unlocked. During our smoko, or lunch break, we climbed down inside and found on descending, we were in a tunnel that appeared to be going under the river. We waited until the following day, and armed with torches, we made our way under the river .It was a fairly big tunnel and carried several pipes supplying services across the river. There was also evidence of rats. Our sole purpose was to climb up the other side, and cross into the market for some chips! Unfortunately, on climbing up to the surface on the other side, we found the access locked and bolted. It was really eerie on the way back, as a coaster was making its way up river to Norwich and the sound of her propeller and engine became almost deafening as it passed overhead. So! No chips, but a unique experience for all that.
by Lorraine Davidson nee BELL
As to the story from Arthur I to have been under the tunnel that goes from Yarmouth side to Cobholm twice, in fact it was many years ago when I was thirteen. (I am now thirty nine.)
A group of us Cobholm kids were returning from a day in town , when we were playing in a yard where we were not supposed to be, and noticing an angled sided wooden structure, we began to have a look and finding a lock broken we all began to climb down not realizing the danger of this into the dark tunnel. While walking across we heard a boat above travelling up the river, we walked along a narrow plank with pipes on either side. When we got across to the Cobholm side we began to climb up, but the stairs ended at the top and we had to climb round the outside of the tunnel by clinging on to holes in the sides with our fingers, we all made it out, but if one of us had slipped we would have fallen to our death.
We later returned to the tunnel with torches and went through the tunnel again, so, we too can be included into the few people who have been under the river tunnel and even today not many people know the tunnel exists.