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'Ankering After Those Childhood Days.

Updated: Dec 15, 2020

I received a number of messages after my post on the Anchor & Hope. One of them mentioned the Crown & Anchor and that took me back a year or fifty.

Baker Street. What does the name suggest to you? Gerry Rafferty's classic track that featured so often in my visits to the Ferry Boat? The tube station on the Metropolitan Line (other lines are available) that I passed through in my student days? Sherlock Holmes' abode at number 221b? To me it suggests all of these, but also 11 Baker Street in Gorleston.

In the early 1960's Dad left his employment with Jewson's, which at the time was just a local East Anglian firm and not part of the Saint-Gobain empire, to set himself up in business. He opened a small shop-cum-showroom with a storeroom to the rear at 11 Baker Street in Gorleston, with Harry Jeffery's sweet shop on one side and the St. John's Ambulance training centre on the other.

11 Baker Street with its vertically-tiled frontage still present almost sixty years on. ©2020 Google

I can remember being aged about seven and playing in the overgrown back garden; the old toilet with the high level cistern; the phone number, Gorleston 1789; the vertically-tiled shop frontage; and the smell of new carpet which even now, when I go into a carpet store, transports me back in time. I also recall being taken to see some new houses where Dad's roof-tilers were working. I wonder where those tiles for the showroom's frontage came from.

I wonder where those tiles on the frontage of 11 Baker Street came from. ©2020 Google

I also recall, when about twice that age, walking back from the swimming pool on the sea front with my good friend Ian and calling into his dad's shop at number 10 to scrounge some supplies to sustain us on our journey home. I don't know what Ian chose but it would've been a Fry's Chocolate Cream for me. By this time Dad had moved his showroom to Lowestoft (Tel 5378), sandwiched between the Adelaide which is still serving (as the Welcome) and the Fox & Hounds which isn't. Sadly, like the Fox & Hounds, Ian is no longer with us and neither is the Crown & Anchor which was almost opposite our fathers' shops.

The former Crown & Anchor on Baker Street, Gorleston.

The Crown & Anchor stood at 28 Baker Street, on the corner with Pier Plain. The earliest record I have found for it is in the 1830 edition of Pigot's Directory where it is being operated under the name of the Salvage Boat by Robert Leggett, although the Norfolk Pubs website has reference to its existence as the Crown & Anchor prior to 1826.

The 1839 edition gives William Mills at the Salvage Boat but in the census two years later, amongst the pilots, net makers and mariners in Baker Street, there's a James Mills as a victualler living there along with, presumably his father, William - a grocer. Ten years on and William is shown to be back at the Salvage Boat's helm.

William Mills dies in 1856 and the pub passes into the hands of one Samuel Denton who's still there when White's publish their 1864 directory. But the pub changes ownership two years later, passing from Bell's brewery to Steward & Patteson. This change of possession may well have brought about a change of both landlord and name, for the 1869 Post Office directory has the place once more called the Crown & Anchor and now with James Atherton in charge.

That wasn't the last change of name it experienced. In the late 1970s the pub became known as Cosies. For those of you who have no knowledge of Gorleston's history, and therefore probably no idea what a cosy was, the town's old pier had places where folk could sit on its seaward side, as seen in this Edwardian postcard from James Valentine & Sons, which were known as cosies.

The name change didn't help it survive for much longer and it closed in 1985. Two years later it opened as Cozies Restaurant. Cozies with a z. Don't get me started on the Americanisation (definitely not Americanization) of the language. It took me ages to get around to using sulfur at work.

Cozies Restaurant in 2018. ©2020 Google

The Salvage Boat/Crown & Anchor wasn't the only pub on the road. The 1851 and 1861 censuses show firstly a William Barcham as a victualler and then a Henry Hart as an innkeeper at an unnamed establishment at the western end of Baker Street. Three years later, in 1864, White's Directory gives Joseph Bonney as a beerhouse keeper in Gorleston and seven years later the census pins him down to being at the Royal Oak in Baker Street. That's the earliest named reference to the place that I've been able to find.

4th July 1905. The opening of the tramway in Gorleston. The Royal Oak is on the extreme right.

I don't think it was ever the most profitable of establishments. In its application for license renewal in March 1913 it is stated that beer consumption was half a gallon a week. Even I can manage that in the Duke of York on a Saturday night. Or I could until a couple of months ago. It did go on to say that consumption increased in the (autumn) fishing season.

That application was successful, but the one in 1925 wasn't. The Bullard's-owned Royal Oak closed and James Flemming, second coxswain of the lifeboat, found himself out of a job. The space occupied by the former Royal Oak is now used for retail.

The view from a similar point in 2018 courtesy of Mr. Google. ©2020 Google

Gerry Rafferty sang in his aforementioned classic:

Winding your way down on Baker Street

Light in your head and dead on your feet

Well, another crazy day

You'll drink the night away...

Not on this Baker Street you won't. The only boozers are bygone boozers. Fortunately the nearby pair of the Tramway and the Feathers were still serving last time I heard.

Thanks to Debbie Larke for both the black and white photograph of the Crown & Anchor and the postcard image.

If you've read this far, then thank you. Like me, you must have some sort of interest in bygone boozers. If you haven't done so already you can subscribe to ensure that you don't miss any future posts. Simply click here to return to the home page (opens in a new tab), follow the 'Subscribe' link and complete the form to receive an email notification of any future post. Or you could simply follow the link at the top of this page.

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