Updated: Nov 28, 2021
The blog's been jumping around a bit of late. With virtual visits to Wales and Northern Ireland in recent posts I thought it was about time that I got back on the bike and visited another bygone boozer in my current neck of the woods.
Thoughts are all well and good but recent whirlwind visits to doctors, hospitals and other healthcare settings, despite being whirlwind in nature, have eaten up a lot of time. Now the arrival of Storm Arwen, complete with this morning's dump of snow, is persuading me that indoors is best for the moment, for both pedalling and pub pursuits, so even though there are a few posts about local lost locals in embryonic form, I'm having to fall back to that old virtual vehicular voyage which started here. For any current local locals reading this, there will be another Derbyshire one coming shortly. Possibly with a little mystery solved.
Just to recap, we left the regular bus journey of my youth in the former Anson Arms enjoying my final contact, metaphorical of course, with those legs of note that I first introduced you to in this even earlier post. As we continue on our bus ride the next stop we come to is at the Rumbold Arms. We won't hang around here though, for the place continues to thrive, but will press on for a couple more stops, passing the timber yards and Bollard Quay – where the ships were unloading the produce of Scandinavian forests – and finally the gas works before coming to a halt shortly beyond the point where Malthouse Lane runs off down to the former Ferry Boat Inn.
Almost directly opposite, on the other side of Southtown Road, once stood a pub – the Guardian Angel, sometimes simply referred to as the Angel. It was in existence from at least 1819 when the innkeeper was one Stephen Thrower who was still there in 1830 according to Pigot's directory of that year.
In fact he's there until the latter part of the decade as evidenced by the various annual registers of The Burgesses of the Borough of Great Yarmouth in the Parishes of Gorleston and Southtown like this one from 1836. It seems odd to us today that only nine folk with a surname beginning with the letter T were entitled to vote in the whole of Gorleston and Southtown combined. Out of interest, Charles Todd was running the Ship Inn which is still operating today as Bar 1.
By 1839 Stephen's Guardian Angel had deserted him and his widow Sarah is running the place...
...and she remained there until 1845 before moving on. But don't worry for we'll meet her again in a future post, and the Guardian Angel passed though half a dozen or so sets of hands before ending up in the care of Harry Forsdick at the end of the 1870s.
By now there was a horse-drawn tramway running in front of the pub. A standard gauge design had opened in 1875 with the gauge being narrowed to 3'6" in 1882. 1882 was also the year that the Guardian Angel was demolished and brewers Steward and Patteson spent £900 on building its replacement. When it opened, with Harry back in charge, it was called the Halfway House as it stood midway between the tram termini at Haven Bridge and Gorleston.
In 1938, the pub was re-fronted with a couple of nods to the Art Deco period which was by then coming to a close...
...and it's this image, with its clock and bus shelter, that I recall from my daily pass of the place on my way home from school.
The need to widen what was at the time the A12 trunk road linking Great Yarmouth with London proved to be the downfall of the Halfway House. The local landmark served its last pint in 1968 before being demolished.
Although all traces of the hostelry are now long gone, the Halfway House name still lives on, especially with those of a certain age who still, to this day, board and alight from the bus at Halfway House.
Thanks to Debbie Larke for the 1960s images and to the Norfolk Pubs website for some of the detail that I haven't been able to dig out for myself
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