The Story of Merrivale After a full year of hard work, the Merrivale Model Village opened early 1961 and was the dream and creation of the Dobbins family. It was, in fact, the second of three model villages that the family created. The first was the Land of the Little People in the seaside town of Southport in Lancashire in 1956, followed by Merrivale and, last but not least, the very famous Babbacombe model village in Torquay, which opened in 1963 and is still in the hands of its creators. The Dobbins family ran the Great Yarmouth Model Village until the early 1980s. They sold Merrivale to a local amusement family who ran it up until 2004. Peter and Shirley Williamson then took on the massive task of rebuilding the village, which had become neglected and run down. After much hard work and tens of thousands of pounds invested, the by now ‘Award Winning’ Merrivale Model Village is back as one of Great Yarmouth’s best-loved family seafront visitor attractions. In 2017 Frank and Frances Newsome took over running the village.