File MC 2267/1, 963X3 - Great Yarmouth Port and Haven Commission papers

Identity area

Reference code

MC 2267/1, 963X3


Great Yarmouth Port and Haven Commission papers


  • 1895-1898 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

1 folder

Context area

Name of creator


Administrative history

The Port and Haven Commissioners were established in 1670 by a Local Act of Parliament providing for the repair and maintenance of Yarmouth Haven and Pier by means of special dues levied on incoming goods. Eight Commissioners were appointed in a supervisory capacity under this Act, two each representing the towns of Yarmouth and Norwich and the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. The original Act had a life of ten years only, but the Commissioners' powers were periodically renewed by a series of Acts of limited duration till 1835. Before 1835 executive power was largely in the hands of the constituent authorities, the Town Clerk of Yarmouth acting as the Commissioners' Clerk and the Borough Chamberlains as financial officers. The Commissioners were given a more positive role by the Haven Act of 1749, and their minutes begin in 1750. By Acts of 1721 and later their responsibility for the navigable rivers flowing into Yarmouth Haven was acknowledged and their funds were apportioned between the Rivers Yare, Bure and Waveney and the Haven, the Commissioners from each of the constituent authorities being made responsible for expenditure on the waters within their jurisdiction. The Waveney between Beccles and Bungay was covered by a Private Act and therefore excluded from this arrangement. The Haven Act of 1771 stipulated that surpluses in the Suffolk quota might be applied elsewhere, and the Commissioners' minutes show that thereafter, till 1835, money was allotted for a variety of purposes but mainly for public works authorised by the Suffolk Justices. In 1835 the Commissioners were placed on a permanent footing, their organisation was separated from that of Yarmouth Corporation and they were empowered to appoint their own officers and executive committees, a Standing Committee (see Y/PH 35-49 in list) and a Committee of Survey (see Y/PH 80-95) being especially mentioned in the Act. By the Acts of 1835 and 1866 elected representatives were added to their number and the local port dues formerly collected by Yarmouth Corporation were transferred to them. Under an Act of 1911 they acquired control of the Corporation's Fishwharf.
Further Acts of Parliament and legislation dealt with the specific requirements of the Port, namely the Pier and Harbour Orders Act, 1922, Great Yarmouth Port and Haven Order, 1924, Great Yarmouth Haven Bridge Act 1925, Great Yarmouth Port and Haven Act 1948, Pier and Harbour Order (Great Yarmouth) Confirmation Act 1950 and Great Yarmouth Port and Haven Act 1951 which increased the number of commissioners to twenty. The North Pier was reconstructed in 1956. A repair programme was completed in 1963 which included work on the North Pier, East Quay, Haven Bridge, Skeleton Works, Brush Quay and the South Pier. New cranes were purchased on long leases the following year which had a lifting capacity of 3.5 tons. They were known colloquially as the Lord cranes after the Law Lords of the time were associated with the port industry. In 1965 a new tug was launched, named Hector Read, it replaced the Richard Lee Barber, who had replaced the George Jewson. The Commissioners' tug was traditionally called after the Port Clerk. When Trinity House ceased to be responsible for pilots around the coast after several centuries, the local operation passed to the Commissioners, who became Pilotage Authority for the port. In 1978 the Broads Authority was established and was further established with the Norfolk and Suffolk Roads Act 1988. This saw the Commissioners' historic river navigation being passed to the new authority. Inland navigation was redefined to encompass Breydon Water, a stretch of river below Burgh Castle, stretch of the River Bure within the town of Great Yarmouth, and the commercial harbour of Great Yarmouth between Breydon Bridge and the harbour entrance.
The Great Yarmouth Port and Haven (Constitution) Revision Order 1984 reduced the numbers of Commissioners to fourteen and that further legislation was effected by Great Yarmouth Outer Harbour Act 1986 which provided powers to expand the port into an Outer Harbour into the North Sea adjacent to the existing port. Great Yarmouth Harbour Revision Order 1989 changed the name of the authority from the Great Yarmouth Port and Haven Commissioners to Great Yarmouth Port Authority and replaced the Commissioners with eleven Members of the Board consisting of the Chief Executive and ten others, two appointed from Great Yarmouth Borough Council, one appointed from Norfolk County Council, two appointed by General Council of British Shipping, subsequently the Chamber of Shipping, one appointed by the Royal Yachting Association after consultation with the Broads Hire Boat Federation and one appointed by Transport and General Workers' Union.
In 2003 the port of Great Yarmouth ceased to provide its own towage services and sold the tug Hector Read to a private individual. Felixarc Marine Services Ltd provided towage services at the port under a three-year contract. On the 24th May 2007, International Port Holdings (IPH) announced it had entered into agreements through which it will invest in and operate Great Yarmouth Port. Through the agreements with the Great Yarmouth Port Authority, the existing port business was transferred to an IPH subsidiary, Great Yarmouth Port Company Limited ("GYPC"). GYPC will construct a new outer harbour at Great Yarmouth which will provide enhanced port facilities to cater for larger vessels and a wider range of trades creating Britain's newest container/RoRo hub. To reflect this major investment to provide a modern multipurpose port, it is now operating under the title of EastPort UK. GYPC will carry out most of the Port Authority's statutory functions on its behalf. The only exception is the special pilotage function which operates under separate legislation and which will remain with the Port Authority until new legislation is in place.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Bill for enlarging the powers of the Commissioners for the Port and Haven of Yarmouth, 1898, endorsed with Russell J. Colman's name, and related papers, including letter to Russell J. Colman from J. Tolver Waters, clerk to the Great Yarmouth Port and Haven Commissioners, concerning draft Bill, 1 December 1897, list of annual totals of tolls collected on River Yare, 1871-97, Report by Coode, Son and Matthews on Yarmouth Haven, with two drawings (printed), 1896, printed accounts of Commissioners 1897-8

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier


Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used



Dates of creation revision deletion

Created 27/01/2012 by Drosm. Modified 30/09/2019 by Catherine.Collins.


Accession area

Related subjects

Related genres

Related places