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Ding! Ding! Move Along The Bus Please #2.

Non-flaming June comes to an end and the year moves on. Directly into November. Gales. Rain. Depression after depression. And that's before I get onto my mental state. Seems like I'm not getting out on the bike and I'll have to board that bus and continue the tour of bygone boozers passed on my virtual bus ride home, which started here.

Ding! Ding! Departing from Hall Quay we meet the subjects of this post shortly after having crossed the River Yare, which formed the county boundary when this sad-looking pair were built, by means of the Haven Bridge.

A forlorn pair. The East Suffolk Tavern (l) and the Haven Bridge (r). March 2019 ©2020 Google

The first of these bygone boozers was originally the Bridge Tavern, although its name did seem to vary a bit through time. Likely built in the late 1840s its licensee, one John Baldry, makes it into the 1850 edition of Hunt & Co.'s 'Directory of East Norfolk with Parts of Suffolk comprising of... the sea ports and watering places of Yarmouth and Lowestoft, Cromer and Mundesley... and in 166 of the circumjacent villages; together with...' My personal lexicon has now increased in size as I have to say that I can't recall ever coming across 'circumjacent' before.

As I've mentioned above, John Baldry makes it into Hunt in 1850 but there's no reference to the pub in any earlier directory. After John dies in 1857 his widow Nancy takes on its running but sails a little too close to the wind. The Norfolk Pubs site tells us that...

On Monday 11th January 1858, Mrs. Baldry, keeper of the Bridge Tavern, was ordered to put 2s 6d into the poor box for, on the previous day, having her house open during prohibited hours. Leniency was shown since it was a first offence, she was a widow and was infirm.”

Nancy dies five years later, by which time she'd left the Bridge which passed through numerous tenants' hands, with few staying put for long. There were a couple of exceptions. Alfred Cubitt managed seventeen years or so at the end ot the century and William and Eliza Marjoram were there from 1915 to 1938. Well, Eliza was. William died in 1928. On leaving the Bridge, Eliza took over the Artillery Arms which closed in October the following year 'for the duration of hostilities', but I don't believe it ever reopened. It's certainly not in operation today.

William possibly took the pub on to supplement his earnings as a painter, of the artistic rather than house type. He's listed as such in the 1911 census when living in Caister and his output still comes up for sale. There are some of his paintings to view on the Art UK website.

Whereas the Artillery Arms was closed for the duration of the war, the Bridge remained open. It passed from Lacon's ownership to Whitbread's with the latter's acquisition of the former in 1965. The new owners didn't renew its licence and it closed in January 1966.

I do have a vague connection with the Bridge. The next stage of its life saw it as home to the Birds Eye Sports & Social Club. Despite paying for membership by direct deduction from my pay I never ever went in the place during my years of burger and Brunchie production. I have to say that it's pretty unusual for a tight-arse like me to squander possible beer money but I just never got around to it. Birds Eye struggled on for another five or six years after I left, but its productivity and profitability were never the same after my departure and it too left town in 1986. No more Birds Eye, no more social club.

It did reopen though. In fact it has had several reopenings. By 1995 it was trading as the Haven Bridge Freehouse and featured the very Norfolk-sounding La Bamba nightclub. It had closed by early 2000. Four years later it re-opened as Jacks but this incarnation didn't last long either. By 2009 it had reopened yet again as the Haven Bridge, but its licence was revoked in 2012 and now just seems sad. Its recent history (Should that be demise?) can be viewed in the pictures below, courtesy of Mr. Google.

October 2008 ©2020 Google

As The Haven Bridge in 2009. ©2019 Google

£400pw in 2008 now £250pw in 2014 Must say something. July 2014 ©2020 Google

As 'The Social' August 2016. ©2020 Google

March 2019 ©2020 Google

Standing next door to the Bridge was the East Suffolk Tavern. It appears to have been in the hands of Hezekiah Layton from the outset but early directory entries and census returns only give him variously as a shopkeeper, confectioner or even collector of taxes but as he applied, and was turned down, for a full licence in 1859 he must've been operating some sort of boozer by then.

The picture below was taken when Hezekiah's daughter Louisa Gray was licensee, which dates it to around 1900-10 and is the earliest reference to it with a name that I've come across.

The pub's name comes not from the fact that it stood, at the time, in one of the most easterly parts of Suffolk but from the fact that a detachment of the East Suffolk Regiment was billeted nearby.

The regiment dates from 1685 when the Duke of Norfolk raised his Regiment of Foot to help put down the Monmouth Rebellion. It was incorporated into the royal army and in 1782 it became the 12th (East Suffolk) Regiment of Foot. In about 1880 it becomes subsumed within the Suffolk Regiment. Subsequent consolidation means that the East Suffolks are now part of the Royal Anglian Regiment. The origin of the pub's name appears on one side of the pub sign that's still hanging outside.

After around half a century the Layton family's free house passes to brewers Mann, Crossman & Paulin. Around the same time it gets an additional storey, probably paid for by its new owners. Norwich brewer's Steward and Patteson acquire the pub in the 1920s and it continues to operate until the 1990s.

In the 1960s it was run for five years by Sid and Renee Bonney before they jumped brewery and pub and moved to the still operating Coach and Horses.

Sid and Renee Bonney ran the East Suffolk Tavern 1962-67.

Good health, Renee!

By the mid 1990s it had closed and was up for sale but it was resurrected for a while as Croppers Bar in the 2000s. By the end of the decade it was shut once more and now cuts a sad site.

As Croppers Bar in 2009 ©2020 Google

If I managed to squeeze out a tenuous connection with the Bridge, I can manage and even more tenuous one with the East Suffolk – my pre-Birds Eye era inamorata's uncle married the Bonney's daughter. There, I told you it was pretty tenuous.

Hopefully the calendar will jump back to where it ought to be and July might make an appearance soon. If not, I might have to move on to the next bus stop. Ding! Ding!

Thanks to Charles Brodie for the picture of the pub sign and to Glen Gardiner for the indoor shots of the East Suffolk Tavern.

[Edit. Since drafting the bulk of this post last summer I've discovered that The Bridge has, once again, reopened - as The Haven. '70s nights, '80s nights, '90s nights, jam sessions (bring your own guitar!)... I wish the place every success, but I'm not going to rewrite my post. Sadly, history suggests that I shouldn't.]

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