March 10 2014 Latest news:
Friday, January 3, 2014
A mystery collector who snapped up all the waxworks from Louis Tussauds House of Wax is from the Czech Republic, it can be revealed.
The empty building is on the market for £375,000 after the collection of more than 150 models was sold privately and moved abroad.
Owner Jane Hayes said the collection was sold as a single job lot to a collector from the Czech Republic, but did not reveal his identity or how much the collection was sold for.
The Great Yarmouth attraction had cult status, known for its waxworks which bore little resemblance to their subjects.
But Peter and Jane Hayes, who ran the Regent Road business for 58 years, called time on it in 2012 due to ill health.
The couple, both in their eighties, still live in the building but want to leave.
Blue advertising hoardings which used to draw in tourists have been taken down, with the front of the attraction now bare save for the House of Wax lettering near the top.
A family friend - who was delivering gifts to Mr and Mrs Hayes - said the collection has been sold privately and taken abroad.
And now the building, constructed in the mid 19th century as a doctor’s house, is up for sale with Howards Estate Agents.
A listing on Howards’ website, with an asking price of £375,000, reads: “The property comprises a substantial building - 608sq/m - which was until recently used as a waxworks museum.
“The property also includes owner’s private living accommodation, a pair of kiosks to the front which provide additional income and an enclosed rear yard area with parking beyond.
“Well located on Regent Road.”
A member of staff at Howards said there had been demand for the waxwork models - which have all gone - from private collectors.
An answer phone message at the House of Wax states: “Thank you for calling. Louis Tussauds House of Wax is now permanently closed.”
And the sale of the building was news to key tourism figures - including Alan Carr, chief executive of Greater Yarmouth Tourist Authority, and Peter Williamson, chairman of Norfolk Tourist Attractions Association and owner of the Model Village.
Both were told of the development by this paper.
Michael Jeal, borough council cabinet member for tourism, said he feared the building would change from tourism to residential use when it is sold.
“Any loss of tourist attractions is a blow,” he added. “We don’t want to be losing attractions near the seafront or anywhere in these times of austerity.”
Mr and Mrs Hayes won permission to turn the attraction into a home in December 2012, with Great Yarmouth Borough Council planning councillors giving them the green light.
The pair did not speak at the meeting, but a statement from them revealed they had been unable to find any individual or company to take on the attraction due to declining income and rising costs.
They added that their wax modeller had retired some years ago and they were unable to find a replacement.
Mr and Mrs Hayes lived in a flat on the first floor, but gained permission to turn the entire building into a home.
They also got permission to put up two retail kiosks in front of the waxworks on the proviso that they were not hot food takeaways.