Yarmouth Springs Eternal: Walking through stories of the past with Mark Cator

Under Breydon Bridge (image credit_Genevieve Rudd)

We were led by photographer Mark Cator for our third artist-led walk/workshop session. He began his session with a photography presentation of Great Yarmouth, with a focus on the life and culture around Breydon Water since the 1800s. Mark is an expert on the photographer P H Emerson, having grown up around the Norfolk Broads, so much of the presentation explored this historic work alongside Mark’s own photography. It was fascinating to track the changes based on local landmarks, such as the Town Hall and river, which gave us a good starting point before heading out on our walk, picking up the start of the Angles Way walking route.

Links to Landscape

Angles Way walking route (image credit_Genevieve Rudd)

One of our group members had a strong personal link to the area, having grown up and lived on the edge of Breydon Water for many years, which enriched the day with lots of insider local knowledge. Mark had some of his own photography from the area taken around the 1990s, that we used to compare and contrast on location. Even when the group didn’t have a personal connection to the landscape we were walking within, it triggered early memories. One of our participants had spent time in Alaska when he was younger and remembered eating Fiddlehead Ferns, a memory sparked during a conversation about the abundant edible Alexanders around us. Another participant had grown up in South Africa and remembered childhoods exploring vast landscapes. We spoke about how, in the context of Norfolk, Breydon Water looks vast but even here, we’re still not far from houses, shops, trains and roads.

We were blessed with bright sunshine and blue skies, so it felt like the perfect day to relax by the water, talking and sharing stories, sitting low to the ground to keep away from the cool wind once we reached Breydon Water. Mark had selected a text by P H Emerson written around 1890 on the stories from the area. We each read a short passage against the watery backdrop, recorded by Mark. After basking in the sun, chatting and taking some photos, we walked back into town for lunch.

Reviewing & recording

Screening of Sara reading P H Emerson (image credit Genevieve Rudd)

In the afternoon, we had a screening of the group’s reading Mark had recorded on location, which audiences will be able to see at our exhibition in May and June Thanks to our project assistant Moyses Gomes for translating extracts of the text into Portuguese too. Once we’d all been embarrassed by seeing ourselves on the big screen (!) Mark had a final activity to bring our conversations, walking and experiences from the day together. We thought about the lines found at Breydon Water – horizon, jetty, posts, clouds – and created a long collaborative monochrome drawing. The page was populated with words extracted from the P H Emerson text, some of which are now lost in history. Some of our multilingual group members also translated selected words to add into the drawing, alongside line drawings in graphite and charcoal.

It was a relaxed and sunny day, filled with conversations and images from the past and present. Our group members had lots of positive things to say about the session:

“The photos of the areas at the beginning were essential and a good opener to the walk and observation in the nature”

“Quite relaxing and pleasant I’d say. Photography is not one of my skills, but I enjoyed meeting you guys”

“I really enjoyed unexplored areas of Great Yarmouth”

Events coming sooN!

Find out details of our upcoming events below. If you would like to stay informed of all of the latest information about these events, then you can sign up to our newsletter. Our first update will be going out in a couple of weeks time.

EXHIBITION – WEDNESDAY 19TH MAY TO SUNDAY 20TH JUNE 2021

PRIMEYARC, Market Gates Shopping Centre, Great Yarmouth, NR30 2BG | Open daily: Monday-Saturday 12pm to 5:30pm + Sunday 12pm-4:30pm

Find out more on the Norfolk & Norwich Festival website

CONFERENCE – SATURDAY 22ND MAY 2021

PRIMEYARC, Market Gates Shopping Centre, Great Yarmouth, NR30 2BG | 12pm to 5:30pm, schedule tbc

Book your free ticket on the Norfolk & Norwich Festival website

FREE PUBLIC ARTS & NATURE EVENTS – JUNE 2021

PRIMEYARC, Market Gates Shopping Centre, Great Yarmouth, NR30 2BG | Timings and booking details, tbc |

We will be hosting a series of drop-in and bookable artist-led walks and events that explore creativity connected to the natural world

  • Saturday 12th June: #MyJam Culture Sharing Lab, curated by originalprojects; – Facebook event
  • …more to be announced in April/May 2021

All events are planned to follow and adhere to COVID-19 guidelines

Large scale charcoal and graphite drawing with Mark Cator (image credit_Genevieve Rudd)

2 thoughts on “Yarmouth Springs Eternal: Walking through stories of the past with Mark Cator

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