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John Youngman (1914-1977)



John Youngman was a whelk fisherman from Wells-next-the-Sea on the northwest Norfolk coast.

He was born in 1914, eldest son of Bob and Florence Youngman, who lived near the Quay in Wells. His father was a jovial sort and often hosted parties and had Billy and Emma Cooper to stay. The Coopers and Youngmans were close until Billy died in 1962. John and Kath lived all their lives down on the quayside and he was a regular in the Shipwright’s Arms, just a stone’s throw from their house, where he enjoyed the banter and also sometimes played dulcimer, accordion and piano. According to Kath, John loved life down by the Quay and hardly ever went ‘up the town’.

He had a dulcimer earlier on in life, which he sold to an American serviceman just after the Second World War. Billy Cooper found him another, from Kelling, which was beautifully decorated – reputedly Billy Cooper himself did this – or possibly only the stars, which are actually the least notable part of the decoration. John died in 1977 and his dulcimer was sold on a few years later.


John Youngman's dulcimer

a b c

Click on a thumbnail to see a larger picture


Photo descriptions & sources

Main photo: Main photo: John Youngman and Billy Cooper  (David Kettlewell)



a. John Youngman's dulcimer front (John Howson)

b. John Youngman's dulcimer detail  (JH)


c. John Youngman's dulcimer stand)  (JH)

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