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Ding! Ding! Move Along the Bus Please. #10

I've been leaping around the country a bit with my last few posts. There was the Golden Heart in Gloucestershire, a Christmassy one in north Norfolk and a Hoppy New Year offering from Bromley in Kent. For this one I'm hopping back to my old hometown and hopping back onto that virtual bus.

My virtual bus journey which started on Hall Quay opposite the Star has been making its way south. Having reached the Halfway House we've turned left along High Road by the former Greyhound and passed the equally bygone Barking Fishery and Rising Sun. The next bygone boozer we come to is the Three Tuns. In fact, this lost pub could just as correctly have been included between the previous two, for there used to be two Three Tuns. The Ordnance Survey map extract below marks two PHs. The lower one, on the east side of the road, was the Rising Sun. The other one marks the position where the Three Tuns used to stand.

Ordnance Survey map extract from 1885.

This wasn't the Three Tuns in which I once supped a pint of Titbread Wankard. The pub which originally bore the name was much older. The Norfolk Pubs website has a John Barham in residence in 1819 when it was simply called the Tuns, but the earliest reference to it that I've so far managed to track down is in Pigot's directory of 1830 which gives Richard Baker as the landlord, serving up the odd pint between reading the bulletins for BBC news. (If you're too young to understand, click here!) All three of the 'three' pubs shown are no longer in operation.

Extract from Pigot's 1830 directory.

The final landlord of the original Three Tuns was Joseph Butcher who, in 1904, briefly moved into the Lifeboat Tavern on Pier Walk before being replaced there by my great grandfather. Why did Joseph have to move? The building was demolished to allow for road improvements and the location now looks like this.

Location of the original Three Tuns in August 2022. © Google 2023

That, however, wasn't the end for the Three Tuns as brewers Lacon's erected a new building, at a cost of £1400, on the corner of what once had been Chapel Lane but later rechristened Garnham Road. The construction wasn't without issue as there were concerns regarding its proximity to the Congregational Chapel and the brewery had to surrender the licence of one of its beerhouses.

That beerhouse turned out to be the Lord Collingwood in Great Yarmouth, which has featured in this previous post. The new Three Tuns is shown, but not marked as a pub, on the Ordnance Survey's 1904 mapping. The cottages which currently occupy the site of the old pub seem yet to be built and the Rising Sun isn't marked either, which is no surprise at it closed the previous year.

Extract from the Ordnance Survey 25 inch map of 1904.

In 1965 Great Yarmouth brewers Lacon's was bought by Whitbread who closed the town's brewery three years later, with the former Lacon's hostelries having to sell the latter's brews.

The Three Tuns in its Whitbread days.

The aforementioned Norfolk Pubs website shows the Three Tuns as being closed in 1942, presumably for the duration of the second world war, uncertain if it was damaged by enemy action. If the Luftwaffe failed to damage it between 1939 and 1945 the Yanks had a good go a couple of decades later.

On Tuesday 27th October 1964 I was on half-term holiday from school when an F-100 Super Sabre, based at RAF Lakenheath, made the news. For the uninitiated, the Super Sabre F-100 was a supersonic fighter/fighter-bomber which was designed and built in the 1950s.

There were a number of squadrons of F-100s based in France when in 1959 the then president, Charles de Gaulle, decreed that all nuclear-capable forces should withdraw from the country and so some of the Super Sabres made their way to England to be based at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk.

On that Tuesday, Captain James Chestnut had set out from Lakenheath airbase when a couple of explosions and a fire suggested that it might be prudent to remove himself from the aircraft, which he duly did after pointing the plane out over the North Sea. However, the jet didn't want to play ball and managed to turn itself around before burying itself into Darby's Hard, not a million miles away from the Three Tuns, scattering bits of aircraft viscera all around the vicinity, including the length of High Street by the pub.

Bits of F-100 Super Sabre strewn around the vicinity of the Three Tuns which is advertising Lacon's Keg..

James Chestnut parachuted into the town safely and more details and photographs of the aftermath can be found in the local rag by clicking here.

The Three Tuns, having survived its close encounter with the USAF, continued to serve until the mid 2010s. As intimated above, I even had a pint in it once. Just the once, mind you. I was out with friends who lived in the former Barking Fishery and we went there simply to have a change of scene from the Ferry Boat which, I have to say, I preferred.

After closure the pub came into the possession of the charity Willow Tree who, in a nod to the building's former life, renamed it the Willow Tree Tuns and run it as a community and catering centre. You can see what they get up to by visiting their website or their Facebook page. At least this community bygone is still serving the community in some way.

Three Tuns Gorleston
The Willow Tree Tuns in March 2019. © Google 2024

Thanks to Dominic Austrin for his assistance in locating the site of the original Three Tuns and for his image of the pub in its Whitbread era.

J. Thomas's image is copyright and is reused under this licence.

I've cropped Michaela Pereckas' image of the F-100 which is copyright and reused under this licence.

The Ordnance Survey map extracts have been reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland under the terms of this licence.

If you've read this far, then thank you. Possibly, like me, you may have some sort of interest in bygone boozers. Clicking here will take you to a searchable/sortable index which you can use to see if I've already featured any lost locals from your locality. You can also 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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