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It's Those Legs Again!

Updated: Aug 9, 2022

Some say that pain and pleasure are parts of the same continuum. That was possibly true in the case of one particular terrace on Southtown Road in Great Yarmouth. Pain at number 67 and pleasure at number 73 at the other end of the terrace. David Buddery, my dentist, at 67 and the Anson Arms at 73.

From as far back in my memory as I can get these days I can recall being taken, twice a year, to see Mr. Buddery.

"Upper left eight missing, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one alright. One, two, three, four, five, six alright..."

Then there'd be the pause, the digging and poking around with that sharp, pointy thing and then the inevitable " – cavity in occlusal, eight missing." The drill and fill without anaesthetic followed.

In my primary school days I'd be taken by my mother but once I'd moved up to secondary school it was a matter of me getting the bus to the Gordon Road stop where I'd alight in trepidation, opposite the Anson Arms, cross the road and walk the few yards to hear " – cavity in occlusal, eight missing." I wasn't to know then that in a few years' time I'd occasionally be sampling the wares offered by the Anson. I didn't know then that it wasn't the original Anson Arms either.

Page 294 in Volume 3 of Palmer's The Perlustration of Great Yarmouth, with Gorleston and Southtown (Pub.1875) informs us that the Anson Arms was built in 1814...

Mary Anson, daughter of the first Lord Vernon, was the widow of the Whig politician George Anson whose landowning wasn't just limited to Shugborough Hall and half of the Staffordshire countryside around Lichfield. The Ansons had a fair bit of Yarmouth too. In 1845 the Anson Arms became a Steward & Patteson pub when they acquired the assets of Paget's Brewery, with the brewery itself being demolished to allow the building of Yarmouth Vauxhall railway station.

Seemingly built in 1814 then, but the earliest landlord that I've come across is John Harley whose trade or profession was given as a publican in Southtown when his and his wife Hannah's son William was baptised on September 14th 1822. Pigot's directory of the same year goes one step further and names his pub.

Extract from Pigot's 1822 directory. Only one of these pubs still exists.

The Norfolk Pubs website can beat me by three years though, giving a George Kerrison as being in residence in 1819.

After John and Hannah Harley came the Harcourts and Libbises. Firstly Jeremy...

Extract from the 1830 edition of Pigot's Directory.

...then his widow Elizabeth,

Extract from White's 1845 directory.

who was followed by their son-in-law William Libbis and then...

Extract from Great Yarmouth's register of electors of 1851

...William's brother James, who had moved there from the bygone Globe in Gorleston.

From 1864 White's directory.

And this is the building in front of which I would alight from the bus prior to the assault on my ivories. Currently housing the marine electrical department of Alicat Workboats it was the original home of the Anson Arms.

The former Anson Arms in Great Yarmouth.
The location of the pub sign on the Anson Arms is still visible in March 2019. © Google 2021

Located close to the shipyards it's hardly a surprise to hear that it was damaged when Göring's minions visited in the1940s but it was repaired and up and running again by 1945. The Luftwaffe was not the only risk that the pub faced. Just like the Lifeboat and Belle Vue, mentioned in the previous post, flooding was always a possibility. The picture below is from when wind and tide conspired together in January 1905.

The Anson Arms and a rather wet Southtown Road in 1905

Edit August 2022

Below is an image of customers standing outside the Anson Arms, c1890.

This post was originally going to have the title 'Ding! Ding! Move Along the Bus Please #4' as it's really the fourth in the sporadic series highlighting the sequence of bygone boozers passed on the virtual bus journey home which began here. But it also features the return of those infinitely long legs first met emerging from the impossibly short skirt in this post about the Gordon Arms. It was in the Anson that I occasionally met up with the former school friend who was the owner of those limbs. Sadly, they were always encased in denim on those occasions.

The pub in which we partook of our purely platonic pints was not the one depicted above. In November 1958, Steward and Patteson eventually transferred the licence from the Anson Arms situated at 243 Southtown Road to the Anson Arms situated at 73 Southtown Road. This move, into what had previously been a private house, must've been a long time in the planning for the provisional transfer had been agreed in April 1945.

A typical Watney's Norwich Brewery pub of the time I can't recall if my pints were of Norwich Bitter or one of the new-fangled hand-pulled real ales that were beginning to make an appearance on the bars of pubs in Great Yarmouth in the late 1970s. With the bulk of the boozers owned by either Watney or Whitbread keg had ruled the roost but sometime around 1978 the two brewing behemoths introduced cask ales to some of their pubs. One of them started selling Castle Eden and the other Wethered's. I'm not completely certain which way round it was but I think it was the Watney houses that offered the former. (Whichever it was I found it a little strange for it was Whitbread who owned both brands, having acquired Castle Eden in 1963 and Thomas Wethered's Marlow brewery six years later.)

The Anson Arms, 73 Southtown Road, in 1996.

I had my last pint in the Anson and my last sight of those legs, denim-clad or otherwise, in 1978. In its later years the pub entered the hands of Enterprise Inns before shutting its doors for the final time in 2010. Since closing, the Anson Arms has housed a soft furnishing store and is currently home to a school uniform supplier, which brings my thoughts back to that skirt. And, of course, those legs!

The former Anson Arms selling schoolwear in March 2019. © Google 2021

The two former Anson Arms in March 2019. © Google 2021

The image from 1996 is courtesy of the Norfolk Pubs site.

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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