Updated: Jan 5
CoVid-19 lockdown was announced on March 23rd. On June 17th Postman Pat delivers notification that I ought to be shielding. Would it not have been useful to have had this almost three months ago? I've not died yet but it looks as if pedalling out to grab some pics of bygone boozers might be off the cards for a bit, so it's down to some that have featured in my past for the next few posts.
Many moons ago, back in the Norfolk era, I frequently caught a bus from Great Yarmouth back home to Gorleston. Whether it was going home from school when in my early teens or back from a Saturday evening's session of touring various victuallers a decade later I usually waited on Hall Quay, as it gave me the option of five different services. Exactly where I'd alight would depend upon which service came along first but all would give me a tour of some bygone boozers. Sadly, but unsurprisingly, if I were to take the same trip today I'd pass even more. Join me on a journey, or a virtual dead pub crawl, in a number of episodes as I take my bus ride home.
As the journey usually commenced on Hall Quay it seems logical to start there. At its southern end once stood the Star Hotel. Originally a house built at the end of the sixteenth century for William Crowe, a baliff of the town it became an inn around 1660 and was known as the Star by at least 1788.
Patronised by Nelson on his visits to Great Yarmouth, the room named after him was stripped of its oak panelling in1813 and it somehow eventually made its way across to America where it is now on display in a recreation of the room in the Metropolitan Museum in New York.
The museum's web site has more images of the room which can be seen here.
Although dating from centuries earlier, the earliest record of it that I have is the entry in the 1830 edition of Pigot in which it is listed as a commercial and family inn and steam packet booking office operated by Thomas Grimley. Twenty years later it served as the model for the inn in which Dickens accommodated James Steerforth and the eponymous protagonist in the novel David Copperfield.
Around 1890 the Star's neighbour, the Stone House Hotel took the pledge, had another storey added and became the Cromwell Temperance Hotel. It features on the right in the postcard below.
The postcard dates from the early years of the twentieth century. Some of the buildings:- on the right is the Cromwell Temperance Hotel (later to become the Star), to the left of the neighbouring beige building is the Steam Packet and next to that the Crown & Anchor. The large seven-window wide building was a bank, and depending upon exactly when the picture was taken was either a branch of Lacon's Youell and Kemp or one belonging to Capital and Counties. The latter took over the former in 1901, around the time of the picture. Capital and Counties amalgated with Lloyds in 1918 and to me it will always be the home of Lloyds Bank, even though it's now apartments. Between the bank and the shop with the canopy is the Star and Garter.
I wasn't going to dwell on the Cromwell as it was a temperance establishment. Why waste my time if it wasn't a boozer? However, it does now house a boozer and is linked to a bygone one, so perhaps I ought to give it a little attention.
In 1930 the original Star Hotel relocated next door, into what was the Cromwell. It had been deemed that its neighbour on the other side needed a bit more space, so in 1934 the original Star Hotel was demolished to make way for an extension to the Post Office. The image below shows the later Star in its current position but before the original building was demolished.
Would such a building be allowed to be flattened today? Whatever the answer, it's gone.
So, that's one bygone boozer that isn't really a bygone as it reestablised itself in a boozer that wasn't a boozer. Moving northwards, the Steam Packet and the Crown & Anchor were dealt with in the story of the Yare Hotel, which just leaves us with the Star & Garter.
Getting on the bus opposite the Star we set off and in a hundred yards or so, just before we turn onto Haven Bridge to cross the River Yare, we pass that former Star and Garter.
It stood at 18 Hall Quay, on the south west corner of Row 57 whose arched entrance is visible on the building's right hand side. The hostelry originally stood on the other side of the row but moved buildings early in the nineteenth century. Its original site now forms part of the former Lloyds Bank mentioned above.
Owned by Lacon's Brewery since at least 1819 the same 1830 Pigot's Directory that puts Thomas Grimley in the Star tells us that William Riches is in residence. It became part of the Whitbread operation when they bought the Great Yarmouth brewers in 1965. In the late 1970's Whitbread were leasing it to Tolly Cobbold. I have to confess to never sampling a pint of Titbread Wankard or Tolly's Cantab there and now I'll never have the chance of supping anything, unless it's a cup of tea whilst discussing my mortgage needs, as it served its last pint in November 2013.
The bus rattles on, crossing of the River Yare. In times gone by this would have taken us from Norfolk into Suffolk, a fact recorded in the name of one of the next bygone boozers. But that can wait for next time.
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