Palmer, Garwood Burton

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Home of Garwood Burton Palmer, shop proprietor. Formerly Gorleston House, 34 Pier Plain, Gorleston. Now occupied by Gorleston Conservative Club.


South of Gorleston High Street stands the former house and grounds of Garwood Burton Palmer. The house was erected by Captain Cobb RN and was afterwards occupied by Lieutenant Edmund Bennett RN, who lost an arm in action.  Captain Cobb was promoted to Admiral shortly after his death.  The Lords of the Admiralty had not heard of his death prior to the appointment.  Bennett died in 1817 at the age of 43 years.  Bennett’s wife died in 1822 aged 58 years.  A monument to them was erected in St. Andrews Church, Gorleston.  On the 4th of June 1837, a gentleman named Garwood Burton Palmer opened a small linen and drapery shop in Great Yarmouth’s Market Place. The shop, which was called Albion House, covered only 750 square feet of floor space.  


Garwood Palmer was born in Great Yarmouth in 1815.  He was 22 years old when he opened the shop.  He had trained in London at the respected shop of Hitchcock Williams, which was based in St. Paul’s Churchyard.  Garwood Palmer could be seen driving his carriage from Gorleston House, now the Gorleston Conservative Club, to and from his shop in Great Yarmouth.  His shop was often highly decorated with flowers and ferns, which had been supplied from his garden and its conservatory.  Garwood Palmer was also a magistrate.  Seven years later, in 1884, Garwood’s younger brother, Nathaniel Benjamin, joined the business and soon became a full partner.  Nathaniel died at the young age of 38 years. He left two sons, Edward Ernest Palmer and James Hurry Palmer to carry on the Palmer business.  Edward joined in 1874 and James in 1876.  By 1876, the family business was booming.  When the founder, Garwood Burton Palmer, died in 1888 at the age of 73 years, Nathaniel’s sons were left in charge of the business, which became better known as Palmer Bros. 


According to an old General Trade Directory for Gorleston: Gorleston House has been enlarged, re-decorated and re-fitted to make it one of the best private hotels on the east coast.  It is charmingly located in its own grounds of 4½ acres with tennis courts, bowling greens and a croquet lawn.  It overlooks the piers, the harbour and the Yarmouth Roads.  Well-kept flower beds and shrubberies extend to Lowestoft Road.  The hotel has accommodation for 70 guests with first class cuisine and  perfect sanitary arrangements.  After the death of Garwood Palmer, his house became a hotel and, in 1921, the Conservative Club moved into the building.