Rye, George


Residence of. 29 Crown Road, Great Yarmouth. Historian and archaeologist.

George Rye, of Crown Road, was a retired tobacconist, who ran a seafront shop at 39 Marine Parade, and was a true old Yarmouthian. He enriched others with his knowledge of the area’s history, through talks and writings.

After retirement from his business, George Rye took a keen interest in archaeology, gaining his experience by working at sites throughout the country with well-known names in the profession, such as Mortimer Wheeler. Although an amateur, he became known and respected by professionals countrywide.

Rye put his knowledge to good use in Great Yarmouth by excavating many sites, throughout the 1960s and 1970s, often single-handed. His work included discovering the exact location of the Blackfriars’ Church, during work on the Friars’ Lane Fire Station. He also excavated the site of the Barge Inn on Hall Quay, the site of the Midsands Cross, the sites of Rows 11 and 13 and many other places.

His interest in local history included active membership of many societies. He served on the Council of the Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society. As a member of the Historical Buildings Company, he played a prominent role during the unsuccessful battle to save Drury House on South Quay in the late 1950’s.

George Rye was a man of enormous energy and enthusiasm and he involved himself with many aspects of Great Yarmouth life. He was largely responsible with his friends, Ted Goate and Percy Trett, and for the revival of Great Yarmouth and District Archaeological Society in the 1950s and 1960s.


For ten years, between 1962-1972, Rye was the Secretary of the Great Yarmouth Archaeological Society and helped and encouraged many people to appreciate their local heritage. He also served as the President of the Society from 1978 to 1980. In 1968 he introduced the Society’s Bulletin, which was replaced, after 56 issues, by the Newsletter in 1974.

The latest of many articles he wrote for journals was an in-depth study of Great Yarmouth’s military history.

Rye became ill while playing snooker at the Great Yarmouth Conservative Club and died at the age of 83 years.