Out There Arts National centre for outdoor arts and circus

An Arts and Heritage Hub

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About The Ice House

A Grade II listed building of brick construction with a thatched roof the Great Yarmouth Ice House, once one of a pair, is now the only one of its kind left in the country. We have a vision to transform it into a National Centre for Outdoor Arts and Circus.

The building will be repurposed into an arts and circus training hub, with opportunities for performances and a bar. A Grade II listed building and reminder of Great Yarmouth’s once-thriving fishing industry, this imaginative and creative use of the building will further develop the town’s reputation as the capital of circus in the UK as well as further link the town’s fishing and circus heritage.

Completing the development of The Ice House as a National Centre for Outdoor Arts and Circus will be a very significant and valuable step towards the realisation of a vision for Great Yarmouth being recognised as the UK Capital for Circus and Outdoor Arts with support from the Architectural Heritage Fund and the National Lottery Heritage Fund,. With the recent awards in funding, the project can begin its development and more investment will be raised to expand and realise the project in full over the next few years.

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A person trying the circus walking globe outside the ice house during an open day event

The History

The historic building, located at the Southtown end of Haven bridge, built between 1851 and 1892 was originally a key asset in the town’s fishing industry.

In the mid 19th century the landmark Ice House was at the forefront of an industrial revolution that would see the town’s fortunes soar. It was built at the same time as Southtown railway station, meaning freshly caught fish could be packed using the ice stored in the building and transported to London’s Billingsgate fish market, reaching a whole new consumer base. With a capacity for over 42,500 cubic metres, packed ice could stay frozen for months ensuring a steady supply of fresh herring to the capital and beyond. However, advances in modern technologies saw it overtaken and overlooked, serving for a time as a grain store for JH Bunn who also renovated it in 1980.

A historic image of the Great Yarmouth quay featuring The Ice House

Watch the Documentary

The full documentary on The Ice House – a historic Grade II listed building located on Great Yarmouth, Norfolk’s historic quay. The Ice House redevelopment project seeks to develop the building into a national centre for outdoor arts and circus with plans to open in 2025. Supported by National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Your Ideas on The Ice House

In February and March 2023, we hosted a series of 3 Open Space Events to gauge public opinion on what The Ice House could mean for communities in Great Yarmouth and the wider region.

These were run using the open space method which is an inclusive, democratic meeting method where participants set the agenda. Participants began the events sat in a circle and were encouraged to enter the circle and share with the group any ideas they had in relation to the question being asked. The day was then split into three sessions where people discussed the ideas that were put forward, the notes from which are submitted throughout the day.

The discussions from all three events have been collated and lightly edited into a book. Which you can download below.

The Ice House Open Weekend

15th - 16th April 2023

The Ice House Open Weekend was a celebration of community input into the future of heritage celebrations surrounding The Ice House!

Hosting guided tours, information boards, creative and interactive experiences and a screening of The Ice House Documentary. The Ice House Open Weekend provided a taste of what’s to come from this future national centre for outdoor arts and circus.

Families take part in arts activities at The Ice House, Great Yarmouth

Supported By

Out There Arts Logo
National Lottery Heritage Fund LogoArchitectural Heritage Fund LogoGreat Yarmouth Borough Council Logo
NewsAbout The Ice HouseThe HistoryWatch the DocumentaryShare your StoriesThe Ice House: Past, Present and Future Read the PoemThe Ice House Open WeekendSupported By

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