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The William Adams

This site had previously been occupied by two Methodist chapels.

176 High Street, Gorleston-on-Sea, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, NR31 6RG

The legendary life-saver William Adams was born in Gorleston in 1864. Known in the local press as the ‘Hero of Gorleston’, he is credited with saving 140 people from drowning, mainly during his time as a Gorleston Beach bathing hut attendant. Adams was also a swimming instructor, coaching some of the leading swimmers of his day. He died in 1913 and is buried in Gorleston Old Cemetery.

A plaque documenting the history of The William Adams.


The plaque reads: This J D Wetherspoon free house is named after the ‘Hero of Gorleston’, he is credited with saving 140 people from drowning, mainly during his time as a Gorleston Beach bathing hut attendant. Born in 1864, Adams was also a swimming instructor, coaching leading swimmers of the day. These premises were built on the site of GT Motors. Previously the site had been occupied by two Methodist chapels. The first was built in c1807. In 1844, the chapel was rebuilt, yet damaged during World War II. In 1959, it was sold for demolition.

These premises were built by JD Wetherspoon and opened in March 2018.

A print of William Adams, and memorial plaques.



Illustrations of Gorleston Beach.



Boating equipment is on display in the pub.


This could have been used along Gorleston’s sea front.

A sculpture inspired by the sea, and the location of the pub.


If you have information on the history of this pub, then we’d like you to share it with us. Please e-mail all information to: pubhistories@jdwetherspoon.co.uk