A Collection of Pubs

By Wayne Kett, Collections Development Officer

This week Norwich enjoys the third and final Norwich Winter Ale Festival at St Andrews Hall and to celebrate I thought a blog about pubs would be appropriate.

I decided to focus on ten objects from our collection. Each object is associated with a different public house, featuring pubs both past and present and across the entire county of Norfolk.

The General Windham, Cowgate Street, Norwich & Backs Wine Bar, Haymarket, Norwich


Snap Dragon ~ NWHCM : 1971.572.1


One of our famous Norwich Snap Dragons was once kept at the General Windham pub in Pockthorpe. An account from a Mrs Warden, whose aunt kept the General Windham in the late 1800s, remembered a large dragon was displayed on the skittle alley, which her aunt later sold to Back’s Wine Bar. The Dragon was then hung in the entrance of Back’s Wine Bar before later being donated to the museum service in the early 1970s.

Adam & Eve, Bishopgate, Norwich


Tap ~ NWHCM : 1971.261.1

adam & eve

The Adam & Eve is probably the oldest pub in Norwich, it can trace its history back to 1249, having been built by monks for the purpose of brewing beer. It is likely it provided refreshment for the workforce building Norwich Cathedral.

This brass beer tap was for use on a barrel of bitter, with perforations to prevent the hops being drawn out.

The Beaconsfield Arms, Lawson Road, Norwich


Game ~ NWHCM : 1975.390.1

This is a Nyner Kum-Bak game, which is similar to bagatelle – itself a form of indoor table top billiards. This game set was reputedly used in the Beaconsfield Arms (later the Wherry and now the Fat Cat Brewery Tap).

The Three Cranes, Lower Close, Norwich


Sign ~ NWHCM : 1936.6


This painting by John Crome is on display at the Museum of Norwich and was the pub sign for the Three Cranes public house (the pub is recorded to have closed by 1827).

There are other examples of pub signs John Crome painted in the early part of his career, including one of a Wherryman in the V&A collection.

East Suffolk Tavern, Bridge Road, Great Yarmouth


Photograph ~ GRYEH : 2013.4.4052

east suffolk

Photograph of the East Suffolk Tavern, Bridge Road, Southtown, taken between 1903-1906. Note the sign outside indicating the sale of ‘Lacons Fine Ales’. Lacons was a household name in Yarmouth throughout the 19th century, and by the time this photograph was taken operated hundreds of pubs in Great Yarmouth.

Lacons closed in 1968 having been bought out by Whitbread, but thankfully the brewery was resurrected in 2013 and today you can enjoy Lacons beer made to the original recipe.

The Rifle Volunteer, Blackfriars Road, Great Yarmouth

Early 20th c.

Sign ~ GRYEH : 2005.32


The Rifle Volunteer located on Blackfriars Road was another Lacons pub. It closed in 1974 and the building has since been demolished and replaced with housing. The pub was just a few yards from our very own Time & Tide Museum, which is housed in a building that was until 1988 a herring curing works. The Rifle Volunteer would perhaps have been a popular drinking haunt for workers at the herring works.

The Jolly Farmers, Wisbech Road, Kings Lynn

1930 – 1950

Panel ~ KILLM : 2017.1.2


The Jolly Farmers in Kings Lynn has now closed, but once featured six panels created by the Norwich based artist John Moray-Smith. This panel featured in last years Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse ‘Beer & Brewing’ exhibition and is now stored in the publicly accessible Norfolk Collections Centre.

Moray-Smith was employed by Morgans brewery during the 1930s – 1950s to create these unique plaster artworks for both the inside and outside of many of Morgans public houses. The Woolpack Inn on Golden Ball Street in Norwich still features similar panels.

The Red Lion, The Street, Banham

Used until the 1970s

Game ~ GRSRM : 1977.11


This is a twister or Norfolk wheel, which is a traditional Norfolk pub game. The round wooden board is painted black with numbers 1-12 in gold lettering with a square board to fix to the ceiling. It was used for a variety of games, but equally could just be used to decide whose round it is. The board is fixed to the ceiling so that everybody can see what is happening and there can be no cheating.

This twister board was used in the Red Lion public house in Banham up until the 1970s. The pub has unfortunately closed and is now a private residence.

The Ship Inn, Brancaster


Print ~ NWHCM : 1954.138.Todd23.Smethdon.16


This etching is of the Ship Inn in Brancaster on the North Norfolk coast and is by the Rev E. Edwards. The Ship Inn is still open for business and actually features a sculpture of a ship on the side of the pub, created by the same artist (John Moray-Smith) who created the panel for the Jolly Farmers in Lynn.

Norwich Beer Festival, St Andrew Hall, Norwich


Glass ~ NWHCM : 1983.207.3a


Okay so the last one is not a pub, but you can buy beer there! Norwich beer festival was launched by CAMERA in 1977 and will this October celebrate its 42nd birthday. Our glasses are from the 1982 beer festival and feature the festivals official logo, the Snap Dragon.

If you would like to search our collections for yourself, why not check out our Norfolk Museums Collections website?


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1 Response to A Collection of Pubs

  1. A fascinating post. Thank you


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